Ladies — SCOTUS Upholds Contraceptive Coverage In Affordable Care Act
3:30 pm, December 27th | by Colette McIntyre
Women of the world: celebrate! Well, maybe just blow a noisemaker or two; you shouldn’t get too excited. On Wednesday, the U.S Supreme Court declined an arts-and-crafts chain’s request for an emergency injunction that would block the contraceptive coverage requirements in the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare to its friends). But this isn’t the last we’ll hear of this case: the complaining companies retain the ability to appeal to the Supreme Court.
Two Christian chain stores, Hobby Lobby Stores and Mardel, a bookseller, requested that the Supreme Court block a provision in the Obama administration’s health care law that requires employers to provide insurance coverage for contraceptives. The companies claim that the contraception mandate violates their religious freedom. Hobby Lobby only objects to emergency contraception, believing it is an abortifacient; in a statement, Hobby Lobby Chief Executive Officer David Green said his company is operated “in a manner consistent with biblical principles” but that he had no objection to “preventative conception,” which he would continue to cover under the company’s insurance plan. If approved, the injunction would’ve placed a temporary hold on the law, preventing it from taking effect as planned, on the first day of 2013. Nonetheless, the Supreme Court, in an opinion written by Justice Sonia Sotomayor, rejected the request.
Sotomayor received the case because she is assigned to the 10th circuit. In her written opinion, she said that the store owners didn’t meet half of the standards required for an injunction:
While the applicants allege they will face irreparable harm if they are forced to choose between complying with the contraception-coverage requirement and paying significant fines, they cannot show that an injunction is necessary or appropriate to aid our jurisdiction
The court also rejected the stores’ request that the court take up the entire case. However, if the companies lose in the lower courts, they can still appeal to the Supreme Court. This is probably just the opening salvo in a long, protracted legal battle.