Birth Control Is Now Your Boss’ Decision
I am sad, angry and shocked. I’ve been on edge this morning waiting for the ruling — hoping that the Supreme Court of the United States would use reason and ethics over religious liberty. Sadly, this was not the case. “Todays decision tears down a longstanding rule providing that religious liberty cannot be wielded to tear down the rights of others, especially in the employment context.” The very conservative SCOTUS ruled in favor of Hobby Lobby, a nationwide craft chain store wh filed a lawsuit in 2012 against the government regarding the contraceptive mandate coverage by the Affordable Care Act. The health care law had already excluded churches and other religious entities from the contraception mandate.
“As the Supreme Court held in its 1982 United States v. Lee decision, “[w]hen followers of a particular sect enter into commercial activity as a matter of choice, the limits they accept on their own conduct as a matter of conscience and faith are not to be superimposed on the statutory schemes which are binding on others in that activity.”
Stunned by the ruling, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg stated:
“In a decision of startling breadth, the Court holds that commercial enterprises, including corporations, along with partnerships and sole proprietorships, can opt out of any law (saving only tax laws) they judge incompatible with their sincerely held religious beliefs.”
There were over 100 lawsuits filed by religious businesses based on the same claims that Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Woods made. That FDA approved contraceptives are against their “sincere” religious beliefs. I’ve been following this since the lawsuit was filed against the government. Several months back, Think Progress wrote:
“A Hobby Lobby win also threatens to compromise the doctor-patient relationship. Since the company also argues it doesn’t want to provide “related education and counseling” about the birth control methods it opposes, that could prevent workers from discussing those types of contraception with their doctor if they want that doctor’s visit to be covered by their insurance.”
Since this decision is breaking news, we are not sure if the SCOTUS will allow corporations and businesses to compromise the doctor-patient relationship.
The United Nations declared access to family planning a fundamental human right. Dr.Babatunde Osotimehin, executive director of the U.N. Population Fund, stated:
“Not only does the ability for a couple to choose when and how many children to have help lift nations out of poverty, but it is also one of the most effective means of empowering women. Women who use contraception are generally healthier, better educated, more empowered in their households and communities and more economically productive.”Family planning delivers immeasurable rewards to women, families, and communities around the world. By enabling individuals to choose the number and spacing of their children, family planning has allowed women, and their children, to live healthier, longer lives. – See more at: http://www.unfpa.org/public/home/news/pid/12601#sthash.SkKwXpvv.dpuf
The U.N. further states that family planning (which continues to be undermined by religious conservatives) “delivers immeasurable rewards to women, families, and communities around the world. By enabling individuals to choose the number and spacing of their children, family planning has allowed women, and their children, to live healthier, longer lives.”
Having wider access to birth control helps keep women in the workforce. Covering contraception in employees’ health benefits actually saves money in the long term, due to the high medical costs of pregnancy and childbirth.
“Governments, civil society, health providers and communities have the responsibility to protect the right to family planning for women across the spectrum, including those who are young or unmarried.”
Scientific Evidence Ignored
The religious right cunningly turned this into a case about abortion, and five of the nine justices apparently fell for it. Six of the nine justices are Catholic. Justice Roberts suggested that someone’s mere belief that something is an abortion is enough to trigger a religious exemption to federal law. WTF?
[I]n these cases, the Hahns and Greens and their companies sincerely believe that providing the insurance coverage demanded by the HHS [U.S. Department of Health and Human Services] regulations lies on the forbidden side of the line, and it is not for us to say that their religious beliefs are mistaken or insubstantial. Instead, our “narrow function … in this context is to determine” whether the line drawn reflects “an honest conviction” and there is no dispute that it does.”
Hobby Lobby insists that the contraceptives that have been approved by the FDA and are covered under the Affordable Care Act are abortifacients. That’s not what the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists state via Think Progress:
“It’s should be noted that Hobby Lobby’s concerns are not grounded in science. As a brief filed by multiple health provider groups — including the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists — explains, “there is a scientiﬁc distinction between a contraceptive and an abortifacient and the scientiﬁc record demonstrates that none of the FDA-approved contraceptives covered by the Mandate are abortifacients.” So Hobby Lobby isn’t just claiming the right to object to abortion, it is claiming the right to label many common forms of birth control a form of “abortion” and object to those as well — even though drugs and devices don’t actually cause abortions.”
