WASHINGTON — A senior advisor to Barack Obama is claiming that the popular craft chain Hobby Lobby and other businesses like it that oppose the abortion pill mandate in Obamacare are trying to ‘seize a controlling interest’ over women’s health care.
Valerie Jarrett oversees the Offices of Public Engagement and Intergovernmental Affairs and chairs the White House Council on Women and Girls. On Tuesday, she posted a blog entitled A Woman’s Health Care Decisions Should Be in Her Own Hands, Not Her Boss’s on the White House website, which was also cross-posted by the Huffington Post.
Jarrett began by stating that the Affordable Care Act (ACA), also known as Obamacare, served to ensure that a woman could make her own decisions without the input of her employer.
“Today, there are people trying to take this right away from women, by letting private, for-profit corporations and employers make medical decisions for their employees, based on their personal beliefs,” she wrote. “A group of for-profit companies are currently suing to gain the right to deny employees access to coverage for birth control and contraceptive care, which are used by the overwhelming majority of American women in their lifetimes.”
Jarrett then specifically pointed to Hobby Lobby and asserted that the company did not want its employees to receive birth control benefits. However, according to attorneys for the craft chain, Hobby Lobby currently provides birth control coverage to its employees and takes no issue with contraceptives in general. It is only seeking to obtain an exemption from covering two contraceptives that its owners believe cause abortions: the morning-after and week-after pill.
“These abortion-causing drugs go against our faith, and our family is now being forced to choose between following the laws of the land that we love or maintaining the religious beliefs that have made our business successful and have supported our family and thousands of our employees and their families,” CEO David Green wrote in a statement last year. “We simply cannot abandon our religious beliefs to comply with this mandate. … By being required to make a choice between sacrificing our faith or paying millions of dollars in fines, we essentially must choose which poison pill to swallow.”
As previously reported, the United States Supreme Court announced on Tuesday that it had agreed to hear two cases: Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. and and Conestoga Wood Specialties Corp. v. Sebelius, both of which pertain to the abortion pill mandate in Obamacare. The Obama administration had filed an appeal to the court in September in an effort to force Hobby Lobby to comply with the mandate, asking the court to overturn a preliminary injunction that was granted to the company this past July.
Jarrett wrote in her blog this week that she believes the court will side with the administration.
“We are confident the Supreme Court will agree that health decisions in this country should remain with individuals, in consultation with their doctors, families, faiths, and whomever else they personally trust,” she stated. “No corporate entity should be in position to limit women’s legal access to care, or to seize a controlling interest over the health care choices of women.”
However, the founder of Hobby Lobby is also optimistic, but for a different reason. He believes that the court will side with the rights of religious business owners.
“My family and I are encouraged that the U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to decide our case. This legal challenge has always remained about one thing and one thing only: the right of our family businesses to live out our sincere and deeply held religious convictions as guaranteed by the law and the Constitution,” Green said. “Business owners should not have to choose between violating their faith and violating the law.”
The case is expected to be decided by June of next year.