The Supreme Court is expected to rule later this month on whether a company can claim it's exempt from a federally mandated law -- in this case the Affordable Care Act -- on religious grounds.
The case involves Hobby Lobby, a chain of some 500 arts-and-crafts outlets that employs around ten thousand people.
Owned by the Green family which says they run the corporation on the basis on Christian precepts, Hobby Lobby says while it has no objection to providing health insurance to the employees under the law, they do reject one Obamacare regulation requiring certain kinds of contraception, including "morning after pills," be covered.
Providing coverage for that type of contraceptive goes against their Christian beliefs, the Greens assert.
The administration, as part of a package meant to offer preventative services to women, has included all contraceptives that have received U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval in the Affordable Care act.
While churches and religious employers who primarily hire employees of the same faith and that exist form primarily religious reasons and activities are exempt from that requirement, for-profit companies like Hobby Lobby are not exempt, which has led the firm to take its case to the Supreme Court.
While Hobby Lobby offers most types of birth control in their employees' health plan, so-called "emergency" or "morning after" contraceptives amount early abortion, the Green family asserts, which they say violates their religion.
"These abortion-causing pills 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 supported our family and thousands of our employees and their families," Hobby Lobby founder David Green said when the lawsuit was first filed.
In oral arguments before the Supreme Court on behalf of the administration, U.S. Solicitor General Donald Verilli disagreed with the characterization of emergency contraception.
"Federal law and State law -- which do preclude funding for abortions -- don't consider these particular forms of contraception to be abortion," he said.
The court is expected to rule on the Hobby Lobby case, and a similar one -- Conestoga Wood Specialties Corp. v. Sebelius -- by the end of this month, ruling whether the two companies, and by extension all other for-profit companies, must abide by the contraceptive mandate.