Mainers react to Hobby Lobby decision

PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- The controversial, and complicated Supreme Court ruling in the Hobby Lobby case may not have much of an impact in Maine, according to the ACLU of Maine.

In a 5-4 decision, the court ruled certain for-profit businesses may opt out of contraception mandate in the Affordable Care Act.

Companies, such as Hobby Lobby, challenged the Affordable Care Act, stating the contraception mandate violated religious freedom.

Maine has had a contraception mandate since 1999, and according to the Alison Beyea, Executive Director of the ACLU of Maine, this Supreme Court ruling won't affect it.

"This is a complicated decision, and we'll be looking at all the implications, but at this point Maine law provides employers must provide contraceptive care to their employees," said Beyea. "We don't expect this federal ruling to have any implication on state law."

But Planned Parenthood of Northern New England is still concerned about the Hobby Lobby ruling.

"It's 2014, and it's unbelievable that we're still talking about whether or not women should have access to birth control," said Nicole Clegg, spokesperson for Planned Parenthood of Northern New England.

She said in the big picture, the Affordable Care Act is still a "victory" for women's reproductive health care, because women can obtain contraception coverage in other ways.

Meanwhile, religious leaders in Maine are hailing Hobby Lobby as a victory for religious freedom.

In a statement, Portland Diocese Bishop Robert Deeley said:

"As the Bishop of the Diocese of Portland, I am pleased that the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that the Religious Freedom Restoration Act applies to privately-owned businesses. People do not give up their religious freedom when they open a family business and should not have to check their values at the door when they enter the marketplace. A society dedicated to freedom and diversity must respect the freedom of its citizens to live and work in accordance with their religious convictions.

Catholics are longstanding advocates of universal, accessible, and life-affirming health care. Yet, the HHS mandate has harshly penalized us and others who cannot, in good conscience, provide drugs and services that violate our religious beliefs. The administration has shown flexibility in implementing the Affordable Care Act with respect to others. Today, the Supreme Court has extended that flexibility to those of us with religious liberty concerns as well."


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