Under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), employers with 50 or more employees are required to provide their employees with health insurance coverage for preventive care, including various services related to reproductive health—birth control among them. Although strictly religious organizations are exempted from this requirement, profit-making corporations are not. The owners of the companies that appeared before the Supreme Court—Hobby Lobby from Oklahoma and Conestoga Wood Specialties Corporation from Pennsylvania—are seeking also to exempt non-religious, profit-making companies from the coverage requirement where those companies’ owners have religious objections to birth control. The Supreme Court heard an extended 90 minutes of oral argument in the combined cases Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood Specialties Corp. v. Sebelius to determine whether profit-making companies owned by individuals with religious objections to contraception must be exempted from the ACA contraception coverage requirement.
The corporations are raising both constitutional and statutory objections under the First Amendment’s Free Exercise of Religion clause and the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA).