A Guide to the Supreme Court's Review of the Contraceptive Coverage Requirement

Broader Ramifications

If the Supreme Court finds that for-profit secular corporations have religious rights or the business owners’ religious rights are burdened by a regulation imposed on the business, the implications of this ruling will likely affect contraceptive coverage for many women, and also go far beyond contraceptive coverage. They could affect employer requirements regarding employees’ health insurance benefits as well as the scope of employee protections against discrimination. A decision in favor of the corporation would mean women’s access to contraceptives would be dependent on the religious views of the owners of her employer. In the health care context, employers could ask for other exemptions based on their religious beliefs. Some business owners may have religious beliefs that conflict with blood transfusions, vaccinations, infertility treatments, psychiatry treatment and drugs, and health insurance all together.

Beyond health care, a decision allowing for-profit secular corporations an exemption from a law based on religious beliefs could have implications for the interpretation and enforcement of laws ranging from civil rights to fair housing protections. The Supreme Court’s decision in the cases of Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood Specialties will likely be announced in June 2014, but given the litigation that nonprofit corporations have filed and that are working their way through the courts, this may not be the final word of the Supreme Court on the contraceptive coverage requirement and the religious rights of corporations.

Legal Challenges Appendices

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