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Demonstrators Light Up The Bean For Women's Rights

By aaroncynic in News on Mar 25, 2014 9:55PM

A small group of demonstrators lit up the steps of the Art Institute and the Bean last night to send a message to justices debating legislation that could allow business owners to refuse to provide birth control based on religious reservations. The Chicago branch of the Overpass Light Brigade, a nationwide activist group, in conjunction with the women’s rights organization Ultraviolet hauled large light up letters which read “Stand With Women” through the loop at about 7 p.m. last night. Corresponding demonstrations took place in several cities across the country including Washington D.C., Madison, WI, Dallas, TX and others.

“We’re all here to say that we’re not going back to 1965 or the back alley,” said one demonstrator while holding a large, bright letter ‘M.’ Dozens of companies, lead by Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc., filed suit with the nation’s highest court objecting to a regulation in President Obama’s health care law that would provide for contraception. The Chicago Tribune reports the Court heard a 90 minute oral argument - 30 minutes longer than normal - from both sides as to whether or not a for profit company can object to the measure on religious grounds. Some 84 businesses, at least six in Illinois, have sued the Obama administration over the health care mandate.

According to ABC7, justices in the Supreme Court have never ruled before that a for profit business has religious rights, but some justices seem to be open to the prospect. Chief Justice John Roberts said that the ruling could be limited to closely held companies. Solicitor General Donald Verrilli, the Obama administration’s lawyer, said the court could be "skating on thin constitutional ice" if it ruled in favor of the businesses because of the effect it could have on employees.

Outside the Court, activists on both sides of the issue held protests. Jonathan Darnel, a 32-year-old man from the Center for Bio-Ethical Reform told the Baltimore Sun “I can't comprehend why anyone or any business should be obligated to fund anything that they consider death.” Jeannie Deibe, a 41-year-old woman from Taneytown, Maryland said “I am an avid believer in our freedom to control our own reproductive system. Birth control is a basic right that a for-profit company, an employer, should not be able to dictate.” The court is expected to rule in June.