The Supreme Court’s travesty (and Ginsburg’s brilliant dissension)

History will not be kind in its memory of today’s Supreme Court ruling, a travesty of justice grounded in the same brutish sexism and classism that has always informed the most egregious and shameful rulings of the highest court in our land.

In my post of January 23, 12 Reasons the Hobby Lobby Case Should be Dismissed, I wrote:

If based upon its moral convictions Hobby Lobby is allowed to pick and choose the medical benefits it covers, why in the world wouldn’t any other company be allowed to do the same? And how could the criteria for such selections possibly be established or codified? Should a Muslim employer be allowed to refuse medical coverage for an employee who chokes on a ham sandwich? Should vegetarian Hindu employers be allowed to refuse coverage for meat-borne diseases? Should Amish-owned companies be allowed to offer only medical care that is not “of the world”? Christian Scientists believe all sickness is spiritual “error”; should they be allowed to offer their employees no medical benefits at all? Should New-Age employers be protected from having to extend medical benefits to employees who allowed their chakras to misalign? Can employers who are sun worshippers refuse coverage for frostbite? Can Jehovah’s Witnesses deny their employees coverage for blood transfusions, which they are against? Can vampire lovers mandate blood transfusions for their employees?

In her brilliantly piercing dissent from today’s Supreme Court decision, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg made the same argument (though without chakra and vampire jokes—not sure what that’s about):

Would [this ruling] for employers with religiously grounded objections to the use of certain contraceptives extend to employers with religiously grounded objections to blood transfusions (Jehovah’s Witnesses); antidepressants (Scientologists); medications derived from pigs, including anesthesia, intravenous fluids, and pills coated with gelatin (certain Muslims, Jews, and Hindus); and vaccinations (Christian Scientists, among others)?

She also said:

There is an overriding interest, I believe, in keeping the courts out of the business of evaluating the relative merits of differing religious claims … or the sincerity with which an asserted religious belief is held. Indeed, approving some religious claims while deeming others unworthy of accommodations could be perceived as favoring one religion over another. … The Court, I fear, has ventured into a minefield.

You can read the rest of Justice Ginsburg’s 35-page dissent here.

I am so proud to have women like Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan sitting on the Supreme Court.

I am so ashamed and appalled beyond uttering at what that court, despite these women—despite all women—did today. From up on their bench those fools tossed us all into a cesspool the stench of which we’ll be washing off for years if not decades to come.


I’m the author of UNFAIR: Christians and the LGBT Question:

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About John Shore

John Shore (who, fwiw, is straight) is the author of UNFAIR: Christians and the LGBT Question, and three other great books. He is founder of Unfundamentalist Christians (on Facebook here), and executive editor of the Unfundamentalist Christians group blog.  (In total John's two blogs receive some 250,000 views per month.) John is also co-founder of The NALT Christians Project, which was written about by TIME,  The Washington Post, and others. His website is JohnShore.com. You're invited to like John's Facebook page. Don't forget to sign up for his mucho-awesome newsletter.

  • Dave-n-TN

    John: I agree with you (and the Honorable Judge Ginsburg) completely about this decision.

    One thing, can you check the link to her 35 page dissent? The link would not work for me and said the page was no longer there.

    • https://elizabeth-fullerton.squarespace.com/resume Elizabeth

      I… can’t even weigh in on this one. Forehead meet laptop.

      • Jill

        I can only weakly spit out sideways snark… religious misogyny approved by the highest court of the land of church/state separation.

    • http://johnshore.com/ John Shore

      Fixed. Thank you, Dave!

      • Dave-n-TN

        Thank you John for quickly fixing the link … I have seen excerpts, but wanted to read the entire dissent.

  • Matt

    Some people think it’s not a big deal (since it’s ostensibly only about small businesses), but it’s more about the precedent than anything else. On a completely unrelated note, I knew Justice Ginsburg would be eloquently opposed! I am in love with that woman’s brain.

  • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

    Let us hope the legislative and administrative branch of our government compile a reasonable solution. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/06/30/white-house-hobby-lobby_n_5544287.html?utm_hp_ref=politics

  • http://thethreews.wordpress.com/ Ken Leonard

    It’s official. The Supreme Court just ruled that corporations are people with their rights protected and that humans aren’t.

    • Jill

      We knew this was where it’s all been going. Corporations will be classified as super-humans and thereby worthy of more rights, privileges and scope.

      I’m not one to dig into Bible context out here on a Christian site :), but thoughts come to mind about the nephilim… (couldn’t help myself)

      • http://limpingtowardsgrace.com/ James Jarvis

        The supreme court’s decision reminds of Animal Farm’s: “All animals are equal” which became “All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal that others” at the end of the book.

  • Sue Ellen Hull

    Please make sure you know which birth control is affected. Everyone is talking as though it affects the birth control most used, but it does not. Here are some lists.

    It doesn’t affect:

    • Most birth control pills

    • Condoms

    • Sponges

    • Sterilization

    It does affect:

    • Plan B “morning-after pill”

    • Ella “morning-after pill”

    • Hormonal and copper intrauterine devices (IUDs)

    I just want to make sure we all know what we are talking about.

    • Matt

      I wonder: If someone was raped and presented to an emergency room for care, and was given emergency contraception as part of that care, would that be covered or not? Far too many sad possibilities to consider…

    • BarbaraR

      Bad though this is, the actual birth control methods are only part of the issue. The long-term and more potentially frightening issue is giving a pass to a business on grounds that a law conflicts with the religious views of the business. As stated below, corporations are now people – and their rights trump those of employees.

      • Snooterpoot

        From Daily Kos:

        “Unintended consequences may lay bare the hypocrisy of the Right-wing and its agents on the Supreme Court.

        How would conservatives and their agents respond if a company with Islamic beliefs (however defined) decided to impose its religious values on white, Christian, American employees?

        Sharia hysteria would spread in such a way as to make the present day-to-day Islamophobia of the Right-wing echo chamber appear benign and muted by comparison.”

    • mindy

      It doesn’t matter. It is the principle – which is what the court ruled on. And their ignorance is astounding, as those “morning after” pills simply block the implantation of a fertilized egg, so that it cannot become an embryo.

      • Joy

        Problem is, the people who run those companies believe that life begins when the egg is fertilized, so to them the fertilized egg is the same as a baby. That’s why they object to the morning after pills and IUDs.

    • https://elizabeth-fullerton.squarespace.com/resume Elizabeth

      We’re dissecting which birth control a woman uses? Which method she uses to protect herself and give the best life to the children she does have? Because that’s what we’re talking about. And it’s wrong.

    • Sue Ellen Hull

      Please remember that just because something is not covered by insurance doesn’t mean a person can’t pay for it her/himself. Also, closely held companies are just that. They are not owned by shareholders. They are owned by people who have beliefs and values.

      • https://elizabeth-fullerton.squarespace.com/resume Elizabeth

        Yes, Sue, as a very young woman I paid for two abortions, and later, as it became available, some Plan B. I skipped meals and begged rides to make it happen.

        I’m an upper middle class woman who went to the best schools on two continents. Can you honestly say, in a right and just society, that to make women without my (our) advantages bear children they don’t want is moral? That it’s easy to “make it go away” on a minimum wage?

        • Sue Ellen Hull

          So, you stepped up and took responsibility for your actions. Good for you!

          • https://elizabeth-fullerton.squarespace.com/resume Elizabeth

            I took a responsibility no one wants. No one wakes up one morning saying, “I want to kill babies.” FWIW, as a serial contractor, HL probably provides minimal insurance for anyone who works thirty hours a week, unless they dip under thirty hours a week, and they can control that. An hour at minimum wage where I live (California) barely pays the bridge toll one way. You’re just playing dumb. http://www.dol.gov/whd/minwage/america.htm

          • Sue Ellen Hull

            HL pays full time, $14 and part time $9.50. That was as of 2013. We are talking about Hobby Lobby, right? BTW, I appreciate that you can discuss this without casting judgments and calling me names (well, “playing dumb”, maybe, but that’s pretty tame).

          • https://elizabeth-fullerton.squarespace.com/resume Elizabeth

            $14! So $8 after taxes. Plenty to feed a brood. Actually, we’re talking the precedent HL and SCOTUS set. These are hard decisions, life-changing medical decisions that don’t belong on shareholders’ lists of action points. The costs are negligible; the consequences are huge.

            But I’ll go back to work at my Forbes’ top 50 company now. 12 hours a day, full benefits. I’m one of the lucky ones who could make that choice.

          • Sue Ellen Hull

            People who make $14 an hour do not pay 42% in taxes, and you know that. You probably don’t either.

            So, you got your good job by luck? That’s amazing!

          • https://elizabeth-fullerton.squarespace.com/resume Elizabeth

            You’re good at math! No, generally 25-36%, I rounded up. I pay about 20%, not counting the trust find and the Roth IRA. Dad’s Ph.D. was in media economics. We good on Twenty Questions? ‘Cause, seriously, I have a job. The CMO is less than entranced by your low-ball questions.

          • Sue Ellen Hull

            I didn’t question your job. I questioned that you got it by pure luck. I am “lucky” too that I am an RN with a MSN and a very in demand specialty. Maybe the luck is that there were loans available for me to pay back. But it was not luck to get through nursing school with four young kids. That was just a lot of work. I suspect your lucky job required a lot of work too. 12 hour days is also a lot of work. It doesn’t happen by accident.

          • BarbaraR

            Just a warning: you’re bordering on insulting by twisting words around. Stop it.

          • http://www.woundconsultations.com Sue Ellen Hull

            Appreciating that someone worked hard to get where they’re at is insulting? Please explain.

          • BarbaraR

            I am not going to play games with you. You have been warned about twisting the words of other people to fit what you want them to say.

          • Snooterpoot

            Again, from Daily Kos:

            “Unintended consequences may lay bare the hypocrisy of the Right-wing and its agents on the Supreme Court.

            How would conservatives and their agents respond if a company with Islamic beliefs (however defined) decided to impose its religious values on white, Christian, American employees?

            Sharia hysteria would spread in such a way as to make the present day-to-day Islamophobia of the Right-wing echo chamber appear benign and muted by comparison.”

            Care to make a comment on that?

          • AtalantaBethulia

            Word.

          • Sue Ellen Hull

            A person making $14 is in the 15% tax bracket, and that is after the first $8025, which is at 10%. And that is assuming no deductions for dependents.

          • Sue Ellen Hull

            And, if this person has one or more children, he or she qualifies for low income credit.

          • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

            If someone has children on a just under 30k income, they often pay very little in income taxes as the extra exemption wipes out a fair amount of what is owed.

        • Sue Ellen Hull

          Oh, and HL does not pay their full time employees (the ones eligible for insurance) minimum wage. Yay for them on that.

