ADL Disappointed by “Minefield” Created by Supreme Court’s Decision on Contraceptive Coverage

New York, NY, June 30, 2014 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today expressed deep disappointment and concern over the Supreme Court’s 5-4 decision in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc., a case regarding the obligation of for-profit, secular corporations to provide contraceptive coverage to their employees. The court determined that private, closely held corporations can rely on the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) to refuse to include certain forms of contraception in the insurance coverage mandated by the Affordable Care Act.

Barry Curtiss-Lusher, ADL National Chair, and Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director, issued the following statement:

We are deeply disappointed and concerned by the court’s ruling that closely held for-profit corporate entities are entitled to the protections provided by the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

We share Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s belief that this decision ventures “into a minefield” by extending RFRA’s application beyond organizations formed “for a religious purpose.” RFRA was never intended to apply to corporations, nor was it meant to be used as a sword to thwart anti-discrimination laws or limit the rights of third parties.  As an active member of the broad coalition to enact it over several years, we know that its purpose was to serve as a shield against discrimination. 

While the majority’s assertion that the ruling is limited solely to the contraception mandate is worth noting, we are troubled that it may be used by corporations seeking to impose other religious beliefs on employees.

We urge Congress and the Obama Administration to act swiftly to implement a system to ensure that every woman has cost-free access to the full range of FDA-approved contraceptives.

ADL joined an amicus brief with a diverse group of more than two dozen faith-based organizations, arguing that applying the contraception regulations to the corporations does not substantially burden religion.  The brief was prepared by Americans United for the Separation of Church and State.

The Anti-Defamation League was founded in 1913 to stop the defamation of the Jewish people and to secure justice and fair treatment to all. Today it is the world’s leading organization combating anti-Semitism, exposing hate groups, training law enforcement on hate crimes, developing anti-bias education programs for students, countering cyber-hate and relentlessly pursuing equal rights for all.

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