Supreme Court Rules Against Birth Control Coverage - ABC FOX MONTANA NEWS, WEATHER, SPORTS - KTMF/KWYB

Supreme Court Rules Against Birth Control Coverage

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The Supreme Court strikes down a key provision in the Affordable Care Act, requiring for-profit companies to provide comprehensive birth control coverage. In a 5-4 vote justices decided some companies cannot be forced to offer certain types of contraceptive coverage due to religious obligations.

"What they held is that the requirement for employers to provide contraceptive coverage imposes a burden on the religious freedom of the family that owns Hobby Lobby," said Anthony Johnstone, an Assistant Professor at the University of Montana School of Law.

The ruling supports an argument by the Evangelical Christian owners of Hobby Lobby craft stores. The owners argue an Obamacare mandate requiring for-profit companies to provide birth control coverage violates their religious freedom.

"The decision is limited to close, family held corporations, where families have religious beliefs," Johnstone said.

Johnstone said Monday's ruling is based on the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, passed by Congress in 1993.

"It's a law passed by Congress to enhance the freedom of people under federal law," Johnstone said.

The decision is limited, applying only to "closely-held" religious companies, where at least 50% of stock is held by five people or less.

"Whether corporations have religious beliefs or not, it did impose a burden on owners, and those are natural people with religious beliefs," Johnstone said.

Hobby Lobby's objection to the health care mandate comes from its belief that certain contraceptives are the same as birth control. Those against Monday's decision say this is another excuse for corporations to have more rights than their employees.

"We're talking about corporations having more rights then their workers, corporations having more political rights then their workers, and making personal decisions about the lives of their workers," said Emily Likins with the Workers Council.

The White House said it will work with Congress to make sure women who are affected by this ruling continue to have coverage for contraceptives. Monday's Supreme Court ruling came two years after Congress upheld the Affordable Care Act.

 


 
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