Your view of the controversial U.S. Supreme Court ruling on the Hobby Lobby case likely depends on where you stand as a religious person and whether or not you are an employee or an employer. Regardless, the US Supreme Court’s decision regarding whether or not companies must provide insurance coverage for birth control will have an echoing impact in the business community for a long time to come.
Both Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood, both family-owned businesses with “strong” religious affiliations, claimed providing certain birth control services in their insurance plans violated their religious beliefs. However under “ObamaCare,” a.k.a. the Affordable Care Act, it is mandated that preventative healthcare services like contraception be provided without a co-pay or any shared cost.
Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood argued that providing birth controls, which the companies consider to be abortifacients, was against religious beliefs. The businesses do not want to supply them to employees.
On the other side of the argument, health advocates argued that corporations don’t and shouldn’t have religious freedoms and that employers have no business controlling the birth control women put in their bodies, nor should they be able to impose their religious beliefs.
However, in a 5-4, vote the U.S. Supreme Court sided with the corporations, ruling that closely held corporations cannot be required to provide contraception of any kind. Full interpretation of the ruling has yet to be seen. On one hand, it affirmed the right of corporations to have religious beliefs. However, the term “closely held” can potentially be very broad. According to the IRS, a closely held corporation has more than 50 percent of its stock owned by five or fewer people at any period during the final half of the tax year, and is not a personal service corporation. That definition could potentially apply to many corporations.
Additionally, this ruling was a big loss for women’s rights in America. The ruling could potentially force women to pay for their own birth control, something that not all women are financially capable of doing. It also inadvertently gives employers the right to decide what a woman should and shouldn’t put in their bodies, based on religious beliefs which may or may not be shared by both employer and employee.
At Posternock Apell, PC we have experienced attorneys in family law and employment law. If you’re going through a divorce or feel that you’ve been discriminated against, contact our knowledgeable lawyers today.