The Supreme Court has ruled that family owned companies can opt out of the Affordable Care Act’s provisions that allow female employees no-cost prescription contraception in most health insurance if they have religious objections.
The owners of the Hobby Lobby chain of arts and crafts stores and those of another closely held company, Conestoga Wood Specialties Corp., had objected on the grounds of religious freedom. The ruling affirms a Hobby Lobby victory in a lower court and gives new standing to similar claims by other companies.
“Today’s decision jeopardizes the health of women” who work at the companies included in the court’s decision, White House press secretary Josh Earnest said.
The AP reports that “Earnest said the White House is looking into how many women could be affected by the decision. He said Congress should take action to assist women affected by the decision.”
The opinion, posted to the Supreme Court’s website state’s that “there is an alternative to the contraceptive mandate.” It notes that owners “have sincere Christian beliefs that life begins at conception.”
The Department of Health and Human Services argues that companies forfeited protection under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 when they became corporations instead of legal entities. The law requires that government not infringe on religious beliefs “unless that action constitutes the least restrictive means of serving a compelling government interest.”
The court’s vote on the case was split 5-4. The majority opinion was written by Justice Samuel Alito. Voting against the majority were Justices Stephen Breyer, Elena Kagan, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor.
What a slap in the face to all women and their right to choose.
Thoughts on the Supreme Court’s decision?
Sound off below!