By Kara Loewentheil
We already know that 2014 was a big year for religious exemption cases, from the gravely serious to the immensely trivial. But what will 2015 have in store? If I were a prophet I could, of course, predict the future. But let’s just call these my top three educated guesses for the kinds of religious exemption cases we’re going to see in 2015.
1. Contraception: Total Exemption
First and foremost, we’re going to see continuing litigation over the Affordable Care Act’s contraceptive coverage requirement and the accommodation process already in place. There are some plaintiffs, both for-profit and non-profit, who will object to any accommodation at all and claim a right to a total exemption from the law; i.e., they don’t want anyone to give their employees birth control coverage in any manner that is related to their employment.
That is, if the government just wanted to give every woman in America a free-standing statutory right to contraceptive insurance coverage that would be paid for and administered by the government and would not involve your employer in any way, even as a vehicle, that might be ok with them. Maybe.
Ultimately the Supreme Court is probably going to have to consider the question of whether RFRA provides a complete exemption for those who object to any accommodation process.
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