The U.S. Supreme Court is set to hear arguments challenging Obamacare’ contraception mandate on Tuesday from attorneys representing Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood.
The companies and their supporters argue that the mandate requiring companies to provide contraception coverage violates the owners’ religious beliefs. Liberals contend that any erosion of the mandate constitutes a threat to women’s contraception access.
“A rejection of the contraception benefit would only take us back in time, crippling the progress we’ve made in the four years since the Affordable Care Act became law. As Democrats, we respect the right of all Americans to exercise their religion, but we do not believe that for-profit employers should have the right to impose their religious beliefs on their employees,” Democratic National Committee chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz said Tuesday morning.
The administration’s contraception mandate requires large companies to provide contraception coverage, regardless of the owners’ beliefs, or face hefty fines.
Tennessee Sen. Lamar Alexander, the ranking Republican member on the Senate health committee, highlighted just how expensive those fines will be Tuesday.
“If Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood Specialities Corp., both private companies, do not meet the health care law’s regulatory requirements that they include certain contraceptives, including abortifacient pills, in the health care coverage they provide employees, the companies will pay fines. Hobby Lobby estimates it will pay fines of about $1.3 million a day,” he said, adding that he hopes the court will find that “this administration has reached too far.”
Monday House Speaker John Boehner called on the court to overturn the mandate.
“[T]his case concerns every American who cherishes that first line in the Bill of Rights where it states our government will never come between us and our faith,” Boehner said. “Religious freedom is not for some people under some circumstances; it is for one and all. In that spirit, I join with those who are standing up for what’s right and what’s sacred.”
And advocates on both sides of the debate, notably and largely the pro-choice and pro-life divide, have been furiously pushing their side.
“Our message is clear: It is offensive, out of touch and out of bounds for bosses to make birth control decisions for their employees,” NARAL Pro-Choice America President Ilyse Hogue said.
“The Obama Administration’s HHS Mandate is an insult to the millions of American women who oppose abortion-inducing drugs and devices and do not think in lockstep with the abortion lobby,” said the pro-life Susan B. Anthony List’s Marilyn Musgrave. “Women have been named as plaintiffs in nearly a third of the more than 45 ‘for-profit’ cases filed against the mandate. The implication that women want free abortifacient drugs – and that they value these drugs above religious liberty – is demeaning to all women.”
The Supreme Court will hear oral arguments for 90 minutes Tuesday morning.