If you like your religious freedoms, you can keep them. For now.
The U.S. Supreme Court narrowly ruled Monday that business owners with religious objections can’t be forced to pay for women’s birth control under the Obamacare law.
The 5-4 opinion, written by Justice Samuel Alito, held that imposing the contraceptive mandate on closely held corporations violates the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.
Essentially, the court said if you are morally opposed to birth control or abortion, you shouldn’t have to buy it for others just because you offered them a job.
Though the ruling specifically dealt with the Hobby Lobby chain and other companies whose owners have deeply held religious views, it is really a First Amendment victory for all Americans.
“Today’s decision was a victory for freedom,” the National Center for Public Policy Research said. “Because a person who does not have the right to order his or her professional and personal life in accordance with his or her religious beliefs does not have freedom at all.”
It is the first major challenge to Obamacare to come before the court since the justices upheld the law’s individual requirement to buy health insurance two years ago. This will send the Obama administration hunting for another way to give women free contraception if they can’t get it through their employers’ insurance plans.
Had the mandate been upheld, a company objecting to the contraceptive mandate would have had three choices: violate their faith; pay ruinous fines; or go out of business.
The ruling applies to businesses so closely held that there is no essential difference between the corporation and its owners. Oklahoma City-based Hobby Lobby, which employs more than 15,000 full-time workers in 41 states, was founded by a family of evangelical Christians. The other major company involved in the case, Pennsylvania-based cabinet company Conestoga Wood Specialties Corp., is owned by a Mennonite family.
What’s more frightening than the contraception mandate the Obama administration dismissively tried to cram down employers’ throats through the Affordable Care Act is the fact that it was nearly upheld as law — only a single Supreme Court justice stood in the way.
Freedom in this country is hanging by a thread.
— The Augusta (Georgia) Chronicle