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Justices will hear contraception challenge to Obamacare


RICHARD WOLF

Source:
USA Today
Type:
Media/Opinion
Date:
11/26/2013

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ABSTRACTJustices will hear contraception challenge to Obamacare Search News Sports Life Money Tech Travel Opinion Weather Icon Humidity Precip. Winds Open settings Settings Enter City, State or Zip Cancel Set Close settings Full Forecast Media Big Page Subscribe User Sign in with Facebook Sign in with Google Sign In FAQ You are logged in as Log out Sign In FAQ Search 2648 226 Share This Story! Let friends in your social network know what you are reading about Facebook Email Twitter Google+ LinkedIn Justices will hear contraception challenge to Obamacare The Supreme Court added a new legal challenge Tuesday to the legislative and political battles raging over President Obama's embattled health care law. Post to Facebook Justices will hear contraception challenge to Obamacare on USATODAY.com: http://usat.ly/IfqLvP Incorrect please try again Try Another Audio Captcha Image CAPTCHA Help {# #} Cancel Send Posted! A link has been posted to your Facebook feed. Sent! A link has been sent to your friend's email address. 407 Join the Nation's Conversation To find out more about Facebook commenting please read the Conversation Guidelines and FAQs This story is part of Affordable Care Act N.J. lets insurers renew canceled policies Supreme Court will hear contraception challenge to Obamacare Breaking down the Affordable Care Act Justices will hear contraception challenge to Obamacare Richard Wolf, USA TODAY 8:27 p.m. EST November 26, 2013 Religious cases are among dozens challenging the health care law's mandate that insurance plans offer free coverage of contraceptives. The Supreme Court agreed to hear a challenge brought by Hobby Lobby against the health care law. (Photo: Ed Andrieski, AP) Story Highlights Health care law says most companies must cover birth control Owners of corporations object based on their religious beliefs Legal fight for Obama comes on top of legislative, political battles SHARE 2648 CONNECT 226 TWEET 407 COMMENT EMAIL MORE WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court added a new legal challenge Tuesday to the legislative and political battles raging over President Obama's embattled health care law. The justices agreed to consider whether for-profit corporations whose owners oppose abortion on religious grounds must abide by the law's mandate that health insurance policies include free coverage of government-approved forms of contraception. It's the first legal challenge to reach the high court since it upheld the law 17 months ago in a 5-4 decision written by Chief Justice John Roberts. While a loss for the government wouldn't strike down the law itself, conservatives still seething over Roberts' rescue of Obamacare say the case offers Roberts an initial chance to rule against it. Beyond its attachment to the health care law, however, the legal challenge is significant in its own right because it will answer a fundamental question with far-reaching consequences: Can corporations pray? Until now, no court has granted religious rights under the First Amendment's "free exercise clause" to for-profit businesses. The corporations whose lawsuits were chosen over some 40 others say, in essence, that they do pray. The cases were filed by Hobby Lobby, a chain of more than 500 arts-and-crafts stores with about 13,000 full-time employees, and Conestoga Wood Specialties, a Lancaster, Pa., woodworking business run by a Mennonite family. Hobby Lobby, an Oklahoma City-based company founded by David Green in 1970, closes on Sundays and funnels millions of dollars in profits to ministries. Its website proclaims its commitment to "honoring the Lord in all we do by operating the company in a manner consistent with biblical principles." To avoid promoting alcohol, for instance, Hobby Lobby doesn't sell shot glasses. And to avoid promoting abortion, it doesn't cover drugs or devices which it claims are capable of terminating a pregnancy, including the after-sex drugs Plan B and Ella and two types of intrauterine devices. The government and abortion rights groups say those drugs and devices only postpone ovulation. Norman and Elizabeth Hahn operate Conestoga Wood with their three sons, and they "integrate their faith into their daily lives, including their work," says their brief to the high court. The U.S. Supreme Court Building is seen in 2012. (Photo: Karen Bleier, AFP/Getty Images) "Both cases represent a broad diversity in which families in America practice their faith as they try to earn a living, all the way from Mennonites making wood cabinets to the Green family operating a chain store," said Matt Bowman of Alliance Defending Freedom, which is representing Conestoga. The health care law says companies with 50 or more workers that offer health insurance must cover contraceptives as part of a preventive care package for women. Churches and other houses of worship were excluded from the mandate, and some religious institutions, such as universities, were allowed to have insurers offer the benefit.......