Contraceptive mandate challenges go before appeals courts

Four separate appeals courts will hear cases in the next three weeks claiming the reform law's birth control mandate violates their religious liberty, reported the Associated Press. One of the first lawsuits, brought by Hobby Lobby, claims that all businesses should fall under the exemption that the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services has set for religious groups that believe providing contraception coverage violates their religious beliefs. Hobby Lobby's owners, the Green family, allege that they shouldn't be subject to fines or penalties for not complying with the contraception provision just because their company doesn't make a profit. The chain, which has more than 500 craft store locations in 41 states, is a "profit-making company, yes, but also a ministry," lawyer Kyle Duncan argued. But an attorney for HHS, Alisa Klein, said that exempting for-profit businesses from requirements like the reform's contraception coverage mandate that violate their religious beliefs would effectively allow them to impose their religious beliefs on employees. "If you make an exemption for the employer, it comes at the expense of the employee," she said. Article