The US Supreme Court rejected Monday a bid by Roman Catholic and Baptist groups to stop offering their employees birth-control benefits as part of their health insurance.
The case hinged on the organizations’ right to place their own beliefs at the center of their employment practices, offering a new battle ground over the age-old state versus religion debate at the start of the court’s new year.
The top court rejected a petition by the groups arguing that by being forced to offer contraception pills and equipment on their employee health-insurance plans, their First Amendment rights to free speech were violated.
The petition sought to overturn a New York state law that mandated that all employees of religious groups must have access to birth-control measures as part of their employer-provided health insurance.
I’m no lawyer, and the court has not published an explanation of its decision, but… if religious organizations have no First Amendment right to deny employees birth control benefits in violation of NY state law, how could a pharmacist claim a similar First Amendment right here in WA? Plan B — “the morning after pill” — is birth control. If a state-licensed pharmacist is required by law to stock and sell this pill, there doesn’t appear to be an inherent First Amendment right to refuse.