Senator Coons Condemns Supreme Court Decision in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby

Targeted News Service |

WASHINGTON, June 30 -- The office of Sen. Chris Coons, D-Del., issued the following news release: U.S. Senator Chris Coons (D-Del.), a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, issued the following statement Monday after the Supreme Court ruled against women's health care rights in the case of Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores Inc. The case challenged a requirement of the Affordable Care Act that qualifying health insurance plans offer women access to birth control at no cost. "A woman's choice in birth control should be between her and her doctor, and the religious beliefs of the woman's boss should have no role in it. I am deeply disappointed in the Supreme Court's decision in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores Inc. today, declaring that a corporation should be allowed to deny its female employees insurance coverage for contraception that its owners find religiously objectionable. This decision fundamentally discriminates against women, particularly those who lack the financial means to pay for contraception out of pocket. "While the First Amendment protects the rights of an individual to freely practice his or her religion, I fundamentally disagree with the idea that a for-profit corporation is capable of religious belief. Hobby Lobby is a nationwide chain employing more than 13,000 full-time employees and earning more than $2 billion in annual revenue. It is organized as a for-profit corporation and its owners receive all of the benefits that go along with that structure. The argument that such a business - as opposed to its owners - has religious beliefs is an unfortunate, if predictable, consequence of the decision in Citizens United v. FEC. The Court has decided that the religious beliefs of a corporation's owners are more important than those of the vast majority of Americans who see no conflict between their religion and safe, legal methods of contraception. "Decisions about a woman's health care should be made in a doctor's office, not in a boardroom. If certain contraceptive options violate a woman's personal religious beliefs, she is free not to pursue those options, but her employer should not be allowed to make that decision for her. "The Court's ruling risks opening the floodgates for business owners who want to use religious freedom to exempt their businesses from offering any healthcare at all, or who wish to discriminate against LGBT employees in violation of state law, or against African-American employees or customers in violation of state and federal law. Although the Court's holding is formally limited to the context of contraception, recent 'religious freedom' laws proposed in several states show that there are legions of plaintiffs who will be eager to expand upon today's ruling. Our Constitution allows and respects all religious beliefs, but it does not provide an excuse for businesses to escape the responsibilities of generally applicable laws. I am very disappointed in the Supreme Court's decision and am extremely concerned about the abuse it now invites." TNS 18EstebanLiz-140701-30FurigayJane-4783984 30FurigayJane

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