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.
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. […]
The court stressed that its ruling applies only to corporations that are under the control of just a few people in which there is no essential difference between the business and its owners.
…Adding… From Planned Parenthood of Illinois…
All women deserve the right to the health care they need. We know first-hand how important it is for women to receive the method of birth control that works for them without hurdles or barriers. That’s why Planned Parenthood fought so hard for the birth control benefit in the first place and why we’re focused on making sure that women have access to the method of birth control that’s best for them, without cost or other hurdles standing in the way.
Today American families were served a severe blow to their right to family planning when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Woods even though they did stipulate that the holding is limited to small “closely-held” corporations. The corporations in this lawsuit hold an extreme view, and unfortunately there are some politicians who want to go even farther — getting rid of the birth control benefit entirely. Bosses of private, for-profit businesses should not be able to interfere in women’s health decisions, and neither should the politicians who want to roll back the birth control benefit entirely, taking away insurance coverage that millions of women benefit from.
Although the Supreme Court ruled in favor of these corporations, we applaud the Illinois General Assembly for having the foresight to pass the Birth Control Referendum. We are fortunate to live in a state that protects women’s rights to contraceptives. This referendum will help protect and strengthen the law we already have in light of the U.S. Supreme Court ruling. The non-binding referendum will appear on the November ballot as this question:
Shall any health insurance plan in Illinois that provides prescription drug coverage be required to include prescription birth control as part of that coverage?
Planned Parenthood of Illinois believes that preventive care, including birth control, is basic healthcare for women. Virtually all American women between the ages of 15 and 44 who are sexually active have used birth control at some time. Regardless of the size of the corporation, we will not let this ruling deter us from continuing to provide essential healthcare services to the more than 60,000 women, men, and teens across Illinois that entrust their basic health care rights to us — however small or large the corporation they work for.
…Adding… The Tribune has the local angle…
Though not a part of today’s ruling, at least five Illinois companies have raised similar objections and are hoping that the ruling will apply to them. They are Oak Brook-based Triune Health Group; Highland-based Korte & Luitjohan Contractors; Mokena-based Ozinga Bros., a Chicago-area concrete company; Hart Electric in Lostant; the Chicago law firm of Lindsay, Rappaport & Postel; and Carol Stream-based Tyndale House Publishers.
“It came out in our favor. We’re very excited about this,” said Chris Yep, owner of Triune Health Group, who attended the oral arguments earlier this year. “We’re now going to move ahead for some re-judgment on this.”
The Yeps were the first Catholic Illinois business owners to sue the Obama administration for enforcing the controversial contraception mandate. They also were the first to sue the state of Illinois over a similar mandate that went into effect 10 years ago.
Yep especially appreciated Kennedy’s concurring opinion, which suggested the government could pay for contraception itself if it was that important.
…Adding… From Congressman Peter Roskam…
“Today, the Supreme Court upheld one of the core principles our nation was founded upon, religious freedom. The federal government and the heavy-handed mandates within Obamacare cannot and should not violate the deeply held religious beliefs of these family-owned and operated businesses. After the government has granted exemptions from this very mandate for 100 million employees for commercial and political reasons, it is only appropriate that they should do so for those with objections based on their faith. I am hopeful this ruling will help protect the rights of Tyndale House Publishers in Carol Stream, Wheaton College in Wheaton, and others organizations I represent as they practice the free exercise of their religious beliefs.”
…Adding… From Gov. Quinn…
“Healthcare is a human right, and the Affordable Care Act is meant to give all Americans access to decent, affordable healthcare.
“That means full access to healthcare for every woman in America, regardless of who they are or where they work.
“A woman’s personal health decisions should stay strictly between her and her doctor.
“Unfortunately, today’s U.S. Supreme Court’s decision takes these choices from a woman and gives them to her employer.
“I will continue to fight to preserve the right of Illinois women to make their own healthcare decisions based on their own beliefs, not the beliefs of the person signing their paycheck.”