Rabbinical Assembly Expresses Grave Concern over Hobby Lobby Decision

RA calls on Administration to allow qualified corporations to utilize system for religious orgs.

NEW YORK – In response to the ruling of the US Supreme Court in the cases of Burwell v. Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood v. Burwell, which allows employers to exclude certain contraceptive methods from healthcare plans offered to their employees, the Rabbinical Assembly issued the following statement:

Rabbi Julie Schonfeld, Executive Vice President stated:

To the extent that any Justice on the court intended today’s decision to be read as justifying a denial of access to women’s contraceptive choices based on employers’ religious beliefs, we categorically reject that interpretation. We urge that this decision be read more narrowly to hold that it is only permissible to accommodate a “closely held private corporation’s” religious beliefs about contraception to the extent that there is a readily and easily implementable alternative to provide all contraceptive options to affected employees. We express our grave concern for the fact that female employees of such corporations are currently not covered for all contraceptive options as a consequence of this decision. Therefore, we strongly urge the Administration to immediately pass regulations that will allow closely held corporations with sincere religious beliefs such as Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood to utilize the health insurance system created for not for profit religious organizations.

Rabbi William Gershon, President added:

Over the past four decades the Rabbinical Assembly has consistently supported reproductive freedom based on our members’ understanding of relevant biblical, rabbinic and modern sources. In 2012, the Rabbinical Assembly stated that we “urge the President, Congress, and State legislatures to support full access for all women to the entire spectrum of reproductive healthcare; to oppose all efforts by governmental, private entities or individuals to limit such access or to require unnecessary procedures.”  We will continue to advocate to ensure that such services are provided to all without interruption.