Some corporations have religious rights, a deeply divided Supreme Court decided Monday in ruling that certain for-profit companies cannot be required to pay for specific types of contraceptives for their employees.
The 5-4 decision based on ideological lines ended the high court’s term with a legal and political setback for a controversial part of President Barack Obama’s healthcare reform law.
It also set off a frenzied partisan debate that will continue through the November congressional elections and beyond over religious and reproductive rights.
All five conservative justices appointed by Republican presidents ruled in favor of closely held for-profit businesses — those with at least 50% of stock held by five or fewer people, such as family-owned businesses — in which the owners have clear religious beliefs.
Contraceptives or abortion?
Both corporations — Conestoga Wood Specialties of Pennsylvania and Hobby Lobby, an Oklahoma-based arts-and-crafts retail giant — emphasize their conscientious desire…
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