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U.S. Supreme Court to review Conestoga Wood, Hobby Lobby cases

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The U.S. Supreme Court announced today that it will review two cases -- one of them involving a Lancaster County company -- on Obamacare's contraceptive mandate.

The local company is Conestoga Wood Specialties Corp. It is owned by the Hahn family, which is Mennonite and has religious objections to providing what it considers to be abortifacients, such as the morning-after pill. They first filed suit in December 2012 in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, which ruled against them. The Third Circuit Court of Appeals agreed.

The other company is national crafting giant Hobby Lobby.

The court indicated that it will consolidate the two cases, allowing one hour for oral argument.

The White House issued a statement on the news:

“The health care law puts women and families in control of their health care by covering vital preventive care, like cancer screenings and birth control, free of charge. Earlier this year, the Obama Administration asked the Supreme Court to consider a legal challenge to the health care law’s requirement that for-profit corporations include birth control coverage in insurance available to their employees. We believe this requirement is lawful and essential to women’s health and are confident the Supreme Court will agree.

“We do not comment on specifics of a case pending before the Court. As a general matter, our policy is designed to ensure that health care decisions are made between a woman and her doctor. The President believes that no one, including the government or for-profit corporations, should be able to dictate those decisions to women. The Administration has already acted to ensure no church or similar religious institution will be forced to provide contraception coverage and has made a commonsense accommodation for non-profit religious organizations that object to contraception on religious grounds. These steps protect both women’s health and religious beliefs, and seek to ensure that women and families -- not their bosses or corporate CEOs -- can make personal health decisions based on their needs and their budgets.”

According to the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, 44 for-profit organizations and 40 nonprofits have filed lawsuits on the contraceptive mandate. Of the for-profit cases that have gotten rulings on merit, 32 have been granted injunctive relief from the mandate and six have had their requests for injunctions denied.

Write to the Editorial Department at editorial@cpbj.com

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