Can a Company Prevent Free Birth Control Access? The Supreme Court Will Decide

The Supreme Court will decide if for-profit companies like Hobby Lobby can exempt birth control from the Affordable Care Act on religious grounds
There are a couple of big cases before the Supreme Court which have the potential to have a major impact on the finances of women and families. In two cases before the court, Sebelius vs Hobby Lobby Stores and Conestoga Wood Specialties Corp vs Sebelius, the justices will have to decide whether for-profit companies must abide by the Affordable Care Act mandate to provide no-cost prescription contraception as part of most health insurance plans offered.

As part of the Affordable Care Act, most insurance plans must provide certain preventive care services for free to beneficiaries. The Obama administration included all FDA-approved contraceptives for women as part of these preventative services. At issue is whether or not for-profit companies should have to provide contraceptives to women if it goes against the religious beliefs of the owners of those companies.

While some non-profit and religious organizations are exempt from this mandate, the law doesn’t allow for-profit companies to be exempt. The owners of Conestoga Wood and Hobby Lobby (both for-profit companies) say they have no problem offering birth control to women, but they do have issue with certain types of birth control. They’re specifically against providing emergency contraceptives such as Plan B and Ella, which can prevent pregnancy when taken after a sperm and egg have united. They argue their religious freedom is being violated because they view this specific type of birth control as an abortion. Since emergency contraceptives are able to prevent a fertilized egg from implanting into the uterus of a women, they consider using them the same as a very early stage abortion.

While the two companies’ owners consider this abortion, the majority of the medical and scientific communities don’t. As part of the lawsuit, ten medical groups, including the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, submitted a brief that states, “There is a scientific distinction between a contraceptive and an abortifacient and the scientific record demonstrates that none of the FDA-approved contraceptives covered by the Mandate are abortifacients.” They hold this view since the medical and scientific communities usually define pregnancy beginning at the time a fertilized egg implants in a woman’s uterus. This is the conflict which the Supreme Court must decide.

If the court rules in favor of Conestoga Wood and Hobby Lobby, and for-profit companies can decide to opt-out of providing no-cost birth control, it could have big financial consequences for women and families. For those women who can afford birth control, it would simply mean paying more out of pocket for this service. For those who can’t afford birth control on their own, however, it could mean an unwanted pregnancy and the huge cost of a raising a baby for the entire family. While the financial implications aren’t the main focus of the debate, they certainly will come into play for a large number of families if the for-profit companies win the case.

Arguments for both sides have already been made to the Supreme Court, and a decision on these cases is expected later this month.

(Photo courtesy of Nicholas Eckhart)

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10 Responses to Can a Company Prevent Free Birth Control Access? The Supreme Court Will Decide

  1. jIM says:

    Poor headline. No company can prevent free access – in fact there is no free access since someone has to pay for it. The company is just saying they cannot in good conscience pay for it. Perhaps the write is “preventing” free access since I don’t see him offering to pay for it! If someone believes that a fertilized egg is life and the destroying it is taking a life, then how should they be expected to pay for someone to do that destruction?

  2. Franz Weber says:

    So, I like to tell the owners of Hobby Lobby that I don’t like the way they have sex. They Can have Sex, but only standing on one leg. See how stupid this is?
    They are acting like Hitler.

  3. Franz Weber says:

    Oh by the Way, have you ever counted the made in the USA items for sale at Hobby Lobby? There are none. They sell everything from a Godless country China where they would not have the RIGHTS they enjoy here. Thank You to a Veteran to keep Hobby Lobby FREE. Also, have you seen the place where the Hobby lobby CEO lives?


    Please be logical-Hobby Lobby would not be telling anyone what to do or not do, just not pay for it

  5. You are a moron says:

    “They are acting like Hitler.”
    You must no nothing about the history of World War II and how Hilter was able to convince the german army to kill about 6 MILLION Jews. Hitler simply convinced the Germans that the Jews weren’t human and the german army slaughtered many innocent people, some who faught to have the killings stopped.
    So you are telling me a company who believes killing the unborn is immoral and that they shouldn’t have to pay for it is “stupid” and “acting like Hitler”. I’m sorry, but you’ve drank the koolaid. Just because you say a “fetus” isn’t a baby is no different then hitler saying the Jews weren’t human. Hobby Lobby is fighting for life, while you’re ignorance has landing you on the side where over 3,000 babies are murdered every day. Sounds like to me you’re on Hitler’s side.

  6. naksuthin says:

    But birth control pill are taken for many reasons..not just to prevent birth.
    If a patient decided to take oral contraceptives for other medical reasons, can a religious group refuse to cover it?

    For example:
    Taking oral contraceptives (OCs) can slash your risk for both endometrial and ovarian cancer by more than 70 percent after 12 years; even just one to five years may lower your risk by 40 percent. They work by reducing the number of times you ovulate in your lifetime: Ovulation may trigger cell changes in the ovaries that can lead to cancer.

    Clearer skin. Estrogen – the female hormone found in most OCs – helps clear your skin by decreasing levels of testosterone, a male hormone that stimulates oil production. Although Ortho Tri-Cyclen is often used to treat acne, many pills, such as Yasmin or Desogen, can banish blemishes. You’ll likely see results within a couple of months.

    Lighter, less painful periods

    When you’re on the Pill, you don’t ovulate, so your uterine lining doesn’t build up as much. In fact, you don’t have a true “period” during the placebo phase – just withdrawal bleeding, in which your uterine lining breaks down in response to the drop in hormones. So most OC takers bleed less for a shorter time, and have little or no cramping.

    PMS relief

    Hormonal shifts during the second half of your cycle are the main cause of PMS symptoms. The Pill can provide relief by steadying hormones, but different symptoms require different pills. If breast tenderness is your complaint, an OC that is lower in estrogen (such as Mircette) is your best bet. If you want to beat bloating, try a pill (such as Yasmin or Yaz) with drospirenone, a progestin shown to help prevent fluid retention.

    Endometriosis relief

    Endometriosis, a condition in which uterine-lining tissue grows in other pelvic areas, can lead to scarring, severe pain, and sometimes infertility. The Pill stops the growth of tissue in other areas by reducing the hormones that cause the lining to build up.

  7. naksuthin says:

    There’s other bigger issues a stake.
    What role can a business owners religious convictions play in providing public services to non Christians.
    This is the big issue to me.

  8. naksuthin says:

    Can a motel owner refuse to rent to unmarried couples
    Can a person refuse to rent a house to a divorced couple.
    Can a person refuse to serve and interracial couple.
    Can a Christian business owner refuse to serve a Muslim

    It may seemed far fetched…but 50 years ago, discrimination based on race and religion were commonplace in the US. Are we headed backwards?

  9. C says:

    Thank you! Well said.

  10. C says:

    It’s not public services. It is private healthcare insurance, for which we are supposed to have choices. Now, choices are becoming far less. Isn’t that ironic!

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