THE Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare, has been battered again and again since its enactment in 2010. On June 30th it got its latest beating, this time from the Supreme Court. The justices ruled that a company can, indeed, bring religious objections against Obamacare.
In the case, Burwell v Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc, the court ruled that closely held companies can refuse to offer workers coverage of contraception without facing fines. The case was brought by two Christian families and their businesses: the Greens own Hobby Lobby, a chain of craft shops, and Mardel, a Christian bookstore; the Hahns own Conestoga Wood Specialties, a cabinet company.
Obamacare requires firms to offer their workers health coverage, including coverage of contraception at no extra cost to the employee. The Greens and Hahns believe that some of those contraceptives, which may keep a fertilised egg from implanting in the uterine wall, amount to abortion. Federal law defines pregnancy from implantation, not fertilisation. Nevertheless, the issue before the court was not whether the Greens’ religious beliefs were valid. Rather, the question was whether a company can be exempt from federal law because its owners have religious objections.