The Supreme Court Decision in the Hobby Lobby Case: Conscience, Complicity, and Contraception

JAMA Internal Medicine (July 14, 2014)

Univ. of Wisconsin Legal Studies Research Paper No. 1314

Posted: 2 Oct 2014

See all articles by R. Alta Charo

R. Alta Charo

University of Wisconsin Law School

Date Written: September 30, 2014

Abstract

This publication examines the broad implications the United States Supreme Court's holding in Burwell vs. Hobby Lobby et al. could have on medical care. The Court in Hobby Lobby held the company could sue for an exemption from the contraceptive mandate of the Affordable Care Act on grounds that it was a substantial burden on the company's exercise of religious freedom. The reasoning in Hobby Lobby could extend beyond insurance and parallels to debates over "conscience-based" refusals to prescribe or dispense contraceptives. There is concern that companies may use this same logic to discriminate in the name of religion against same-sex spouses with regard to benefit packages; employers may object to state-mandated coverage of in vitro fertilization; and physicians may be able to withhold information from a patient under a religion based moral objection. Evidence shows the most effective methods of contraception that will lead to fewer unintended pregnancies, and thus, fewer abortions is access to the most effective methods of contraception. Hobby Lobby may well be driving its female employees to less effective methods of contraception, leading to more unintended pregnancies and pregnancy terminations. By its own logic, Hobby Lobby may now become complicit in those additional abortions.

Keywords: Abortion, Contraception, Hobby Lobby, Religon, RFRA

JEL Classification: K32

Suggested Citation

Charo, Robin Alta, The Supreme Court Decision in the Hobby Lobby Case: Conscience, Complicity, and Contraception (September 30, 2014). JAMA Internal Medicine (July 14, 2014); Univ. of Wisconsin Legal Studies Research Paper No. 1314. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2503549

Robin Alta Charo (Contact Author)

University of Wisconsin Law School ( email )

975 Bascom Mall
Madison, WI 53706
United States

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