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What Hobby Lobby Decision Means for Women and Their Sexual Health

By Stacy Lloyd HERWriter
 
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Hobby Lobby decision: what it means for women and sexual health
Liz Van Steenburgh/PhotoSpin

In a 5-4 vote on June 30, 2014 the Supreme Court ruled that the Affordable Care Act cannot require closely held, for-profit corporations to provide health insurance that covers contraception services for women when those services go against their religious beliefs, Time.com reported.

Hobby Lobby objected to paying for certain types of emergency contraception, including Plan B, Ella -- both commonly known as the morning after pill -- and two types of IUD (intrauterine device). The company believes these types of birth control amount to abortion. It did not object to covering other types of contraception, including birth control pills.

Women’s Health stated that Hobby Lobby asked for an exemption based on the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 (RFRA), which states that the government shall not substantially burden a person’s exercise of religion unless it is the least restrictive way to further a compelling governmental interest.

The Supreme Court ruling said that RFRA did apply to this situation, granting them the same contraceptive mandate compromise that has already been given to religious non-profits.

Most working women will probably see no effect from the ruling, according to corporate health benefits consultants, Al Jazeera America said.

However, the thousands of women employed by Hobby Lobby and cabinet maker Conestoga Wood, will be directly impacted, but experts said many other women might also feel the blow. That’s because this ruling may make it easier for other closely held, for-profit corporations to also ask for an exemption, according to Women’s Health.

In a majority opinion, Justice Samuel Alito, indicated that employees could still obtain the birth control coverage via an accommodation to the mandate that the Obama administration has already introduced for religious-affiliated non-profits.

The accommodation allows health insurance companies to provide the coverage without involving the employer in the process. Eligible non-profits must provide a self-certification authorizing insurance companies to provide the coverage.

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