Reproductive Rights Supporters Rally Over Hobby Lobby Case

By Dave Franzman, Reporter

IOWA CITY, Iowa - Supporters of reproductive rights rallied at the University of Iowa on Tuesday to draw attention to a U.S. Supreme Court hearing.

Justices heard arguments on whether employers' religious beliefs should play a part in whether health care would cover all birth control methods for female employees. The cases involve Hobby Lobby and a much smaller family-owned company that object to providing coverage for some birth control methods.

A rally on the U of I Pentacrest sponsored by the Johnson County League of Women voters drew about two dozen sign-carrying participants. Those who met for an hour in the chilly, windy weather on the Iowa campus had to admit it's not an issue that most students have followed closely.

Instead, supporters like Janelle Rettig, a Johnson County Supervisor, said the real issue isn't contraceptive rights. Rather, it's whether corporations can use the argument of freedom of religion to escape the federal mandate of providing full health insurance benefits.

"People are asking me what does it mean, what's going to happen. And I'm like if this ruling comes down, then anyone can change health insurance based on your religious beliefs," Rettig said.

Rally organizers said one argument they want to make clear is allowing an exemption for a private company on some forms of birth control would be imposing the religious beliefs of owners on employees.

The high court is expected to rule on the case sometime in June.
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