Protests and Prayers as Two Sides Battle in Front of Supreme Court for Hobby Lobby Case

Should all people get to have access to no copay birth control as part of their insurance plan, or should a boss be able to say that he or she doesn’t believe in birth control and have that benefit removed? That’s the entire argument of two cases being heard at the Supreme Court on Tuesday March 25. Both cases involve businesses run by owners who believe that emergency contraception is an abortifacient, IUDs stop tiny babies from implanting and growing into toddlers, and that permanent methods like tubal ligation are a sin against God, because sex without the possibility of procreation is anti-Bible, and that their beliefs as business owners should override the beliefs of their employees, many of whom don’t want to worry about getting pregnant every single year.

Both Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood Specialties rely on the argument that they are “religious” employers even if they are for profit businesses, because they donate so much of their profit to various religious groups and ministries. Of course, those donations also provide them with massive tax benefits, allowing them to keep more profits in the first place. Together, the businesses have almost 30,000 employees, many of who are not religious, and, in the case of Hobby Lobby, a number of who are female, and most likely to be affected by the refusal to cover birth control in the insurance package. (In fact, Hobby Lobby actually covered these methods prior to the Affordable Care Act mandate, and only stopped once lawyers reached out to them to ask them if they would like to sue.)

Tuesday’s oral arguments will be the first inkling of which direction the Supreme Court is likely to head when it comes to deciding if companies have “religious beliefs” and hence get to enforce those beliefs upon their own employees, superseding both federal law and the potential religious beliefs of the employees themselves. Supporters for both sides of the argument will be heading to the court with some of their biggest weapons people and prayer.

NARAL Pro-Choice America has been rallying their base regarding the implications of the suit which, if the businesses win, means bosses will have unprecedented control over their employees private lives. Rallying techniques include running social media hash tags like #notmybossbusiness, setting up Google hangouts to discuss the issue and, on argument day itself, planning a massive rally at the court steps.

“These bosses don’t agree with birth control, so they want to take away their employees’ birth-control coverage. That’s just plain offensive,” declares NARAL. “Women and families should determine what medications they need. Your birth control is not your boss’s business!” The group is also intending to bring the signatures of thousands that it has gathered online to show support for the birth control mandate.

Abortion and birth control opponents are using their own favorite tool to move the court: prayer. The Christian Defense Coalition is organizing a prayer rally on the court steps on Tuesday, to “witness” and call on judges to reject the birth control mandate all together. “One of the most important religious freedom cases in a generation is being heard by the Supreme Court. In light of this it is critical that the faith community come together in prayer and public witness to challenge the justices to reject the HHS mandate in Obamacare,” writes Rev. Patrick J. Mahoney, Director of the Christian Defense Coalition.

Of course, Mahoney only represents one side of the “faith” argument. The National Coalition of American Nuns have come out in favor of the birth control mandate, and 45 nationally known and recognized religious organizations have released a joint statement of support for the mandate, too.

In the end, that’s the real issue with the case itself. It’s not protecting religious freedom, it’s in fact allowing one person’s religious beliefs to dominate another’s own religious beliefs or choice to be free from those original beliefs. To allow an employer to make decisions based on his or her own belief system, and that those beliefs get to overrule an individual’s decisions, not to mention federal law, is one of the gravest injustices we can do. That would be establishing religion, something our founders purposefully rejected when creating the constitution.

Hopefully, the Supreme Court will remember that, too.

Photo credit: Wikimedia commons


Jean Wall
Jean Wall2 years ago

there a rehearing of Roe, especially in front of THIS court with Originalists who don't accept that privacy was the intent of the fourth, could be shattering.....and, cherry on the top for corporations, who's legal fiction of "personhood" was originally for purposes of taxation and litigation, could easily lay claim to a host of beliefs, rational or not, theologically cogent or not for unfair business advantage, to skirt regulation, they could undergo a "conversion" to void lawsuits. This case could be the beginning of type of corporate immunity from law that is hard to fathom.

