Locals react to Hobby Lobby decision

BY KRISTIN BARON | JULY 01, 2014 5:00 AM

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A Supreme Court ruling on Monday will give some companies the right to religious freedom when it comes to providing contraception.

In a 5-4 ruling, the Supreme Court sided with Christian-affiliated company Hobby Lobby in a case determining whether companies should provide contraception coverage in their health-care plans if it goes against owner’s religious beliefs.

Under the Affordable Care Act of 2010, companies were required to provide contraception in their health-care packages, at no cost to the employee.

Currently, Hobby Lobby offers insurance that covers most birth control, but the company does not provide coverage for emergency contraceptives. Monday’s ruling was strictly written so that any other medical coverage that goes against religious beliefs is not included.

In a press release from the the Interfaith Alliance of Iowa, Executive Director Connie Ryan Terrell questioned whether rulings such as this will lead business owners to impose their religious beliefs on all employees, as well as the general public.

“Quite frankly, the implications are frightening,” she said in the press release.

Gretchen Hamel, on behalf of Iowa Republican Senate Candidate Joni Ernst, applauded the Supreme Court decision.

“This case was never about limiting individual health-care decisions — but about pushing back against the violation of religious freedom by President Obama and Bruce Braley, which is guaranteed by the First Amendment,” Hamel said in the statement.

Both President Bob Vander Plaats, and Vice President Chuck Hurley of the Family Leader, an Iowa based “pro-family, pro-marriage, and pro-life” organization, also acknowledged this case as a fight for religious freedom and supported the Supreme Court’s decision.

“I hope and pray that this fragile ruling assists in fueling the need for revival in America and a new sense of urgency for defending our religious freedoms,” Vander Plaats said in a statement.

Whether the case is truly about individual health care or exercising religious freedom, there are still women who wish to use contraceptives that will now face numerous limitations because of the decision.

“As a gynecologist, I’m disappointed in the ruling,” said Ann Laros, a physician at UI Student Health and Wellness. “The right to choose when you have children is important.”

Typical barriers that prevent women from obtaining birth control are cost, confidentiality, particularly if a woman is under her parents’ insurance, as well as access to doctors and pharmacies, Laros said.

“No woman should have her access to affordable birth control cut off because of her boss’ opinion,” Christina Freundlich, communications director for the Iowa Democratic Party, said in a press release.

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