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COVID-19 6.30.2014

Court: Closely held companies can't be required to cover contraceptives
Tribunal: No se puede pedir que negocios familiares cubran el costo de anticonceptivos

  • English

    Update: Statement from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops

    Supreme Court Decision on Hobby Lobby: A Great Day for the Religious Freedom of Family Businesses

    The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision today in favor of Hobby Lobby Stores and Conestoga Wood Specialties means “justice has prevailed,” said Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz of Louisville, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, and Archbishop William E. Lori of Baltimore, chairman of the U.S. bishops’ Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty. The Court ruled that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) “preventive services” mandate violates the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) as applied to these employers to the extent that it would have forced them to provide insurance coverage for drugs and devices that violate their religious convictions on respect for human life. The statement follows:

    “We welcome the Supreme Court’s decision to recognize that Americans can continue to follow their faith when they run a family business. In this case, justice has prevailed, with the Court respecting the rights of the Green and Hahn families to continue to abide by their faith in how they seek their livelihood, without facing devastating fines. Now is the time to redouble our efforts to build a culture that fully respects religious freedom.

    “The Court clearly did not decide whether the so-called ‘accommodation’ violates RFRA when applied to our charities, hospitals and schools, so many of which have challenged it as a burden on their religious exercise. We continue to hope that these great ministries of service, like the Little Sisters of the Poor and so many others, will prevail in their cases as well.”


    Update: From

    Supreme Court sides with Hobby Lobby: A Victory for Religious Freedom

    Today’s Supreme Court decision upholding the right of the owners of two corporations, Hobby Lobby Stores and Conestoga Wood Specialties Corporation to refuse to provide forms of contraception that they consider forms of abortion is very significant.  While very narrow, the decision establishes the principle that requirements of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) are subject to the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993.

    On January 28, 2014 the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) filed an amicus curiae brief with the U.S. Supreme Court in support of the plaintiffs in Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. and Conestoga Wood Specialties Corp. v. Sebelius.

    Archbishop William E. Lori of Baltimore, chairman of the USCCB’s Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty, stated that “Catholics believe that the right to religious freedom proceeds from the inherent dignity of each and every human person, and that includes people who run businesses. They should not be specially excluded from the freedom to practice their faith in daily life.”

    Please go to Bishop Farrell's blog for full statement:
    Supreme Court sides with Hobby Lobby: A Victory for Religious Freedom -


    Court: Closely held companies can't be required to cover contraceptives

    By Patricia Zapor
    Catholic News Service

    WASHINGTON (CNS) -- In a narrowly tailored 5-4 ruling, the Supreme Court June 30 said closely held companies may be exempted from a government requirement to include contraceptives in employee health insurance coverage under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

    The court said that Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Woods, the two family-run companies that objected to the government mandate that employees be covered for a range of contraceptives, including drugs considered to be abortifacients, are protected from the requirement of the Affordable Care Act. The opinion essentially held that for-profit companies may hold protected religious views.

    But the court also said that government requirements do not necessarily lose if they conflict with an employer's religious beliefs.

    The ruling is not a slam-dunk for all entities that oppose the contraceptive mandate for religious reasons. The court noted that cases challenging the mandate for nonprofit entities, such as Catholic colleges and faith-based employers, are pending and that the June 30 ruling doesn't consider them. The decision also did not delve into whether the private employers have religiously motivated protection from laws under the First Amendment.

    It said the government failed to satisfy the requirement of RFRA, a 1993 law, that the least-restrictive means of accomplishing a government goal be followed to avoid imposing a restriction on religious expression.

    The majority opinion said the ruling applies only to the contraceptive mandate and should not be interpreted to hold that all insurance coverage mandates -- such as for blood transfusions or vaccinations -- necessarily fail if they conflict with an employers' religious beliefs.

    Justice Samuel Alito wrote the primary holding, which was joined by Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas. Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote a separate concurring opinion, which agreed with the ruling, but made clear that while the opinion applies to the particular companies involved in this case, it's not a sweeping condemnation of the key elements of the contraceptive mandate itself.

