Is the fight against the Health and Human Services Mandate nearing an end? The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to hear the case of religious employers – not just a church, but employers such as Hobby Lobby – against the mandate requiring employer-sponsored health insurance to provide access to contraceptives. In the past, other courts have ruled against employers, but with the highest court in the nation taking the case, it is possible that the side of religious freedom, in all its forms, will triumph. Through the efforts of organizations across the country, from legal groups to employers, the fight against this blatant violation of religious freedom may finally be put to rest.
But it is not a done deal, yet. The legal case against the U.S. Government has not yet gotten the kind of press that it should have gotten. Few people are aware of the HHS Mandate, which is part of the Affordable Care Act, and many people do not care about it. They do not care because they do not know what it is, and they do not understand the violation of religious freedom that it represents. But now that the case is going to be heard by the U.S. Supreme Court, it is likely that more people will become aware of what it is. And as more people become aware of the Mandate, hopefully more people will join in the fight against it.
The fact that the U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to hear the case is a major step forward for religious freedom groups across the country. Of course, it is not a guarantee that the Court will rule in favor of the religious employers bringing the case against the Mandate, but the fact that smaller courts have ruled against the employers and the Supreme Court has agreed to hear the case anyway, may prove to be in favor of the employers. The Supreme Court does not take on all cases that try to be heard before them, so taking on the case against the Mandate means there is a good chance that a ruling will come down on the side of the religious employers.
It is expected that that the case will be heard and completed by the end of June when the Court recesses. If the Supreme Court rules in favor of Hobby Lobby (and the other religious employers that are standing with Hobby Lobby against the Mandate), it will mean that employers will be treated the same as individuals when it comes to their religious freedom. Employers with a religious affiliation, such as Hobby Lobby, Chick-fil-A, or a Catholic bookstore, will not be required to pay for contraceptives through their employer-sponsored health insurance, based on the fact that it is in violation of their religious beliefs.
It is not yet over, but progress is being made with the Supreme Court agreeing to hear the case against the HHS Mandate, brought by religious employers. Hopefully, the Supreme Court will see what this means for religious employers, and will rule in their favor. By June, a major victory for religious freedom in this nation may be won.