Supreme Court justices are deciding whether for-profit companies should be entitled to take religious liberties in worker benefits. The company prompting the decision is Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc., a chain of 500 arts and craft supply stores that employs 13,000 people.
Hobby Lobby is owned by the Evangelical Christian Green family. The owners argue that supplying employees with contraceptives including morning-after pills and intrauterine devices (IUDs), as ordered under the Affordable Care Act, is in violation of their religion.
The intended use of the morning-after pill is to disrupt the fertilization of sperm after unprotected intercourse, and IUDs can also be used as emergency contraception. The Green family believes paying for these forms of birth control would be “complicit in abortion,” according to the company lawyers.
Critics of Hobby Lobby argue that the owners of corporations are legally separate from the female employees who work there.
“The Key question is whether a corporation can have a religion,” said Judy Waxman, a vice president of the National Women’s Law Center.
Hobby Lobby is not the only for-profit company pressing for a religious exception to the rule. About 50 other companies nationwide disagree with the Affordable Care Act’s requirement of providing all forms of contraception. Tens of thousands of women will be affected by the Supreme Court’s decision.