      • BarbaraR

        You are totally missing the point, though your callousness toward poor women is astounding.

        Once this horse is out of the barn – and it is – any corporation claiming religious exemptions can demand they not have to pay for, (for example) blood transfusions (Jehovah’s Witnesses) or any other medical treatment/medication opposed by that religion.

        • Sue Ellen Hull

          Your judgment of someone you don’t know and whose history you don’t know anything about is what is astounding to me.

          • BarbaraR

            * just because something is not covered by insurance doesn’t mean a person can’t pay for it her/himself” is pretty fucking callous, as are your remarks to Elizabeth below.
            Hey, all those poor women can just walk into the back yard and pick some cash off the money tree.

          • BarbaraR

            OK, after reading your other comments on Disqus, I see that your specialty is to stir up shit, then play a game of semantics and “Who’s the troll? Not me! Tee hee!” as you are doing with Elizabeth. You don’t actually have anything to say; you’re just bored and think it’s fun to make specious arguments in hopes of annoying people.

            I am done with this conversation.

          • Jill

            I was raised Jehovah’s Witness. I worked for JW-owned businesses for years in my youth. If they had been given a red pen and eraser to my healthcare coverage based on their moral codes, there is no doubt this would happen — on more things than just blood.

            Barbara R. is correct.

      • http://thethreews.wordpress.com/ Ken Leonard

        They are still corporations.

        Corporations have certain protections which do not apply to people, and the existence of a corporate structure protects people from kinds of liability. Never has it been the view of the law that corporations retain all of the rights of the people who formed them while protecting those same people from liabiliity.

        What was your point, again?

      • Anthony John Woo

        First, buying birth control (of any type) is a significant out of pocket expense. One that many people cannot afford.
        Second, their basis for denying coverage for those particular types of birth control is based on their erroneous belief that those forms of birth control are abortificants (cause abortions). They don’t. Those particular forms of birth control function exactly the same way as other forms of birth control pills.
        Third, the fact that they cover all forms of erectile dysfunction medication for men, but do not cover all forms of birth control for women indicates a double standard for sexual mores.
        Fourth, the fact that they invest in the same companies that produce Plan B, Ella, and IUDs but do not permit their employees to have those forms of birth control covered is startling hypocrisy.
        Fifth, they covered Plan B, Ella, and IUDs prior to the ACA. It was only after the ACA got through congress that they suddenly had “religious objections”.
        I have more reasons why this decision was wrong, but I think that pretty much covers most of the points you’ve made.

        • http://www.woundconsultations.com Sue Ellen Hull

          Thank you. It is nice to hear from someone who can explain his position well without name-calling and judging. I really appreciate your well thought out post. It makes a lot of sense.

    • AtalantaBethulia

      You’re an RN with an MSN. Me too. Then you know that condoms and sponges are available over the counter without a prescription, but sponges are not as effective as hormonal forms of birth control and condoms are not woman-controlled; both of which (highly effective and woman-controlled) are necessary for women to have full autonomy of their sexual health and pregnancy prevention. Sterilization is permanent and not meant for young women, as you probably also likely know the rule of 50.

      But while it doesn’t affect most birth control pills, it sets a dangerous precedent when the bar is so low: A deeply held religious belief, no matter how erroneous, that contraceptives cause abortions (specifically that a mechanism of action that prevents implantation of a fertilized egg is tantamount to abortion). And when you take that definition into account and look at the zealotry in the pro-life movement, then you realize that they are gunning for the whole enchilada: All hormonal birth control is at risk.

      IUDs are also used to treat Menorrhagia, painful, heavy bleeding that can be debilitating. I haven’t read any language that takes into consideration non-contraceptive uses, which is unfortunate, for that shouldn’t even be an issue as healthcare decisions should be between a patient and their provider. We’ve fought health insurance companies for years to expand their formularies to offer the best for our patients based on what they need, not what happens to be on the formulary. Now we also have to compete with the religious interests of the employer.

      This isn’t how medicine should be practiced.

      • http://www.woundconsultations.com Sue Ellen Hull

        I agree!

        This is one reason I strongly support health savings accounts. Yes, some can’t afford to fund them. That is where the govt. can step in when needed.

        But, the big thing to me is, with health savings accounts, people can shop around for prices (which would lower prices in the long run), they use the account for routine care and they can go places where regular insurance generally won’t cover – like complementary and alternative medicine. This is where emergency contraceptives fit in, or whatever a person wants. No one is hanging over you saying, yes you can do this, and no you can’t do that. Also, if there is money left over, they can keep it and use it as another source of retirement funds.

        With the ACA, even with health savings acct. plans, there is a long list of preventive care that is still covered.

        It seems to me, HSAs are the best way to keep both the government AND the employers out of my medical business.

        Thank you for your post. It is nice to see another nurse. I have always said that one of the best things about being a nurse is that I get to work with other nurses :-)

        • AtalantaBethulia

          I read Market Driven Healthcare by Regina Herzlinger, and I’m not sure shopping around to find a cheaper OBGYN to insert an IUD is patient-focussed healthcare. I get her premise. I’m just not convinced that it will work.

          If I have insurance, I’m supposed to use my preferred provider with whom I am enrolled (not just anyone). Then there is the trust issue: Most people don’t want the cheapest person to insert their IUD (Just to be clear – through their vagina and the tiny opening of their cervix, into their uterus… during their period – which is when IUDs are inserted in order to guarantee the patient is not pregnant.) It’s uncomfortable and embarrassing and most patients would prefer someone with whom they have built a rapport.

          Health savings accounts didn’t use to roll over. Some were use it or lose it. Perhaps this has changed. But, at best, I see them as budgeting tools, yet this does not change that a colonoscopy is quite expensive and the tax savings doesn’t significantly offset the cost.

          I’m optimistic about the profession, but I don’t think they make nurses quite like they used to.

          • http://www.woundconsultations.com Sue Ellen Hull

            I am not suggesting we find the cheapest Dr. Here is an example. When I had a HSA, I needed a colonoscopy. I called the local hospital and scheduled an appt. Then I mentioned that I would be paying with a check (from the HSA) so anything to save money would be appreciated. Then she said, “Oh. If you go to the SAME DOCTORS at their clinic in Olympia (45 minute drive), it is much cheaper.” So I checked into it.

            If I had it done at the original place, it would cost $4500-$5000. If I drove a bit and went to Olympia, it would cost about $1100. Same docs. Different facility. HUGE difference! Guess which I did. Lol!

            These days, people are finding they are not able to keep their trusted providers, and that is not good at all!

            Yes, HSAs roll over. You might be thinking of flex spending accounts. They don’t. Use it or lose it.

            So, with HSAs, there is freedom to choose. It works the other way, too. Maybe your preferred provider is not one of the insurance company’s preferred providers, or maybe your doc charges more than assignment. Then you can use the HSA,

            And, there is the tax savings, of course.

            And there is the possibility of adding to retirement funds. That can even be an incentive to practice healthy habits.

            I agree, they don’t make nurses like they used to. I do have a daughter, though, who is in her 4th year of nursing, and I am very proud of her, her conscientiousness and her values.

          • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

            Not everyone can afford to set aside money aside for an HSA, needing that money for such frivolities like diapers, groceries and the power bill.

            So, if they have it, they use traditional insurance with all that out of pocket stuff that they pay as they can.

            As for shopping for the best price on a procedure? Boy that would be nice, but they don’t even tell you up front what an office visit is going to set you back, in many areas. Pricing estimates for a tonsilectomy, including medications, anethesia, doctor’s charges, lab fees, rental of the surgical facility and the recovery room, so that you know what you are going to be hit with AFTER all is said and done ahead of time? Oh if only.

          • AtalantaBethulia

            This is one aspect of market driven healthcare that some have listed as an impediment to the kind of price comparison shopping of which Sue Ellen speaks.

            So, in the same way we might say it feels like Insurance companies are out to make life difficult for the consumer at every turn, others from a business perspective would say that obscure pricing is like-wise an anti-consumer practice and prevents comparison shopping.

            Since Sue Ellen is a nurse, and as I have experienced myself, our medical knowledge of how the system works is often on the level of “secret knowledge” and insight that the average person does not have. We are able to use it to our advantage, but that doesn’t help the average person trying to navigate the healthcare system and all of its intricacies.

            Back to shopping around:

            Eyecare and optical stores are often given as examples of how market driven healthcare can and does work. However, shopping around for the best price for an eye exam and contacts or glasses is quite a bit less personal and intimate than finding a primary care physician, pediatrician, gynecologist or internist with whom – presumably – one is entrusting the entirety of their health for the long term.

            As a provider (and as a patient), continuity of care is a very important aspect of the provider-patient relationship and to providing a high level of care. Not all aspects of care are “shop around” types of services and doing so has the potential to – particularly in the patient who is not a good historian – impede continuity of care.

          • http://limpingtowardsgrace.com/ James Jarvis

            Plus the consequences of getting the wrong glasses are more an inconvenience that can be easily fixed but a serious medical procedure like surgery can have fatal consequences,

          • http://www.woundconsultations.com Sue Ellen Hull

            I don’t see shopping around as the main benefit of the HSAs, but it would probably happen, if they were implemented.

            What I see as the biggest benefit is having more control over my own health care. Granted, some people don’t want that, but it seems like more and more do.

          • http://www.woundconsultations.com Sue Ellen Hull

            Continuity of care. Sigh. I have been a wound/ostomy nurse in home health for longer than I care to admit to, and oh my. I am sure people try to make a smooth transition from facility to home (don’t they?) but… when you are called out in the middle of the night by patients who were sent home with NO ostomy supplies, you really have to wonder.

          • http://www.woundconsultations.com Sue Ellen Hull

            Yes, as I said, not everyone can afford to fund an HSA, but that is where the govt. can step in, or employers can fund or partially fund the accounts.

            As for surgeries and larger procedures, once the deductible is paid (from HSA, funded by individual or other source), it acts like any other insurance, covering what is needed.

            Also, even with an HSA account, there is a list of preventive services that must be covered under the ACA. http://www.hhs.gov/healthcare/facts/factsheets/2010/07/preventive-services-list.html#CoveredPreventiveServicesforAdults

            So, people don’t have to use the HSA money for these services.

            The thing about the HSA accounts is, they give more control of healthcare to the patient. You will never get the government to pay for diapers or the power bill, but you could get the health care of your choice (not someone else’s) paid for, if it was set up that way, and the accounts were funded based on income. But, that will probably never happen the way things are going.

          • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

            I would rather see a single pay health care system, which has worked simply and very well in countries like Canada, Costa Rica, Taiwan, Finland, Japan, Kuwait

          • https://elizabeth-fullerton.squarespace.com/resume Elizabeth

            Hey allegro, slightly off-topic, but it speaks to pricing and shopping around: the last time I went to a medical doctor was a decade ago. I was hurrying on my way to work and slipped on the escalator. By 3 PM, I couldn’t move my right arm — a real problem when you type for a living. I took the next day off work, which meant losing a day’s income. I was very clear to the doctor that I was a contractor, and the insurance I paid into covered only the basics.

