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Justices tackle health law birth control coverage; Task Force calls Hobby Lobby suit 'desperate effort'

BY MARK SHERMAN
ASSOCIATED PRESS

WASHINGTON -- Supreme Court justices are weighing whether corporations have religious rights that exempt them from part of the new health care law that requires coverage of birth control for employees at no extra charge.

The case being argued at the Supreme Court on 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.

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Here's a news release sent Tuesday from the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force:

Statement from the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force on today's rally for Women's Health and Rights at the Supreme Court, as the Court starts hearing arguments in the so-called "Hobby Lobby" case

WASHINGTON, Mar. 25 "Today we come together to push back the latest desperate effort by extremists to control our freedoms, our bodies and our health care choices. The fanatical Right is always wrong -- but in this instance, they are stooping even lower than usual by cynically using religion and people of faith to justify their almost rabid hatred of women, Obamacare and real freedom. Our opponents make a mockery of religious freedom and liberty. What is religious about stopping a woman of faith from getting access to her birth control supplies? What has freedom got to do with stopping a church-going couple from planning and spacing the number of kids they want to have? How much liberty will a trans woman of color feel when she's turned away from a drug store because the owner has been given a license to discriminate -- like they almost got passed in Arizona? This type of thinly veiled discrimination should be illegal because it's immoral." - Rev Darlene Nipper, Deputy Executive Director, National Gay and Lesbian Task Force

Background: Today the Supreme Court started hearing oral arguments in Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby, a case that deals with businesses using a "religious freedom" argument to justify their refusal to comply with the Affordable Care Act and provide their employees with access to health insurance plans that include women's reproductive health care.

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