Planned Parenthood Warns Birth Control Exemption Will Be Expanded

Image: Planned Parenthood Warns Birth Control Exemption Will Be Expanded

Thursday, 03 Jul 2014 09:05 AM

By Drew MacKenzie

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Planned Parenthood said that the Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby ruling means that the controversial decision may be expanded to include all forms of contraception, USA Today reported.

"While Hobby Lobby itself claims to object to four forms of birth control, the court's ruling is not limited to those forms — and some companies will use this ruling to deny their employees coverage for any type of birth control," Cecile Richards, president of the Planned Parenthood Action Fund, said in an emailed statement, according to USA Today.

The top court ruled that closely held companies, based on their religious beliefs, can opt out of healthcare coverage of contraceptives for their female employees under the Obamacare mandate.

The Supreme Court ruling left open the question whether the law just applies to contraceptives that Hobby Lobby’s Christian owners believe cause abortions, such as Intrauterine devices (IUDs) and morning after pills, and not common birth control pills or condoms, or does it apply to all forms of contraceptives, USA Today said.

Robert Charrow, an appellate lawyer with Greenberg Traurig, also warned that even though the Hobby Lobby decision was limited to four specific types of contraceptives, it could be applied to all contraceptives in other lower court cases.

The ruling also posed the questions, which closely held companies will be able to seek exemptions from the Obamacare contraceptive mandate.

The newspaper said that Monday's decision in the case brought by arts and crafts retailer Hobby Lobby and cabinet maker Conestoga Wood Specialties could also apply to businesses that are not closely held with five or fewer people owning 50 percent or more of the company.

Greg Scott, spokesman for Alliance Defending Freedom, which represented Conestoga Wood Specialties in the case, said, "The simple principle is that the government has no business telling a family business that they have to subsidize something they find morally objectionable and the Supreme Court affirmed that."

But Deborah Senn, who teaches insurance and health care law at Loyola University School of Law, warned, "The universe that will not do abortions or dispense birth control will expand exponentially."

USA Today said the Supreme Court has declined to review three other cases won by plaintiffs who objected to covering all forms of contraceptives, while it also sent three similar cases in which plaintiffs lost back to the lower courts for further consideration.

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