Supreme Court: Companies Can Refuse to Pay for Contraception

New ruling expands the definition of a corporation as a person

Supreme Court Issues Rulings, Including Hobby Lobby ACA Contraception Mandate Case
Chip Somodevilla via Getty Images
A divided Supreme Court ruled that certain types of companies can refuse to pay for contraception, a form of mandated preventative care under the Affordable Care Act. In a 5-4 decision, the Court said closely-held companies can claim religious rights that exempt them from federal legislation that would "burden" the expression of that religion.

This is the first time the Supreme Court has recognized a religious right of any corporation. The decision stated that it was only applicable to the case of contraception. That limitation, if it ultimately holds over time, could be important because various religions hold beliefs that would forbid a range of medical practices, whether specific, like blood transfusion, or broader, like the Christian Science prohibition against traditional medical practice.

The case had gained wide attention both because some companies have bridled under the ACA's insurance requirements and the personal and gender-specific nature of contraceptive coverage. However, specifics of the ruling make it applicable only to contraception that acts after fertilization. There are other lawsuits by companies challenging whether they can be compelled to supply any form of contraception.

Two companies -- Hobby Lobby Stores and Conestoga Wood Specialties Corp. -- are both closely-held companies. That means more than 50 percent of outstanding stock is owned by 5 or fewer people, according to the IRS. The families that own the companies are Christian. According to the Court, the families "have sincere Christian beliefs that life begins at conception and that it would violate their religion to facilitate access to contraceptive drugs or devices that operate after that point."

The companies argued that under Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 (RFRA), the government could not "substantially burden a person's exercise of religion even if the burden results from a rule of general applicability." The only exception would be if the government could demonstrate that the "application of the burden to the person-(1) is in furtherance of a compelling governmental interest; and (2) is the least restrictive means of furthering that compelling governmental interest."

The Obama administration argued that the companies should not have been able to sue because they were for-profit corporations, not people, and that the families should not have been able to sue because the regulations applied to the companies, not them.

Writing the majority opinion, Justice Samuel Alito wrote that because the courts had held that non-profit corporations were considered persons under the RFRA, for-profit corporations would also have to be considered the same. He further wrote that a pursuit of profit did not prohibit such a company from an interest in other goals.

In the dissenting opinion, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said the ruling allowed companies to "opt out of any law (saving only tax laws) they judge incompatible with their sincerely held religious beliefs," a result she characterized as having "startling breadth."

"In the Court's view," Ginsburg wrote, "RFRA demands accommodation of a for-profit corporation's religious beliefs no matter the impact that accommodation may have on third parties who do not share the corporation owners' religious faith--in these cases, thousands of women employed by Hobby Lobby and Conestoga or dependents of persons those corporations employ."

Critics of the ruling have pointed out that Hobby Lobby has invested in companies that develop and profit from contraceptives, as CBS MoneyWatch has reported, raising the question of how sincere the corporate religious belief is.

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Trisha

This is very serious ! Our Supreme court is now very corrupt allowing such assaults on women!!!! Corporations are not people!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! They can believe and practice whatever they believe but STOP PUSHING YOUR BELIEFS ON THE REST OF AMERICA!!! Talk about opening a pandoras box!!! Whats next....... your religion doesn't allow you to employ gay people!! Very upset that our Supreme Court has been taken over by such crooks!!!!!!!

July 01 2014 at 6:23 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
gingerpoo21

What total hypocrites these people are. They will pay for Viagra & vasectomies FOR MEN but nothing to help the women who usually carry the burden of a child. Obama is a scapegoat. He at least tries to help the poor and get the health care needed. The insurance companies are to blame for changing the game plan and making it harder on us ordinary hard working people to afford any kind of health insurance. They dropped people only to make the President look bad and to use it against DEMOCRATS up for re-election. IT'S all politics. Shame on Hobby Lobby for not caring enough about their female employees.

