Supreme Court signals support for corporate religious claims
Tuesday, March 25, 2014 - 01:41
March 25 - The U.S. Supreme Court signaled it may allow corporations to mount religious objections to government action, possibly paving the way for companies to avoid covering employees' birth control as required under Obamacare. Jillian Kitchener reports.
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Activists raise their voices outside of the U.S. Supreme Court.
…while inside, the court weighed whether business owners can object on religious grounds to a provision of Obamacare.
The so-called "contraception mandate" requires employers to provide health insurance that covers birth control.
Retailer Hobby Lobby sees the provision as a violation of their religious liberty.
(SOUNDBITE) (English) CO-OWNER OF HOBBY LOBBY, AN ARTS AND CRAFTS STORE FIGHTING THE MANDATE, BARBARA GREEN, SAYING:
"The choice the government has forced on us is unfair and not in keeping with the history of this great nation founded on religious freedom. We believe that Americans don't lose their religious freedom when they open a family business."
Inside the court, a 90-minute argument ensued - 30 minutes more than usual.
A majority of the nine justices appeared ready to rule that certain companies have the same religious rights to object as individuals do.
But Planned Parenthood's Cecilia Richards advocates for a woman's right to birth control:
(SOUNDBITE) (English) PRESIDENT OF PLANNED PARENTHOOD FEDERATION OF AMERICA, CECILE RICHARDS, SAYING:
"What I think we saw today in the court was the importance of having women on the Supreme Court. And I was so proud to be there as a woman who cares about women's health, to have the justices talk about the fact that what's at stake in this case is whether millions women and their right to preventative care, including birth control, is trumped by a handful of CEOs who have their own personal opinions about birth control."
The dozens of companies involved in the litigation do not all oppose every type of birth control.
Some object only to emergency contraceptive methods, which they view as similar to abortion.
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