January 7, 2013
Contraception Mandate Commentary Round-Up
The Hill - Healthwatch: Group cheers Obama birth-control mandate, by Elise Viebeck:
The left-leaning National Women's Law Center (NWLC) praised the Obama administration's birth-control coverage mandate as it took effect Jan. 1 for many health plans.
The policy remains controversial among employers who disagree with birth control or consider some forms equal to abortion. It is the subject of more than 40 legal challenges now pending in the courts. . . .
UPI.com: Religious convictions vs. the 'morning-after pill', by Michael Kirkland:
A bitter fight is heading for the U.S. Supreme Court, between employers who say their religious convictions make them abhor contraception -- especially the "morning after pill" seen by many as an abortion-inducing drug -- and the Obama administration, which says contraception is a healthcare right under the law. . . .
The Volokh Conspiracy: Contraception Mandate Faces Justice Sotomayor and the Seventh Circuit, by Jonathan H. Adler:
It’s been a significant week for litigation over the contraception mandate. On December 20, a motions panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit denied employer Hobby Lobby’s motion for an injunction pending appeal. As a private employer, Hobby Lobby is not eligible for the safe harbor from enforcement, and will be subject to the mandate at the start of the new year. As a consequence, Hobby Lobby filed an emergency application for a stay with the Supreme Court, which Justice Sonia Sotomayor denied with a brief four-page opinion. According to Justice Sotomayor, Hobby Lobby could not meet the extraordinarily demanding standard for such an injunction. Lyle Denniston has a brief report on SCOTUSBlog, and Ed Whelan critiques the decision on Bench Memos (see also here). for what it’s worth, I am not as convinced as Whelan that Hobby Lobby’s rights under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act are “indisputably clear.” While I think religious institutions have a strong RFRA-based free exercise claim, and that religious institutions — and not the government — define the contours of what the exercise of a given religious faith requires — I am not sure that private, for-profit corporations can avail themselves of RFRA in the same way as avowedly religious institutions., even when privately held by religiously devout individuals, nor am I aware of any case law that would clearly establish this point (but see below). . . .
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