« Ind. Gov't. - More on urban chickens: "Lafayette behind on national trend, backyard coop fans say" | Main | Ind. Law - More on "Lawyer Charged in Own Shooting; Authorities Say He Staged Apparent Attack for Unknown Reason" »
Monday, September 30, 2013
Law - "Birth Control and a Boss’s Religious Views"
The Obama administration’s rule requiring employer health plans to cover birth control without a co-payment has given rise to a slew of lawsuits by private companies claiming the mandate attacks religious freedom. Three federal appeals courts have ruled on the issue, with two correctly rejecting that view as without legal foundation. Given the conflicting rulings, it is a good bet the Supreme Court will agree to address this issue in the next term.Three circuits' ruings are detailed:
Under the Affordable Care Act, employers with more than 50 workers that provide insurance plans must include contraceptives coverage or face fines of up to $100 a day for each employee. The administration’s rule, issued in June, goes to great lengths to respect the concerns of religious institutions while preserving a worker’s right not to conform to the religious beliefs of her employer.
The rule has an exemption for houses of worship and accommodates other nonprofit religious and church-affiliated organizations, like hospitals, universities and charities, that object by letting them avoid paying for contraception for employees. In those cases, insurance companies or third-party administrators would arrange separate no-payment plans for contraceptive services. Quite properly, there is no exemption for owners of private for-profit businesses who simply don’t want to comply with a general law because of their personal views.
On Sept. 19, the Conestoga Wood Specialties Corporation, owned by a devout Mennonite family, asked the Supreme Court to review a July ruling by the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit that rejected the company’s argument that requiring contraception coverage in employee health plans violates the First Amendment’s free exercise clause and a federal law, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.Two cases are awaiting decision by the 7th Circuit: Grote Industries v. Sebelius and Korte v. Sebelius.
On the same day, the administration filed a separate petition to the Supreme Court seeking review of a decision by the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals that prevented the birth control mandate from applying to a craft-store chain, Hobby Lobby, whose owners raised religious objections on grounds that the mandate likely violates the restoration act.
Just days before, the appeals court in the Sixth Circuit, siding with the Third Circuit’s reasoning, ruled against the owners of a manufacturing company that said it should not be required to provide contraceptive coverage because it offended the religious beliefs of the owners.
Michael Kirkland, UPI Senior Legal Affairs Writer, noted yesterday in a lengthy, comprehensive story: "More than 40 suits have been filed so far against the mandate across the country by for-profit businesses whose owners say they can't support contraception."
Posted by Marcia Oddi on September 30, 2013 09:24 AM
Posted to General Law Related