In a deeply divisive case pitting advocates of religious liberty against women’s right’s groups, the Supreme Court said today that two for profit corporations with sincerely held religious beliefs do not have to provide a full range of contraceptives at no cost to their employees pursuant to the Affordable Care Act.
In a 5-4 opinion written by Justice Samuel Alito the court held that as applied to closely held corporations the Health and Human Services regulations imposing the contraceptive mandate violate the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. Alito was joined by Chief Justice John Roberts, Justice Antonin Scalia and Justice Clarence Thomas. Justice Anthony Kennedy filed a concurring opinion.
The decision is a victory for the Green family that owns the Hobby Lobby arts and crafts chain and the Hahns who own Conestoga, a cabinet making company, who had challenged the so called contraceptive mandate saying it forced them to either violate their faith or pay ruinous fines. The government defended the provision as an essential part of health care coverage for women.
A pdf copy of today's decision can be found here: