birth-control-human-right-protest-640x479The Supreme Court is expected to decide in the next week or so whether to take up the question of whether a for-profit company can deny its female employees contraception coverage in employer-provided health plans because the company owner has a religious objection.

We’re not talking about religious institutions here. We’re talking about a secular national retailer, in this case the Hobby Lobby crafts store chain, whose owner thinks he should be able to dictate the terms of his employees’ insurance coverage because of his religious convictions.

Back in the mid-1960s, a popular South Carolina barbecue franchise called Piggie Park was sued after it refused to serve black customers for religious reasons. Its owner claimed that God taught him the races should be separate.

A federal district court wholeheartedly embraced the man’s right to practice the religion of his choice. But it said he could not use those beliefs to deny the constitutional rights of others. The Supreme Court agreed.

Will the court stand up for fairness again? At this point, that’s anyone’s guess.

~ Robin Abcarian, Los Angeles Times, November 20

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