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The Valley Reporter
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Waitsfield, VT 05673

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Whose freedom of religion?

The U.S. Supreme Court dropped a bombshell on the country this week when it upheld Hobby Lobby's right to exclude some forms of birth control from the health care coverage it provides to its employees.

Hobby Lobby – and other companies – has a moral objection to forms of birth control that can be considered aborticants or abortion inducing. The short list of those types of birth control includes Plan B, or the morning after pill, and the intrauterine device, or IUD.

Plan B prevents the implantation of a fertilized egg as does the IUD. For many women, hormonal birth control, such as birth control pills or birth control shots, do not work. Hormonal birth control prevents ovulation, which many women feel is unnatural and not healthy for them. Some women simply can't use hormonal birth control because of the side effects.

Plan B is a type of emergency contraception that can prevent pregnancy after unprotected sex. It works several ways: It may prevent or delay ovulation, it may prevent fertilization of an egg and it may prevent the implantation of a fertilized egg by altering the lining of the uterus. The morning after pill is frequently used after a rape to avoid an unwanted pregnancy and is also used after a known birth control failure.

To protect the religious beliefs of Hobby Lobby, the company may now deny women these types of prescription benefits in their insurance coverage. This means that their religious beliefs now trump the rights of their workers to select what type of birth control works for them.

This means that their religious beliefs are more important than the health care decisions of their employees. This means that their religious beliefs are being forced on their workers effectively trampling their workers' right to have their own religious beliefs protected.

It's hard to fathom the reasoning of the five conservative, male Supreme Court justices who, in choosing to protect Hobby Lobby's religious beliefs, are forcing those beliefs on all of the company's employees.


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