Congressman Jerrold Nadler (NY-10), a veteran member of the House Judiciary Committee and one of the architects of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) of 1993, released the following statement on the oral arguments before the Supreme Court regarding Hobby Lobby and RFRA:
“Bosses should not be able to make health care decisions about the reproductive choices of their employees. The Religious Freedom Restoration Act was intended to be used as a shield, not a sword. No matter how sincerely held a religious belief might be, for-profit employers – like Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood – cannot wield their beliefs as a means of denying employees access to critical preventive health care services. 99% of all American women who are sexually active in their lifetimes use birth control. Their interests cannot be ignored and should not be cast aside.
“When we passed RFRA, we sought to restore – not expand – protection for religion. We kept in place the core principle that religion does not excuse for-profit businesses from complying with our laws. Religious belief did not excuse restaurants or hotels from following our civil rights laws in the 1960s or an Amish employer from paying into the Social Security system in the 1980s. It should not be expanded now to allow for-profit companies to override the health care choices of female employees.
“To hold otherwise allows the owners of for-profit companies to impose their beliefs on others – their employees and patrons – who may not share their beliefs and who will be harmed as result. I am hopeful that the Court will confirm that these sort of discriminatory actions by for-profit companies are neither protected by RFRA nor the First Amendment.”