            He kept me four hours and gave me every test in the book. For months I received approvals and reversals in the mail. Bottom line: I was charged $15K out of pocket for a sore arm. That was WITH insurance while I worked for one of the world’s largest banks. I don’t think people understand just how terrifying that is.

          • Andy

            That’s ridiculous.

            I could give some more examples, like how some insurance companies have stopped covering certain medications and are pushing older or lower-quality or generic variants because they’re fighting with the drug manufacturers. It’s absolutely staggering how out-of-control health care has become in this country.

          • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

            Holy Shit Elizabeth!! That’s awful.

            Another example of how crazy expensive our health care is. I had a friend who lived in Canada. His neighbor went to Miami for vacation, fell and broke his arm. He went to the ER, got x-rays, a casts and a pescription. The cost, if I remember correctly was about $1500, and this was about 8 to 10 years ago. If he had broken his arm in Canada, the entire cost would have been $50.

            Our two hospitals, will offer discounts for people who pay the out of pocket costs of a stay or outpatient procedure up front, but most are like myself, arranging scheduled payments, and hoping a big health event doesn’t arrive.

    • James Walker

      the SCOTUS has evidently just clarified their ruling to state they intended it to apply broadly to ALL BIRTH CONTROL measures that are mandated by the ACA when and if such measures are counter to some employer’s “sincerely held religious belief”. they have also apparently referred several lower court cases back to their respective justices to be re-examined in light of this ruling on the Hobby Lobby case.

      http://news.yahoo.com/justices-act-other-health-law-mandate-cases-133633160–politics.html;_ylt=A0LEV0_Jw7JTfGsAwEJXNyoA;_ylu=X3oDMTB0aTRxYjk3BHNlYwNzYwRjb2xvA2JmMQR2dGlkA1ZJUDQ2NF8x

  • mindy

    What they have said is that corporations are people, they support those who believe teeny glops of cellular matter are people – but women, well, not so much. I will continue to rant that until they also come out and publicly announce they will not cover erectile dysfunction medication for any unmarried men, I will not buy that this has anything at all to do with religious beliefs. It is about money, pure and simple. Or this wouldn’t have happened: http://www.forbes.com/sites/rickungar/2014/04/01/hobby-lobby-401k-discovered-to-be-investor-in-numerous-abortion-and-contraception-products-while-claiming-religious-objection/

    And that the SCOTUS protected it is simply baffling. And sickening.

    • disqus_i68ivJXHEo

      No, it’s not just about money. It’s also about male dominance, and control of employees.

      • mindy

        You are correct. I knew that and should have added it.

  • Bones

    The way you guys do your health system is bizarre.

    • BarbaraR

      It’s even worse than you think. It’s common to walk into a store and see a coffee can on the checkout counter with a sign that reads, “Little Johnny needs a heart transplant. Please donate your spare change.”

      • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

        Yeah, the number one reason why US citizens file for bankruptcy is that someone became ill, or was in an accident, and the out of pocket health costs drowned their budget…even with health insurance.

    • http://limpingtowardsgrace.com/ James Jarvis

      To paraphrase Churchill “Government run healthcare is the worst form of healthcare, except for all the others.”

  • http://limpingtowardsgrace.com/ James Jarvis

    So much for the First Amendment. Your supreme court has made women second class citizens and corporations have been given given the right to impose their will on their employees under the guise of religious freedom.

    • James Walker

      yep. it will be only a matter of time before some non-closely-held corporation will put forward a claim that some large portion of their officers, board members, and/or shareholders have strong “religious faith” objections to some federally mandated employer action (it won’t even need to be insurance coverage) and this case will become the precedent that destroys every fair labor gain we made in the last century.

    • Andy

      …which, I’m pretty sure, is how a bunch of stodgy old rich men want it. Practically speaking, our country is an oligarchy, not a democracy.

      The race for governor in my state (Texas) has to be one of the most high-profile this year. Greg Abbott has repeatedly affirmed positions that are anti-women, anti-LGBT+, pro-upper class, and nepotistic. And yet he still looks like a clear favorite. I don’t understand why anyone would vote for him, especially anyone that’s LGBT+ (of which I don’t know any that will) or a woman (of which I unfortunately know quite a few that will). It miffs me that these people (again, mostly stodgy old rich men) have engineered a system in which a lot of people vote against their own interests.

      • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

        Sounds like my state.

    • Mike Barnhart

      Are you aware that the First Amendment does not grant equality to citizens? It grants a free press, religion without government control, petitioning of the government, assembly, and free speech.
      What the SCOTUS did was apply the time honored test of pressing government need which cannot be accomplished easier and less intrusively another way. The fed gov failed to show they could not subsidize Plan B themselves, which is an easier and less intrusive method and actually helps EVERYONE, not just those with insurance.
      It really is a win for all.

  • http://www.fordswords.net/ Ford1968

    Thank you John. I was deeply disappointed, but not surprised by today’s decision. I fear the court has become far too political. And this seems to be a concession to social conservatives in the wake of marriage equality rulings, and a concession to small gov proponents after the original healthcare ruling. It saddens me to think that important progress is being made on the backs of women.

    Justice Ginsburg is absolutely correct and the examples she used are not at all far fetched. The ACA gives access to an inventory of health care services. It doesn’t compel any person to accept a service that’s contrary to their religious beliefs. Now, the employer has the ability to force their morality on an employee. That’s a sobering precedent which betrays other employment law like non-discrimination protections.

    If there’s anything good to come out of this sad episode, I hope there’s been some level of education. I hope we’ll stop talking about birth control like it’s only about sex.

    • Jill

      I could say something wholly inappropriate here about SCOTUS, contraception and ‘progress being made on the backs of women’. But I’ll restrain myself. For the time being.

      Hi Ford! Good to read you!

      • http://www.fordswords.net/ Ford1968

        HAR!

  • ucfengr

    I know this borders on the sacriligeous, but there are actual women for whom elective birth control is not the most important health care issue. This mandate isn’t just on Hobby Lobby, it’s also on HL’s employees. They are being forced to pay for health insurance coverage that may include things that are irrelevant to them. They may actually prefer coverage that forgoes elective birth control in exchange for a lower price or different priorities. Who are you to say they are wrong?

    • AtalantaBethulia

      Are they not free to turn down their employer-based health insurance and choose to purchase their own? Comprehensive coverage, by its nature, covers things that a particular individual *may* not need. Eg: I may never need an appendectomy, but it’s covered if I do.

      • ucfengr

        That argument cuts both ways. If “morning after” pills are important to an HL employee and HL doesn’t want to cover it, they are free to buy private coverage or pay for them out of pocket. Also, an appendectomy isn’t an elective procedure. If you want to be honest, that’s what medical insurance is for; to cover unexpected and expensive medical care. Elective birth control is neither unexpected (typically) nor expensive.

        • AtalantaBethulia

          You are talking to a healthcare provider. Would you like me to list all of the non-elective uses for contraceptives? And all of the health risks of pregnancy, including death? Is not pregnancy also so often unexpected and expensive?

          The government has a compelling interest in public health. Unwanted and unintended pregnancy is a public health issue because poverty, education, healthcare costs, child abuse and neglect and crime are public health issues. That highly effective, woman-controlled contraceptives have not been covered comprehensively on insurance formularies was one of the complaints raised in town hall meetings and with US Senators and Representatives as healthcare reform was being crafted. This was the fix: The powers that be wouldn’t support a single-payer universal system, it had to remain in the current form (for profit, market-based, within and outside of the employer based program), so, one of the elements of setting “minimum standards” for “comprehensive coverage” was to include contraception as “basic healthcare coverage” and a vital part of “preventive medical care.” It’s called a compromise: You don’t get everything you want. I don’t get everything I want.

          My vagina and uterus and ovaries are part of my body. I expect to receive comprehensive care for these parts of my body when I see my healthcare provider. And as a healthcare provider myself, I advocate for my patients in that contraceptives greatly improve the lives of women in a multitude of ways. That men will never know what it’s like to bleed one week a month for forty years of their lives from the ages of 12 to 52 means you can’t know what a Godsend contraceptives are for women. They make what is otherwise a miserable experience for so many women tolerable. This isn’t JUST about preventing pregnancy – which should be more than enough. This is about quality of life: regular periods when they can be expected, less heavy, less painful and shorter periods, or no period at all, ending debilitating pain from ovarian cysts, family spacing and planning so as to help keep a family out of poverty allowing women to go to school and continue to work… The benefits are overwhelming and practical – physically, emotionally and economically.

          Addressing the job crises and poverty and education and all the other social ills that plague a society involves contraception. I wish more people understood why this is a public health issue for us all and a quality of life issue for all women and, by association, also men.

          • ucfengr

            Nobody, not even the Catholic Church is opposed to covering hormone treatment for non-elective medical treatment, so I’m not sure who you’re arguing against. And yes, a full term pregnancy can be expensive, but it’s not exactly unexpected, but birth control is inexpensive and so are “morning after” pills. If you don’t want to carry a pregnancy to term, nobody is forcing you to, but I’m not sure why your employer should be compelled to pay for your elective medical decisions. Should employers cover elective breast augmentation, or, say, my medicinal use of single malt scotch?

          • AtalantaBethulia

            Really? I know evangelicals who are. (“IUDs and birth control pills are murder; I don’t care why you are using them.”) I didn’t read any caveats written into this ruling regarding use for medical necessity. Do you know if such caveats exist in this ruling?

            And who determines what qualifies as medical necessity? As I outlined above, preventing unwanted pregnancy has a myriad of personal and public health benefits. It is not merely “elective use of birth control.” There are also medical conditions that make pregnancy prevention a medical necessity. I’m suggesting that these decisions should be between a patient and their provider – to be able to choose the best and most effective treatment possible without being limited by the religious beliefs of the patient’s employer.

          • AtalantaBethulia

            Re: Pregnancy not being unexpected or a surprise.

            I’m not sure what kind of cave you have been living in.

            Re: “but birth control is inexpensive and so are “morning after” pills.”

            Which is why the government – and many other people – understand why pregnancy prevention is such a good economic and social investment.

          • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

            I’m of the mind to tell you to get yourself a uterus, so you can experience the full array of possessing such an organ. That way you can experience fully the fun and frolic of the annual pap smear, the mystery of why in the hell do they call it a “happy period”, the guess work of when NOT to wear white, and if you are of the mood for real adventure, having your midsection stretched past its elastic point while a small being beats the snot out of your bladder for three solid months.

