Monday, July 7, 2014

The Hobby Lobby Decision Just Keeps Getting Worse

I hate to say you were told so, but many people warned that the Hobby Lobby decision was not really a narrow decision.  As Law Professor Renee Cramer wrote after the ruling:
This seems to be a narrow ruling, as it only allows employers to refuse to cover contraception. And, the majority opinion stresses that the ruling will not allow racial discrimination in employment, nor other forms of discrimination from which we have statutory protection. We are supposed to find comfort in that narrowness, I suppose; but I do not. The Court has, in a five member majority, has declared that contraception – and women’s access to it – is unimportant. Women’s health care decisions are less than compelling, less than important.
Senate hopeful Mike Rounds loves the fact that corporations now can control your access to birth control based on his take on religion:
“Today’s ruling is a tremendous victory for business owners and for those who believe in religious freedom in America,” said Gov. Rounds.  “It’s encouraging to see that the Supreme Court agrees with our belief that this failed healthcare policy goes too far, and family business owners should not be forced to give up their constitutional liberties and religious freedom to comply with bad policy.”
Many people claimed that this was dealing with only a few limited forms of birth control that Hobby Lobby believed could possibly be used as abortion causing agents.  A few days ago the Supreme Court made clear that wasn't actually the case:
On Tuesday, the Court said the ruling covered all 20 forms of contraception protected through the Affordable Care Act, despite the fact that Hobby Lobby’s lawsuit only covered 4 of the 20. By what rationale did the conservative majority reach this expansive conclusion? I believe it’s called the “because we said so” rule of American jurisprudence. 
The court also claimed in the original Hobby Lobby ruling that the waiver used by non-profits provides justification for  allowing for-profit companies to not cover certain forms of birth control (now expanded to all forms of birth control).  However it now appears that there is no means for the government can cover people if the non-profit doesn't want them too:
In fact, that accommodation was one of the reasons Justice Samuel Alito cited to justify his Hobby Lobby decision – words Sotomayor threw back at him in the dissent. Under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, the government has to show it has pursued the least restrictive means to accomplish its goal. Alito claimed that because the nonprofit accommodation exists, that means the government has other ways to get women access to contraception that respects religious liberty. Yet only a few days later, he ruled that the nonprofit accommodation – again, signing a form – is also a violation of religious liberty.
So let's be clear.  Mike Rounds and South Dakota GOP loved the Supreme Court ruling in Hobby Lobby which now makes it legal for 90% of all corporations to deny ANY form of birth control that they feel violates their own personal religious beliefs even though it may not be even used for birth control reasons.  Even if you want affordable access to birth control while working for a non-profit group, you can now be denied that. 

1 comment:

  1. Do you work at being ignorant or are you just being untruthful? Can you point to a single instance in which a corporation can block a woman, or a man for that matter from birth control? People want to be free of consequences for their actions. Some people want someone else to pay for that freedom. Here is a novel idea. Pay for it yourself!