Supreme Court Indicates ‘Hobby Lobby’ Ruling Reaches Entire Birth Control Benefit


Read more of our coverage on the Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood cases here.

Just one day after announcing its decision in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby that for-profit companies can assert religious objections to the birth control benefit in the Affordable Care Act, the U.S. Supreme Court all but confirmed its decision applies broadly to the contraceptive coverage requirement and not simply the limited number of contraceptive methods Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood objected to in their litigation.

In a series of orders issued Tuesday, the Roberts Court sentsix cases back to the federal courts to reconsider rulings in light of its decision in Hobby Lobby. In three cases, federal appeals courts had rejected challenges to the birth control benefit. In those cases, the Supreme Court ordered the appellate courts to take another look at their conclusions in light of the Roberts Court ruling that for-profit companies can assert religious objections under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

In three other cases, federal appellate courts had ruled in favor of for-profit business owners. In those cases, the Supreme Court denied review, leaving stand the appeals courts’ decisions in favor of the businesses.

Among the cases that will be reconsidered is the Eden Foods case involving a Michigan organic foods company whose owner claimed a religious objection to all forms of contraceptive coverage. In an interview with Irin Carmon in April 2013, owner Michael Potter quipped the reason he was filing a suit was “[b]ecause I’m a man, number one and it’s really none of my business what women do.” Potter followed with: “Because I don’t care if the federal government is telling me to buy my employees Jack Daniel’s or birth control. What gives them the right to tell me to do that?”

Each of the orders issued Tuesday involved religious objections to all forms of contraceptive services covered under the Affordable Care Act.

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  • fiona64

    And so it begins … “closely held companies” (like Eden and Cargill) that employ millions of people will suddenly have “religious objections” to women’s health coverage … while continuing to provide full coverage for men. Ugh.

    • kitler

      I’ve heard MRA s make the point that this ruling is great, because no one is giving men free condoms, and its about time women were put in their place. Apparently men have ZERO reproductive rights, and are always s1ut shamed by being told to zip that fly. Finally women are told to stop spreading their legs!

      And these guys are atheists. Supposed skeptics no less.

      • fiona64

        Yeah, it’s too bad that they aren’t bright enough to realize that *no over-the-counter products* are covered by the ACA.

        Maybe we need to remind the MRAs that we buy our own tampons.

        • Shan

          “Maybe we need to remind the MRAs that we buy our own tampons.”

          LOL! So they need to continue buying all their own hemorrhoid cream OTC for all their butthurt.

  • StealthGaytheist

    I’m so surprised.

    Not.

    It won’t be long before they find religious objections to everything under the sun, now that SCOTUS has given them the green light.

  • bitchybitchybitchy

    Eden Foods is one more company that I won’t be patronizing-and another example of the can of worms opened by the Supreme Court’s decision in the Hobby Lobby case.

  • grantal

    I boycotted Eden foods two years ago because they were against BC. In fact Soon I may not be able to shop anywhere! So many bad companies so little time.
    I just read an interesting article saying how this ruling is so open to everything that now environmentalists are going to proclaim fracking as against our religion. HA HA suits me just fine! They sure have opened Pandora’s box. I say we let them deal with all the consequences.

  • Renee Goodwin

    These so-called Christians are so illogical, so what if a jewish or muslim woman that works for them uses her health insurance to get an IUD or the birth control pill, why should or could that offend them? Are they afraid that a woman belonging to whatever freaky church they go to might also get an IUD or the pill? “Sin”, if you believe in such a thing, is a personal failing, so what if someone that works for you “sins”? How does that reflect on you?

  • Frau From Fly-Over USA

    legal peeps: is there any avenue for this ruling to be overturned in the future?