GOODLATTE STATEMENT ON LANDMARK HOBBY LOBBY DECISION
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the Supreme Court announced a landmark decision in support of religious freedom in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby. The Court ruled 5-4 in favor of Hobby Lobby. The Court determined that the Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) contraceptive mandate burdens the free exercise of religion and that the mandate applied to closely-held corporations violates the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. The HHS mandate requires employer coverage of contraception that violates the conscience rights of some employers, such as sterilizations and abortion-inducing drugs.
House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) issued the following statement on the Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Supreme Court decision announced today.
Chairman Goodlatte: “Today’s historic decision by the Supreme Court upholds free exercise protection embodied in the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) and affirms our nation’s legacy of protecting religious freedom. Our nation’s laws have long protected the rights of people to freely exercise their religious beliefs. Americans deserve the freedom to live and work according to their religious beliefs without fear of punishment by the government.
“As an original co-sponsor of RFRA over two decades ago and as a supporter of liberty, I am pleased that the Court upheld the law’s free exercise protection that the ‘government shall not substantially burden a person’s exercise of religion.’ The conscience rights of businesses led by people of faith such as Hobby Lobby are included in this definition and protected under the law as now affirmed by the Supreme Court.”
Background: During the planning and implementation of Obamacare, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued a mandate that required all employers—including religious institutions and family-owned businesses—to provide contraception coverage for certain devices that can strictly violate some employers’ conscience rights. Regardless of an employer’s religious or moral beliefs, the mandate required coverage of procedures such as sterilizations and abortion-inducing drugs. The decision today determined that HHS ignored the requirements of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act by not providing a religious exception from the mandate’s requirements. The decision addresses religious liberty, and does not limit a woman’s right to obtain contraceptives from other sources.