Editor's note: The new challenge before the Supreme Court to President Obama's Affordable Care Act involves birth-control coverage. The law exempts churches but not religiously-affiliated nonprofit employers such as Catholic universities or hospitals. - Tom
Doctors' association representing 90% of board-certified US gynecologists endorses Democrat-sponsored legislation to override the Supreme Court's recent Hobby Lobby birth control decision - @HuffPostPol
Hobby Lobby co-founder on Supreme Court decision: 'Our family is overjoyed by the Supreme Court's decision. Today the nation's highest court has re-affirmed the vital importance of religious liberty as one of our country's founding principles' - via @NBCNews
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., on Hobby Lobby decision: 'Today's decision jeopardizes women's access to essential health care. Employers have no business intruding in the private health care decisions women make with their doctors' - via @NBCNews
House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, on Hobby Lobby decision: 'The mandate overturned today would have required for-profit companies to choose between violating their constitutionally-protected faith or paying crippling fines, which would have forced them to lay off employees or close their doors' - via @NBCNews
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A contraceptive mandate is a state or federal regulation or law that requires health insurers, or employers that provide their employees with health insurance, to cover some contraceptive costs in their health insurance plans. In 1978, the U.S. Congress made it clear that discrimination on the basis of pregnancy was discrimination on the basis of sex. In 2000, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ruled that companies that provided insurance for prescription drugs to their employees but excluded birth control were violating the Civil Rights Act of 1964. President Obama signed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) on 23 March 2010. As of 1 August 2011, female contraception was added to a list of preventive services covered by the ACA that would be provided without patient co-payment. The federal mandate applies to all new health insurance plans in all states from 1 August 2012. Grandfathered plans do not have to comply unless they change substantially. To be grandfathered, a group plan must have existed or an individual plan must have been sold before President Obama signed the law; otherwise they must comply with the new law. The Guttmacher Institute noted that even before the federal mandate was implemented, twenty-eight states had their own mandates that required health insurance to cover the prescription contraceptives, but the federal mandate innovated by forbidding insurance companies from charging part of the cost to the patient.