            In fact, I’ll give you as an extra bonus any menstrating week from my high school years. If you call now, I’ll throw in Bubbette and Earline, two of the finest and fastest growing fibroid tumors in three states.

            Operators are standing by.

        • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

          Yet insurance covers blood pressure medicine, a preventative against heart attacks or strokes, weight loss medications and procedures, also elective, chiropractic care, a helpful, but utterly elective procedure, pre-natal vitamins…elective…viagra…yeah that’s unexpected.
          So why does birth control not qualify if those do?

          • ucfengr

            Not all medical insurance covers routine, elective care.

          • AtalantaBethulia

            Which is why healthcare reform addressed setting minimum standards for basic care.

          • http://www.woundconsultations.com Sue Ellen Hull

            Regular birth control pills ARE COVERED.

        • AtalantaBethulia

          Expensive is relative. $50 a month is expensive for a lot of people.

          • ucfengr

            No, it’s really not expensive. It’s cheaper than a cable or cell phone bill, substantially for many. If it’s important, you budget for it. When did women become so helpless that they can’t budget $50/month for something they value? And, really, it’s not $50 for most; a month’s supply of many birth control pills can be had for under $20.

          • BarbaraR

            What a condescending thing to say. $50 a month IS a lot of money for most people. It certainly is for me.
            It isn’t a question of women being “helpless” (another condescending thing to say), it’s a matter of not having the money at all.
            It isn’t just the $50 or however much it costs: it’s scheduling a medical exam in order to get the prescription in the first place. That may mean taking unpaid time off from work and then arranging to pick up the medication month after month. And pills don’t work for every woman.
            It’s very easy to say something isn’t expensive when it’s someone else’s money.

          • ucfengr

            You’re right…I’m so sorry. It is a huge amount. It’s so huge I can’t even imagine it. Fifty whole dollars. Wow! when you spell it out it looks even bigger. You poor dears…..

          • BarbaraR

            You are done here.

          • Andy

            We’re all so happy for your great success or family money or whatever, such that $50 a month is just a drop in the bucket to you. Ugh, just stop.

          • http://www.woundconsultations.com Sue Ellen Hull

            Regular monthly birth control pills ARE COVERED.

          • AtalantaBethulia

            Thank you, healthcare reform.

          • BarbaraR

            You obviously have not read the update provided above by James Walker, which says the mandate is intended to extend to ALL contraceptive methods,
            Repeating this will not make it true.

          • http://www.woundconsultations.com Sue Ellen Hull

            I was referring to HL.

          • BarbaraR

            At this time they may be; however, the clarification by SCOTUS this morning indicates that HL will be able to opt out of that coverage if they choose.

          • Andy

            That has nothing to do with my comment. Stop spamming.

          • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

            the average weekly salary, before taxes and deductions for American women is between $590 to $712. What that doesn’t tell you is that average takes in those women who make a shit load of women and factors their very large salaries with the majority of us women wage earners. For example, my gross pay for two weeks is $845, half the american average.

            That’s right it takes me two weeks to earn that weekly average, plus a few bucks.

            Take home is less than $600 every two weeks, of which is combined my husband’s salary, whose is closer what to the lower average for American woman’s at about $770 a week. For that salary, he often works fifty hours or more. We use our massive salaries to pay the mortgage car payments on two used cars, utilities, groceries and medical bills, and maybe a night out at a local mexican eatery. That’s working full time.

            Thank God I no longer have a uterus.
            So don’t tell me about being helpless about budgeting

          • Andy

            The “average” salary isn’t nearly as useful as some people think — both for the reasons you suggested (salaries are skewed low) and because it’s contingent on cost of living, which varies widely. The cost of living doesn’t get much lower than it is in the area I live. Several years ago when I was looking at average salaries of my job then, I noticed that mine was $10-20k less than the average for jobs like mine. Then I realized about the cost of living likely contributing to it and didn’t feel so bad.

          • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

            True Andy. The cost of living here in South Carolina is low, but so are salaries. Still, my state gov. job is lower than the state salary average for a like position in the private sector, which are very difficult to come by. At least I get a good deal of earned paid time off, plus a have health plan and retirement. And its the easiest job I ever had, even if I do curse my computer’s software on a daily basis.

          • http://www.woundconsultations.com Sue Ellen Hull

            Regular birth control pills that are purchased by the month ARE COVERED.

          • James Walker

            not necessarily. for Hobby Lobby employees they may be. but at least two other employers are currently in court fighting the entire mandate for birth control coverage under the ACA. one of them is Eden Foods. the lower court had decided AGAINST Eden Foods but SCOTUS has now ordered the lower court to review their findings in light of the Hobby Lobby ruling.

          • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

            It is for me.

    • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

      You don’t have health insurance to cover just the issues that are relevant to you, just like you don’t by home owners or auto insurance for that reason. They are blanket coverages, because they are intended to cover all and any needs for all and any claimant.

      For instance, my insurance covers prostate exams. I don’t have one. My insurance covers pap smears, my male co-workers don’t have cervices. Yet, we all benefit from the lower costs a group plan offers.

      I no longer need birth control, because I had a hysterectomy, which insurance covered, as well as my birth control to help prevent further children AND to deal with some symptoms I had, that led to that hysterectomy. But my daughters need it. One has had all the kids she wants, and the other has a health issue that needs to be resolved before she can have kids. I want their insurance to cover their needs as is right.

    • ChristianEconCom

      “Who are you to say they are wrong?” In a democracy (as well as in a democratically determine republic) one chooses to participate in many ways (let’s say paying taxes) for a greater amt. of liberties (a first world economy with high living standards for example).

      It’s a fallacy to believe you can enjoy the benefits without paying your dues; free-er markets like Somalia should be enough to convince you of that. Hobby-Lobby would not do well there, because the citizens have not practiced democracy in their economy.

      • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

        Somolia is not an example of a free market. Markets are tightly controlled by power brokers, and a devesated infastructure

    • Guy Norred

      The whole point of insurance is to spread the costs of things so of course, some or even most people are in the end paying for things they either don’t use or oppose.

  • BrendtWayneWaters

    The majority of your post sounded like you were addressing the big picture. But then you tipped your hand with the “all women” line in the last paragraph, and showed that it’s just about this one issue. Nice try, though. You almost had me.

    • Andy

      It’s not just about this one issue. Stop it. You have been warned.

      • BrendtWayneWaters

        Will you be directing the same warning to your co-moderator, allegro63, who very explicitly stated what the OP only implied? Never mind – you don’t have to answer that.

        In his quotation from an earlier article, Mr Shore states that the HL issues could open the door to many other problematic religious issues, and then cites 8 examples, none of which have anything to do with gender. Justice Ginsburg states a similar case and cites several more examples. None of her examples have anything to do with gender, either. As much as I hate the over-application of the “slippery slope” argument, sometimes it has validity and this seems to be one of those times. Shore’s argument (with which I agree) seems to be that one needs to consider the big picture – a ruling that makes one demographic happy today may set a precedent that will come back and bite them tomorrow.

        However, I very purposefully said “seems” in that last sentence, as the last paragraph of the OP drags the topic of gender into this, thereby placing the focus on the specific issue ruled upon, sucking all the life out of the (alleged) focus on the big picture.

        I agree with you. It’s *not* just about this one issue. And the first 90% of the OP also agrees. But the last 10% disagrees with us. Either that, or Mr Shore’s citation of women is an implication that only women care about the big picture.

        • Andy

          First, you said:

          “But then you tipped your hand with the “all women” line in the last paragraph, and showed that it’s just about this one issue.”

          And then, you said:

          “I agree with you. It’s *not* just about this one issue.”

          Oh really…

          • BrendtWayneWaters

            Thank you for focusing on a poor word choice and ignoring the rest of what I wrote.

            My first comment was trying to be just a little gracious. Had I been more blunt, I would have closed by saying, “it’s just about this one issue *for you*”. My reference to “tipping one’s hand” implied this, but apparently not clearly.

            What I meant (as could be easily inferred by anyone who read my second comment to comprehend, rather than just to argue) was that the last paragraph of the OP demonstrated that its ultimate focus was on one issue (after making much of that not being the case).

            Having cleared that up, do you care to engage the actual topic, or are there more nits that you’d like to pick?

          • BarbaraR

            As soon as someone cries, “What about what that other big meanie said? Why are you picking on me?” it’s clear they know they’re being called out on their BS.
            I will second Andy’s words, “You’ve been warned.”

          • BrendtWayneWaters

            BarbaraR, thank you for grossly misrepresenting me. This is so conducive to intelligent conversation. Sigh.

          • BarbaraR

            I have read your other comments on Disqus and it seems that you enjoy whining about others dissecting your word usage. Feel free to step away from this board if you are unhappy with people taking you to task for what you have written.

          • BrendtWayneWaters

            BarbaraR, the only thing sillier than picking apart words is wasting time wandering the internet looking for more “dirt” to discredit someone.

            Yes, I take issue with someone “dissecting [my] word usage.” Because 10 times out of 9, they are doing it to avoid actually having a conversation about the topic at hand. It’s tiresome.

          • BarbaraR

            As you are doing. If you don’t want people to dissect your words, write better.

            You’re quite conscious of your stalling and diversionary tactics. If you want to continue posting here, stop complaining and pointing fingers and stick to the subject.

          • BrendtWayneWaters

            “stick to the subject” — One can only imagine that the irony of that statement is lost on you.

          • Andy

            Okay, you’re done here.

          • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

            So you come here for the sole purpose to complain about either John’s piece or our take on John’s piece, and then get all pissy about it, because we don’t agree with you, nor feel that your tone is conducive to a healthy dialog?

            That, my dear, is tiresome. Especially as you have failed to make a point yourself, only spending your time here to attempt to pick apart or discredit ours.

          • BrendtWayneWaters

            By the way, in your research on Disqus, did you happen to notice that many of my comments there were on conservative blogs, decrying conservatives for intentionally missing my more progressive point? Or would noting such be injurious to the strategy of dismissing me as just another knee-jerk conservative?

          • James Walker

            actually, no one here labeled you as a knee-jerk conservative or presumed that was your position. what you were labeled as was someone who seems to enjoy getting tangled up in arguments over word usage and meaning without particular concern for the meat of the post.

          • BarbaraR

            No, I paid zero attention to that.

            I don’t care if you were arguing on liberal/conservative blogs or whether you were discussing the possibilities of a Rat Fink Collector Convention. It does not matter to me. It’s obnoxious and whiny and sophomoric. Your technique is the same and you’re doing it again.

            (Except I see below that Andy had enough of you too. Bye.)

          • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

            True, its not just about gender, its also about misusing religion to hinder a gender’s freedoms. Its also about misusing the law to cater to one very narrow definition of religion, which for this particular case, directly affects people of a particular gender.

