Tampa area workers are among those impacted by a SCOTUS ruling regarding birth control

NEW PORT RICHEY, Fla - Similar to the Supreme Court, Bay area residents are also divided over a Monday's ruling that certain for-profit companies cannot be required to pay for specific types of contraceptives for their employees.

The 5-4 decision comes after two corporations, Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood Specialties, filed suit, arguing that the Affordable Care Act, violated the First Amendment and other laws protecting religious freedoms because it requires them to provide coverage for contraceptives like intrauterine devices and Plan B, which they feel are tantamount to abortion.

"If you want contraception and you work for Hobby Lobby, it is out of your pocket," explained Jeffrey Swartz, a professor at Cooley Law School.

Unlike Conestoga Wood Specialities, Hobby Lobby operates ten stores in the Central Florida area.  ABC Action News spoke to shoppers at their location in New Port Richey.

"I'm disgusted," said Vicki Laster, a Hobby Lobby shopper.

"I am happy about the ruling," said Chris Depoutot, a shopper.

Swartz explained that this ruling is very narrow in it's interpretation and only applies to privately held companies.

He added, however, that using the term corporation now becomes a slippery slope.

"Now corporations have a soul, they have the ability to believe in things," Swartz said.

Swartz believes this ruling will open doors for more lawsuits challenging the Affordable Care Act and could lead to a discussion about abortion rights.

"You can't force an organization to pay for something that goes against their religion," Depoutot added.

While it is up to workers to choose to work and the subsequently accept employment, others feel workers should have access to all healthcare.

"It's a business, it is not a church," said Lesley, a shopper.

Women who work at Hobby Lobby can turn to other government organizations to obtain birth control.  Additionally, it will now be up to the government how to get these women access to birth control, which is mandated under the Affordable Care Act.

 

 

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