“Based on the belief that a fertilized egg is a person, some religious groups and conservative politicians say disrupting a fertilized egg’s ability to attach to the uterus is abortion, “the moral equivalent of homicide,” as Dr. Donna Harrison, who directs research for the American Association of Pro-life Obstetricians and Gynecologists, put it.
These medications are there to prevent or delay ovulation,” said Dr. Petra M. Casey, an obstetrician-gynecologist at Mayo. “They don’t act after fertilization.”
The Religious Have the Rule. Your Bosses Do Too. Human Rights Be Damned!
Will employers’ religious views be able to dictate healthcare for women in hospitals and clinics? It’s already happening. Catholic hospital systems are the largest in the country and handle a large share of admissions in many states. Four of the top six Healthcare corporations are Catholic. Ten of the twenty-five largest nonprofit hospital systems in the country are Catholic, and Catholic hospitals care for 1 in 6 patients. Catholic hospitals are required to follow health care directives handed down by the US Conference of Catholic Bishops.
Rather than care being dictated by medical science and patient preference, the Catholic hospitals and doctors are required to abide by Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services.
“Catholic health institutions may not promote or condone contraceptive practices.” . . . “Direct sterilization of either men or women, whether permanent or temporary, is not permitted in a Catholic health care institution.”
Hobby Lobby imports billions of dollars of products from China. China has one of the highest abortion rates in the world, and they promote the use of all contraceptives. China’s Health Ministry estimates that in the four decades since the imposition of the one-child policy more than 336 million abortions have taken place which included forced abortions.
When Hobby Lobby filed its case against the Affordable Care Act contraception mandate, its retirement plan had more than $73 million invested in funds with stakes in contraception makers —> the same contraceptive products the firm’s owners cite in their lawsuit.
The article further states that for years, Hobby Lobby’s health insurance plans covered Plan B and Ella, and it was only in 2012, when Hobby Lobby considered filing a lawsuit against the Affordable Care Act, that they dropped these drugs from the plan.
This is a statement by Hobby Lobby Inc:
“We’re Christians, and we run our business on Christian principles. A new government health care mandate says that our family business MUST provide what I believe are abortion-causing drugs as part of our health insurance. It goes against the Biblical principles on which we have run this company since day one.”
Based on the above information, one can only conclude that the lawsuit had little to do with their “sincere religious beliefs.”
Judge William F. Kuntz II of Federal District Court in Brooklyn ruled against a group of parents who sued the city for turning their unvaccinated children away from public school during outbreaks of contagious diseases like measles. The families claimed that their right to practice their religion was being violated. Why aren’t more judges like Kuntz serving in the highest court in America?
Throughout history, bearing a child was the number one cause of death among women. Today, bearing a child is still one of the most dangerous things a woman can do. It’s the sixth most common cause of death among women age 20 to 34 in the United States.
The Supreme Court vote was not based on scientific evidence. It was not based on reason. Neither was it based on the well being of women and families.
“Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg said the ruling on the Hobby Lobby case was based on a misreading of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act and would likely open the door to a host of unintended consequences.”
Justice Ginsberg said she feared the Supreme Court had “ventured into a minefield” with its ruling.
She further stated:
“Even if one were to conclude that Hobby Lobby and Conestoga meet the substantial burden requirement, the Government has shown that the contraceptive coverage for which the ACA provides furthers compelling interests in public health and women’s well being. Those interests are concrete, specific, and demonstrated by a wealth of empirical evidence.”
When will the religious madness end?
Update: WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court on Tuesday confirmed that its decision a day earlier extending religious rights to closely held corporations applies broadly to the contraceptive coverage requirement in the new health care law, not just the handful of methods the justices considered in their ruling.