            It can also lead to the possiblities John and Justice Ginsburg mentioned. It can lead to other Christian groups trying to negate the rights of people of gender or sexual orientation, or even other religions. Ironically, I bet my right boob, that if a non-Christian group tried this ploy they’d be sued to oblivion because of cries of religious persecution.

            Which is yet another reason this travesty is wrong.

          • BrendtWayneWaters

            allegro63: Sigh. You’re missing my point.

            I totally understand (and not with condescension) that the immediate issue (which was specifically ruled upon) may be of greater importance to you than the bigger picture issue. And that’s probably the right way to look at it — precedent or not, no one *really* knows where this may or may not lead. So while the possible outcomes are worth noting, they’re just that — merely possible.

            But the OP (until the last paragraph) does not even address the immediate issue — nor did Justice Ginsburg (at least within the quotes provided). It is *exclusively* about the big picture and future possibilties (and again, I see Mr Shore’s point).

            But then, the OP suddenly veers off in a manner that gives us all mental whiplash. And — in the process — tips his hand and points up the ultimate focus/thrust of the article.

            If you want to argue that the decision in and of itself was wrong, then groovy. (I may disagree, but that’s part of what teh interwebs are about.) If you want to argue that the decision can lead to bad things in the future, then groovy. If you want to do both, then groovy. But don’t do the latter, and then throw the former in as half an after-thought. It’s intellectually dishonest — and to be frank, I would’ve expected it to offend all women.

          • James Walker
          • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

            I stand by my assessment, as a woman, as a voter, as a citizen and as a human being. I am humanely and intellectually very honest as to why I come to the conclusions of my assessment.

            The decision by the court was abhorrent, it opens the box to more religious exclusiveness, which has been a trend since people first heard of a preacher named Jerry Falwell, it blatently steps all over the rights of women, and it has offended and frankly pissed the hell out of a lot of women, as well as a lot of men.

          • BrendtWayneWaters

            allegro63, I am in no way trying to dissuade you from your assessment. While I disagree with portions of it, it was stated clearly, directly and effectively. For that, you are to be applauded and thanked.

    • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

      It is all women. We know good and well, that our co-workers, our daughters, our granddaughters, our neighbors, and friends could and likely will be impacted by this ruling. It doesn’t matter if some of us are currently using birth control or not, what it tells us is that it is perfectly legal to limit our access to fair costs and accessability when it comes to our health care choices, and not do the same to men.

      We’ve had to fight tooth and nail to get birth control accessable, legal and insurable. What SCOTUS did yesterday is open a possible door to reverse that, regardless of the wealth of evidence that shows the health benefits for millions of women. That means the possiblity of greater hardship for families as they have to pay out of pocket, what was one covered by insurance….and trust me, contraceptives for women are a hell of a lot more expensive than a box of Trojans, yet they work so much better for more than one reason, and for more than one reason.

    • James Walker

      for someone who takes issue with having his words picked apart, you certainly read a lot (that wasn’t there) into what John wrote in the OP. I would suggest taking a few moments to re-read the entire article, then recognize that the final paragraph is not, in fact, a revelation that women’s access to reproductive healthcare is the only issue we ought to be outraged about. it is rather a cry out that with such great women on the court as Justice Sotomayor and Justice Ginsburg, not to mention 50% of the voting population being female, we still got such a terrible outcome in this case and a door opened for broad erosion of workers’ rights in the name of corporate personhood.

      • Andy

        This. Exactly this.

    • http://johnshore.com/ John Shore

      “You almost had me.” Gosh. Quite the loss, I’m sure. Not as sure as you are, of course. But pretty darn sure.

      Anyway, here’s me on the rest of the issues informing the Hobby Lobby case: 12 Reasons the Hobby Lobby Case Should Be Dismissed.

  • Guy Norred

    My biggest problem with this situation is perhaps not the ruling itself (though I do believe the Pandora’s box opened….), but the idea that it is the employer whose money is being used to pay for the benefits specified. This money is not the employers. It ceased to belong to them when they hired someone to do work for them. It may still be in their hands but this is only in trust waiting for distribution to the employees or to the collective purchase of their benefits. This is not some largesse granted to his vassals at the pleasure of a benevolent overlord but that is exactly the mindset of this ruling and especially of those who write laws with ANY of these exemptions in them. Even more importantly, I find this an egregiously un-Christian attitude. The laborer is worthy of his (or her) pay and to put restrictions on how it may be used is essentially stealing. Of course much of the problem can also be traced back to the system of medical coverage we have in this country which as barbaric as it is, seems to be the one we are stuck with for the time being.

    • BarbaraR

      Very true and a good point.

    • http://www.fordswords.net/ Ford1968

      Exactly, and exactly.
      Further, if an employer can cite religious belief to exempt themselves from an employment law like the ACA, from what other laws can they exempt themselves? Employement non-discrimination? Public accomodation? Fair housing? It sets a dangerous precedent.

      • paganheart

        Already where I live (in Arizona), the Center For Arizona Policy (the odious right-wing lobbying organization that was responsible for writing the notorious anti-gay bill–which Gov. Brewer thankfully vetoed–that would have allowed businesses to refuse wedding services to gay couples under the guise of “religious objection”) is celebrating, and broadly hinting that they may introduce that bill again in the next legislative session. Because they believe that the same “legal” principle that allows “closely held” companies to use their “sincerely held” religious beliefs as an excuse to deny birth control, could now allow “closely held” bakeries, flower shops, photographers and other businesses to use their “sincerely held” religious beliefs to deny wedding services–and who knows what else–to gay people.

        Now that this genie is out of the bottle, we may never get it back in. At least not in my lifetime.

        • http://www.fordswords.net/ Ford1968

          Pagenheart
          I’m a little more optimistic. But I’m afraid we’ll have to go through the fire before we see non-discrimination prevail.
          Best
          David

        • Terri

          Don’t worry, there’s enough of us here in the Valley of the Sun to keep ourselves safe, Brewer won’t dare to sign it, as she know’s it will get killed by the courts. We’ll have our day here soon enough, I’m just waiting to take my license from Washington state down to the CH and tell them to register it; on the other hand, when we got married, we changed our names with SS, and then changed our DL with DMV with no problems, they even wanted our marriage license, so our day is coming!

          • paganheart

            Marriage is one thing, and I fully believe that the day is coming when gays will have the right to marry in all 50 states. The problem is that, under this new ruling, gay couples may have a very hard time actually pulling off an actual wedding and reception. They may suddenly find a large number of bakeries, flower shops, photographers, caterers and even venue owners turning them away, with the owners saying that since they have a “sincerely held religious belief” that homosexuality is a sin, and their business is a “closely held” corporation, they do not have to do business with gay couples.

            Sure, they could sue over it, but that takes money and time, and at this point I am pretty sure the SCOTUS would rule in the bigots’ favor, should it get that far.

            Also, it’s one thing if you live in the Phoenix metro area or Tucson, where if one bigoted caterer turns you away you can always go down the street and find someone who will welcome your business with open arms. It’s a lot harder if you live in one of the smaller communities like Flagstaff, Kingman, or Show Low, where the number of bakers, photogs or florists can be counted on one hand. If most or all of those businesses turn out to be run by anti-gay bigots–a very good possibility in this state–gay couples in those towns may find themselves SOL. And not everyone can afford to travel to Phoenix or Tucson to get the services they need (indeed, in a state that is one of the poorest in the US, most cannot.)

            And it’s not just wedding services; depending on how the courts interpret this new ruling, theoretically there is now nothing stopping a bigoted restaurant owner from refusing to serve a gay couple, or a bigoted landlord from refusing to rent a house to a gay family, or even an bigoted employer from firing an employee simply because he or she is gay. Granted, under current law in AZ anyway, bigots can and do already do these things. (I’ve seen it firsthand, unfortunately.) But should the Federal government extend civil rights to gays, or the state suddenly grows a conscience and extends some civil rights as other states have done, it probably no longer matters, thanks to the SCOTUS. All that bigoted business owner has to do is cite his “sincerely held” religious beliefs and “closely held” corporate status, and bigots can pretty much do whatever they want to gays and other groups they hate, in the name of “religion.”

            Also, it’s not Brewer I am worried about. She’ll be long gone from office by the time the Legislature goes back into session. The problem is that among the GOP governor candidates running to replace her, virtually all of them say they would have SIGNED that awful bill, boycotts and outrage be damned. Given that Arizona is a blood-red state, and the legislature will all but certainly remain GOP majority, and our next governor will most likely be GOP, I fear that when (not if) the Center For Arizona Policy gets one of their legislative lackeys to reintroduce the bill, it will pass, and our next governor will sign it, consequences be damned.

            I really need to figure out a way to get out of this awful place….

          • Terri

            You know, there are enough dem’s and independents in this state, that we CAN change things, if we can get everyone out to vote, or do your mail in vote, that’s what my wife and I do, so we don’t miss an election. She hates politics, but I have to remind her that if we don’t vote, THEY will win and we’ll never have peace. Yes, there is discrimination here, we’re trying to adopt and CPS has not given us a child because of who we are, said it was because the other family had more experience, but I happen to know them, were’ the same, except they are straight. But we will change things in the end, maybe not for us today, but for our kids in the future!

    • R Vogel

      This has been a problem since the wage fixing of WWII created this bizarre system of benefits in lieu of compensation. The answer seems simple, but I hear few to none talk about it: eliminate employer based health coverage altogether, by eliminating the tax benefits associated with it, and let everyone buy insurance through the individual marketplace. It levels the playing field between big companies and small companies, and gets employers out of the healthcare business where they never should have been in the first place. Employees can make healthcare choices for themselves, and employers don’t have to wrestle with the moral implications of providing benefits that offers services they consider immoral. Sometimes the best way to deal with a problem is to just go around it. There is no valid reason why employers should be in the business of providing health benefits to its employees. They should pay employees a fair wage, and employees are then free to purchase whatever healthcare coverage they need whether directly or through their taxes.

      • paganheart

        That could happen. It may already be happening; I opted to forgo the health insurance available through my employer this year, in favor of a policy that was available to me via the federal health insurance exchange. The premium is a bit higher (and I do not qualify for subsidies since my employer provides a policy that meets the federal minimum requirements) but the coverage levels and physician network are vastly superior to what my employer was offering, and since I have some chronic illness issues, those things matter to me.

        If I had the misfortune to be working for an employer who hid his misogyny behind his religion and now refused to cover my birth control pills, thanks to this ridiculous ruling (which I no longer use but did take for many, many years to treat endometriosis as well as preventing pregnancy) I would probably look into what options were available to me via the health insurance exchanges and immediately swap my employer-based coverage for a personal policy that better fits my needs. Perhaps the feds could step in, in light of this travesty, and offer subsidized premiums to women who seek coverage on the exchanges because their employer coverage won’t provide them with what they need in terms of birth control.

