Protests held at Hobby Lobby over ACA birth control - KCTV5

Protests held at Hobby Lobby over ACA birth control

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MISSION, KS (KCTV/AP) -

When the Affordable Care Act or Obamacare became law, it mandated companies provide health insurance that would include free birth control. But some companies say it goes against their religious beliefs.

Protests are going on all over the country, including at the Hobby Lobby located in Mission, KS. Members of the Kansas and Missouri National Organization for Women are protesting the company for not wanting to provide employees certain types of birth control.

Hobby Lobby and 50 other businesses sued the government saying their freedom of religion is violated by the Affordable Care Act that requires them to pay for health insurance that would provide employees birth control.

"It's our rights that are being infringed upon to require us to do something that's against our conscience," said David Green, the owner of Hobby Lobby.

Oklahoma City-based chain Hobby Lobby has 600 stores nationwide in 41 states with more than 15,000 full-time employees. The owners are Christians and the store closes on Sundays.

The company is owned by the Green family, evangelical Christians who say they run their business on biblical principles. The Greens also own the Mardel chain of Christian bookstores.

Hobby Lobby says it is willing to pay for some types of birth control, but says the morning-after pill and IUDs go against their biblical beliefs.

The Supreme Court heard arguments from attorneys Tuesday, but they are not expected to decide in the religious freedom exemption until this summer.

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

Protestors in Mission say the ruling is crucial for women's rights moving forward and they will continue to fight for employees.

Protesters on both sides gathered outside the court Tuesday as light snow fell on Washington. "Back off, boss," went one refrain from administration backers. The companies' supporters chanted, "My faith, my business."

The justices have never before held that profit-making businesses have religious rights. But the companies in the Supreme Court case and their backers argue that a 1993 federal law on religious freedom extends to businesses as well as individuals.

Under the new healthcare law, health plans must offer a range of preventive services at no extra charge, including all forms of birth control for women that have been approved by the Food and Drug Administration.

Some of the nearly 50 businesses that have sued over covering contraceptives object to paying for all forms of birth control. But the companies involved in the high court case are willing to cover most methods of contraception, as long as they can exclude drugs or devices that the government says may work after an egg has been fertilized.

The other big company that has sued is Conestoga Wood Specialties Corp. of East Earl, PA. The business is owned by the Hahns, a family of Mennonite Christians, and employs 950 people in making wood cabinets.

Members of the Green and Hahn families are expected to be in the courtroom Tuesday. People have been in line since the weekend for a chance to see the argument, among the term's biggest.

The 90-minute argument, extended from the usual one hour, features the same lawyers who argued opposite sides of the court's epic consideration of the healthcare law in 2012 and the federal gay marriage law case last year. Solicitor General Donald Verrilli Jr. is the Obama administration's top Supreme Court lawyer, while Paul Clement, who held the same job under President George W. Bush, is representing the businesses.

About the same time and only a few blocks away, federal appeals court judges' are hearing a separate lawsuit challenging an Internal Revenue Service rule giving tax credits to residents of states that have declined to establish their own health insurance exchanges.

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