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After High Court Defeat, White House Says It's Not Finished Pushing Contraception Coverage


"The constitutional lawyer in the oval office disagrees."

The White House will push for congressional action to provide contraception coverage in light of the Supreme Court ruling Monday.

New White House press secretary Josh Earnest speaks to the media during his first briefing as press secretary, Monday, June 23, 2014, in the Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House in Washington. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin) AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin

"We will work with Congress to make sure any women affect by this decision are not denied access to contraceptive services," White House press secretary Josh Earnest said.

The high court ruled 5-4 that a company cannot be forced to provide coverage for contraception and abortion-inducing drugs, maintaining the religious liberty of business owners that might have objections.

Justice Samuel Alito wrote the majority opinion. Swing vote Justice Anthony Kennedy voted with the four conservatives; but wrote a concurring opinion saying the government can cover the cost, but cannot compel private employers to do so.

"There is a problem being exposed that a group of women of an indeterminate size no longer have access to free contraception because of religious views, not their own religious views, but their bosses religious views," Earnest said. "We disagree and the constitutional lawyer in the oval office disagrees."

The court's opinion in Hobby Lobby v. Sebelius said the government failed to show the mandate is the least restrictive way to advance the interest of low-cost birth control.

The plaintiffs argued on the grounds of both the First Amendment guarantee of religious freedom and the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

Earnest stressed that Obama supports religious liberty and provided exemptions for churches and religious nonprofits.

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