Court denies contraception coverage injunction

10th Circuit says secular for-profit companies have no right to free exercise of religion

Employers seeking to obtain an injunction against the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act’s (PPACA) contraceptive mandate on religious grounds may have a hard road ahead, if the 10th Circuit’s ruling in Hobby Lobby Stores Inc. v. Sebelius is any indication.

Among the health care law’s most controversial provisions is the requirement that most secular, for-profit employers either provide their workers with insurance coverage that includes Food and Drug Administration-approved contraceptives and sterilization, or pay a penalty.

Tenuous Ties

In their suit, Hobby Lobby’s owners argued that the contraception mandate violates their First Amendment right to freedom of religion, as well as the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 (RFRA). The latter forbids the federal government from substantially interfering with an individual’s exercise of religion unless it “is in furtherance of a compelling government interest” and “is the least restrictive means of furthering that interest.”

Alanna Byrne

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