The Supreme Court ruled Monday morning that the government cannot compel closely held corporations with religious owners to provide contraception coverage for its employees.
Two family-owned companies, Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood Specialties, had argued that the insurance requirement in President Barack Obama’s signature 2010 health care law violated a 1993 religious-freedom law.
The health care law already excludes churches and other religious entities from the contraception mandate.
The Hobby Lobby arts-and-crafts retailer is operated by evangelical Christians, and cabinet manufacturer Conestoga Wood Specialties is owned by Mennonites.
The Obama administration argued that for-profit companies – even closely held ones – do not exercise religious rights as individuals and therefore are not covered by the 1993 Religious Freedom Restoration Act.
But the court, in a 5-4 vote and majority opinion written by Justice Samuel Alito, upheld an appeals court ruling on the case, finding that the government had failed to show that its mandate is the “least restrictive means of advancing its interest in guaranteeing cost-free access to birth control.”
Almost 800 babies and children were buried in a mass grave in Ireland near a home for unmarried mothers run by nuns, according to new research Wednesday which throws more light on the Irish Catholic Church’s troubled past.
Death records suggest 796 children, from newborns to eight-year-olds, were deposited in a grave near a Catholic-run home for unmarried mothers during the 35 years it operated from 1925 to 1961.
Historian Catherine Corless, who made the discovery, says her study of death records for the St Mary’s home in Tuam in County Galway suggests that a former septic tank near the home was a mass grave.
The Ohio legislature is currently considering a measure that would institute a sweeping ban on insurance coverage for abortion in state residents’ public and private health plans. Restricting women’s ability to use their insurance plans to pay for abortion is becoming an increasingly popular anti-choice strategy — and Ohio’s proposed legislation may actually go even further. The measure would also make it harder for low-income women to afford the most effective form of birth control.
House Bill 351, which was the subject of a committee hearing on Tuesday, seeks to prohibit insurance plans from covering “drugs or devices used to prevent the implantation of a fertilized ovum.” That definition effectively bans several typ
Chilean President Michelle Bachelet is fighting fierce conservative opposition to allow abortion for women and girls who are raped, carrying non-viable fetuses or facing life-threatening pregnancy complications.
Last month, a 17-year-old girl turned up at a Santiago public hospital near death from bleeding. A doctor at the hospital called police to report her: she had had a back-alley abortion, which is illegal in Chile. Police searched the girl’s home and reported finding blood-stained underwear. Prosecutors say that she is facing 3.5 to five years in prison. In recent years, cases like hers, or that of Belen, an 11-year-old raped by her stepfather, have rocked Chile’s traditional and overwhelmingly Roman Catholic society.
Others like journalist Monica Perez have to go forward with a pregnancy knowing full well the baby would not live.
House Republicans on Thursday used a procedural motion to block a vote on whether to add an exception for incest to an abortion coverage ban in its criminal justice appropriations bill.
The bill prohibits using federal funds to cover abortion for pregnant women in federal prisons, except if the woman’s life is in danger or if she was raped. Incest is usually mentioned as an exception to other federal abortion funding bans such as the Hyde Amendment, but the criminal justice appropriations bill does not contain such an exception.
Texas gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis received a hostile greeting in Los Angeles Thursday morning, when life-sized posters depicting her as “Abortion Barbie” began popping up throughout the city ahead of her fundraiser there.
Tennessee has become the first state in the nation to pass a law criminalizing women for their pregnancy outcomes. Republican Gov. Bill Haslam took the 10 days allotted to him to consider the advice of doctors, addiction experts and reproductive health groups urging him to veto the punitive and dangerous measure that allows prosecutors to charge a woman with criminal assault if she uses illegal drugs during her pregnancy and her fetus or newborn is considered harmed as a result. Haslam ignored these recommendations — and the recommendations of nearly every major medical association, including the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy — and signed the measure anyway.
Texas, like so many other states in the country, is in the middle of a reproductive health crisis. As a result of the state’s sweeping new abortion restrictions (and years of Republican-led assaults on clinics and women’s health programs), 34 clinics have been forced to scale back services or cease providing abortions altogether; 12 clinics have closed outright. Shuttered clinics and reduced services have created access deserts when it comes to abortion, leaving thousands of women across the state — particularly in the Rio Grande Valley region — with no meaningful way to obtain reproductive healthcare.
A barrage of state-level restrictions on abortion clinics — often, unnecessary regulations requiring them to widen their hallways, upgrade their air filtration systems, and form special agreements with hospitals — has forced a wave of clinic closures across the country. Since 2010, more than 50 abortion clinics have been forced to close their doors.
According to a Huffington Post analysis, at least 52 abortion clinics across 26 states have shut down since 2010. The shrinking number of abortion providers in the country is a direct result of harsh state laws that are specifically intended to target clinics. Those type of anti-abortion measures — known as the Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers, or TRAP laws — have dramatically spread over the past three years. According to the Guttmacher Institute, 27 states now have unnecessary TRAP laws on the books.