The White House on Monday said President Barack Obama disagreed with the Supreme Court’s decision that closely held corporations cannot be forced to pay for employees’ contraception if they object on religious grounds. At his daily briefing with reporters, White House press secretary Josh Earnest said the ruling put women’s health in danger.
“Today’s decision jeopardizes the health of women that are employed by these companies,” Earnest said, noting the “constitutional lawyer in the Oval Office disagrees” with the 5-4 decision.
Earnest also said the president will work to ensure women who work at companies affected by the ruling are covered for contraception.
“We will work with Congress to make sure that any women affected by this decision will still have the same coverage of vital health services as everyone else,” said Earnest.
When asked if Obama would look at executive actions if Congress doesn’t act, Earnest said it’s too soon to tell.
“We’ll consider whether or not there’s some opportunity for the president to take some sort of action that would mitigate this decision,” Earnest said.
Obama’s use of executive actions has come under fire from conservatives. Last week, House Speaker John Boehner announced his plan to sue Obama over executive orders.
In the 5-4 decision handed down by conservative justice Samuel Alito, the court sided with arts and crafts chain Hobby Lobby over the federal government. The decision could lead to other challenges from for-profit corporations who seek to refuse coverage for other medical procedures at odds with religious beliefs.
Supporters of the ACA’s mandate called it a big setback to the law and to women’s health in general. Opponents hailed the win as a victory for religious liberty.
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