In a highly contentious ruling, the Supreme Court has ruled this morning in favor of Christian craft store, Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood Specialties Store who had sought to implement a measure where they would not be obliged as the Health and Human Services Department mandates, to pay for the cost of contraception.
The owners of those companies believe some forms of birth control — emergency contraception and intrauterine devices — are forms of abortion because they could prevent a fertilized egg from implanting in the uterus. Compelled to cover the cost of items which they considered tantamount to abortion, the outlets argued Obamacare provisions mandating coverage of such devices interfered with their ‘religious views,’ and despite their religious objections.
Prior to today’s ruling the case had been going up the judicial ladder for two years and it was generally believed Monday’s outcome would set a controversial precedent no matter the result.
In its 5;4 ruling the Supreme Court held that ‘closely held’ businesses with religious ties are eligible for exemption from a provision in Obamacare that requires businesses to provide their employees with health care plans that cover contraception.
A ‘closely held’ corporation is one in which more than 50 percent of the company’s shares is owned by five or fewer people.
At the heart of the case was whether Obamacare’s contraception mandate violated the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993, which states that the government ‘shall not substantially burden a person’s exercise of religion’ unless it has a compelling reason to do so.
Today the court held that for-profit businesses are afforded the same protections as persons under the RFRA.
Told Joshua Hawley, a lawyer at the Beckett Fund for Religious Liberty, the organization that represented Hobby Lobby: ‘Today’s decision is an enormous victory for personal freedom in America,’ said Joshua Hawley, a lawyer at the Beckett Fund for Religious Liberty, the organization that represented Hobby Lobby.
‘This decision confirms that people of conscience are welcome in business and that all Americans have the right to follow their moral and social convictions in every walk of life.’
Since the verdict, religious right groups and Republican lawmakers along with other conservative institutions have rushed to celebrate the court’s affirmation of religious liberty and its ruling against the Obama administration and its allies.
Told Susan B. Anthony List President Marjorie Dannenfelser: ‘Americans of faith and conscience have been vindicated and this will be a galvanizing moment for the vast majority of citizens who vehemently objected to this mandate and the elected leaders who thrust it upon us,’
Reiterated Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, a lawmaker who voted in favor of the RFRA two decades ago and filed a friend-of-the court brief in favor of Hobby Lobby: ‘Today’s Supreme Court decision makes clear that the Obama administration cannot trample on the religious freedoms that Americans hold dear,’
McConnell added that, ‘Obamacare is the single worst piece of legislation to pass in the last 50 years.’
Senator Ted Cruz, a former solicitor general for Texas who argued in front of the high court multiple times before being elected to federal office, said in a statement, ‘This ruling is a repudiation of the Obama Administration’s untenable position that people with sincerely held religious beliefs should be forced to comply with an unconstitutional mandate while a parade of waivers, exemptions, and delays are granted for purely commercial and political interests.’
‘The fact that Americans had to bring this case in the first place reveals once again just how intrusive ObamaCare is. It’s a misguided one-size-fits-all policy that not only failed to fix our healthcare system but has trampled on our Constitutional rights,’ Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus said in a statement.
In a dissenting view, Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Justice Sonia Sotomayor, Justices Elena Kagan and Justices Stephen Breyer filed dissenting opinions joined by Justice Sonia Sotomayor where they told:
‘In a decision of startling breadth, the Court holds that commercial enterprises, including corporations, along with partnerships and sole proprietorships, can opt out of any law (saving only tax laws) they judge incompatible with their sincerely held religious beliefs,’
Ginsburg argued that the government has a ‘compelling interest‘ in providing no-cost birth control to women. ‘Those interests are concrete, specific, and demonstrated by a wealth of empirical evidence,‘ she wrote. ‘To recapitulate, the mandated contraception coverage enables women to avoid the health problems unintended pregnancies may visit on them and their children.’
The court case ruling is a defeat for Democrats in Congress who have sought to protect provisions of the president’s signature law that pertain to women’s health.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, a chief proponent of Obamacare, slammed the court’s decision as one that ‘jeopardizes women’s access to essential health care’ and vowed to ‘continue to fight to preserve women’s access to contraceptive coverage and keep bosses out of the examination room.’
Reiterating: ‘The bottom line is that today’s decision is wrong for women. Your boss should never be able to make your health care decisions for you,’
‘A woman’s personal health decisions about choosing to use contraception and when to start a family should stay strictly between her and her doctor — not her boss,‘ added Colorado Sen. Chuck Udall
‘The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision unacceptably takes these choices out of doctors’ offices and into the workplace,‘ he continued.
And then there were these comments on the web that made me wonder:
This sets a terrible precedent – next companies will try to deny health-coverage all together under religious grounds because they don’t believe in anything other than spiritual healing
.when most “corporations and bosses” will suddenly become religious in order to save a buck….it won’t have a rat’s behind to do with religion, but they will say it does.
No employer should know what the employee is doing healthwise. Are they going to be able to dictate whether or not we get vaccines? blood transfusions? stem-cell therapy? where does it end?
Very bad week for reproductive freedom in this country.
Time to protest Viagra being covered by Medicare. I bet the Supreme Court will uphold that.
But their employees are not family members, and the Court just decide that they can impose their own religious values on the thousands of people from all religious and ethnic backgrounds who work for them.
It’s called Freedom of Choice. No one is stopping women from going to the drugstore and buying the morning after pill themselves.
I get the impression that nearly every corporation and business is going to site religious beliefs to get out of paying more money for their employers, thus trying to validate the idea that female workers are worth less than their male counterparts. People are going to take advantage of this ruling, and it’s not going to be good.
Good decision , however 4 of the liberal supreme idiots dissented. If one more liberal supreme idiot gets on the court more unconstitutional laws will be passed and they will let them stand. You do not have a “right” to birth control it is a personal choice like buying a phone , car or cable. Do I have a right to a phone, car and cable ? No…. and taxpayers shouldn’t have to fund it nor should my employer. The liberal judges have made it pretty clear they will take your religious freedom , along with any other freedom of choosing if they become the majority.