The U.S. Supreme Court ruling that some businesses can opt out of providing some birth control coverage for religious reasons could have wide ramifications for Oregon.
The ruling applied to closely held businesses. But Oregon doesn’t track businesses by that definition. Secretary of State spokesman Tony Green says more than 97 percent of all Oregon businesses are defined as small and more than half of Oregon’s workforce is employed by them.
“It is not my understanding that everyone who works for small businesses is suddenly not going to be able to get contraception through their health plan,” Green says. “It applies only in the case where the small group or sole owner has particularly strong religious objections.”
Green believes further court cases might be needed to clarify what a business owner has to do to demonstrate a strong religious objection.
Planned Parenthood Columbia Willamette condemned the ruling, saying it gives bosses the right to discriminate against women. But the group says the ruling does not strike down the Affordable Care Act’s birth control benefit.
The Independent Women’s Forum called the ruling a victory for those who believe in limited government and freedom of religion.