Supreme Court Rules for Hobby Lobby in Contraception Case
The co-founder of Oklahoma City-based Hobby Lobby says her family is "overjoyed" by the Supreme Court's decision that says corporations can hold religious objections that allow them to opt out of the new health law requirement that they cover contraceptives for women.
The justices' 5-4 decision Monday is the first time that the high court has ruled that profit-seeking businesses can hold religious views under federal law.
Justice Samuel Alito wrote in his majority opinion, over a dissent from the four liberal justices, that forcing companies to pay for methods of women's contraception to which they object violates the 1993 Religious Freedom Restoration Act. He said the ruling is limited and there are ways for the administration to ensure women get the birth control they want.
But White House press secretary Josh Earnest said the decision creates health risks for women, and he said Congress should take action to make sure they get coverage.
"President Obama believes that women should make personal health care decisions for themselves rather than their bosses deciding for them," Earnest said. "Today's decision jeopardizes the health of the women who are employed by these companies."
Contraception is among a range of preventive services that must be provided at no extra charge under the health care law that President Barack Obama signed in 2010 and the Supreme Court upheld two years later. Hobby Lobby had sued over four contraceptives in the law.
Leah Farish a local Civil Rights Attorney was pleased with the ruling.
"It's a good ruling for religious liberty," Farish said.
"I felt like corporations do have religious liberty rights especially when they were stated with the expectation that people could go into business living according to their highest ideas."
Barbara Green called the court's decision a victory for "all who seek to live out their faith."
Hobby Lobby has more than 15,000 full-time employees in more than 600 crafts stores in 41 states.