While advocates of religious freedom and the sanctity of life have hailed last month’s Hobby Lobby decision in the U.S. Supreme Court, the ruling did not liberate health insurance companies from being required to provide coverage for abortifacient drugs in their plans.
The Supreme Court ruled that Hobby Lobby, which is a Christian family-owned company, could not be required to provide cost-free coverage for two types of IUDs and two abortifacient drugs because the owners believed doing so violated their religious beliefs.
The court found that for the government to apply Obamacare’s “preventive services” regulation to Hobby Lobby violated the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA).
That act prohibits the government from “substantially burden[ing] a person’s exercise of religion even if the burden results from a rule of general applicability, unless the government ‘demonstrates that application of the burden to the person—(1) is in furtherance of a compelling governmental interest; and (2) is the least restrictive means of furthering that compelling governmental interest.’”
In Hobby Lobby, the Court ruled that the regulation requiring the company to cover the abortifacient IUDs and drugs in its health care plan was not the “least restrictive means” the government could use to achieve its interest in distributing contraceptives.