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High Court's Contraception Ruling Draws Strong Reactions


Now we get your reaction to both the Supreme Court decisions - first, to the ruling that some businesses can cite religion to opt out of covering contraceptives under the new health care law. NPR's Jennifer Ludden reports.

JENNIFER LUDDEN, BYLINE: In Chicago, a few dozen abortion rights opponents gathered to celebrate the decision as a victory for religious liberty. Emily Zender is with Illinois Rights Alive.

EMILY ZENDER: And it is my choice to live out my freedom as I choose and not my choice to have the government hand me contraceptives.

LUDDEN: Another speaker, Chris Yep, owns Triune Health Group with his wife. They have their own lawsuit against the contraceptive mandate. Yep says the ruling is a big break for his 85 employees.

CHRIS YEP: Without this ruling, then we were going to be forced to deal with the fines, drop health insurance - you know, to do things that are really radical.

LUDDEN: But nearby, 26-year-old law student Alex Gillett calls the ruling discriminatory. Old white men, she says, making a costly decision for women.

ALEX GILLETT: It adds up a lot, and I don't think it's fair that women have to bare this burden of having to pay so much for contraception to make sure that they don't have to lay down, go get an abortion.

ILYSE HOGUE: The precedent and the message the court sent today is chilling.

LUDDEN: Ilyse Hogue heads Pro-Choice America. She rejects the court majority's assertion that this is a narrow ruling.

HOGUE: What the Supreme Court actually set up today opens a Pandora's box to religious liberty claims. Today it's contraception, but anyone can bring suit at this point, and we would not be surprised to see that happen.

LUDDEN: Hogue calls on Congress to right this wrong, though says she's not sure yet how. Both sides may look to lawmakers now. Hadley Heath Manning of the conservative Independent Women's Forum supports the ruling as a check on the executive branch.

HADLEY HEATH MANNING: The court wanted to put the power back in the hands of the people by allowing Congress to decide do we want to fund or do we not want to fund programs for emergency contraception.

LUDDEN: But reaction in Congress is just as divided as the court's decision. Jennifer Ludden, NPR News, Washington. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Jennifer Ludden helps edit energy and environment stories for NPR's National Desk, working with NPR staffers and a team of public radio reporters across the country. They track the shift to clean energy, state and federal policy moves, and how people and communities are coping with the mounting impacts of climate change.