The Supreme Court ruled today that private companies can now refuse to provide emergency contraception coverage to employees. The decision has ignited cheers from pro-life organizations and protests amongst pro-choice advocates. But in the midst of the Supreme Court's ruling, it can be confusing as to what this actually means for employees and citizens as a whole. Here is what you need to know about the Supreme Court's ruling.
Does this mean that companies will no longer fund emergency contraceptive coverage?
No. The ruling provides companies the choice to fund contraceptive coverage, but it does not automatically mean that they are required to.
Does this mean that private companies with a religious background similar to Hobby Lobby will no longer provide contraceptive support whatsover?
No. The businesses in this case were primarily concerned with emergency contraceptives (the "morning after" pill,) which they consider being close to or on par with abortion. Hobby Lobby indicated that they held no objection to common forms contraceptives, including condoms and birth control pills.
Because Hobby Lobby is a large corporation, does this mean that others will likely follow suit in denying employees coverage?
Not necessarily. Hobby Lobby's decision to deny contraceptive coverage to employees stems majorly from their company's religious background. Hobby Lobby is also a privately held corporation, not public. Other large private companies may follow Hobby Lobby's example, but the religious beliefs that compose the retail store's business practices make them a unique case.
Does this mean that Hobby Lobby and other private companies can deny other medical services from Obamacare?
No. The Court's ruling only specified contraceptives. But many do fear though that the decision could open a floodgate of private companies arguing to not provide benefits based on their beliefs.
How does this decision impact other groups not concerned with the contraception issue?
From the ruling, the Court suggested that private firms could not discriminate based on the race of an employee. But many are still concerned that this decision will impact the LBGT group negatively. Additionally, past decisions from this Supreme Court have been heavily business friendly, and the Hobby Lobby ruling only points to more rights of employee's being threatened in the future.
Who "wins" from this ruling?
1. Big business. The decision immediately provides more rights to private firms than their employees.
2. Conservatives/Libertarians. Those who advocate for a small, non-interventional government have viewed this decision as another victory.
Who "loses" from this ruling?
1. Employees at private organizations. The decision, while only specifying emergency contraceptives, is still viewed as another way where companies can continue to deny employees benefits based on religious beliefs.
2. LGBT groups. Again, while the ruling only specified emergency contraceptives, religious based businesses have continuously clashed with LGBT groups, and this decision will encourage private companies to deny other services in the future.
3. Liberals. Those who advocate pro-choice along with those who don't want the rights of the individual being overshadowed by the power of corporations and big business have viewed this ruling as a defeat.
What you need to know about the Supreme Court's Hobby Lobby ruling