Supreme Court upholds religious objection to contraception mandate

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by JANET ST. JAMES

WFAA

Posted on June 30, 2014 at 4:09 PM

Updated Monday, Jun 30 at 5:44 PM

On the steps of America's highest court Monday, pro-life demonstrators shouted in triumph.

"The Supreme Court recognized that American families do not lose their fundamental rights when they open a family business,” said Lori Windham of The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty.

In a 5-4 decision split along gender and ideological lines, Supreme Court justices ruled that employers with religious objections can refuse to pay for contraception, even though the Affordable Care Act requires it.

The grievance was brought, in part, by the Oklahoma-based craft store chain Hobby Lobby. It's owned and operated by the Green family, evangelical Christians.

Their objection was to emergency contraceptive methods, such as the "morning-after" pill, which they say equates to abortion.

The Supreme Court decision applies to for-profit businesses where at least 50 percent of the stock is held by five or fewer people. The owners must have clear religious beliefs.

"For religious ministries, although it's a building block, today's decision doesn't completely answer that,” said Jeff Mateer, general counsel at the Liberty Institute in Plano.

The Liberty Institute is a legal organization dedicated to defending religious liberty. It represents several other contraception cases along the lines of Hobby Lobby.

Mateer said some of those clients will be able to drop their suits, knowing that the Hobby Lobby decision protects their religious rights.

E-mail jstjames@wfaa.com

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