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The Supreme Court's decision does not open a can of worms. It is a specific interpretation of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, a federal law. The merits of future cases will be carefully determined, as done by the court for centuries, on a case-by-case basis.

OUR VIEW: Hobby Lobby decision creates a minefield

Undeniably, religious freedom is a basic human right. When it comes to issues of religion in our country, we expect two things from our government: tolerance and evenhanded justice. The contraception mandate never came close to satisfying either. It forced Americans to violate their religious beliefs under threat of devastating fines.

First, the mandate was intolerant of certain religious views. It required company owners to violate their faith and provide abortion-causing drugs to their employees. To many Americans, the purchase and use of such drugs is a grave sin. Life begins at conception and any life-ending act, such as taking a drug that causes an abortion, constitutes murder. While abortion is generally legal in America, it is not legal to force a person who objects to abortion to provide it, pay for it or assist another to get one.

That's what the mandate did. The mandate imposed multimillion-dollar IRS fines for noncompliance.

This is blatantly wrong. Holding a certain religious belief should not cost any money — let alone cost one's livelihood or freedom.

Second, the mandate was not evenhanded or uniform. It did not apply to every business owner, but instead included numerous exemptions for arbitrary reasons.

For example, businesses that implemented their health plan before 2010 were exempted. Companies with fewer than 50 employees were exempted. Waivers were given to large companies with good lobbyists, so they did not need to comply. Federal judges found that tens of millions of people were excluded from the mandate for non-religious reasons.

So why force business owners to comply when this is a matter of faith?

The Supreme Court held that if the government wants women to have access to abortion-causing drugs, that can be accomplished through other means — without taking away one of our basic human rights.

Erin Mersino is the senior trial counsel for the Thomas More Law Center.

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