    "It is important to confirm that a premise of the court's opinion is its assumption that the HHS regulation here furthers a legitimate and compelling interest in the health of female employees," wrote Kennedy in his concurrence. He went on to say that the federal government failed to use the least restrictive means of meeting that interest, pointing out that it has granted exemptions from the mandate for employees of nonprofit religious organizations.

    "That accommodation equally furthers the government interest, but does not impinge on the plaintiff's religious beliefs," he wrote.

    In her dissent with the main opinion, Justice Ruth Ginsburg called the court's decision one of "startling breadth" allowing commercial enterprises to "opt out of any law" except tax laws that they "judge incompatible with their sincerely held religious beliefs."

    Ginsburg, joined on its merits by Justices Elena Kagan, Sonia Sotomayor and Stephen Breyer, said she was "mindful of the havoc" the ruling could produce and noted that the court's emphasis on RFRA failed to take into account the impact the decision would have on "third parties who do not share the corporation owners' religious faith." She said she believed the law was enacted by Congress "to serve a far less radical purpose."

    "Until today," she wrote, religious exemptions have not been extended to the "commercial profit-making world" because these groups do not exist to foster the interests of those of the same faith, as religious organizations do. She also questioned why the court failed to make the distinction between a group's members of diverse beliefs and members who share the same faith.

    "The court's determination that RFRA extends to for-profit corporations is bound to have untoward effects," she said, adding that even though the court "attempts to cabin its language to closely held corporations, its logic extends to corporations of any size, public or private."

    As a result, she said, "RFRA claims will proliferate."

    - - -

    Contributing to this story was Carol Zimmermann.



    Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

  • Español

    Actualización: Declaración de la Conferencia de Obispos Católicos de los Estados Unidos

    Decisión de la Corte Suprema sobre Hobby Lobby: Un Gran Día para la Libertad Religiosa de Negocios Familiares

    La decisión tomada por la Corte Suprema del país, el día de hoy, en favor de Hobby Lobby Stores y Conestoga Wood Specialties muestra que la “justicia ha prevalecido”, dijeron el Arzobispo Joseph E. Kurtz de Louisville, presidente de la Conferencia de Obispos Católicos de los Estados Unidos, y el Arzobispo William E. Lori de Baltimore, presidente del Comité Ad Hoc para la Libertad Religiosa. La Corte dictaminó que el mandato de “servicios preventivos” del Departamento de Salud y Servicios Humanos de los Estados Unidos (HHS) infringe la Ley de Restauración de la Libertad Religiosa (RFRA) como se aplica estos empleadores al grado que los habría forzado a proveer cobertura de seguro de salud para medicamentos y dispositivos que infringen sus convicciones religiosas sobre el respeto a la vida humana. La declaración a continuación:

    “Recibimos la decisión de la Corte Suprema de reconocer que los estadounidenses pueden continuar siguiendo su fe cuando administran un negocio familiar. En este caso, la justicia ha prevalecido, con la Corte respetando los derechos de las familias Green y Hahn para que continúen obedeciendo su fe al buscar sus sustentos, sin enfrentar multas devastadoras. Este es el momento para redoblar nuestros esfuerzos y construir una cultura que respeta completamente la libertad religiosa.

    La Corte claramente no decidió sobre si la llamada ‘concesión’ infringe la RFRA al aplicarse a nuestras organizaciones caritativas, hospitales y escuelas, muchas de las cuales se han opuesto considerándola una presión al ejercicio de su religión. Continuamos esperanzados en que estos grandes ministerios de servicio, como las Hermanitas de los Pobres y tantos otros, también prevalecerán en sus casos.”



    Actualización: Tomada de

    La Corte Suprema falla a favor de Hobby Lobby: Una Victoria para la Libertad Religiosa

    La decisión de la Corte Suprema de defender el derecho de los propietarios de dos empresas, las tiendas Hobby Lobby y Conestoga Wood Specialities Corporation, que se negaron a proporcionar métodos anticonceptivos que consideran formas de aborto, es muy significativa. Aunque con un margen muy reducido, la decisión establece el principio fundamental que requiere que Ley de Cuidado de Salud Asequible (ACA) esté sujeta a la Ley de Restauración de la Libertad Religiosa de 1993.

