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Hobby Lobby verdict overlooks the science on pregnancy, experts say

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Plan BA Supreme Court ruling in favor of allowing companies to opt out of providing female employees some forms of birth control — such as the morning-after pill and certain IUDs — has allowed religious employers to “redefine” pregnancy in a way that flies in the face of the established science of conception, reproductive health experts say.

The company that brought the suit, Hobby Lobby, argued that using these types of contraceptives is tantamount to having an abortion, and, citing religious beliefs against terminations, wanted to opt out of the provision of the Affordable Care Act that requires companies to cover preventive services like contraceptives.

But reproductive health experts and the principal dissenting Supreme Court justice say a belief that emergency contraceptives and intrauterine devices, or IUDs, are so-called abortifacients is in direct opposition to widely established scientific definitions of pregnancy. They also say that the company’s interpretation of how the contraceptives terminate pregnancies is contrary to how they actually work.

National medical associations as well as the federal government define pregnancy as the implantation of the fertilized egg into the uterine wall.


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