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The Hobby Lobby decision is only about birth control

The Supreme Court decided in a 5-4 split that "closely-held" corporations cannot be compelled to cover birth control in their insurance benefits.

Some spectators are concerned that this outcome will permit corporations to deny other services based on religious beliefs. For example, some Jehovah's Witnesses reject blood transfusions, and Scientologists might be opposed to providing mental health services.

The opinion is written narrowly enough that it doesn't allow companies to touch benefits that aren't contraceptives — although the ruling could open the door to future lawsuits on the issue.

Justice Alito addresses the issue specifically in the majority opinion:

This decision concerns only the contraceptive mandate and should not be understood to hold that all insurance-coverage mandates, e.g., for vaccinations or blood transfusions, must necessarily fall if they conflict with an employer’s religious beliefs.

That means that corporations — no matter how closely held — cannot use this decision to start denying coverage for other services based on religious beliefs.

What remains to be seen is whether corporations see this decision as a reason to bring their own new cases against the government to protest coverage of certain services under RFRA.

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