In a dramatic 5-4 decision along ideological lines, the Supreme Court today chose to side with corporations over people and set a brand new (and untested) precedent that is just the starting gun for more and more corporations claiming religious freedom superiority over the needs of their employees.
(See a LATE BREAKING UPDATE at the bottom showing the already cascading effect this decision is having in the lower courts, in less than 8 hours.)
In Burwell v Hobby Lobby, the right-wing justices vacated a portion of the Affordable Care Act that applies to certain for-profit corporations, giving them superior religious freedom rights. They performed this bit of surgery with a dull hack saw. In the the process they perpetuated a fatal misunderstanding of the difference between pregnancy prevention and abortion.
Protecting the free-exercise rights of closely held corporations thus protects the religious liberty of the humans who own and control them. — Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito
It was a good day to be a boss. And a very good day for all the lawyers who will now thrive because of the havoc this decision will fuel.
Justice Stephen Breyer and the 3 women Justices, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Sonia Sotomayer, and Elana Kagan, dissented in consideration of the tens of thousands of working women who are now unable to exercise their religious freedom, or more bluntly, freedom from the religious freedom of others with whom they disagree. Ginsburg called it, “A decision of startling breadth,” and went on to say . . .
The Court’s expansive notion of corporate personhood . . . invites for-profit entities to seek religion-based exemptions from regulations they deem offensive to their faith . . . The Court, I fear, has ventured into a minefield . . .
The longstanding, extreme right-wingnuts’ campaign to dismantle any gains in reproductive freedom is driven solely by their theocratic fundamentalist beliefs that dictate that women shouldn’t control their own bodies, or shouldn’t be wanting to have sex in the first place, and that pregnancy prevention amounts to another form of abortion. Their position is that discrimination against women health care is not discrimination at all — it’s okay for your bosses to know better what you need.
Now it’s up to the Congress to provide a contraceptive work-around, if possible. For now, however, working women have to pay twice, first by their labor which entitles them to health care, and then separately outside of their company’s health care program. For example, a working woman now must pay more than $1000 for a IUD, an intrauterine device that prevents pregnancy, in many cases equal to a month’s pay.
There is an irony here because less available contraception will result in more pregnancies which are even more expensive and more of a strain on women’s overall health and their economic opportunities.
This impasse is a perfect example of an inhumane and coercive system that must be replaced with a humane and voluntary association outside of the influence of governments, corporations, and religious hierarchies. Shall birth control, including abortion, be a matter for the growing theocracy or be a matter between a woman and her health care providers? See A Manifesto for The New Age of Sexual Freedom to understand why VenusPlusX believes issues like these are of supreme importance.
Join us and Planned Parenthood in expressing your dissent so together we can do everything possible to protect and defend women’s health and rights nationwide.
Related . . .
UPDATE from SCOTUSblog: Acting swiftly in the wake of the Court’s ruling on Monday, and relying directly upon that decision, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit on Monday blocked all enforcement of the mandate against an Alabama Catholic TV network, a non-profit entity. Dozens of cases similar to Hobby Lobby are in the pipeline and now sure to be viewed with more favor.