The Supreme Court released an opinion yesterday on the Hobby Lobby case, which was the challenge to the contraceptive mandate under the Affordable Care Act aka Obamacare. The court ruled, in a 5-4 decision, that for-profit companies with religious backgrounds do not need to provide contraception to female employees under Obamacare.
The majority decided this case based on the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA). Under this ruling, the Court said that requiring companies to provide contraception substantially burdened their right to religious freedom. The majority went on to say that even if the government has a compelling interest in providing contraception to women, there has to be a less intrusive way to reach that goal. The Court basically held that these companies can invoke religious protections as a way to skirt around the contraception requirement contained in Obamacare.
For the dissent, Justice Ginsburg wrote that this decision could open the door companies to invoke religious protections to free themselves from other legal requirements. The dissent argues further that for-profit companies do not exist solely to serve a community of people who hole similar beliefs. Although the majority argues that this opinion should be interpreted narrowly, the dissent fears that the opposite will happen, and that this decision will open the gates to a host of new issues, not limited to women’s rights.
This decision is certainly an interesting one that is not likely to go away any time soon. We can expect this decision to be brought up consistently during the upcoming election season.