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US Supreme Court to Hear Challenge on Birth Control Compromise

  • VOA News

Nuns of the Order of St. Francis rally outside the Supreme Court in Washington, March 23, 2016, as the court hears arguments to allow birth control as part of healthcare plans.

Nuns of the Order of St. Francis rally outside the Supreme Court in Washington, March 23, 2016, as the court hears arguments to allow birth control as part of healthcare plans.

The U.S. Supreme Court will hear a challenge by faith-based groups opposed to a government effort to ensure their employees have access to free birth control.

Under the 2010 health care law insurance companies are required to provide contraception, unless the employer is a religious organization.

Other faith-affiliated groups opposed to contraception are required to tell the government or their insurance companies they object and then the insurance companies, not the employer, must pay for and provide those employees with birth control coverage.

Faith-based groups say they oppose having to inform their insurers or government of their objection to the coverage, arguing it makes them complicit in providing those services.

The court will consider whether the rules violate the groups' rights under the religious freedom law.

In 2014, the court ruled that American business owners with religious objections may deny contraceptive coverage as part of universal employee health insurance now required by law.

The case involved the evangelical Christian owners of the arts-and-crafts chain Hobby Lobby who refused to cover certain forms of contraception such as the morning-after pill in their employee health plan, arguing that would make them complicit in abortions.

The court ruled in a 5-4 decision. Eight justices will be hearing Wednesday's case, following the death of conservative Justice Antonin Scalia last month.

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