Local Reaction to Supreme Court Ruling in Hobby Lobby Case - KULR-8 Television, Billings, MT

Local Reaction to Supreme Court Ruling in Hobby Lobby Case

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BILLINGS -

The national chain store Hobby Lobby took this battle to the nation's highest court.

In a 5-4 ruling, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of Hobby Lobby owners, saying closely-held companies do not have to pay for employees' contraceptives. Supporters say this is an affirmation of religious freedom, but others say this opens doors that will put women's health in danger.

The owners said in a statement, ”Today the nation's highest court has re-affirmed the vital importance of religious liberty as one of our country's founding principles. The court's decision is a victory, not just for our family business, but for all who seek to live out their faith."

The ruling says closely-held companies, like Hobby Lobby don't have to pay for some contraceptives mandated by the Affordable Care Act, like the morning-after pill.

"I think that the view of conscience and the violation of conscience was a major issue and I think that won the day so I’m thankful for that and hopefully that will lead to other positive decisions in that area," said Pastor Rich Schwartz with the First Evangelical Free Church.

But some are wary of the decision, saying it will hurt women's health care.

"The real danger is one of who gets to decide a woman's health care?” said Liz Welch, LGBT coordinator with ACLU Montana. “Is it her? Is it her boss? Is it her doctor? And I think that's a real dangerous precedent to set."

Welch says the ruling opens doors for people to view the decision too broadly. Experts say the law shouldn't have a huge effect here in the Magic City though.

"Don’t expect many major changes or impact from this,” said Steven Bentley, Avitus Group senior vice president of finance and chief financial officer. “It’s a very narrowly construed and defined decision."

Bentley says most of the businesses in billings have fewer than 50 employees, so they don't have to provide health insurance under the Affordable Care Act.

The state's Attorney General Tim Fox agrees with the Supreme Court saying the ruling upholds our religious liberties.

 

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