Nonbelievers Denounce Supreme Court Decision Allowing Special Religious Privileges for Hobby Lobby

The American Humanist Association strongly criticized today’s U.S. Supreme Court ruling on Burwell v. Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood Specialties v. Burwell, which granted closely held, for-profit corporations a special religious exemption from covering certain forms of birth control mandated by the Affordable Care Act.

“The Supreme Court has placed the religious views of corporate shareholders over the legitimate health care concerns of employees,” said Roy Speckhardt, executive director of the American Humanist Association. “This isn’t religious liberty—it’s religious intrusion that will negatively affect many hard-working Americans.”

By privileging the religious views of corporate owners, the ruling places a substantial burden on women who wish to obtain birth control methods, such as the IUD or morning after pill, the costs of which can be as high as $1,000 annually. The ruling may also spur other for-profit corporations to deny employees access to certain medical procedures, based on their owners’ personal creeds.

“The Supreme Court is endangering the health care of many Americans based on the fictitious idea that a corporation has religious convictions,” said David Niose, legal director of the American Humanist Association’s Appignani Humanist Legal Center. “By expanding the rights of corporations, this court is in fact contracting the rights of hard-working Americans who expect full health care coverage as required by law. ”

In January, the American Humanist Association, with other secular and humanist organizations, signed on to an amicus curiae brief in support of the government that argued a ruling in favor of Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Woods would violate the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment.

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