DENVER (CBS4) – President Obama says a ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court will jeopardize women’s health. The high court ruled some for-profit companies don’t have to provide contraception coverage to their employees.
The owners of Hobby Lobby challenged that part of the Affordable Care Act because birth control violates the company’s religious beliefs. The White House argued birth control is essential to women’s overall health.
Monday’s ruling could impact nearly 50 pending lawsuits filed by different companies challenging the birth control requirements.
Hobby Lobby locations, including one in Denver, are closed on Sundays. The Oklahoma couple that owns the chain are evangelical Christians. They argued contraception is in violation of their beliefs and won their case.
Those outside the Supreme Court seemed as divided as the justices. The 5-4 ruling allows corporations like Hobby Lobby under the control of just a few people to opt out of covering contraception for women. That is very similar to why Colorado Christian University has sued the government regarding its employees.
“Well, I’m elated the court has sustained the principle of religious liberty,” Colorado Christian University President Bill Armstrong said.
Armstrong, a former U.S. senator, not only heads Colorado Christian University, but sits on the board of a privately held company that appears to be directly affected by the Supreme Court decision.
“We do not think the constitution permits the government to coerce people to do things against their religious convictions,” Armstrong said.
Colorado Christian University would have had to pay fines beginning Tuesday if it did not comply with the contraceptive provision of the so called Obamacare law. But it won a court ruling at least temporarily barring the fines. Meantime pro-choice groups are dismayed by the high court ruling.
“I’m stunned. I’m sure everybody else is too,” Karen Middleton with NARAL Pro-Choice Colorado said.
Middleton feels employers should be required to foot the bill for contraception for women.
“The idea that I might have to make a decision about where I work based on what kind of health care I can access, whether I can use a certain form of birth control, that is a pretty devastating and overreaching effect,” she said.