Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan told an attorney representing Hobby Lobby Stores and Conestoga Wood Specialties the companies should pay a government penalty if they object on religious grounds to a mandatory birth control provision included in the Obamacare mandate. The provision includes coverage of abortion-inducing drugs.

Elena Kagan said there is “another choice nobody talks about, which is paying the tax, which is a lot less than a penalty and a lot less than — than the cost of health insurance at all?”

“Those employers could choose not to give health insurance and pay not that high a penalty – not that high a tax,” Sotomayor added.

Attorney Paul Clement told the Court the companies would face $500 million a year in penalties. Kagan disagreed.

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