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A court weighs in

March 7, 2012
Messenger News

Are you paying attention, President Obama? Your order on access to contraceptive devices has just gone on trial - and you lost.

A federal judge in Tacoma, Wash., has ruled that a state cannot order pharmacists to sell "Plan B" or other emergency contraceptives. U.S. District Judge Ronald Leighton ruled in favor of a pharmacy and two pharmacists who, according to The Associated Press, "said state rules requiring them to dispense Plan B violate their constitutional rights to freedom of religion because such drugs can destroy a fertilized egg, which they consider equal to abortion."

If that argument sounds familiar it is because you've heard comments much like it from Roman Catholic bishops upset about the White House plan to require all employers, sometimes indirectly, to provide their workers with insurance that covers contraceptive devices, including some emergency birth control drugs. Even church institutions such as hospitals and colleges would have to comply.

That clearly is a violation of the Constitution's guarantee of freedom to practice one's religion. It also is very much like what Washington state tried to do.

Judge Leighton's ruling does not directly affect anyone outside his district. But it is a clear signal that Obama is wrong about its insurance mandate.



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