High Court Decision Affirms the Right to Use Religion to Discriminate Against Women

The New Mexico Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice is dismayed by the decision by the US Supreme Court today in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. and Conestoga Wood Specialties v. Burwell, which perverts our nation’s historic understanding of religious liberty.

As a coalition of denominations and religious organizations, NM RCRC is gravely concerned about the Court’s notion that for-profit corporations are able to exercise religion. It is an insult to the uniquely sacred community cultivated by congregations to consider for-profit businesses as legally synonymous with a religious person. A corporation is not a spiritual being – it does not pray or sit in the pews or bring casseroles to the congregational picnic.

Religion and thoughtful family planning should not be at odds. Women and their families make decisions every day about their reproductive lives in the context of their faith and their lived experiences. Today’s decision allows corporations to use religion to discriminate against a woman’s personal religious freedom. The Court has privileged the religious beliefs of corporate CEO’s over those of their employees.

“It is morally wrong for a woman to suffer discrimination in healthcare coverage simply because her boss believes that his religious beliefs are more important than hers.” said Joan Lamunyon Sanford, Executive Director of the NM Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice, “The Court has created a false choice between religious faith and thoughtful family planning. For millions of women, the two actually co-exist quite naturally; they often think about the children they are already parenting when they make these important decisions.”

NM RCRC believes that the Court has given corporate CEO’s free reign to force their religious views on their employees – even when those views are not based in science or public health.  A corporate CEO like David Green can easily afford extra out-of-pocket expenses for his family, but many of his workers, like cashiers, who don’t make enough to supplement their healthcare costs, that $40 a month could make the difference between keeping the lights on or a new pair of school shoes for their children.

About Joan Lamunyon Sanford

Executive Director of the NM Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice
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