A legal advocacy group said Wednesday it will ask the Supreme Court to take up a Michigan manufacturing company’s challenge to an Obama administration rule requiring larger companies to insure birth control.
The Thomas More Society made its announcement one day after its client, Autocam, lost its bid before a federal appeals court to gain relief from the “contraception mandate” tied to the new health care law.
The 6th Circuit Court of Appeals said the company’s owners, the Kennedy family, were not entitled to relief from the requirement since their Roman Catholic beliefs could not extend to their actions on behalf of the company.
A rule issued in conjunction with the Affordable Care Act says corporations of 50 or more employees must insure FDA-approved contraceptives as part of their health plans.
Supporters of the mandate say women should be entitled to affordable birth control, and that corporate owners cannot press their religious beliefs onto a diverse set of employees at a secular company.
About three dozen for-profit companies have sued over the mandate, saying they must choose between violating their religious beliefs or dropping health coverage, since they cannot afford to pay the heavy fines that result from flouting the mandate.
Conservatives and religious groups particularly object to insuring morning-after pills, since they equate them with abortion.
While many companies have gained temporary relief from the courts, two of the three decisions issued at the circuit-court level have sided with the Obama administration.
The 10th Circuit Court of Appeals took an opposing view in July when it granted Hobby Lobby, an Oklahoma-based crafts franchise, an injunction that shields the company from the mandate until its case is decided on the merits.
Legal observers say the split among federal appeals courts makes the issue ripe for consideration by the Supreme Court in the coming term.