MILWAUKEE (WITI) — A major decision from the Supreme Court on Monday, June 30th in the so-called “Hobby Lobby” case. The court decided that the government cannot force family-owned corporations like Hobby Lobby to pay for insurance that covers contraception.
There was celebration on the Supreme Court steps on Monday after the decision came down.
In a 5-4 decision, the court held that family-owned companies Hobby Lobby and Contestoga Wood Specialties are not required to provide insurance coverage for contraception to their employees.
The court says that requirement violated their rights to religious freedom.
At the Hobby Lobby store in West Bend Monday, customers had mixed reactions.
“We love their prices, and that they have faith-based stuff. I’m glad you can have faith and own a company, and still impart some of those ideals and morals — especially in this case having an abortive pill or even birth control offered when you disagree with that,” Keri Gosa said.
“I think religion is an individual thing and I think people should be able to make their choice as to whether they want to or not,” Rebecca Sieracki said.
Wisconsin conservative leaders applauded the decision, with all three Republican candidates for Congress in the 6th District issuing statements.
Duey Stroebel called it “a victory for both religious liberty and business.”
Glenn Grothman says it’s “a big win for Christians in America.”
Joe Leibham views the decision as “another sign that ObamaCare ought to be repealed.”
“The standard the Supreme Court upheld (Monday) is one that`s existed for many years, and in fact, the Supreme Court was really upholding the status quo,” Asama Uddin, Hobby Lobby’s attorney said.
In the meantime, Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin says the court went backwards on an important women’s health issue.
“We were very disappointed and we were also troubled because what this means is a boss can get in the way of somebody accessing birth control, and we believe very deeply that a decision about birth control should be left to a woman and her physician,” Tanya Atkinson, VP of Public Relations for Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin said.
The contraception coverage had been required under the Affordable Care Act.
Monday’s Supreme Court decision applies only to the two companies — Hobby Lobby and Contestoga Wood Specialties, but it opens the door to challenges by other corporations.
CLICK HERE to view the decision of the U.S Supreme Court in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores
Candidate for Congress Joe Leibham issued the following statement: “Today’s ruling by the Supreme Court is a victory for religious liberty and yet another sign that ObamaCare ought to be repealed and replaced. ObamaCare’s mandates are bad for our economy, our health care system and an affront to individual responsibility. While this ruling is win for those of us who believe in religious liberty, ObamaCare is still a loss for the American people. Elect me to Congress and I will make repealing and replacing ObamaCare one of my top priorities.”
State Sen. Glenn Grothman, Republican candidate for Congress, issued the following statement: “The Supreme Court ruling in favor of Hobby Lobby is a big win for Christians in America. During President Obama’s presidency, Christians practicing their faith have come under increasing persecution, and I’m incredibly thankful that the court ruled in favor of their First Amendment right to religious freedom. Let’s not forget that this whole issue wouldn’t have come down to a court ruling if the President Obama and the Democrats had simply respected religious freedom from the beginning. Instead, they chose the path of big, overbearing government that repeatedly violates the rights and freedoms of Americans of all stripes. When I get to Congress, I’ll fight to protect Christians’ right to practice their faith both privately and publicly.”
State Representative Duey Stroebel, candidate for Wisconsin’s 6th Congressional District, released the following statement: “Laura and I have raised our family and built our small business on our values and our faith – Obamacare’s contraception mandate threatened that and our constitutionally-protected freedom of religion. Today’s Supreme Court decision ensures that the administration will not be able to force employers to choose between their rights and crippling fines, and I applaud this victory for both religious liberty and business. The ruling underscores what we in Wisconsin already know: Obamacare’s big-government, mandate-laden approach is the wrong way to go. As a citizen legislator in Washington, I will continue to fight for our Constitution and for the repeal and replacement of Obamacare.”
Governor Scott Walker has issued the following statement: “The Supreme Court’s ruling today reinforces the Act 10 reforms eliminating the requirement for public employees to pay union dues. Our reforms in Act 10 have saved Wisconsin taxpayers more than $3 billion, provided more flexibility to local officials and school districts, and strengthened Wisconsin’s fiscal house.”
Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin’s full statement is as follows:
“(Monday) the United States Supreme Court ruled that some for-profit private corporations, such as the arts and crafts chain Hobby Lobby, can deny coverage of birth control to their employees, for no reason other than the personal religious beliefs of the corporation’s owners.
“The decision to use birth control is a woman’s personal decision and her boss should not be able to interfere with her ability to access this important health benefit,” said Tanya Atkinson, Vice President of Public Affairs and Education at Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin. “Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin remains focused on making sure that women have access to the method of birth control that is best for them, without cost or other hurdles standing in the way.”
Ninety-nine percent of women rely on birth control at some point in their lives and affordable access is key. Studies show that increased access to contraception has cost and health benefits for many women and reduces the rate of abortion. From easing the symptoms of endometriosis, polycystic ovary syndrome, and cramps to preventing unintended pregnancy, birth control is an essential health benefit. Consistent birth control use increases when it is more affordable. Women who receive birth control with no co-pay or at a reduced cost are able to avoid more than two million unplanned pregnancies each year, which also reduces the incidence of abortion. This law only requires birth control be covered by insurance in the same manner other preventative drugs and treatments are covered. No one will be forced to buy or use contraception.
“As the leading women’s health care provider and advocate in Wisconsin for the last 78 years, Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin works every day to break down the barriers that still exist between women and their ability to access contraception. We know the benefits of affordable birth control and will continue our work to ensure that every woman — no matter where she lives or who her boss is — has access to birth control,” said Atkinson.
Access to birth control has ushered in a generation of healthy, empowered women and families and should remain covered by insurance as an essential preventive benefit, without a co-pay. According to new data from the IMS Institute for Healthcare Informatics, in 2013, 24 million more prescriptions for oral contraceptives were filled with no co-pay than in the previous year, saving women $483 million on their out-of-pocket costs for birth control, or an average of $269 a year. According to this data, the share of women with no out-of-pocket costs for these forms of birth control increased to 56 percent from 14 percent one year ago.
“As people of faith, we believe in the inherent worth and dignity of women and in their right to make their own health care decisions, including whether to use birth control,” stated Rabbi Bonnie Margulis, Chair of the Wisconsin Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice. “Reproductive justice includes the right of every woman to follow her own conscience and religious teachings regarding when and whether to bear children. Access to affordable, reliable contraception is a moral good that should be available to every woman. To privilege the beliefs of business owners over the beliefs of their employees is to deny those employees the religious freedom that is guaranteed to them in our Constitution. No employers should have the right to impose their own religious beliefs on their employees or to restrict those employees’ rights to make personal and private health care decisions for themselves.”