Below are excerpts. Read the full article here.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Supreme Court began hearing arguments on Wednesday in appeals by Christian groups demanding a full exemption on religious grounds from a mandate under President Barack Obama's healthcare law to provide insurance that covers contraceptives.
A Colorado-based order of Roman Catholic nuns called the Little Sisters of the Poor that runs care homes for the elderly was among the groups challenging the requirement.
Among the other challengers were: Bishop David Zubik and the Roman Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh; the Roman Catholic archdiocese of Washington, D.C.; Priests for Life; and East Texas Baptist University.
Roman Catholic priest Frank Pavone, national director of the group Priests for Life, said the dispute boils down to this issue: "the government cannot force believers to choose between following their faith and following the law."
"This accommodation is not an 'opt-out.' Rather, it is a hijacking of the mechanism of our insurance plans to further the immoral goal of expanding access to abortion-inducing drugs and other objectionable services," Pavone said.