Pelosi: ‘We Should Be Afraid Of This Court’

July 11, 2014 - 3:30 PM

Nancy Pelosi

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.). (CNSNews.com/Penny Starr)

(CNSNews.com) – House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) told reporters on Thursday that Americans “should be afraid of this court,” the U.S. Supreme Court, calling its recent decision to grant the owners of Hobby Lobby a religious exemption from the Obamacare contraceptive and abortion drug mandate “stunning.”

“Really, we should be afraid of this court,” Pelosi said during her press conference on Capitol Hill. “That five guys can start determining what contraceptives are legal. Let's not even go there. It is so stunning and, of course, this is more like the Wheaton decision a few days later, which was also problematic. But that court decision was a frightening one.”

“That five men could get down to specifics of whether a woman should use a diaphragm and she should pay for it herself or her boss,” she continued. “It's not her boss's business. The business is whatever his business is, but it's not what contraception she uses.”

Hobby Lobby Birth Control

The Hobby Lobby store in Oklahoma City, Okla. (AP Photo/Andre’ P. Kissel)

In the case of Hobby Lobby, the U.S. Supreme Court recently ruled in a 5-4 vote that a closely-held corporation could be exempted from having to pay for certain contraceptives mandated under Obamacare, such as abortifacients and intrauterine devices, if the mandate required the owners to violate their religious beliefs.

The ruling exempts Hobby Lobby from providing four of the 20 contraceptives mandated under Obamacare, including two emergency contraceptives and two intrauterine devices.

The ruling did not include a provision for or against diaphragms.

Shortly after rendering the Hobby Lobby verdict, the Supreme Court also blocked the administration from mandating that Wheaton College, an evangelical institution in Illinois, sanction emergency birth control measures for its employees by signing over insurance responsibilities to a third party. The college had maintained such an act made them complicit in providing life-ending drugs and therefore violated their religious beliefs.

Pelosi also said there is cause for concern over the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), a bill that would ban workplace discrimination against members of the LGBT community, which passed the Senate last year.

In an effort to garner Republican support for the bill, ENDA was amended last year to include a “religious exemptions” clause. That change drew criticism from gay rights groups, some of which have pulled their support from the bill, complaining the exemption would give religiously affiliated organizations the green light to discriminate at will against LGBT people.

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Pelosi said her concern for the future of the bill stems from a heightened “fear of the court” due to the Hobby Lobby and Wheaton decisions.

“There is resistance now because of a change in the dynamic in terms of fear of the court,” she said.

“The court decision is – we are all taken aback by it.  So we will meet and build our consensus around what we would do.  But before the court decision, yeah, I would say I would have voted for the bill as I celebrated its passage in the United States Senate because it is a giant step forward,” Pelosi continued.

With regard to ENDA, Pelosi said there are “aspects of it I do not like,” but said that “this is what the Senate can pass,” adding that she “[has] a plan” to get the bill passed in the House.

“This is what the Senate can pass,” she said. “So the choice is do we go for this or should we – look, I have a plan I’m not going to tell you, but I have a plan on this because this is really, really very important to me as it always has been.”