Hobby Lobby Supreme Court Contraceptive Mandate Case Sparks Twitter Hashtag War Between Politicians, Groups

The Twittersphere erupted this week as the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments regarding two private businesses and their challenge of the Affordable Care Act's contraceptive mandate, with politicians and several activist groups using the social media platform to show their support during the case.

(Photo: Reuters/Larry Downing)Protesters rally at the steps of the U.S. Supreme Court as arguments began on March 25, 2014, to challenge the Affordable Care Act's requirement that employers provide coverage for contraception and abortion-inducing drugs.

The two businesses involved in Tuesday's court hearing included the well-known Hobby Lobby craft store chain and the Pennsylvania-based owners of Conestoga Woods Specialties. Both businesses are challenging a directive of the Affordable Care Act that requires employers to provide workers with health insurance for some contraceptives. The evangelical owners of Hobby Lobby and the Mennonite Christian owners of Conestoga Woods Specialties argue that forcing their businesses to supply insurance coverage for some of those contraceptives, including some that can lead to the early termination of pregnancy and abortion, is a violation of religious freedom.

Those supporting Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Woods Specialties in Tuesday's oral arguments began a Twitter hashtag that read: "#religiousfreedomforall." Several well-known groups used the Twitter hashtag on Tuesday and Wednesday, including The Becket Fund, which is representing the Green family, owners of Hobby Lobby, in the case, as well as Alliance Defending Freedom and the Pro-Life Action League.

"Freedom of religion > just freedom of worship #religiousfreedomforall," tweeted the Pro-Life Action League on Tuesday, adding in another tweet "Running a business shouldn't mean silencing your conscience #religiousfreedomforall."

Politicians have also tweeted their solidarity with Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood Specialties. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) tweeted on Tuesday: "Fed govt doesn't have authority to force people to violate their faith! #religiousfreedomforall."

Congressman Tim Huelskamp (R-Kansas) tweeted: "No one, including employees and employers, should be forced to violate their faith to earn a living. #religiousfreedomforall."

U.S. House Speaker John Boehner tweeted: "On @HobbyLobbyCase: proud to stand w/ those standing up for what's right & sacred #ReligiousFreedomForAll."

Those supporting the Affordable Care Act's contraceptive mandate have started their own Twitter hashtag, "#notmybossbusiness," to show they are siding with the government instead of private employers in the case. The Planned Parenthood Action Fund, American Civil Liberties Union and NARAL Pro-Choice America all used the hashtag this week to show their solidarity with the Obama administration regarding the case.

"Freedom does not mean you force people to act upon your will." #NotMyBossBusiness," tweeted the Planned Parenthood Action Fund on Wednesday.

Politicians have also taken the side of the government on Twitter. Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisc.) tweeted: "A woman's personal decisions about her health should remain exactly that --- her decision. –TB #NotMyBossBusiness," while Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) tweeted, "I hope #SCOTUS rules in favor of a woman's right to make her own health care choices. RT if you agree #NotMyBossBusiness."

Following Tuesday's hearing, The Christian Post reported that the owners of Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood Specialties were "encouraged" by the Supreme Justices' responses.

"We were encouraged by today's argument. We are thankful that the Supreme Court took our case and we prayerfully await the Justices' decision," Barbara Green, one of the family members that heads Hobby Lobby, said following the 90 minute oral arguments presentation.