One month from today, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments on the case Conestoga Wood Specialties v Sebelius. Here are eight things you should know about the case:
- The Hahn Family, a Lancaster County (Pennsylvania) Mennonite family, owns Conestoga Wood Specialties. Conestoga is a wood cabinet business. From a modest beginning in a small garage in 1964, the Hahn family has grown Conestoga into an industry leader that now employs approximately 1000 workers.
- The Hahns are pro-life. They provide Conestoga employees generous health benefits – including preventive care coverage that goes beyond what the law requires. But because they are pro-life, they excluded coverage for contraception that may act as an abortifacient.
- With the Affordable Care Act came an anti-conscience, abortifacient mandate. The Affordable Care Act requires employers to pay for coverage of drugs and devices that could result in an abortion. Exemptions to this mandate extend only to places of worship and church-related outreaches. Colleges, hospitals, and all for-profit businesses must comply with this mandate.
- The Affordable Care Act forces the Hahns to either violate their conscience and provide abortifacients or pay the penalty. The anti-conscience mandate forces business owners like the Hahn family to choose between providing abortifacient drugs or incur business-ending penalties and lawsuits. The penalty would be $100 per day, per employee. For the Hahns, that would mean paying nearly $35 million a year in fines for standing up for their faith!
- Conestoga is not the only business asking to be exempted, nor would the Hahns be the only family exempted from the mandate. At least 61 court rulings have been made thus far related to the Affordable Care Act’s abortifacient mandate. 41 involve for-profit businesses and the other 20 non-profit organizations. 54 of the 61 cases (89%) resulted in an exemption from the mandate.
- If the government has the power to force families to choose between violating their conscience or forcing them out of business, there is no limit to the damage it can do to freedom. Government is overstepping its boundaries with this mandate. Look no further than the very first amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;”
- There is no separating the Hahns’ faith from their business or its actions. Anyone who owns a business knows that it doesn’t run by itself. Those who own and operate businesses pour their hearts and their beliefs into the business.
- The United States Supreme Court will hear oral arguments for Conestoga Wood Specialties v. Sebelius on Tuesday, March 25. The Conestoga case is one of the few cases that lost in lower courts asking for exemption from the mandate. But it was granted a review by the U.S. Supreme Court along with Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby. A decision is expected sometime in June.