What You Need To Know About the HHS Mandate Arguments

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On Tuesday, the case of the Hahn family (Conestoga) and the Green family (Hobby Lobby) was argued at the U.S. Supreme Court. Here’s what you need to know about what happened both outside and inside the court.

Outside the Court:

Particularly saddening to us was the way our opponents mislead others by framing the issue as about “women’s equality” and “access to healthcare.” In reality, two religious family-owned businesses are objecting to being forced by the government to pay for 4 abortion causing pills (of the 20 kinds of birth control covered in the HHS Mandate), or else face crushing fines that will put them out of business.

As Alliance Defending Freedom attorney David Cortman pointed out in this opinion editorial, “No one has ever been harmed because an employer didn’t pay for these drugs. No one seems to have trouble obtaining them. Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards unwittingly proved that point by claiming recently that 99 percent of women use the drugs covered under the mandate. It doesn’t seem like a crisis at all, much less one requiring massive government intrusion into the lives of families in business. Since nearly everyone can already get the drugs — and most of them are fairly inexpensive — why is this issue even before the Supreme Court?”

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Image from Planned Parenthood Bjl2BLtIIAQY6vFOur response

Inside the Court:

The attorney arguing on behalf of Conestoga and Hobby Lobby was Paul Clement, who did an admirable job making the case for religious freedom and the Hahn and Green families. A few highlights include when Paul Clement stated:

“This is not about access to contraceptives, this is about who is going to pay for the government’s preferred subsidy.” – Paul Clement

Another profound moment was when Justice Anthony Kennedy pointed out a serious concern over the fact that the department of Health & Human Services (HHS) created the abortion pill mandate, and not Congress, when he asked:

What kind of Constitutional structure do we have if an agency has the power to grant some exemptions but deny religious exemptions?”  - Justice Anthony Kennedy

And finally, Chief Justice John Roberts put the government’s attorney, U.S. Solicitor General Donald Verilli, in a difficult situation when he asked:

“Every court of appeal to have looked at the situation has held that corporations can bring racial discrimination claims as corporations. Now, does the government have a position on whether corporations have a race?” – Chief Justice John Roberts

The response…

Yes. We think those are correct and that this situation is different.” – U.S. Solicitor General Donald Verilli

But he couldn’t explain why a family business can have a race but cannot exercise religion.

For a more detailed recap of what happened inside the courtroom, you can read the SCOTUS blog post “One Hearing, Two Dramas.” And you can read and watch the responses from our attorneys here.

We expect a decision from the High Court likely in the summer.

Author: Alliance Defending Freedom