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Ruling: Religious Business Owners Exempt From Covering Contraception

Posted on Jun 30, 2014

Photo by Gnarls Monkey (CC BY 2.0)

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that some businesses are allowed to refuse to provide contraception coverage as part of employee health insurance plans.

The Guardian reports:

The 5-4 ruling means some companies will not have to comply with the contraceptive requirement of the Affordable Care Act, Barack Obama’s signature health reform. Employees of those companies will have to obtain certain forms of birth control – IUDs and Plan-B – from other sources.

In a majority opinion by conservative justice Samuel Alito, the court said the ruling applies only to the contraception mandate, and does not mean companies would necessarily succeed if they made similar claims to other insurance requirements, such as vaccinations and drug transfusions. The court’s four liberal justices dissented.

The court stressed that its ruling applies only to corporations, like the Hobby Lobby chain of arts-and-craft stores, that are under the control of just a few people in which there is no essential difference between the business and its owners.

Hobby Lobby was one of 49 for-profit companies that sued over the Affordable Care Act requirement that preventive health services, including contraception, be provided to insured employees without out-of-pocket costs. The business argued that companies—not just currently exempted religious groups—should be allowed to be exempt from that part of the health law if it violates their owners’ religious beliefs.

Read more here.

—Posted by Alexander Reed Kelly.

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