Hobby Lobby wins contraceptive ruling in Supreme Court

By: ABC News
By: ABC News

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WASHINGTON (ABC News) — Companies are not required to pay for employees' contraceptives for women if they have religious objections, the Supreme Court ruled today.

The justices' decision came in a 5-4 ruling in the much anticipated case.

Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito wrote the majority opinion and Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrote the main dissent.

What did the court rule?

Alito: “As applied to closely held corporations the HHS regulations imposing the contraceptive mandate violate RFRA." Alito wrote that “RFRA applies to regulations that govern the activities of closely held for profit corporations like Conestoga and Hobby Lobby” and the “The HHS contraceptive mandate substantially burdens the exercise of religion."

What else did Alito hold in his majority opinion?

“The Government has failed to show that the contraceptive mandate is the least restrict means of furthering that interest," according to the majority opinion.

Alito wrote that the owners of Hobby Lobby believe that the coverage required of the health care law "is connected to the destruction of an embryo in a way that is sufficient to make it immoral for them to provide the coverage … HHS [Department of Health and Human Services] has not shown that it lacks other means of achieving its desired goal without imposing a substantial burden on the exercise of religion by the objecting parties in these cases.”

"Protecting the free-exercise rights of corporations like Hobby Lobby, Conestoga and Mardel protects the religious liberty of the humans who own and control those FRFR companies,” Alito wrote in the majority opinion.

What did Ginsburg's dissent say?

"Reading the Act expansively, as the Court does, raises a host of ‘Me, too’ questions. Can an employer in business for profit opt out of coverage for blood transfusions, vaccinations, antidepressants, or medications derived from pigs, based on the employer’s sincerely held religious beliefs opposing those medical practices.”

What did Alito say about freedom of religion?

Alito: “The Hahns and the Greens believe that providing the coverage demanded by the HHS regulation is connected to the destruction of an embryo in a way that is sufficient to make it immoral for them to provide the coverage … HHs has not shown that it lacks other means of achieving its desired goal without imposing a substantial burden on the exercise of religion by the objecting parties in these cases.”

Does the law apply to corporations?

Alito: “Protecting the free-exercise rights of corporations like Hobby Lobby, Conestoga and Mardel protects the religious liberty of the humans who own and control those FRFR companies.”

What are liberals and allied groups saying?

DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz: “I disagree with the Supreme Court’s decision in the case of Harris v. Quinn. Many of the basic workplace standards and protections that we take for granted as Americans are thanks to the efforts of organized labor. These benefits have been sought and achieved on behalf of all workers, regardless of whether or not they’ve paid union dues. I fear that this decision will seriously diminish the capacity of labor unions to represent the best interests of American workers who have fought for and won significant progress on wages, benefits and working conditions, and jeopardize the progress that has been made over the last century.”

What are conservatives and allied groups saying?

“This is a great victory for religious liberty – the bedrock of our founding,” said Susan B. Anthony List President Marjorie Dannenfelser. “In living out our religious convictions, there are certain things we must not do. This is why we are at a watershed moment. Religious people will no longer be ordered to take action that our religion says we must not take.

Carrie Severino, chief counsel to the Judicial Crisis Network, on Hobby Lobby: “The Supreme Court today upheld the liberty at the heart of the Constitution: the right to religious freedom. The Court rightly concluded that the Religious Freedom Restoration Act protects religious business owners just as much as it protects their employees. RFRA guarantees not just a right of religious worship or speech, but religious exercise. Today the Supreme Court reaffirmed religious freedoms that literally centuries of Americans have enjoyed from even before the founding of this country.

Family Research Council President Tony Perkins learned of the ruling this morning as he met with the Hahn family, founders and owners of Conestoga Wood Specialties: "The Supreme Court has delivered one of the most significant victories for religious freedom in our generation. We are thankful the Supreme Court agreed that the government went too far by mandating that family businesses owners must violate their consciences under threat of crippling fines.


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