        Oh, and then I would promptly begin looking for a new job, and when I turn in my notice I will make sure my employer knows in no uncertain (and quite possibly unpleasant) terms why I am leaving. I might even march out the door singing “Take This Job And Shove It!”

        I would encourage and hope that women who find themselves in this situation (and the men who support them) would do the same.

      • Guy Norred

        On at least a few levels, I agree, though I really think we should have a single payer system. The truth for myself is that I am very aware that I currently have better coverage than I have ever had because my husband works for a very large company and I think it morally reprehensible that this kind of buying power should not be available to everyone. Also, I have to admit that I completely never understood the complaints from those who said that they were losing control of their choices in insurance coverage as I have never had much choice in the matter.

      • http://www.fordswords.net/ Ford1968

        Tax incentives? Do you understand how expensive it is to provide health care to employees? If they could compete for talent, most employers would love to ditch that expense.

        The real solution is a single payer health care system. You know…the way the rest of the civilized world does it. The ones with better effectiveness and lower cost.

        • Mike Barnhart

          Using the VA hospital system as a guide to how the Fed Gov runs healthcare, I hope we NEVER see a single payer Fed Gov run system…and I would think you would hope the same.

  • johnsawyer

    I guess when the justices who voted for this decision considered the First Amendment’s clause stating “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof”, they figured that since they’re not part of Congress, that law doesn’t apply to them.

    • http://limpingtowardsgrace.com/ James Jarvis

      Or else they’ve never read the constitution.:)

  • http://limpingtowardsgrace.com/ James Jarvis

    If you want to see where all this is going read “The Handmaid’s Tale” by my fellow Canadian Margret Atwood.

    • AtalantaBethulia

      I had the lovely good fortune of meeting Ms. Atwood last week and having her sign my copy of “The Handmaid’s Tale.” In the introduction, it says that many of Atwood’s American friends reassure her (naively, she believes) that “It could never happen here,” referring to the United States.

      When I handed her my book to sign, I told her I was reared in Fundamentalism and those who say that it can’t happen here are wrong. It can. It has. And it is.

      She nodded knowingly and said, “What kind of Fundamentalism were you reared in?”
      “Christian”
      “Baptist?”
      “Yes.”
      “Southern?”
      “No. Independent.”

      I thanked her for being a voice for women and issues that matter.

      • Matt

        I’ve read the synopsis, and it’s chilling just how dead-on she was even decades ago. I’ll definitely need to read it sometime.

        • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

          I’ve tried twice to read the book, and got utterly creeped out over the sheer plausability, I couldn’t get past three chapters.

      • http://www.woundconsultations.com Sue Ellen Hull

        Interesting. I have not read it. I just put it on my Kindle. Also interesting, our two youngest daughters went to Pensacola Christian College (Independent Baptist, as I am sure you know). One is now an RN (and wife and mom), and the other one is still there in her last year of an MFA in studio art. The one who is now in her 7th (!!) year there started out saying “I will try it for one year.” She is also doing well at moving out of “the bubble” and into real life. At the same time, I keep going farther and farther from fundamentalism, literalism, etc. ESPECIALLY into gender equality. The more I learn about the whole history or patriarchy the more I want to get the word out that it is not right and it is damaging to women AND MEN.

        • AtalantaBethulia

          Interesting. Thank you for sharing your story.

          It is damaging… to women and men.

      • http://limpingtowardsgrace.com/ James Jarvis

        I’ve heard her speak and read from her books several times. She is one of the true greats of Can Lit. If you can find it I highly recommend her novel Surfacing which explores the Canadian identity and is one of the landmark novels of Can Lit.

        • AtalantaBethulia

          Thank you. I’ll look it up.

    • MikeHaas82

      Frightening, frightening book.

  • R Vogel

    if we want to salvage a bit of positive from this bad decision, we can recognize that the court’s declaration that the government ‘could just pay for contraception itself’ may be yet another step toward the inevitable single payer system. If that is the decision of the court and the precedent is maintained, then the slippery slope argument that this opens the door to any kind of objection (which it actually doesn’t, but it is still very troubling), results in more and more things ‘just being paid for by the government. At some point, won’t it be obvious that the single payer system is the only one that makes sense?

    • BarbaraR

      You’d think so, wouldn’t you? And yet there doesn’t seem to be any serious consideration of it.

    • MikeHaas82

      We can hope, yes.

    • Mike Shipley

      A state monopoly on the healthcare-industrial complex … what could possibly go wrong?

      • Mike Barnhart

        *caugh* VA *caugh* ;)

    • Mike Barnhart

      That IS the huge take away from this. The SCOTUS said that, in order to violate the religious freedom of the first amendment, the Fed Gov needs to prove it cannot find a better or less intrusive way of accomplishing its wants. In this case, it is stupid to think the Fed Gov could not subsidize Plan B easily (since they subsidize so many things right now) and have no pressing need to violate the first amendment.
      We should all be happy the Fed Gov cannot so easily violate the religious freedom of some of us, since that protects all of us. Protections are not need for what is popular…

      • R Vogel

        Please don’t think I was making that point. Trying to make this into a first amendment issue is asinine. The ruling is idiotic and exactly what I would expect from this court dominated by religious conservatives. Providing adequate health care to your employees is not a religious issue, anymore than an employee getting their wages and paying for contraceptives is. The only reason an employee would go through their employer is because of the tax benefits. Unfortunately this now obliges you to adopt the looney religious beliefs of your employer or have someone else foot the bill. The corporations religious beliefs now trump the individual employees. G*d bless America.

  • BLWendt

    Hobby Lobby still covers16 of the 20 contraceptives.

    • Sterling Ericsson

      Hobby Lobby shouldn’t get to pick and choose what its employees do with the overall insurance it offers. All it is doing is paying an overall insurance fee for its employees. It shouldn’t have pick and choose control over how that insurance is used.

    • AtalantaBethulia

      There are medical reasons for using IUDs. Contraceptives aren’t simply a salad bar of choices. There are medical reasons why different types exist.

      • BLWendt

        Agreed, they have 16 other choices plus planned parenthood, there is no medical condition that would result with an IUD as a woman’s only choice for a contraceptive. Time for Ginsberg to retire…35 pages of emotional rhetoric, proof she is unfit for the Supreme Court. I found myself saying WTF when reading her rant.

        • BrinKennedy

          Only choice, no, but there are plenty of reasons why a woman would choose to use an IUD. And since it’s not a form of abortion, I fail to see why they are being vilified.

          • Jill

            Because to the Snidely Whiplashes behind this farce, it means that women can enjoy sex without fear. What a terrible idea.

          • MikeHaas82

            Precisely. According to FAUX’s Erick Erickson, “My religion trumps your “right” to employer subsidized consequence free sex.”

            He forgot to add, “that I as male can enjoy anytime I want to.”

            https://twitter.com/EWErickson/status/483626727986311170

          • Matt

            Here we have an excellent example of a 4-year-old in a grown man’s body. (Not you, Mike, but Mr. Erickson.)

            “You can’t have sex that doesn’t have any consequences! I want you to be punished for enjoying a natural bodily function that I don’t approve of! Especially if you have a uterus!”

          • MikeHaas82

            Yup. “And if you have premarital sex, you’re a sl*t and a wh*re. On the other hand, if you turn me down, then of course you’re a stuck up little b*t*h. The guy involved in a recent shooting believed precisely that.

          • Matt

            Growing up as a girl, I am quite familiar with that attitude in guys. It does a number on adolescent girls who try to find a way around that way of thinking to no avail. I had a boy on the playground in middle school yell at me, “Why don’t you shave your legs?!” I was 12.

            It’s the old double bind of, “You are an object for my pleasure, but you’re not allowed any enjoyment yourself, and here are a whole bunch of other rules about what you are ‘allowed’ to do.”

          • Jill

            Remind me what century we’re living in?

          • Andy

            Just FYI, you shouldn’t feel the need to censor yourself on our part. John doesn’t care in the least, and while I can’t speak for all the mods, I would venture to say that, as a group, we don’t care either as long as you aren’t overly gratuitous and hostile.

          • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

            Yep yep. We have no problems with the whole array of the English language with all its idiosyncrasies, as long as they are used in a manner that fosters healthy dialog….or makes us laugh.

          • Jill

            Swearing always makes me laugh.

          • MikeHaas82

            :) I’m well familiar with John and his blog and he is aware of me. I’m a Jew and a “drive-by” commenter myself, dropping by now and then when someone like “Ransom Backus” decides to post his very damaged views on his moral superiority. I mention him because I completely missed the opportunity to engage him on John’s post regarding the “dying breed” of Christian “ethics” that people like other-than-honorably discharged navy chaplain “Chaps” Klingenschmitt, now running for public office, ascribe to.

            The self-censorship is more a reflection of how I view those words. I give them the same weight as I do the epithet, “ni**er” and “r*dsk*n”. I don’t always self-censor – I suppose it depends on how much emphasis I’m trying to place when discussing a subject.

          • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

            Ok, silly question time.

            What if you are still very much a woman (have the three kids and the stretch marks and varicose veins to prove it), but who had her uterus removed due to unwanted squatters who’d taken up permanent residence? Does that mean I found a loophole and can indeed enjoy that natural bodily function?

          • Matt

            Nope, ’cause according to these guys, it’s the chromosomes that really matter when you try logic on them! If you’re XX, you’re out of luck. If you’re XXY, you don’t exist. If you’re like me, the men in white coats will be along shortly. Do not resist your God-ordained fate, or something!

            (Meanwhile, your chromosomes move on with mitosis, completely unaware of their divine and inherent masculine or feminine powers. Just gotta keep that organism going!)

          • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

            Oraganism…I so read that word wrong the first time.

          • paganheart

            Erickson is such a revolting individual. I really don’t want to wish evil on anyone, but I wonder what he would do if he had a teenage daughter (dear god I hope he doesn’t) and she came to him and said she was pregnant and wanted an abortion. Or if said teen daughter was pregnant and wanted to keep the baby, but the baby’s father was from a different religious or racial background. Or if said teenage daughter got pregnant due to rape by several men. Or if his teenage son announced that he’d knocked up his girlfriend, and needed to borrow some money so she could get an abortion. Something tells me that if any of the above scenarios really happened, Erickson wouldn’t be able to get his own offspring to Planned Parenthood fast enough. Such is the hypocrisy of “good Christians” like Erickson.

            And of course I am sure that Erickson has no problem with employer-subsidized Viagra and Penis Pumps, because that’s “different.” Never mind that many women use birth control because they risk death in pregnancy and childbirth due to underlying medical conditions (I guess they should just be celibate all their lives and pray they never get raped, in Erickson’s twisted little world.) Others use hormonal birth control to treat periods so heavy they cause anemia, or conditions like polycystic ovary syndrome or endometriosis, which can be physically debilitating or even life-threatening. (Take it from someone who needed emergency surgery to remove her right ovary–or what was left of it–after an endometrial tumor inside it ruptured and caused a near-fatal hemorrhage.) Then again only viable wombs matter to Erickson, not the lives of the women attached to them. And all the suffering and pain women experience from things like untreated PCOS and endometriosis will just bring them closer to god.

