On the last day of June, a Supreme Court split decision ruled in the favor of corporations, determining that some for-profit companies will not be required to pick up the tab for certain kinds of contraceptives used by their employees.
Considered a blow to employee rights all across the nation, the Court’s decision was split 5 – 4 on ideological lines. For the Obama administration, it is a political setback. According to the White House spokesman, the president thinks the decision “jeopardizes the health of women who are employed by these companies.”
The spokesman said that President Obama plans to work with Congress to find ways for the female employees who are affected by the Supreme Court’s decision to continue having contraceptive coverage.
The decision set off a tumultuous partisan debate over reproductive versus religious rights that is expected to go on long after the midterm elections are held in November.
The majority decision was made by the five conservative justices who were all appointed by Republican presidents. Their decisions have consistently fallen on the side of for-profit businesses. In this ruling, businesses with at least half of their stock in the hands of five or fewer individuals, which is often the case in family-owned businesses, with owners having clear religious beliefs, will not be required to provide insurance coverage for certain contraceptives. One example is the so-called “morning-after pill,” which some view as a form of early-term abortion.
Dissenting Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg opined that the court had “ventured into a minefield,” and that employees “who do not share their employer’s religious beliefs” will be put at a disadvantage.
While there may be an administrative fix that the Obama administration can put in place to have the government pick up the slack of these employers, some Missouri employees will doubtlessly be affected by the high court’s decision.
Source: CNN, “Supreme Court rules against Obama in contraception case,” June 20, 2014