The Supreme Court ruled Monday that under the Affordable Care Act, some corporations do not have to provide employees with birth control methods they find objectionable. The Oklahoma-based Hobby Lobby chain of arts-and-craft stores had challenged the provision. The State sought reaction from South Carolina religious and political leaders.
We are pleased that the Supreme Court ruled in favor of protecting the religious freedom of Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood. People do not give up their religious freedom when they open a family business. They should not have to check their values and religious convictions at the door when they enter the marketplace.
Statement from the Diocese of Charleston, which represents South Carolina Roman Catholics
The Supreme Court has upheld the proper limits on governments power. The fact that Americans had to bring this case at all is just more evidence of how intrusive Obamacare really is beyond failing to fix our health care system, Obamacare tramples our constitutional rights.
S.C. GOP Chairman Matt Moore
I think of your typical South Carolinian and your South Carolina Christian. They relate to a family starting a business from scratch and wanting it to be God-honoring. (Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood Corp.) thought some of the specific drugs not contraceptives necessarily would be destructive of life and went against their religious beliefs. People relate to that they relate to starting a business and dedicating that business to God and tithing a portion of the proceeds.
Oran P. Smith, president, Palmetto Family Council
Todays ruling is an important decision that advances religious freedom in our country. I am pleased that the Supreme Court upheld all Americans rights to be guided by their faith, both in their personal lives and in their professional ones. This decision is also another example of the Supreme Courts rebuke of the Obama administrations continued quest to overstep their power while trampling religious freedom.
U.S. Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C.
I think it was more religion-based than constitutionally based. What bothers me: We are all for religious freedom but that is freedom of conscience for all people, not a corporations freedom to impose a leaders opinion. We should all have freedom of religion and conscience but corporations should not have corporate religion to impose on its employees. Here, they are trying to prevent women from having contraception and that is more likely to lead to abortion, which all for all religions is considered much worse. No one wants to have abortions. Those who dont want children should be given access to contraception to make every child a wanted child. Even a lot of Christian organizations should be unhappy with this ruling.
Herb Silverman, founder and vice president, Secular Humanists of the Lowcountry
As I tried, without much success, to explain to former HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, this is not a political question, or even a medical question; it is a legal question. Can government require people, including business owners, to violate their religious beliefs if a less restrictive alternative exists to accomplish the same governmental goal? And of course the answer to that question is no. The real surprise this morning was that four Supreme Court justices really believe requiring others to provide free contraception is less restrictive than government providing it itself.
U.S. Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C.
Its a very limited decision. There are going to be some people who will try to make hay from it but I dont think they will prevail. With Kennedys concurrence, it is very narrow in its application and it really hinges on that federal statute. (The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services) has already shown it can make accommodations for nonprofits and the majority seem to believe it should do the same for the Hobby Lobby companies, as well.
I think Justice Ginsbergs concerns about what chaos might ensue may be correct, in terms of future litigation, but the long-term effects will most likely be limited. One thing that is unfortunate about the decision in terms of religion is that it too closely identifies what religion means with a very narrow concept of Christian values. I hope this does not worry people who do not share those values but also have deeply held religious beliefs. From a corporate law perspective, this case reflects the continuation of a long-term goal from a number of people in academia to broaden the rights that corporations have. This court has been very friendly to those kind of arguments, this case continues that trend but, read in light of Kennedy's concurrence, they tried to keep this ruling narrow.
Jacqueline Fox, USC School of Law health care law and policy professor