Here's a look at what could happen to the rights of working women should the court decide for Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood, according to Laurie Sobel, a senior policy analyst for women’s health policy at the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation:
1. If a woman works for a company covered by the ruling, her access to contraceptives paid for by her insurance will depend on the religious views of her employer’s owner. If the Court applies its ruling to all for-profit companies, these types of claims could be brought by any for-profit employer, Sobel said, including publicly held companies. “It would allow that door to be open,” she said.Other potential outcomes: Congressional action to amend the RFRA to clarify the status for-profit companies; companies could start challenging state-based laws requiring contraceptive coverage; or, female employees of these two companies could file a Civil Rights Act suit on the basis of unequal treatment with their male counterparts. These are all possibilities if the court decides with Hobby Lobby. If it doesn't, the court is recognizing the religious freedom of all the rest of us who don't think an employer should be able to dictate our medical or family planning choices.
2. Employers could seek exemptions to coverage of other types of medical care based on personal religious beliefs. For example, Jehovah’s Witness owners could request an exemption from providing coverage for blood transfusions, since the treatment goes against the religion’s belief system. These exemption requests would likely be assessed on a case-by-case basis, Sobel said.
3. This decision could allow companies to deny other types of benefits to employees based on religious beliefs.[…] “It depends how the Court crafts the decision to see how far that door is open, how many people can bring lawsuits, and if it’s at the federal or state level,” Sobel said.
4. Employers might be able to restrict insurance coverage for doctor’s visits at which providers discuss contraceptive options with patients. […] “It is an interesting question as to whether that will be included in the decision,” Sobel said. “It might be one of those gray areas after the decision.”