Birth control fight hinges on ‘religion’ of corporation

An editorial from The Charleston Gazette

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — President Obama’s Affordable Care Act wisely includes a guarantee that all American women may obtain birth control at no cost, if they want it. We think this is a welcome step to prevent undesired pregnancies and many abortions they cause.

However, a few church adherents, such as extreme Catholics or fundamentalists, think birth control is wicked or that it may somehow trigger abortion. Such believers who own corporations refuse to let their company health insurance provide contraception for female employees. The corporate owners insist that their own beliefs must dominate the wishes of women workers.

Their case went before the U.S. Supreme Court Tuesday. If the high court rules that corporations are entitled to enforce religious taboos, ugly fallout could follow. Some devout business owners might refuse health insurance coverage for transfusions, transplants, stem-cell treatments, vaccinations, anesthesia, psychiatric care or other medical steps opposed by their personal faiths. Worse, some with fringe beliefs might halt business service to gays, blacks or other disfavored people.

Or, as Justice Anthony Kennedy asked Tuesday, what if a Muslim business owner required all female employees to work in head-to-toe shrouds…

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