The Hobby Lobby Case

Friday, July 11, 2014

On June 30, 2014 the Supreme Court of the United States ruled in a 5-4 ruling that in the case of Burwell v Hobby Lobby: corporations can deny forms of birth control to their female employees with no monetary penalty, if it is "closely held". (Closely held in this case means that it has no more than five shareholders.)

And it's a horrible decision.

Hobby Lobby is not a person. Hobby Lobby is not a sentient being. I cannot go up to Hobby Lobby on the sidewalk and punch it in the face, give it a hug, or ask it for change. Hobby Lobby cannot have a religious preference. It is a business: a for-profit business which means that it has to follow the law and provide health care for ALL of its employees OR provide no health care but pay the fine.

That is the law. That's it. It's really not that hard. Do or do not. You cannot just simply pick and choose which forms of healthcare you don't agree with.

Hobby Lobby claimed that because they, the owners, are religious they don't believe their company should have to provide certain types of birth control.

And again I emphasize that it's not right.

Some people on comment threads all around the internetz claim that it's not that big a deal because birth control is not a right. Well, that's partially true. Being able to get free birth control is not an amendment but under the current law (Contraceptive Mandate) having access to birth control is actually something you should expect, should you have need of it. You should also expect that your employer would treat both men and women fairly when it comes to medications and healthcare costs...which surprise! birth control is a part of.

Now, if this is your way of thinking why don't we say that about ALL medications? Oh, you have a sinus infection but your employer doesn't want to pay for the antibiotics? No big deal. Why don't you pay for it out of your own pocket. I mean, hell yeah it's going to cost a lot more but hey, it's not like they're forcibly keeping you from obtaining it. If that is what you really think, then by all means, please opt out of all insurance and pay for everything out of your own pocket.

Then there are the "Go Find Another Job" people. This too is always an option. If you really don't agree with Hobby Lobby's views you are more than welcome to find another job. But to think that "just" finding another job in this economy is as easy as typing it - well you've obviously been living under a rock. The point still comes down to the fact that you should not HAVE to quit your job because your current employer is wanting special rights. Switching jobs doesn't solve the bigger problem at hand. It may be inconvenient for you to hear people discuss their health care concerns but ignoring it doesn't help the problem.

There were also many misinformed commenters. Those who sided with Hobby Lobby were calling those who wanted access to these certain types of birth control - abortionists. But that is not the case. IUDs and Plan B are not actually abortion-inducing. This is backed by science. Both IUDs and the Plan B methods work to stop ovulation. That means it prevents an egg from dropping. If however, you are already pregnant these methods will do nothing. And if nothing happens that means that your pregnancy was not aborted. IUDs are actually used in many other countries as long-term, effective, reversible birth control. They are 99% effective (so that should shut all the "Go Buy A Condom" people who know that condoms have a 12% failure rate) but can costs hundreds or thousands of dollars without insurance.

You can read the entire article here.

If you agree with Hobby Lobby, then I beg you to think of what the ruling implies for other companies as well. Nine out of 10 businesses are thought to be "closely held" which means that there very well may be other lawsuits coming against other types of medicine.

Some religions don't believe in blood transfusions, some don't believe in antidepressants, and the list goes on. The Supreme Court may have tried to write out any ambiguous wording against other types of religious views but that begs the question: if you have to specifically word the law so that other religions cannot also benefit, is it really an equitable law?

I shouldn't have to say that America is a nation without a religion. We do not have a national religion thrust upon us. So to favor a law that is Christian in nature goes against the First Amendment.

However, let's be clear: just because companies offer birth control or medicine that goes against your religion doesn't mean you have to take it. You have the choice to deny it. That is your religious freedom. It does not mean, however, that you have the right to deny me said medicine based on your beliefs. You are then hindering my religious (or nonreligious) freedom. Religion is not under attack. Your are able to abide and adhere to your own beliefs, but those beliefs have to stop with you. You are not able to decide how others believe.

This whole situation is just the tip of the iceberg. You should expect even more lawsuits coming under scrutiny based on this new verdict.

If you're interested in reading about what Supreme Court Justice Ruth Ginsburg said about how terrible this decision was, you can read her 35 page dissent here.

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  1. Ah, science. Ruining ultra-conservative right-wing assertions since the beginning of time.
    And, seriously, should we be down with anything RBG isn't down with? I think not. This is basically everything that I've wanted to say about the situation and more. Plus, how can anyone deny that this decision further supports societal patriarchy since birth control is denied by Hobby Lobby's insurance plan, yet Viagra and other erectile dysfunction medications are still covered? If I don't have the right to protect myself with contraception, you don't have the right to an erection.

    1. I completely agree with the fact that if people are adverse to birth control they should also deny coverage for male erectile dysfunction, especially due to the fact that birth control medication is also used for medical conditions whereas E.D. medication are only used for male sexual arousal. The fact that men cannot have babies causes a big divide in the whole birth control debate. And yet, even though women are able to have babies and produce life, we are deemed incapable of thinking for ourselves about our own bodies. This situation isn't over and I just hope that eventually this wrong will be righted.