Jean Wall
Jean Wall2 years ago

The HL case stipulates that their belief that PlanB, Ella and IUD's are abortafacient is not supported by medical data. They are claiming that facts are irrelevant to religious belief ...religions as a matter of course expect their adherents to believe things that don't comport with science. This is potentially a major coup for both antiabortion forces and corporate ones. There are lower courts that have already found that if corporations -as-people are entitled to FA free speech rights, then there is no reason to presume that they should not enjoy the full compliment of constitutional rights. Follow this progression- if non-flesh and blood corporate people have the full compliment of rights and protections then why wouldn't a fetus? Roe was decided on viability issues and Fourth Amendment issues. There has always been contention as to weather the Fourth (SECURITY in your person, papers and home) translated to medical privacy. If non flesh and blood entities which will NEVER BECOME flesh and blood entities can be legally determined to be fully entitled to constitutional rights, then the viability of a fetus ceases to be relevant all together. From there a rehearing of Roe, especially in front of THIS court with Originalists who don't accept that privacy was the intent of the fourth, could be shattering.....and, cherry on the top for corporations, who's legal fiction of "personhood" was originally for purposes of taxation and litigation, could easily lay claim to a host of

Jean Wall
Jean Wall2 years ago

to grant exemption would violate the nonestablishment clause of the FA. Since the state is obliged to equally protect belief AND non belief, they noted that an atheist or agnostic company that wanted to raze the building to expand a museum could not sue for exemption. The court noted further that aspects of the RFRA itself may violate the non establishment clause and put the courts in the position of weighing the merits of one and then the next religious claim , a situation that would inevitably lead to the state favoring one belief over the next, and belief over nonbelief certainly. ( Continued)

Jean Wall
Jean Wall2 years ago

Marianne- thanks for the star-
HL , without issue had in fact covered these types of contraception until they were approached to become the test case in a suit on FA rights for for-profit corporations. Non-profit religious affiliated groups have always had religious exemption. For profit concerns have also sought certain exemptions. An Old Order Amish biz. brought a suit to seek exemption from Soc Sec tax since their faith dictated that they see to the needs of their own community ,cradle to grave. The court decided against them. They found that when an individual or group enters voluntarily into commerce they assume the responsibility for the laws that govern all for profit enterprises.These laws protect against unfair competition in the market place and protect the worker's rights and interests as well.( A shunned Amish employee or one who no longer wishes to practice that faith has no expectation of community support.Without other means,one could be coerced into remaining employed where they would not wish to or practicing a faith that they no longer believe in or be coerced into other behaviors for fear of shunning and losing their means of support in old age or benes for their children should he/she die while they are minors) Another case was brought by a for profit hospital affiliated with the RCC. They wished to raze a building with historic designation to expand their campus and claimed relig. exemption from the historic preservation laws. The court found that t

Marianne C.
Marianne C.2 years ago

The entire suit is based upon Hobby Lobby wanting a special dispensation to cheat their employees out of health care coverage based upon their own attachment to fallacious beliefs.

The Greens "believe" that IUDs and Plan B birth control are actually "early abortion." Okay, believe that all you want to. Your belief doesn't change the FACT that IT ISN'T TRUE.

When what you believe is factually inaccurate, it should carry no weight, either in court or in society, and CERTAINLY not in the health care of your employees, no matter what religion you attempt to attach to it. Hobby Lobby might as well demand that their belief that the moon is made of green cheese be legally binding on their employees. Or decree that blue mold is holy to the Moon Goddess, so nobody gets penicillin from now on.

Nicole W.
Nicole W.2 years ago

thank you for posting

Nils Anders Lunde
PlsNoMessage se2 years ago


Robert Hamm
Robert Hamm2 years ago

ROTFL Daryll, as usual you are off on another planet. There is NO liberal agenda to make religions illegal or in any other way eliminate them. WE do want them back where they have been before they decided they were part of the constitution.

Kevin Brown
Kevin Brown2 years ago

Yeah Eric, it does come down to basic freedom, the freedom of female employees to have family planning covered in their health plans without their "big brother" corporate bosses sticking their "holier than thou" noses in and forcing THEIR religious views on employees.

Michael T.
Michael T.2 years ago

As is usual and typical David and Eric, abd others are the ones attempting to bamboozle Care2 readers with attempting to reframe what is really going on. They are as obvious as the wizard of oz warning Dorothy not to pay attention to the man behind the curtain.

Read this article about what else Hobby Lobby is engaged in doing.

Even if Hobby Lobby loses its suit against the U.S. government, groups funded through the National Christian Charitable Foundation will continue to test the limits of the legal system’s interpretation of religious freedom.

“These companies Hobby Lobby on particular, are trying to use their religion as a license to discriminate against others.”

The froth from you two is intended only to make the windshield difficult to see through.