WASHINGTON — The Affordable Health Care mandate requires certain employers to cover various birth control methods for their employees.
Monday, Oklahoma City based, Hobby Lobby petitioned the Supreme Court to hear its case challenging the birth control mandate.
The case is Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc.
At issue is a provision in the new healthcare reform law that requires companies and institutions of a certain size to provide coverage for birth control and other reproductive health services without a co-pay.
Hobby Lobby’s lawyers, argued that “the case is an excellent vehicle for resolving an exceptionally important question on which the circuits are split.”
The petitions also make larger arguments in opposing other provisions of the Affordable Care Act, championed by President Obama.
These are among more than six dozen separate legal challenges to nearly every aspect of the healthcare law, including the “employer mandate” to provide a minimum level of health insurance for their workers, or pay a federal penalty.
The circuit courts have been split on the mandate, which requires most employers to cover a range of birth control methods for their workers.
The birth control mandate appeared headed for the Supreme Court before the filing, but the petition could ratchet up pressure on the high court to take up the case.
Hobby Lobby is a Christian-owned chain that argues it should not be required to include drugs they object to in their employee health plans.
The Obama administration’s position is that that a secular company should not be able to impose the owners’ religious beliefs on its employees. The mandate was created to ensure that most working women have access to free birth control through their employer-provided healthcare plans.
Churches and houses of worship are exempt, and employees of religiously affiliated institutions will be able to obtain birth control directly from their insurance companies. The administration has not sought an accommodation or exemption for secular, for-profit companies with religious owners