July 01 2014 at 4:41 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Forrest

If you all want to blame some one over the SCOTUS decision blame
Obama and Obama care......Obama started giving exemptions from
Obama care to unions and states and some groups that asked to be
exempt from all or part of Obama care......and for political reasons
or as payback for favors he exempted these entity's !
Hobby Lobby asked to be exempted from the part of Obama care
that they thought was unfair and went against their religious beliefs
the Supreme Court agreed that if some can be exempted then so can
others as the precedent had been set.
Now everyone is angry with Hobby Lobby when all they did was
follow the due process of the legal system and a decision was made
in their favor.....per the law and the interpretation of the constitutional
laws and rules there within !
Be mad at the president and the health care law and the exemptions
given to other groups, or to the Supreme Court of America for its
legal decision......
But why be mad at Hobby Lobby all they did is follow the law of the land and
ask for the highest court to render a decision......
In every law suit there is a winner and a loser.....those that get what they
want and those that don't.....and we accept that as free people who live in
a country of law's and rules.....so why is everyone so upset, if your don't like
the law then vote to change it and file lawsuits against the rendered decision
and ask for a new ruling......
But be grateful we still live in a free country, and we can disagree and have
legal rights to disagree or agree with the legal system and its representatives !

I served two tours of Vietnam 66-68, was wounded twice......for our freedoms !

July 01 2014 at 3:57 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Chris

Nice! Hobby Lobby told you God-hating, baby killers where to go and what to do! LOL JUST LIKE CHIC-FILET! Hahaha! The Chic-Filet in our town has so much business they can barely keep up, people like that they stood up to the homosexual sick sodomizer agenda.

July 01 2014 at 3:53 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Camp Bulldog

Hell...I would be shooting for Dental coverage... AS for birth control....I would install condom machines in all the ladies' bathrooms. Give them a $92 cost of living raise....that way they can buy one condom a day...and get screwed once every day of the year....and it will not cost them anything out of their pockets...since that is what the $92 raise is for...

mmmmmm HAPPY HAPPY

July 01 2014 at 3:21 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
Camp Bulldog

They do not want to be part of any medical means that Aborts a child...prevention is ok...

Women are looking like Morons. I would think twice before I would hire one. Too stupid

July 01 2014 at 3:13 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
Camp Bulldog

Women are really looking stupid lately...I would think second before I will hire one...

July 01 2014 at 3:07 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Camp Bulldog's comment
Chris

As long as they follow their queen liar Hitlery they look like fools.

July 01 2014 at 3:50 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Xiaojerry

We should just boycott any Company that continues their war on women.

July 01 2014 at 1:43 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Xiaojerry's comment
Camp Bulldog

promise???

July 01 2014 at 3:14 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Mike McCormack

Wake up folks!

This is so political it's disgusting.. This is just my opinion of what I observed.

Looks fairly obvious the Obama administration just wants to portray these companies and non profits as hateful religious groups trying force their beliefs on others.. Looks to me these groups just don't want to pay for birth control. They want the insurance companies to pay.

Well now wait a minute .... I seem to recall another group hell bent on controlling other religions even to go as far as to kidnap and kill non believers.. and this president asks the victims to "show restraint".. Why??

Yes this is just a political double standard... Obama clearly has to paint all Conservatives as the enemy... Well yeah if you cant make their life any better try to make your opponents look worse..

Obama is dishing out political baloney .. shameless, disgusting and does nobody any good.

July 01 2014 at 1:22 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Most Lovely One

Twilight and mrscdel- read the ruling carefully. It applies to only 4 out of 20 possible means of contraception- those that are considered abortofacients. This means, 16 methods of contraception WOULD be covered- just not those that are considered to destroy an egg that has already been fertilized. Yes, abortion is legal, but there are those who consider a fertilized egg to be a human being. Say what you want, but there is no expert yet who can definitively say when that fertilized egg becomes a person. That lump of cells DOES have its own set of DNA. totally distinctive from either parent.

July 01 2014 at 12:57 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Most Lovely One's comment
Camp Bulldog

PLease stop wasting your time...Women are proving themselves to be idiots....

I will never hire a female again.... I will not renew a contract with a female...

They are MORONS

July 01 2014 at 3:16 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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