The Affordable Care Act Contraception Mandate was implemented so that companies would be required to provide their female employees with contraception healthcare coverage. However, several different types of entities, such as non-profit religious organizations, have been exempted from paying for the Contraception Mandate because providing contraception healthcare to their employees conflicted with the corporations’ religious principles. Corporations are legal persons, which affords them many, but not all, of the protections a natural person enjoys under the First Amendment. While the religious freedom of corporations is recognized by federal statute, corporations do not have religious protection under the First Amendment.
Recently, the Supreme Court of the United States decided that for-profit corporations, most notably Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc., are also exempt from providing for the Contraception Mandate on the grounds that the contraception healthcare violates the religious beliefs of the corporation. The ruling invalidates the application of the Contraception Mandate to for-profit religious companies and shifts the burden of providing for contraception healthcare to the female employees. The Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. line of cases presents a conflict between the religious rights of the corporate person and the employment and religious rights of natural persons. This Comment will argue that the Court’s decision to invalidate the Contraception Mandate, in the context ofBurwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc., is incorrect because this ruling infringes upon the “religious beliefs” of natural person employees under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The Court’s holding oppresses the Title VII religious rights of the natural person, which arise from constitutional protection, while granting religious protection to corporate persons, who have not been given religious constitutional protection.
Paul R. Hale,
It is Hard to Make Everyone Happy: The Rights Gained and Lost By Companies and Employees in the Context of the Affordable Care Act Contraception Mandate,
S. Ill. U. L.J.
Available at: http://opensiuc.lib.siu.edu/siulj/vol39/iss2/7