    El 28 de Enero de 2014, la Conferencia de Obispos Católicos de los Estados Unidos (USCCB) presentó un expediente amicus curiae ante la Corte Suprema de los Estados Unidos en apoyo de los demandantes en el caso Sebelius vs. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. y Conestoga Wood Specialities Corporation vs. Sebelius.

    El Arzobispo William E. Lori de Baltimore, Presidente del Comité Ad Hoc de la USCCB por la Libertad Religiosa, afirmó que “los Católicos consideran que el derecho a la libertad religiosa procede de la dignidad intrínseca de cada persona humana y que eso incluye a personas que tienen negocios. Ellos no deben ser expresamente excluidos de la libertad de practicar su fe en su vida cotidiana.”

    Visite el blog del Obispo Farrell para leer la declaración completa:

    La Corte Suprema falla a favor de Hobby Lobby: Una Victoria para la Libertad Religiosa - Bishop

    Tribunal: No se puede pedir que negocios familiars cubran anticonceptivos

    WASHINGTON D.C. (ACI/EWTN Noticias) -- La Corte Suprema de Estados Unidos falló hoy a favor de que la empresa Hobby Lobby, y otros empleadores similares, no sean forzados a cumplir con el mandato federal abortista y anticonceptivo de Barack Obama, pues atenta contra sus creencias religiosas.

    En una votación de 5 contra 4, la corte sentenció que el gobierno federal ha fallado en su intento de probar que el mandato era la forma menos restrictiva en avanzar hacia su meta de proveer control natal gratuito a las mujeres.

    La corte dijo que el mandato de Obama no puede ser aplicado a empresas de capital cerrado, con dueños religiosos que objetan esa norma. El Servicio de Impuestos Internos de Estados Unidos define “empresas de capital cerrado” a aquellas con más del 50 por ciento de sus acciones en posesión de cinco o menos individuos.

    El gigante de ventas de materiales para la realización de arte y artesanía Hobby Lobby y sus dueños, la familia Green, desafiaron un mandato federal emitido bajo la Ley de Cuidado de Salud Asequible (conocida como Obamacare), que exige a los empleadores ofrecer cobertura de seguro médico para anticoncepción, esterilización y algunos medicamentos que pueden causar abortos tempranos.

    La familia Green señaló que este mandato requeriría que violen sus profundas creencias cristianas, que se oponen a facilitar un aborto.

    No cumplir con el mandato podría haber resultado en multas mayores al millón de dólares por día. En julio de 2013, la familia Green recibió una orden judicial temporal protegiéndolos de las penalidades, hasta que la Corte Suprema sentenciara sobre su caso.

    Hobby Lobby tiene más de 500 tiendas en Estados Unidos. Motivados por las creencias cristianas de la familia Green, las tiendas están cerradas los domingos, y los dueños pagan un salario por encima del estándar nacional.

    La compañía recibió apoyo de grupos cristianos, judíos e hindúes, preocupados por la libertad religiosa.

    La Conferencia de Obispos Católicos de Estados Unidos emitió un comunicado expresando su oposición  a cualquier norma que requiera que dueños de negocios con motivos religiosos “escojan entre proveer cobertura para productos y mensajes que violan sus creencias religiosas, o exponer sus negocios a devastadoras penalidades”.

    Más de 100 miembros del Congreso y 20 estados presentaron documentos jurídicos apoyando a Hobby Lobby, al igual que grupos pro-vida, incluyendo Demócratas por la Vida.

    En el fallo de hoy, la Corte Suprema también anuló el mandato tal como se aplica a Conestoga Wood Specialties, una compañía de propiedad de una familia menonita, con objeciones religiosas a la regulación.

    La decisión podría tener un impacto amplio en más de 100 otras demandas de libertad religiosa contra el mandato de Barack Obama, por más de 300 demandantes.