Employment attorney Marc Fleischauer testified before the Ohio House Judiciary Committee on January 22, 2014, regarding the impact and legal history of HB 376, the proposed Ohio Religious Freedom Restoration Act. The bill purports to set uniform standards by which Ohio courts would evaluate governmental actions that burden individual religious freedoms. Several states are adopting such standards, in accordance with the United States Supreme Court's ruling in City of Boerne v. Flores, 521 U.S. 507 (1997). The Flores case held that similar standards under a similar federal statute could not be imposed on the states, absent state legislative action. Mr. Fleischauer is pictured here with the bipartisan bill's sponsors, Rep. Tim Derrickson (R-Hanover Township) and Rep. Bill Patmon (D-Cleveland), along with others who testified about the bill before the Judiciary Committee.
As discussed in an earlier blog post, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act ("ACA") created a controversy about whether for-profit corporations have religious freedom. The issue concerns the requirement under ACA that health insurance sufficient to avoid penalties must include coverage for certain forms of birth control. Businesses closely held by families with strong religious convictions are objecting to this requirement as an infringement of religious freedom.
A provision under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) has raised the question of whether for-profit corporations have religious freedom. The ACA through guidelines from the Health Resources and Services Administration requires that non-grandfathered group health plans and individual health insurance cover, without cost to the individual, all FDA-approved contraceptive methods. The FDA-approved methods include contraception known as the "morning-after pill" and the "week-after pill", which the FDA has acknowledged can terminate pregnancy after conception. While exemptions for contraception coverage have been made for religious non-profit corporations, no exemptions are available to for-profit corporations.