constitution-with-birth-control-375x250Backdrop from CNN, November 26:

The high-stakes fight over implementing parts of the troubled health care reform law will move to the US Supreme Court in coming months, in a dispute involving coverage for contraceptives and religious liberty.

The justices agreed on Tuesday to review provisions in the Affordable Care Act requiring employers of a certain size to offer insurance coverage for birth control and other reproductive health services [including sterilization] without a co-pay.

At issue is whether private companies can refuse to do so on the claim it violates their religious beliefs.

Oral arguments will likely be held in March with a ruling by late June.

Nearly 50 pending lawsuits have been filed in federal court from various corporations challenging the birth control coverage benefits in the “Obamacare” law championed by President Barack Obama….

The high court last year narrowly upheld the key funding provision of the health care law, a blockbuster ruling affirming that most Americans would be required to purchase insurance or pay a financial penalty – the so-called “individual mandate.”

The constitutional debate now shifts to the separate employer mandates and whether corporations themselves enjoy the same First Amendment rights as individuals.

Three federal appeals courts around the country have struck down the contraception coverage rule, while two other appeals courts have upheld it. That “circuit split” made a Supreme Court review more likely.

The Supreme Court agreed to hear two cases involving for-profit corporations. Among the plaintiffs is Hobby Lobby, Inc. a nationwide chain of about 500 arts and crafts stores.

David Green and his family are the owners and say their Christian beliefs clash with parts of the law’s mandates for comprehensive coverage.

They say some of the drugs that would be provided prevent human embryos from being implanted in a woman’s womb, which the Greens equate to abortion.

The privately held company does not object to funding other forms of contraception – such as condoms and diaphragms – for their roughly 13,000 employees, which Hobby Lobby says represent a variety of faiths….

(FILES)US Supreme Court Chief Justice JoThe law’s supporters say it does not require individual company owners to personally provide coverage they might object, but instead places that responsibility on the corporate entity.

The cases accepted were Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc.; and Conestoga Wood Specialties Corp. v. Sebelius.

We were all surprised when Chief Justice John Roberts sided with liberals to rule that the federal government under Obamacare could force individuals to purchase health insurance.

How to you think the Supremes will rule on this case?

[Top graphic via RH Reality Check]

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