Blog of Rights

Supreme Court Rules Companies Can Use Religion to Discriminate

A Loss for Women Today in the High Court

By Brigitte Amiri, ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project at 11:16am

The highest court in the country ruled today that it is acceptable for closely held corporations to use their religious beliefs to take away benefits guaranteed to their employees by law – something the Supreme Court has never before sanctioned. Everyone has the right to his or her religious beliefs, but those beliefs cannot be imposed on others.

At issue in today’s case is part of the Affordable Care Act that requires health plans to cover contraception without a co-pay. This law was designed to ensure women’s equality by eliminating the disparities in health care costs between men and women, and to ensure women have the ability to make decisions about whether and when to become parents, which in turns allow them to participate equally in society.

Women who work at Hobby Lobby and other closely held companies with religious objections to providing contraception coverage will now be denied that coverage, which will impact their reproductive health and other aspects of their lives. These women will also face dignitary harm knowing that their employers are singling out health care coverage that only women need.

Most women – including myself – will not lose their contraceptive coverage as a result of today’s decision. But today, we all lost. As Martin Luther King, Jr. said: “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”

The ACLU will fight to ensure that all women get the contraception coverage they need and deserve.  For starters, we call on Congress to fix today’s decision to rectify today’s injustice. We hope you will join the fight with us.

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