OKLAHOMA CITY - In a split decision the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that for-profit corporation Hobby Lobby and others are not required to provide women employees with a full range of health care, including contraceptives Plan B One-Step, Ella, and intrauterine devices regardless of the religious beliefs of the individual owners of the corporation. The court held that corporations are persons who can have religious beliefs that override their employees need for a full range of health care and society's aim of providing access to that health care.
"This decision means that employees will be subject to policies based on employers religious beliefs, regardless of their own. Employers will potentially be able to establish discriminatory policies against women or presumably any employees on the basis of religious belief," said Marion Homier, Vice-President of the Oklahoma Coalition for Reproductive Justice. "We lament the loss of protection for the needs and rights of employees."
"We regret that a majority of justices once again saw corporations as persons with the rights of individuals, seemingly deciding in this case that corporations can kneel and worship. While respect for and protection of religious liberty is a fundamental American value, it is unfortunate a majority of justices have downplayed access to health care and disregarded employees religious views in favor of those of a corporation," said Martha Skeeters, President of the Oklahoma Coalition for Reproductive Justice.
"This decision not only obstructs women employees' access to a full range of affordable birth control, but also threatens all employees with potential limitations on health care such as Scientologists refusing to cover psychiatry or Jehovah's Witnesses refusing to cover surgery with blood transfusions. This decision also raises the spectre of civil rights abuses where, for example, employers might refuse to hire from some groups because they regard divorce, or IVF treatments or gay marriage as sinful. We are deeply concerned about the ramifications of this decision."