On Friday, the DC Circuit Court of Appeals struck down the birth control mandate in Kathleen Sebelius’ Department of Health and Human Services regulations under Obamacare. The court said that religious business owners could not be forced to buy contraceptive coverage for their employees. Judge Janice Rogers Brown wrote, “The burden on religious exercise does not occur at the point of contraceptive purchase; instead, it occurs when a company’s owners fill the basket of goods and services that constitute a healthcare plan.”
The case is expected to reach the Supreme Court, where Justice Anthony Kennedy and Chief Justice John Roberts – the deciding vote in originally deciding for the constitutionality of the individual mandate under Obamacare – will be the swing votes.
Two brothers, Francis and Philip Gilardi, sued based on the government’s insistence that they pay a $14 million fine or cover contraceptives despite their religious Catholicism. The two own a business with 400 employees. Brown said that any right to contraceptives did not extend to a right to be granted contraceptive coverage by a third party: “it is clear the government has failed to demonstrate how such a right — whether described as noninterference, privacy, or autonomy — can extend to the compelled subsidization of a woman’s procreative practices.”