Hobby Lobby v. Sebelius

• Founded Hobby Lobby in 1972
– 514 stores in 41 states with 13,000 employees
• Also founded Mardel – bookstore and educational supply co.
specializing in Christian materials
– 35 Stores in 7 States with 372 employees
• Devout Christians
• Operate Hobby Lobby and Mardel according to Christian Faith
• US District Court W.D. Oklahoma
• Sued secretary of the US Dept. of Health and
Human Services
• Challenged the mandate in the ACA that
required them to provide health insurance
coverage that includes abortion-inducing
drugs and devices
• Sought preliminary injunction to prevent
defendants from enforcing mandate
• February 28, 2013: Plaintiffs filed
Memorandum in Support of a Preliminary
• March 15, 2013: Plaintiffs filed brief in 10th
• 1st Amendment: Free Exercise of Religion
• Religious Freedom Restoration Act
• Free Exercise Clause: “Secure religious liberty in the
individual by prohibiting any invasions thereof by civil
• Some religious organizations are corporations because they
“exercise their religion through religious organizations”
• RFRA: Look at the context of the statute in determining
whether corporation is person under the law
– Secular for-profit corporations generally cannot exercise
religion under RFRA or Free Exercise
• Free Exercise Clause:
– Corporations lack free exercise rights
• Religious Freedom Restoration Act
– Plaintiff is not a religious organization
– Greens (Family) unlikely to establish “substantial
burden” on them within meaning of RFRA
– Mandate only applies to business, not officers or
• 99% of sexually active women between ages of
15 and 44 have used birth control
• 70% of Americans believe insurance companies
should cover birth control without co-pay
• Currently, 18 for-profit companies are suing the
federal government so that they don’t have to
include birth control access to their employees
• Improved access to birth control is directly linked to declines in
maternal and infant mortality
• A Guttmacher study found that a majority of women said that
birth control use had allowed them:
To take better care of themselves and their families (63%)
To support themselves financially (56%)
To complete their education (51%)
Or to keep or get a job (50%)
• A study cited by Planned Parenthood found that more than 1/3 of
female voters have struggled to afford prescription birth control
• US spends 20% of GDP on health care (other
developed countries spend almost half)
• Insurance Premiums Increased 10% each year
since 2000
• In 2009, 50.9 million Americans were
uninsured (16.7% of population)
• In 2009, 26% of Americans with incomes of
less than $25K were uninsured
• Estimated Cost of Providing Health Care to
Uninsured was projected to be $84.3 billion in
• Estimated $42.9 billion was paid by
government funds
• Contraceptive use saves about $19 billion in
medical costs each year
• March 2010: Congress passed Patient Protection
and Affordable Care Act of 2010
• ACA amended Public Health Service Act
– Required that group health plans and health insurance
issuers offering group or individual health insurance
coverage provide benefits for certain preventative
health services without the imposition of cost
sharing…including preventative care for all FDA
approved contraceptive methods, sterilization
procedures, and patient education and counseling for
all women with reproductive capacity
• The Department of Health and Human Services (“HHS”) issued a
regulation that exempts religious employers from the requirement
of providing contraceptive services.
• “Religious employer” is an employer that meets all of the following
(1) the inculcation of religious values is the purpose of the
(2) the organization primarily employs persons who share the
religious tenets of the organization;
(3) the organization serves primarily persons who share the
religious tenets of the organization and;
(4) the organization is a non-profit organization as described by
the IRS
• Exemption from application of the mandate
until August 1, 2013
• Employers that do not comply with the
contraceptive mandate face fines and
penalties in the form of a tax, and additional
enforcement actions for non-compliance
• $1.3 million/day for Hobby Lobby
• FDA-approved contraceptive medicines and
devices include:
– Barrier methods
– Implanted devices
– Hormonal methods
– Emergency contraceptives
• “Plan B” (which prevents fertilization of the egg)
• “Ella” (which stops or delays release of the egg)
• President and Advocacy Director of the Shriver
Center – national center on poverty law that
works to advance laws and policies securing
justice to improve lives of people living in poverty
• Public benefit advocate and has worked
extensively to help provide health insurance for
many Illinois Residents living in poverty
• Currently working on state-based implementation
on the health care reform

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