Freedom of Conscience Upheld

CONTACT: Val Baertlein 651-766-7896

Freedom of Conscience Upheld in Today’s Hobby Lobby Decision

Today the Supreme Court, in a 5 to 4 decision, found that two for-profit corporations with sincerely held religious beliefs do not have to provide contraceptives, including abortifacients, at no cost to their employees under to the Affordable Care Act. The Court found that the HHS mandate violated their religious freedom.

“There was much at stake for religious freedom in today’s U.S. Supreme Court decision” said Val Baertlein, Executive Director of the Catholic Defense League.

“Although this ruling addressed the for-profit company’s exemption, Catholics may be encouraged knowing that exemptions from the HHS’s mandate requiring complete and total funding of health insurance coverage under President Obama’s Affordable Care Act are now possible.”

Religious Liberty has long been recognized in America, not only as a God-given right, but one guaranteed under the Constitution. It was also spelled out in clear and unequivocal language in the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, (RFRA) which was passed almost unanimously by Congress in 1993.

The RFRA was intended to prevent future legislation that would make it difficult for citizens to freely exercise their religious beliefs. According to the plaintiffs, this is exactly what the HHS mandate under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) attempted to do.

We are pleased that a majority of the Court recognized that the HHS mandate was a violation of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

“Still, a 5-4 decision is a very close call,” according to Baertlein, “given the significance of our religious liberty, America’s first freedom. Catholics and all citizens who respect religious freedom should be grateful for the reprieve given by this ruling. But they should not rest easy.”

“This ‘win’ is just as much a warning,” said Baertlein. “For Catholics especially, it is a stark reminder of the importance of having the voice of Catholic laity in the public square, which includes the legislative arena. The Catechism of the Catholic Church calls for Catholics to ‘help … in the formation and diffusion of sound public opinion.’ “
The Catholic Defense League especially appreciates the courage and commitment of those who stepped up, stood up, and fought for religious freedom during lawmaking and after the Affordable Care Act was signed into law.
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