US employers are now allowed to opt-out of the mandate stated in the Affordable Care Act that guarantees no-cost contraception for their woman employees after the Supreme Court favored US President Donald Trump's call to expand the choices of employers on the matter citing religious and moral objections.
With a 7-2 ruling, the Supreme Court has reversed the previous decision by the lower court to block Trump's attempt to weaken the Obamacare contraceptive mandate nationwide.
According to CNN, aside from Trump, a Roman Catholic order for women, Little Sisters of the Poor also considered this a decision a victory. The religious order has also asked the court to step in the process alongside the current administration.
It can be recalled that Trump has previously stated that he would act to protect religious liberty in the country. Thus, the White House has labeled the decision as a big win for both freedom of conscience and religious freedom, based on a statement from Kayleigh McEnany, White House's press secretary.
In the past few weeks, Trump has complained about several court rulings that went against him. The rulings included issues on LGBTQ rights, the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, and abortion. However, with the particular case of the Obamacare contraceptive mandate majority of the justices sided with the president.
Meanwhile, amid discussing the case by the Little Sister, the justices needed to balance the raised concerns regarding the claims of religious liberty and the concerns regarding the health care of women. This is because the contraceptive mandate previously required the employers to provide health insurance plans fro their women employees which include birth control and contraception for free.
However, due to the recent ruling, this means that employers will now have the option not to do so. Women's rights groups have also raised their concerns on this since it will mean that thousands of women will need to look for contraception coverage elsewhere.
The Hill also reported that Justice Clarence Thomas who wrote for the majority during the vote said that the actions done by the federal agencies and the Trump administration in asking for an expansion of the exemptions were lawful.
The majority in the ruling came from the conservative wing of the court and also two liberal justices Stephen Breyer and Elena Kagan. Meanwhile, Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrote in dissent of the ruling.
On the dissenting opinion that she wrote, Ginsburg stated that the administration's call for the expansion of the exemptions contradicts Congress' intentions under the ACA. She also stated that the goal of the ACA was to provide seamless, comprehensive, and no-cost coverage for employed women regarding preventive care which protects their health and well-being.
"Today, for the first time, the Court casts totally aside countervailing rights and interests in its zeal to secure religious rights to the nth degree," the liberal justice further added.