WASHINGTON (AP) – The Supreme Court 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.
And it means the Obama administration must search for a different way of providing free contraception to women who are covered under objecting companies’ health insurance plans.
Andrea Lucia (@CBS11Andrea) June 30, 2014
“Today’s decision is a victory against Obamacare’s unprecedented overreach into our daily lives and the Administration’s disregard for the freedom of religion that Americans cherish.” said U.S. Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) “All Texans and Americans have the right to practice their religious beliefs without obstruction from the federal government, and today’s decision by the Supreme Court affirms that Obamacare does not trump those fundamental rights.”
White House spokesman Josh Earnest said that women should make personal health decisions for themselves.
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.
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.
Several Texas lawmakers and elected officials released statements regarding the Supreme Court ruling:
Texas Attorney General and Republican Candidate for Governor, Greg Abbott posted on Twitter: ” Great day for religious freedom & protecting life in the Hobby Lobby #SCOTUS decision. #tcot @TexasGOP”
Texas State Senator, Democratic Candidate for Texas Governor, Wendy Davis: “Today’s disappointing decision to restrict access to birth control puts employers between women and their doctors. We need to trust women to make their own healthcare decisions — not corporations, the Supreme Court, or Greg Abbott.”
U.S. Congressman Michael C. Burgess (R-TX): “Today’s Supreme Court decision in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby affirms the core principle that the government cannot compel the people it is meant to represent – even when those people own a private business – to violate their sincere religious beliefs. The Obama Administration, with the help of Democrats in congress, went out of its way to impose as many mandates on the American people through its health care law as possible. The Supreme Court today rejected a signature piece of the president’s health care law, and refused to allow the government to force business owners to violate their beliefs. It is an important step in reaffirming our country’s First Amendment protections of religious freedom that serve as one of the founding principles of our nation.”
U.S. Congressman Jeb Hensarling (R-TX): “Today’s ruling reaffirms the fundamental right of Americans to live and work in accordance with their faith without fear of punishment from the federal government. There is no more basic, fundamental, or sacrosanct right we possess as a people than those enshrined in the First Amendment. Today’s ruling is nothing short of a full rebuke from the highest court in the land of the Obama Administration’s efforts to restrict the rights of people of faith to operate their business in a manner consistent with their religious conscience. I remain committed to ensuring every American’s religious beliefs remain protected without fear of punishment or retaliation and will continue to work with my House colleagues to ensure that no American is forced to betray their deeply held religious convictions.”
U.S. Senator John Cornyn (R-TX): “Today’s decision is a victory against Obamacare’s unprecedented overreach into our daily lives and the Administration’s disregard for the freedom of religion that Americans cherish. All Texans and Americans have the right to practice their religious beliefs without obstruction from the federal government, and today’s decision by the Supreme Court affirms that Obamacare does not trump those fundamental rights.”
(©2014 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)
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