For-profit companies, however, including the plaintiffs in the cases before the Supreme Court now, are not exempt.
The owners of Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood are not Catholic and say they have no problem offering birth control. So what is their challenge to the mandate?
Most forms of artificial contraception are contrary to Catholic teaching. But the Green family, which owns the nationwide craft chain Hobby Lobby, are evangelical Christians. And the Hahn family that owns Pennsylvania cabinet-maker Conestoga Wood Specialties are Mennonites. Both families already offer most forms of birth control as part of their health plans.
The owners say they are opposed to some forms of birth control – particularly emergency contraceptives Plan B and Ella, which can be used to prevent pregnancy if taken within 24 hours to as much as five days after unprotected sex – because these contraceptives prevent a fertilized egg from implanting in a woman’s uterus That is tantamount to a very early abortion, which violates their religion, they argue. The Greens – but not the Hahns – also object to two types of intrauterine devices (IUDs) for the same reasons.
“These abortion-causing pills go against our faith, and our family is now being forced to choose between following the laws of the land that we love or maintaining the religious beliefs that have made our business successful and supported our family and thousands of our employees and their families,” Hobby Lobby founder David Green told reporters on a conference call when the lawsuit was originally filed.
Do those drugs and devices actually cause abortions?
Not according to the vast majority of medical and scientific opinion.
“Federal law and State law – which do preclude funding for abortions – don’t consider these particular forms of contraception to be abortion,” said U.S. Solicitor General Donald Verilli during the oral arguments in the case on behalf of the Obama administration. “We’ve got about 2 million women who rely on the IUD as a method of birth control in this country. I don’t think they are engaged in abortion in doing that.”
Fri, Jun 13 2014