Supreme Court rules employers can refuse to provide coverage for contraception
U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., said blocking access to birth control will have economic and public health consequences that the country cannot afford.
On the company website, Hobby Lobby co-founder Barbara Green said: “Today the nation’s highest court has re-affirmed the vital importance of religious liberty as one of our country’s founding principles.”
On Monday, two of those people visited the Hobby Lobby in Manchester, the company’s only location in New Hampshire.
Jenn Eppley drove from Haverhill, Mass., after hearing the decision. Eppley complained to the store manager about the warm store temperature, then congratulated him about the victory.
Manchester resident Mark Roswick also spoke to the store manager. The salesman didn’t buy anything, but he said he encourages his wife and children to shop at Hobby Lobby.
Charla Stevens, a Manchester lawyer in the fields of employment and health care, said Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito seemed to be as careful as possible in keeping the decision narrow, anticipating that dissenting judges would speculate about the implications.
However, she noted that small companies owned by people with sincerely held religious beliefs could qualify. A Catholic business owner could refuse to pay for all birth control, since Catholicism objects to any birth control, she said.
Hobby Lobby objected to four forms of birth control, two kinds of inter-uterine devices and two varieties of morning-after pills.
Democratic Gov. Maggie Hassan said contraception is one of the biggest health care expenses for women and families. She said she’s optimistic that employers will continue to provide the coverage.
Republicans — including U.S. Sen. Kelly Ayotte, 2nd District congressional candidate Gary Lambert and gubernatorial candidate Andrew Hemingway — applauded the ruling along the lines of religious liberty.
Scott Brown, the Republican hoping to unseat Shaheen, supports women’s health care and access to contraception, said his spokesman, Elizabeth Guyton. “But by injecting government into every aspect of our lives, Obamacare threatens all our freedoms. The best solution is to repeal it.”
Union Leader Staff Writer Mark Hayward contributed to this report.
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