The Supreme Court ruled Monday morning that the government cannot compel closely held corporations with religious owners to provide contraception coverage for its employees.
Two family-owned companies, Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood Specialties, had argued that the insurance requirement in President Barack Obama’s signature 2010 health care law violated a 1993 religious-freedom law.
The health care law already excludes churches and other religious entities from the contraception mandate.
The Hobby Lobby arts-and-crafts retailer is operated by evangelical Christians, and cabinet manufacturer Conestoga Wood Specialties is owned by Mennonites.
The Obama administration argued that for-profit companies – even closely held ones – do not exercise religious rights as individuals and therefore are not covered by the 1993 Religious Freedom Restoration Act.
But the court, in a 5-4 vote and majority opinion written by Justice Samuel Alito, upheld an appeals court ruling on the case, finding that the government had failed to show that its mandate is the “least restrictive means of advancing its interest in guaranteeing cost-free access to birth control.”
House Republicans on Thursday used a procedural motion to block a vote on whether to add an exception for incest to an abortion coverage ban in its criminal justice appropriations bill.
The bill prohibits using federal funds to cover abortion for pregnant women in federal prisons, except if the woman’s life is in danger or if she was raped. Incest is usually mentioned as an exception to other federal abortion funding bans such as the Hyde Amendment, but the criminal justice appropriations bill does not contain such an exception.
Texas gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis received a hostile greeting in Los Angeles Thursday morning, when life-sized posters depicting her as “Abortion Barbie” began popping up throughout the city ahead of her fundraiser there.