Last June, the Supreme Court decided that the ObamaCare individual mandate passed constitutional muster under Congress’s taxing power. It left undecided a host of other issues that are now being litigated in the lower courts.
Under the HHS mandate that followed ObamaCare, employers with 50 or more full-time employees must offer health-insurance coverage for sterilization procedures and contraception, which, despite White House claims to the contrary, includes abortion-inducing drugs. Those who refuse face a fine of approximately $100 per day per employee. Regulations provide that some “religious employers” are exempt from the sterilization and contraception coverage, but this safe harbor does not apply to for-profit companies owned and operated by Christians. Accordingly, Christian business owners across the country are now challenging the application of the HHS mandate.
Their claims are primarily based on the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), which prohibits government from “substantially burden[ing] a person’s exercise of religion even if the burden results from a rule of general applicability.”
The Christian businesses have sought preliminary injunctions on enforcement of the contraception mandate during the litigation, which would exempt employers from having to provide the offending coverage as well as...