Justice Ginsburg: Buying Contraceptives for Others is One of the ‘Obligations That Citizens Have’

August 1, 2014 - 11:33 AM

ruth bader ginsburg

Supreme Court Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg (AP)

(CNSNews.com) – Providing women with cost-free health-insurance coverage for contraceptives  is one of the “obligations” of citizenship, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said Wednesday in an interview with Yahoo’s Katie Couric.

“Some people say there’s something troubling about mandating a private company though, to do something that is against their deeply held religious beliefs. What would you say to those people?” Couric asked Ginsburg, one of four dissenting justices in the court’s landmark Burwell v. Hobby Lobby decision.

“When you’re part of a society, you can’t separate yourself from the obligations that citizens have,” the justice replied.

Ginsburg called the 5-4 ruling in Hobby Lobby “a decision of startling breadth." The case concerned a regulation issued by the Department of Health and Human Services under the Affordable Care Act that said virtually all health-insurance plans in the United States must provide all women of reproductive capacity with co-pay-free coverage for all FDA-approved contraceptives.

These "contraceptives" included two forms of IUDS and two drugs that can terminate a human life by preventing an embryo from implanting in the mother's womb. The Green family, which owns Hobby Lobby, said buying these IUDs and abortifacients drugs violated its Christian faith and that the Religious Freedom Restoration Act prohibited the federal government from forcing them to violate their faith in that way. The majority of the Supreme Court agreed.

“Your 35-page dissent has been described as blistering and scathing,” Couric noted to Ginsburg. “Why did you find this decision so disturbing?”

“The decision that an employer could refuse to cover contraceptives meant that women would have to take care of that for themselves or the men who cared,” Ginsburg replied. “Contraceptive protection is something that every woman must have access to to control her own destiny,” she added.

“I certainly respect the belief of the Hobby Lobby owners. On the other hand, they have no constitutional right to foist that belief on the hundreds and hundreds of women who work for them who don’t share that belief. I had never seen the free exercise of religion clause interpreted in such a way.”