Va. lawmakers comment on Hobby Lobby decision

FILE - In this May 22, 2013, customers enter and exit a Hobby Lobby store in Denver. The Supreme Court is poised to deliver its verdict in a case that weighs the religious rights of employers and the right of women to the birth control of their choice. Employers must cover contraception for women at no extra charge among a range of preventive benefits in employee health plans. Dozens of companies, including the arts and crafts chain Hobby Lobby, claim religious objections to covering some or all contraceptives. (AP Photo/Ed Andrieski, File)

VIRGINIA (WAVY) — Several Virginia lawmakers released statements Monday following the Supreme Court’s decision that for-profit employers with religious objections can refuse to pay for employee’s contraception.

From the Office of U.S. Senator Tim Kaine:

I cannot understand how a majority of the Supreme Court can say that an employer, for religious reasons, may deprive employees of health care coverage for contraception but for no other standard medical service or treatment. It makes the case less about religious freedom and more about denial of access to contraception. I am mystified that the Court chose to join an ideological battle against contraception.

From the Officer of Congressman J. Randy Forbes (VA-04):

Religious freedom is the cornerstone of a free society, and every American-regardless of whether we are religious-should be concerned when the government attempts to restrain free exercise. We live in a country whose laws respect freedom and diversity, and today the Supreme Court affirmed the Constitution’s strong protections for all Americans to live and work by their convictions. Freedom of conscience can include nothing less than the way a person lives all aspects of his or her life. As a nation, our laws must encourage and support, not penalize, citizens who seek to adhere to their moral convictions.

In an opinion authored by Justice Alito, the Court held that the Affordable Care Act’s HHS mandate violates the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, a bill passed by Congress in 1993 with overwhelming bipartisan support. In today’s opinion, the Court stated, “The plain terms of RFRA make it perfectly clear that Congress did not discriminate . . . against men and women who wish to run their businesses as for-profit corporations in the manner required by their religious beliefs.

Congressman Forbes and Senator Blunt led 88 Members of Congress in an amicus curiae brief, supporting Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood. Congressman Forbes and Senator Boozman also coauthored an op ed on the mandate in March.

From the office of U.S. Senator Mark R. Warner (D-VA):

While the Court’s Hobby Lobby decision is narrow, I believe these conversations should be between women and their doctors, not a woman and her boss. I trust the women of Virginia to make their own healthcare decisions.


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