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Do For-Profit Corporations Have Rights of Religious Conscience?

Challenges by for-profit corporations to the Affordable Care Act’s requirement that employers provide their employees with medical insurance packages that include coverage for contraceptives have raised questions under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) and the Constitution. This Essay discusses a threshold question in the constitutional challenges: Do for-profit corporations have rights of religious conscience protected by the Free Exercise Clause? I do not offer a definitive answer but instead mostly enumerate considerations that counsel hesitation before concluding that they do. I originally thought that I could address the question posed in the title without dealing with the RFRA, but—as will appear below—perhaps the answer lies in the statutory accommodations legislatures choose to enact, which might, but only might, include RFRA.

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