The U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday ruled 7-2 (with liberal Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Ruth Bader Ginsburg dissenting) on the Affordable Care Act and birth control, handing the Trump administration a victory by expanding the kinds of employers that can cite religious objections in denying birth control to employees.
NBC News reports: “The Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare, gives the government authority to create the religious and moral objections, said Justice Clarence Thomas for the court’s 7-2 majority. The Department of Health and Human Services “has virtually unbridled discretion to decide what counts as preventive care and screenings,” and that same authority ‘leaves its discretion equally unchecked in other areas, including the ability to identify and create exemptions from its own guildelines.’ In dissent, Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor said the court in the based has struck a balance in relgious freedom cases, so that the beliefs of some do not overwhelm the rights of others. ‘Today for the first time, the court casts totally aside countervailing rights and interests in its zeal to secure religious rights to the nth degree’ and ‘leaves women workers to fend for themselves’ in seeking contraceptive services, they said.”
NBC News adds: “The decision today involved Trump administration rules that would allow publicly traded companies and large universities to claim a religious objection for refusing to provide the coverage. Even more broadly, employers and schools with any moral objection would also be exempt from the requirement.”