Church and State

Liberals, conservatives, and women’s rights activists continue to debate the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in favor of retail store Hobby Lobby on June 30.

Hobby Lobby narrowly won (5-4) the decision arguing that they should not be forced to offer abortion-inducing drugs like the morning after pill that they feel is morally objectionable. The health care law signed by President Obama in 2010 includes giving women contraception for preventative measures that includes the morning after pills and IUD’s.

Justice Samuel Alito wrote to the court that it’s unlawful to mandate the law under the Religious Freedom Act as it imposed a substantial burden with the contraception requirement.

“We therefore conclude that this system constitutes an alternative that achieves all of the government's aims while providing greater respect for religious liberty,” he explained. “And under RFRA, that conclusion means that enforcement of the HHS contraceptive mandate against the objecting parties in these cases is unlawful.” Alito also wrote that all women are still entitled to FDA-approved contraception.

Not all believers agree. Unitarian Universalist handed condoms out during a protest outside of Hobby Lobby in Illinois.

“I’m just hoping that people who see the demonstration realize that this opinion is not the opinion of religious people as a broad spectrum, but that religious people have many different opinions," Rev. Emmy Belcher told the Daily Herald.

Conservatives were pleased with the decision arguing that it’s a win for religious freedom.

Republican Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal said “The court has made clear today that the Obama administration’s assault on religious freedom in this case went too far,” according to The Huffington Post.

Over 65 protesters organized by The Humanists of Rhode Island, picketed a Hobby Lobby in Warwick, and people also gathered in Tulsa, Oklahoma to protest. The decision has many concerned that the ruling sets a precedent, affecting choices women have in health care.

Women do have a choice-- don’t work for companies that support these religious values.

Hobby Lobby’s current health plan covers 93 percent of the contraception for women and failure to comply would have meant fines of $1.3 million per day, according to published reports.

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