Here's what people are saying about the U.S. Supreme Court's 5-4 ruling that Lancaster County-based Conestoga Wood Specialties Corp. cannot be required to provide contraceptive coverage against its owners' religious convictions.
The finding also applies to national craft retailer Hobby Lobby — the other company in the combined case — and closely held for-profit companies in general.
Conestoga Wood Specialties Corp. President and CEO Anthony Hahn:
“We in the Hahn family want to thank everyone who supported us during this lawsuit. We wholeheartedly affirm what the Supreme Court made clear today — that Americans don’t have to surrender their freedom when they open a family business. As I said at the beginning of this lawsuit, this effort wasn’t just for Conestoga. We took this stand for others as well. The administration has gone too far in disrespecting the freedom of Americans to live out their convictions.”
Harrisburg-based Independence Law Center attorney Randall Wenger, co-counsel in the case:
“No American family should be forced to choose between following their faith and submitting to unlawful and unnecessary government mandates."
Alliance Defending Freedom Senior Legal Counsel Matt Bowman:
“This mandate punishes people of faith, but exempts 100 million others for non-religious reasons. It’s unjust to single out family businesses for their beliefs while letting millions of others off the hook.”
U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.):
“It is great news that the Supreme Court has ruled that closely held, for-profit businesses are entitled to religious protections and exempt from the Obamacare mandate. This is a win for religious liberty.
“I am grateful for Conestoga Wood Specialties’ leadership in challenging this ill-conceived mandate. I congratulate them on the success and the relief this Supreme Court decision will bring for many closely held corporations that choose to follow their religious beliefs.”
Pennsylvania Health Access Network Project Director Antoinette Kraus:
"This is a disappointing ruling that will prevent some women, especially those working hourly-wage jobs and struggling to make ends meet, from getting affordable birth control.
"Contraception is an important benefit used by 99% of women at some point in their lives both for family planning or medical reasons like endometriosis. Strong majorities support insurance coverage for contraception. A recent poll from the Kaiser Family Foundation found that people support the law’s requirement for contraceptive coverage at nearly a 2-1 margin.
"This ruling does not strike down the Affordable Care Act’s birth control benefit. Today, more than 30 million women are eligible for birth control with no co-pay thanks to this benefit, and the vast majority of them will not be affected by this ruling. But for those who are affected, this ruling will have real consequences.
"Bosses should not be able to interfere with a woman’s access to affordable contraception. Health care decisions should be made by a woman and her doctor, not her boss."
Philadelphia-based WomenVote PA Co-chairwoman Kate Michelman:
"The Supreme Court's decision today is a profound setback for women's constitutional rights of equality and personal liberties."
“Today’s court decision is an encouraging step forward as it reaffirms the God-given and Constitutionally protected right to religious liberty in America. Two-hundred-and-twenty-five years ago, the signors of the U.S. Constitution envisioned a country where people of faith could practice their religion free of government oppression. Today, the Court has upheld this vision, and we thank Hobby Lobby for standing in the gap in this landmark case and important fight."
“Our nation’s first Supreme Court Chief Justice, John Jay, once said, ‘Every member of the State ought diligently to read and to study the constitution of his country…. By knowing their rights, they will sooner perceive when they are violated and be the better prepared to defend and assert them.’ Thankfully, many Americans have read and understand our Constitution and the freedoms it protects. We are thankful the Supreme Court today upheld their oath to defend the United States Constitution and the religious liberty guaranteed to all Americans.”
Washington D.C.-based national America Civil Liberties Union Deputy Legal Director Louise Melling:
"This is a deeply troubling decision. For the first time, the highest court in the country has said that business owners can use their religious beliefs to deny their employees a benefit that they are guaranteed by law. Religious freedom is a fundamental right, but that freedom does not include the right to impose beliefs on others. In its ruling today, the Court simply got it wrong."
Minnesota-based national Citizens’ Council for Health Freedom Co-founder and President Twila Brase:
“Our government has worked to force everyone to do something politicians think is best regardless of conscientious beliefs. Today’s decision has given back freedom to a certain group when it comes to the contraception mandate. But Obamacare has essentially trampled over the freedoms of all Americans, including those who want to be free from government health care altogether. This is a wonderful decision to protect the freedom of religion that those in this case have worked so hard to defend.
“Today, one group of citizens has had a few limited rights reinstated, but there are more freedoms that must be returned to all people. The right to be free from government health care should be provided to all. That will be the next step to fight for. And that, of course, will require repealing the law.”
Washington D.C.-based Independent Women’s Forum Director of Health Policy Hadley Heath Manning:
“This ruling is a victory for anyone who believes in limited government and freedom of conscience rights or religious liberty. This lawsuit has wrongfully been depicted as a conflict between religious employers and women, but the real question before the Court was whether there are limits to what government can compel from its citizens and if we are still a country that believes in freedom of conscience.
“This case was about much more than contraception. It was about the principles of liberty that animate our Constitution. It was about empowering women to choose the healthcare and salary options that best fit their needs. And it was about employers, many of them women, being able to follow their deeply held religious beliefs.
“The HHS mandate is bad policy. It comes with unintended consequences for women and for public health. By removing price competition from birth control markets, the mandate would have driven up the cost of drugs for women who remain uninsured, and may have discouraged condom use among those who are insured. We are thankful that the Court ruled today that closely-held corporations will not be required to follow this misguided policy.
“American women already had plentiful access to contraception before HHS created this burdensome employer mandate through ObamaCare. Indeed, Hobby Lobby currently provides its employees 16 of the 20 FDA-approved contraceptives. If the government wants to make birth control even more accessible, there are many other ways that it can do so without forcing employers with religious convictions to pay for abortifacients that violate their beliefs.”