The new federal healthcare mandate requires all companies to insure their employees with comprehensive healthcare benefits. However, some small business owners are arguing over a portion of the healthcare plans. These businesses wish to be exempt from covering some employees’ contraceptive costs that go against their religious beliefs.
While the court hears both sides of the argument, protesters from both sides are gathering outside of Washington, DC awaiting the verdict. Those in favor of the companies’ push against the healthcare requirement are arguing that their businesses should be permitted to run in line with their faith.
Specifically, they are opposed to covering certain forms of birth control that would work after the egg is fertilized. According to their religious views, they believe those contraceptives are a form of abortion, which flies in the face of their faith. They say they are willing to cover most other forms of contraception that are used preventatively.
Protesters on the other side argue that their employer should have no say in what they do with their own bodies. Therefore, they are hoping that the Supreme Court Justices will decide in favor of Obamacare as it stands, without any exemptions for businesses.
This case has made it to the Supreme Court, making it the first time the federal justices will have to decide if profit-making businesses have religious rights. The legal argument from the companies in the case are claiming that religious freedom extends to businesses as well as individuals based on a 1993 federal law.
The outcome of this case will decide what employees will have to pay out of pocket for contraception. If the companies win the case, employees working for those privately-owned businesses will have to either use only the approved and paid-for contraceptives under their plan, or they will have to pay for other methods of contraception on their own. If the Obamacare lawyers win the case, all methods of contraception must be covered in full by all employers.
No matter the outcome, the Supreme Court justices will be watched closely to see how they rule on whether businesses are protected under religious freedom laws.