Hobby Lobby Case Sparks Legislation

Jul 14, 2014

Most Virginia Democrats are pushing legislation to overturn last week's Supreme Court decision allowing some companies to deny contraception to employees.

Eleven years after Congress passed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act a slim majority of the Supreme Court used the law in its ruling that four contraceptives, including two versions of the morning after pill, don’t have to be covered by health insurance if they violate the religious faith of private business owners. Virginia Democratic Senator Tim Kaine says that’s not how the Supreme Court is supposed to work.  

“They said it violated this other congressional statute. And they’re supposed to assume that we know what the congressional statutes are and we’re writing them harmoniously.”

Kaine and many other Democrats are trying to overturn the ruling with legislation they say will protect female workers. But Virginia Republican Congressman Scott Rigell says both sides are over reacting.

“It’s not quite of the loss to women’s rights I mean the right to an abortion, but nor is you know that great a victory for right to life.”

Rigell is a business owner. He says he knows from experience the court’s ruling that smaller, privately owned companies can make business decisions based on the owner’s personal religious beliefs makes sense.

In the wake of the ruling, it’s not just Republicans who say the debate over contraceptives on Capitol Hill has become overblown. Northern Virginia Democratic Congressman Jim Moran says members of his own party are overreacting to the Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby decision. Congressman Moran says they’re over hyping the ruling.  

“It’s a much more restrictive decision then is being portrayed by either side.”

But Democrats say some of the contraceptives the Court ruled don’t have to be offered women need for medical reasons. Still, Moran says both parties are using the decision

“Because it’s being raised, used as a fundraising tool…”

Many in the G-O-P are praising the Court for what they say is upholding religious freedom.