ACLU of Illinois Colleen K. Connell responds to the Supreme Court decision in Hobby Lobby:
The Supreme Court of the United States today launched an unprecedented – and legally unprincipled – attack on women and their right to birth control. Justice Alito, writing for a 5-4 Court, concludes that a for-profit corporation may refuse to provide its employees with insurance coverage for birth control. Justice Alito’s decision reveals the majority’s bias against women and our reproductive health care. He silos women’s health care as deserving of less protection and claims today’s decision is limited. However, this decision is dangerous. It will be used to promote future discrimination.
In a powerful dissent, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg blasts the majority for its legal inconsistencies and its insensitivities to women’s rights. Noting that “the ability of women to participate fully in the economic and social life of the Nation has been facilitated by their ability to control their reproductive lives,” Justice Ginsburg takes the majority to task for rejecting the Affordable Care Act’s attempt to ameliorate the burdens women face in securing medical care, including birth control. She also highlights the radical nature of the majority’s decision regarding corporate law – until this litigation, the Court had never previously recognized that a for-profit corporation qualified for a religious exemption based on the religious view of its shareholders, nor allow an employer to impose its religious views on its employees.