SCOTUS ruled today in favor of Hobby Lobby's request for a religious exemption from the Affordable Care Act's mandate that insurance plans be required to cover contraception costs for plan members. This is the first time that the Supreme Court has ruled that profit-seeking corporations are capable of holding religious views, and may be exempted from federal law because of the corporation's religious convictions.
The ACA mandates the coverage of a number of preventive therapies, including contraception, in order to try to prevent fraudulent plans from being marketed as genuine health insurance under the ACA. The ACA has always exempted religious institutions, however, from offering to their employees insurance coverage for contraceptive therapies to which the religion objected.
Now, all private corporations also have the opportunity to limit insurance coverage provided to their employees, based the corporation's religious convictions.
The decision was 5-4, based on the party affiliations of the justices. The court's four liberal justices pointed out that allowing corporations to opt out of federal law on the basis of religious beliefs is a decision of "startling breadth," which may have disastrous implications (even beyond the ACA). Corporations may now be free to block coverage for blood transfusions, vaccines, and many life-saving therapies to which they object.