Supreme Court rules Hobby Lobby doesn't have to pay for workers' - KOTA Territory News

Supreme Court rules Hobby Lobby doesn't have to pay for workers' birth control

The U.S. Supreme Court rules that employers can refuse to pay for their workers' birth control based upon religious beliefs; a ruling that will have a major impact on women who work for employers with strong religious beliefs.

The close 5-4 vote is a major blow to President Barack Obama and the Affordable Care Act. But for religious employers like Hobby Lobby, which has a store in Rapid City, it is a major victory.

The ruling protects employers based upon the Religious Freedoms Restoration Act. As for female employees who need birth control, since the federal government has established a work-around for religious non-profits, there is the possibility that the Obama administration may include for-profit workers.

Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito wrote the majority opinion and Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrote the main dissent.

The Court's ruling is also a political setback for Obama. As soon as the decision was announced, Republican senators, including John Thune of South Dakota and John Barrasso of Wyoming, were quick to pump out the news releases heralding the decision.

“Today’s decision is a victory for religious freedom," Thune said. Religious freedom is one of our most basic principles and the very first right mentioned in the Bill of Rights. I am pleased that the Supreme Court has rejected the Obama administration’s attempt to limit this most fundamental of American liberties.”

Barrasso has been one of the most vocal critics, not only to the birth control aspect of the Affordable Care Act, but to the entire package.

“The Supreme Court’s decision is also another reminder that the President’s health care law was poorly written and continues to hurt more people than it helps," Barrasso said. "I am committed to replacing this law with a healthcare system that focuses on lowering costs and making sure that more Americans can get the care they need from a doctor they choose.”

More than a dozen states also took up the fight for religious business owners, including South Dakota.   South Dakota had joined with 17 states as Amicus Curiae or “friend of the Court” in a brief challenging the Third Circuit Court of Appeals decision, which held that the employer contraceptive mandate in the Affordable Care Act did not violate religious principles.

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