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Supreme Court Allows Some Corporations Exemption from Contraceptive Mandate

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled Monday that private for-profit corporations are entitled to an exemption on religious grounds from Obamacare's requirement that their insurance plan provide employees with free contraceptive services.

The 5-4 decision narrowly applies to closely-held private corporations such as the two involved in the lawsuits considered by the court, Hobby Lobby, a large national chain owned by an evangelical Christian family, and Conestoga Wood Specialties, a small Pennsylvania firm owned by Mennonites. It does not apply, the court said, to non-profit organizations who object to the mandate such as Ave Maria University and numerous other faith-based organizations.

Ave Maria University President Jim Towey said in a statement that AMU "is thrilled that Hobby Lobby's rights of conscience and religious liberty prevailed" and suggested the decision bodes well for AMU's own objections to the mandate.

"Because of the Court's reprimand of the Obama administration's policy, we are now more confident that Ave Maria University's pending lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida will end successfully and our legal claims will be vindicated."

So, Mr. Towey said in an interview, "Ave Maria University will be going back to federal court with a motion to re-open its case," which courts had put on hold pending the Hobby Lobby case.

"Justice Alito wrote in his decision that the most straightforward way to provide this coverage is for the government to pay the cost. I don't understand why they didn't do that, the same way they did for food stamps."

Mr. Towey said he hoped that the Obama administration will take the court's decision as a signal to modify its policy that mandates free contraceptive coverage. "HHS Secretary (Sylvia Matthews) Burwell should clean up the mess of her predecessor and immediatley conform her agency's regulations to the High Court's holding and exempt Ave Maria University and other plaintiffs in dozens of lawsuites throughout America."

Hobby Lobby was represented by the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, which also is representing Ave Maria University in the case.

Click here for full text of statement from Ave Maria University

Click here for more on the decision from The Associated Press

 

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Around the Neighborhoods
October, 2014 Edition