I hadn’t given much thought to the legal basis upon which Hobby Lobby and similar corporations are fighting against birth control for their employees. I knew that it had to do claims that their religious freedom was being threatened, and I assumed that this must have something to do the First Amendment, which reads:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
It was as I was listening to the most recent RH Reality Cast yesterday morning that I heard Amanda Marcotte mention that these recent attacks are not appeals to the First Amendment. What, what? Marcotte was interviewing Gretchen Borchelt, Senior Counsel and Director of State Reproductive Health Policy at the National Women’s Law Center, and they were discussing corporate-driven lawsuits attacking employee access to contraception. It was here that I learned that these types of lawsuits are not direct appeals to constitutional freedoms, but to a federal law called the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA, pronounced by Marcotte as “Riffrah”).