UPDATE: High court seems divided over birth control rule

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

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WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court seems divided over whether employers' religious beliefs can free them from a part of the new health care law that requires that they provide coverage of birth control for employees at no extra charge.

The case argued Tuesday involves family-owned companies that provide health insurance to their employees, but object to covering certain methods of birth control that they say can work after conception, in violation of their religious beliefs.

The Obama administration and its supporters say a Supreme Court ruling in favor of the businesses also could undermine laws governing immunizations, Social Security taxes and minimum wages.


Previous story:

Demonstrators on both sides of the issue are gathered outside the Supreme Court -- where justices are hearing arguments today on whether corporations have religious rights that exempt them from part of the new health care law.

At issue is a provision requiring companies to provide coverage of birth control for employees at no extra charge. The case involves family-owned companies that object to covering certain methods of birth control that they say violates their religious beliefs.

The Obama administration and its supporters say a court ruling in favor of the businesses could also undermine laws governing immunizations, Social Security taxes and minimum wages.

Company supporters outside the court today were chanting, "My faith, my business."


Previous story:

The Supreme Court hears arguments today on whether Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood Specialties must provide insurance coverage for contraceptives that the owners say violates their religious beliefs.

Lower courts have split on whether the Christian-owned companies should be exempt from the health care law's birth control mandate. The Obama administration says individual business owners have religious rights, but their companies do not.

Lawyers for the family-owned companies respond that Americans don't lose their religious rights when they go into business.

The Obama administration says it has a compelling interest in guaranteeing women's access to all approved contraceptives. But the companies' lawyers say that could be done without forcing employers to violate their faith or pay huge fines.


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