Store at center of birth control ruling due in Bend

Central Oregon lawmaker, others react to court decision

Supreme Court rules

BEND, Ore. - Depending on where you stand, Monday's U.S. Supreme Court decision was a step forward for religious freedom or a step back for women's rights.

Either way, the company in the middle of it all is due to open a store in Bend this fall.

"I was so happy with the decision," Bend resident Jeanne Anderson said Monday.

Another Bend woman told NewsChannel 21, "Birth control should be everyone's right."

The nation's high court narrowly ruled Monday that businesses do have the right to ban certain types of birth control from employee insurance plans.

The decision comes after dozens of businesses sued the government over an Obamacare policy mandating coverage for contraceptives.

Hobby Lobby -- a national craft chain -- has said some forms of birth control are equivalent to abortion and in conflict with the owners' religious beliefs.

The decision could affect some of Hobby Lobby's 13,000 employees -- soon to include Central Oregonians.  Its new store is expected to open in Bend River Promenade's former Sears space this fall and employ up to 50 people.

State Sen.Tim Knopp (R-Bend) said that's dozens of jobs on the line that might have been affected by the ruling. 

"Hobby Lobby wouldn't have come to Central Oregon without this decision," Knopp said. "They were actually thinking about shutting down."

So the ruling will mean more jobs on the High Desert, but also more controversy.

"There is one freedom, freedom of religion that needs to stand strong," Anderson said.

Another Bend man said: "It's an interesting argument, but I don't believe religion belongs in our laws at all."

White House officials said now President Obama will work to bridge the gap and will look to Congress to provide coverage for those affected.

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