            Last I checked, the only condition Viagra and penis pumps treat is erectile dysfunction, and also last I checked, no man ever died because he couldn’t get a hard-on. (And if I am wrong, perhaps Erickson or one of his supporters would care to enlighten me.)

          • Jill

            And now we get to it. Honesty is the new black.

            Thanks for sharing this MikeHaas82.

          • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

            Snidely Whiplash! rub his hands in glee

          • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

            And apparently his evil twin, Snarky Whiplash

        • MikeHaas82

          Apparently, you believe health-care choices are between a woman and her employer and not between her and her doctor. Prior to 2009, ALL or most of those choices were included in the insurance policies Hobby Lobby provided. Associates past and present, have submitted their insurance policies as proof of past coverage. This was a political decision, pure and simple. No employer has the right to tell me what health care choices I pursue that are normally covered under just about any group health insurance policy you can name. They need to either drop the pretense OR, stop providing group insurance policy all together.

          You are aware, aren’t you, that Hobby Lobby supports as an investor, the very companies that produce those drugs, yes? Oh! But that’s their business, right? How about the fact that 93% of their inventory comes from China, who’s responsible for as many as 330 MILLLION abortions in the past 30 years. It proves what disgusting hypocrites they actually are.

          Majority medical opinion has stated that the contraceptives in question are *not* abortifacients. The 5 on SCROTUS* bought into the fairy tale that they are, based strictly on minority medical opinions.

          Thanks to Citizens United and now this garbage, I hope you are completely happy as a tax payer and voter that “Closely Held” corporations have more political clout than you will ever have and that their religious beliefs trump yours.

          As I noted on your other post, a day later, they confirmed that their ruling covers *any* contraceptive HL deems violates their religious beliefs. You can bet that will mean ALL of them. Justice Ginburg’s opinion was spot on.

          *SCROTUS – an old, wrinkly bag full of nuts.

          • Jill

            GO MikeHaas82….go man go!

        • Lamont Cranston

          Killfiled for being just another lying conservative scumbag.

        • AtalantaBethulia

          Re: “there is no medical condition that would result with an IUD as a woman’s only choice for a contraceptive.”

          40 yo married woman with a family or personal history of thrombosis who has menorrhagia and her husband refuses to get a vasectomy.

          Or would you prefer she has a hysterectomy? Of course, surgery is an invasive procedure which carries more health risks, will cost quite a bit more (both economically and physically, plus missed work) and may adversely affect her sex life. But at least Hobby Lobby covers it – but probably not if the insurance company deems it an elective procedure, which it probably would, since a better, less-invasive treatment is available, and for which she is an ideal candidate, that being an IUD.

          This is why medical decisions are best left to those with medical degrees and their patients.

        • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

          16 choices plus planned parenthood? If you are talking about the extremely effective (for having babies) rhythm method, then lets just shoot that one right out of the park. Many women, and I was one, do not have regular cycles. If I had used the “planned parenthood” method, I would have had 13 kids instead of just three.

    • MikeHaas82

      I’m afraid not. I had hopes of that too, but a day after the ruling:

      “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.”

  • MikeHaas82

    It appears my hope that estrogen-based pills and the patch would still be covered was not well-founded: SCOTUS, a day after their ruling, clarified that ruling covers those as well.

    “That argument you keep hearing from the Right, about how Hobby Lobby still offers 16 kinds of birth control that they don’t believe is abortion-y, so
    quit your bitchin’ libs? Yeah, well, the Supreme Court punched a hole in that one.

    ‘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.’”

    http://www.dailykos.com/story/2014/07/01/1310918/-Supreme-Court-clarifies-Yes-Hobby-Lobby-is-about-all-slut-pills

  • MikeHaas82

    Conservatives, who have never been very good at understanding metaphor, analogy, simile or irony, have failed to realize that this decision is utterly *pro-abortion*. That’s an example of irony, by the way.

    • Jill

      Maybe 7th grade health class couldn’t keep their interest past discussion of ejaculation. Could be a little confused on the rest of the story.

      • MikeHaas82

        My point being, that access to and use of, contraceptives, either by males or females, can be demonstrated to lower the abortion rate, a fact that seems to be lost to most or all of those cheering the decision.

        • Jill

          Exactly. The rest of the story.

  • http://mikemoorehome.com/ mike moore

    If this were Opposites Day, I’d totally agree.

  • http://mikemoorehome.com/ mike moore

    Though certainly a stupid decision, the Hobby Lobby decision could ultimately be the undoing of this whole “corporations are people, too” mentality.

    The conservative ideologues on the court have entitled-male-Christian blinders on. It is my belief that as soon as this decision is used against Christians, we will finally see that “aha” moment, and the court will reverse itself. (as with Lawrence v. Texas, which overturned, less than 20 years later, the Bowers decision, which upheld sodomy laws.)

    They’re over-reaching, and after a few Christian babies die because proper medical services are withheld due to the loopholes the decision opens, the court will act again.

    • MikeHaas82

      Agreed. Might happen sooner than later. Imagine the following scenario: Hillary Clinton is elected President, Justice Ginzburg retires or better yet, Justice Scalia retires and…Justice Obama replaces one or the other.

  • MikeHaas82

    Thank you, “guest” for your drive-by assessment. Since it contained a totally non-specific insult and was anonymous, I’m certain you’re aware as to the amount of “weight” we’ll assign to it in terms of discussion value, and that would be none, whatsoever.

    • MikeHaas82

      I usually follow the rule of, “don’t feed the trolls”, but since you’re trolling skills are appalling, you’re being given this one time opportunity to be specific regarding this particular issue, why you object to John’s assessment of it, and why we should all be pleased that the religious “rights” of an employer should trump the rights of an associate.

      NOTE: I’m am not a mod here, so this offer may be rescinded at their pleasure at any time. But for what its worth, here is my own personal “rule”: Please remit your statement without ad hominem attacks and insults. I’m sure you’re capable of doing so and I personally, will consider it.

      • BarbaraR

        The guest has had his privileges revoked.

        • MikeHaas82

          Yeah…what else could he have come back with but a bunch of mansplainin’, standing on the Bible and declaring, “Its not *my fault* God gave me so much authority! You’re not blaming GOD now, ARE YOU PUNK? Well, ARE YOU?”

          Better that we were spared… :)

          • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

            Standing on the bible. That would have risen the status of his importance by, ….two or three inches?

          • Jill

            I’ll refrain from the three inch joke.

    • Jill

      (I’m upping the effervescent John Shore descriptor, not the original comment. I didn’t see it but I’m sure it was douchy.)

  • MikeHaas82

    Wow. Hobby Lobby and Conestoga even wanted SCROTUS to give them the right to block you as an associate from talking to your own doctor about your health care.

    “Hobby Lobby and their co-plaintiff, Conestoga Wood Specialties, are also objecting to insurance plans covering “related education and counseling”
    for contraception. In other words, these for-profit businesses aren’t
    just asking their female employees to pay for their own contraception,
    even though they are already paying for their own contraception by
    paying for their insurance coverage. These companies want to elbow
    their way into doctor’s offices and call the shots on what doctors can
    and cannot say to Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood employees.”

    How long do you think it will be before companies like HL will demand the right to prevent their associates from buying contraceptives with their own money? There are plenty of companies out there who forbid their associates from *smoking* on their own time and they’ve been allowed to get away with it. You might say this is an apples/oranges comparison – but it really isn’t. People simply don’t complain about it because well…who cares about smokers, right?

    http://www.dailykos.com/story/2014/07/02/1311121/-Hobby-Lobby-wanted-to-block-Doctors-from-even-Talking-to-you-about-Contraception

    • Jill

      It’s not that I don’t care about smokers. Just can’t put the right to cigarettes on the same scale as right to contraception. It’s lower on the biological imperative hierarchy for me. But I suppose everything’s relative.

      • MikeHaas82

        I was just informed that Ohio State law says that state-funded physicians are not allowed to council rape victims on abortion. Surprised?

        • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

          No, not at all. Which makes me wonder if Ohio legislatures had made themselves familiar with the Comstock law and decided it may be a good idea to return to something like that. http://law.jrank.org/pages/5508/Comstock-Law-1873.html Note it was not declared unconstitutional until 1983.

      • MikeHaas82

        Its not on the same scale, I agree, but its another example of the birth of the Corporate States of America. Corporatism: Mussolini declared that Fascism was to be considered equal to the Corporate State.

        • http://limpingtowardsgrace.com/ James Jarvis

          Sometimes freedom is taken away suddenly and violently. Sometimes it is chipped away in such small pieces that no notices until it it is too late. Little by little the corporate state is eroding our freedoms. More and more corporations are becoming sovereign states that answer to no one.

          • MikeHaas82

            Yes, and when the US government really does “come after your guns”, it will be far right-wing fascists who finally take them, not progressives of any political stripe. Bill O’Lielly said recently how much he fears the possibility of a “liberal” Justice taking the place of Ginsburg or perhaps Scalia. The HL decision doesn’t affect him personally. Citizens United helps line his pockets. Conservatives like him always seem to have to be hit at home for he and his peers to realize, too late, what we’ve been warning them about for decades. Remember how stunned all of them were when Romney lost?

        • Jill

          I’m simply floored by the public complicity. I see bumper stickers supporting local corporate-friendly* politicians on the backs of 1990′s era Fords, and all I can think… dude, you clearly don’t have enough money for that politician to give a damn about you.
          _____________________________________________
          *corporate-friendly = bought and paid for

          • MikeHaas82

            You mean like elderly people who hold “Nobamacare” signs but you’d better not take away their Medicare? Yup. Its amazing how much influence FOX News has on those whose entire lives are governed by their bigotries and prejudices, some of whom grew up in the McCarthy era to whom “Liberal” or “Progressive” is an epithet akin to “devil-worshiper”. But given the trolls and drive-bys that frequent John’s blog, you’re already well-acquainted with those types.

          • Jill

            Got my warrior chops from putting a few of those types down out here… hehehe. We had some fun in those days.

      • Candas Jankowski

        But the thing is tanning causes more cases of cancer per year than smoking so those same companies should ban tanning but there is such an outcry over smoking but hardly a peep about tanning for goodness sakes people allow their children to tan and how about sugar it can cause diabetes should companies be allowed to ban that, fatty foods cause high cholesterol and heart attacks strokes, alcohol causes liver and brain cell damage, ect, ect. it shouldn’t be the companies right to tell you what you can’t do on your own time just like it shouldnt be there right to choose what medical care you can get through insurance

        • MikeHaas82

          Thanks, Candas – that was pretty much the perspective I was coming from. If a company can legally, thus far, order its associates to stop smoking, what prevents them from ordering them to stay away from tanning beds, laying out in the sun or engaging in premarital sex?

