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June 30, 2014

NJDC Statement on Hobby Lobby Decision

Listed in: Women's Issues, Reproductive Rights, NJDC News, Press Releases

Following the ruling today by the Supreme Court that corporations can have religious beliefs that trump employee’s personal beliefs and medical decisions, NJDC Executive Director Rabbi Jack Moline expressed extreme disappointment.

“NJDC is disappointed in the Hobby Lobby ruling, as it discriminates against women and provides standing for potential future actions that seek to further restrict women’s healthcare on the basis of the employer’s religious belief.  It is every woman’s right to make her own medical decisions, without her boss’ opinion influencing it,” said Rabbi Jack Moline.

The decision sets a slippery slope precedent for private for-profit corporations to claim religious exemptions from federal law, expanding beyond the birth control debate to possible coverage of other medical and non-medical services.  Employers can pick and choose which health services they will cover for employees, without medical justification.  In effect, this ruling allows businesses to force employees to live by the employer’s religious values, regardless of the employee’s personal beliefs.  Employees could be vulnerable to job-loss for reasons unrelated to job performance. 

“This verdict implies that it is not important for for-profit corporations to ensure women’s access to basic health care,” said Rabbi Jack Moline. “NJDC believes that healthcare is the right of an individual, and that how one uses his or her healthcare is a matter of one’s conscience.

“For-profit, secular corporations that choose to provide health insurance must provide comprehensive health services. NJDC firmly believes that one’s religion should not dictate another person’s private life, and it is important that we do what we can to protect personal medical decisions without the interference of employers or court justices.”