          “Tax exempt” institutions already have that right. If you work for say, a church-based institution such as a private school, they make you sign on the dotted line that you will not engage in activity they believe to be, “immoral”. The problem with that of course, is that pregnancy is an outward sign of that scandalous activity for women. As long as a male associate is discreet, he has no worries. In order to keep her job, a female associate has only one recourse – and that is to engage in another activity banned by that institution, namely, to have an abortion.

          “No one forced you to sign that document.” That’s true enough, but I have to ask: Are there there so many jobs available for teachers in the US that we can afford to allow employment contracts like that to exist?

          As you’ve probably guessed, I know of one “remedy”. Start taxing those institutions. I’m not certain why US citizens should be required to “pick up the slack” and pay higher taxes to pay for its infrastructure because Churches and other places of worship don’t have to.

          Why in the hell the NFL is tax-exempt is beyond me…

          • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

            The NFL is tax-exempt??? And they make billions!

          • Guy Norred

            I know. When I heard that recently I thought I had lost what sanity I still have.

          • Jill

            Yes, because they are a religious organization. (kidding)

          • Guy Norred

            That “No one forced….” thing keeps coming up on the HL case as well, and this attitude just boggles my mind. I am a highly educated professional who has held onto jobs I didn’t want or feel comfortable with on any number of grounds because the alternative was to not have a job at all and not meet my responsibilities to others. Not to be condescending at all, but I doubt many people aspire to work for HL, they just find themselves in a situation where that it is what they can find to do.

          • MikeHaas82

            Precisely – sometimes, there just isn’t anything else. Same for teachers who end up having to sign their rights away working for religious institutions.

          • AtalantaBethulia

            I’m an ally here (and a moderator), but I’d like to play devil’s advocate for a moment on the smoking issue, just to inject some other thoughts for consideration.

            NFL Cheerleaders (stick with me)
            I will never be an NFL Cheerleader, more than just because I don’t want to be.

            Point: Some jobs require things that not everyone has and which require compliance with maintaining certain personal things that would seem intrusive in other settings (health, appearance, etc.)

            Dentists (stick with me)
            Dentists and dental hygienists work in close proximity to people and their faces.

            Aestheticians
            Work in an environment designed to provide the customer with a pleasant experience.

            Healthcare workers
            Work with people in various conditions of health and breathing problems which also often requires close proximity to the patient.

            These are three examples of jobs I know where employers have requested that employees be non-smokers for the sake of the customer experience during the delivery of goods and services within their industry. At a minimum, they require no smoking on the job, but because of carryover aromas of smoke, they may also require they be non-smokers altogether.

            I’m not sure that’s unreasonable.
            Thoughts?

          • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

            Other fields, hair stylist, wait staff, retail workers. I have some severe allergies and mild asthma. Cigarette smoke is one of my triggers.

            That is what makes smoking different from taking The Pill, or having diabetes, or going to a tanning bed. The the exhaled smoke from a cigarette or cigar can directly impact the health of others, none of the others have that direct impact.

          • MikeHaas82

            Understood – again, I have no issues with banning smoking at work.

          • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

            I have no issues with sweating, at work or anywhere. I lack a sense of smell, work with greasy mechanics, raised three kids, grew up with four brothers so am rather impervious grease, sweat and grime. When I get hot, I swear my eyelids sweat.

          • MikeHaas82

            I swear I sweat in the shower. :)

          • MikeHaas82

            For a short time, I indulged also in cigars. I found that people immediately knew I’d indulged at lunch break. I also found that if I washed my face and hands and brushed by teeth afterward, I no longer got comments – except for those who mentioned I must have quit. Interestingly, cigar and cigarette odor clings mostly to your body oils more so oddly, than to clothing. A person who has their last cigarette at home before driving to work can mitigate the odor pretty effectively.

            Like Mark Twain, I’ve quit smoking a thousand times and have been just as sensitive to the odor during those times I’ve quit. Smoker or not, I’m fully on board with banning it in the workplace.

          • MikeHaas82

            In theory, I don’t disagree. But having spent 35 years in Corporate America and being old enough to have several different dentists and others who have had to work in close proximity to me to render a service…I can say unequivocally that there are loads of non-smokers out there with horrible, horrible – dare I say EVIL…breath and body-odor.

            I am of the opinion that anti-smoking “nazis” would likely raise heck in those instances for the slightest odor of tobacco but would shrug off mouth and pit odor.

            Not smoking on the job – yeah, I can dig that. But what we do in our own homes, provided we’re talking legal activity, should be no one else’s business.

            Speaking of offensive – I can’t count the number of (mostly) guys who have rendered service to me or whom I work around that have huge, garrish pit stains that have really, really grossed me out, odor or no odor. However – I sweat intensely, not from my under-arms, chest, or back, but from the top of my head and I know for a fact that while rendering the services I provide(d), I have offended others when they’ve seen it running down my forehead into and onto, my eyes and my glasses. Being a smoker, I’m unaware of any similar complaints.

  • Pavitrasarala

    I have to wonder if this ruling would have been at all possible had the same SCOTUS not shot itself and this country in the foot by declaring that corporations count as people.

    • MikeHaas82

      It’s a mortal certainty.

  • Stuart C. Hancock

    Any attorneys in the crowd? I read the majority opinions as well as the dissent, and it appears to my non-legally trained mind that actually the majority opinion is more grounded in precedent than the dissent. I don’t know if it’s even possible to have an unbiased appraisal of the opinions, but if there are any minds in the crowd that can provide some insights from a purely legal standpoint (i.e., without hyperbole and histrionics), I’m all ears.

    • MikeHaas82

      You would have to provide examples of “precedent” for us to take a statement like that seriously. I can’t tell you if there are any attorneys among us. The only thing we can use is our collective common sense.

      Also, tell us from the perspective of your “non-legally trained mind” what you make of a ruling in which the term *useful fiction* was employed by these 5 members of SCOTUS, basically calling the idea of Corporations as people a convenient LIE?

      I will say in addition, that in conjunction with Citizens United, this ruling has placed the individual liberties of the Citizens of the United States of America in GRAVE jeopardy, particularly those of its citizens who are female. Given that state of jeopardy and crisis, I would, were I the President, use my Constitutional authority and in addition, that which is stated in the 14th amendment, to issue an Executive Order vacating both in their entirety.

      http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/dana-milbank-in-hobby-lobby-ruling-the-supreme-court-uses-a-fiction/2014/06/30/37663c72-009b-11e4-8572-4b1b969b6322_story.html

      • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

        Oh the right will have collective apoplexy if the administrative does an executive order on this, but it would be worth the ravings on talk radio and Fox News.

        • MikeHaas82

          I have no doubt he would be impeached. Whether they had the votes to convict him is doubtful. November is going to be very, very interesting.

    • Guy Norred

      While I am not an attorney, nor have I read either of the opinions in full, I have to admit that to my understanding, the majority opinion is probably the more legally sound opinion based on the language of the law at the center of the case. That said, I find that language immoral and ethically unsound. It starts with the assumption that the money used to pay for these benefits belongs to the employer, and thus the way it is spent should be at the discretion of the employer when questions of conscience come into play. I don’t see it that way. This money ceased to belong to the employer when it became part of the compensation package for work for the employer (in the hands of the employer but in trust). Honestly, I don’t think these exemptions should be allowed for ANY employer, be they any sized corporation of any structure, a specifically religious institution, or even an individual who happens to have hired someone (admittedly this last is a tiny percentage but…) as it is based on this immoral understanding of who owns the money. If the laborer is worthy of his (or her) hire, then holding it back in any way, is stealing at best and a form of slavery at worst. Much of this is bound up in the system of medical coverage we seem stuck with but that is another question.

      • James Walker

        there is also the ethically (and economically) problematic view of money as property rather than as a medium for exchange.

      • amynrob

        I have thought this all along (thank you for articulating it)–but how is it that this understanding did not have legal precedent, or didn’t otherwise enter the legal discussion? I understand health insurance to be part of a compensation package, and as such, to be under the control of the employee, who ought to be able to spend it as he or she pleases. In fact, most employers I know do allow you to opt out of the insurance package they offer and they compensate you for opting out. Therefore, if any employeE didn’t want their compensation going toward a plan that covers things the employEE doesn’t believe in, they can opt out of that part of the compensation package and use the money from the employer returns to you to buy a health insurance product more in keeping with their morality.

        • Guy Norred

          Honestly I think it is a matter of the idea that employee benefits are largesse and not compensation being repeated enough that it has insidiously become an unquestioned and established fact even among those who advocate for these benefits. As to opting out of insurance coverage, my own admittedly anecdotal understanding is that this happens primarily because the employee is eligible for better coverage elsewhere rather than some stance on the morality of something in the package. Perhaps I just haven’t talked to the right people.

  • MikeHaas82

    I’m with George Takei: I wonder how our advocates would feel if a company owned by a Muslim owner-operator insisted that their religious rights dictated that female associates adhered to a very strict dress code?

    • R Vogel

      Muslim don’t deserve first amendment rights, remember? That’s only for a-hole christians

    • Andy

      The religious right would be so up in arms they would need to be restrained.

  • Mike Barnhart

    The issue is that the fed gov failed to show they have a pressing interest, that could not be handled easier another way, in overriding the first amendment. SCOTUS rules the fed gov could provide Plan B subsidies itself (like it does for a plethora of other things right now) and therefor there was no need to override the first amendment.
    This is a GOOD thing, since it means people without insurance will also have access to Plan B. Stop being so short sighted, people!

    • Mark Cee

      LOL! I think it’s you who’s being short-sighted if you honestly believe that the Teapublicans in Congress are going to allow the government to subsidize Plan B or any other contraception. It’s simply not going to happen. Since employers now can claim religious objection for ALL forms of contraception, I think we can expect coverage for those to disappear as more corporations “find Jesus,” even if it’s really just to save a buck.

      Know what? There isn’t a damned thing anyone can do about abuse like that. The ruling specified that courts should not be attempting to discern whether a corporation’s stated religious belief is sincerely held or mistaken. Which means that a corporation is free to claim ANYTHING as a religious belief and have it accepted,no questions asked. In fact, that’s exactly what happened in the case; Plan B, Ella, IUDs are in fact not abortifacients, but because the owner of Hobby Lobby *believes* they are as an apparent matter of his faith, then that’s all that’s required.

      Can you really not see the tremendous potential for abuse?

  • Jasper0123

    what a travesty. Women have to pay for their own abortion pills..

    • Mark Cee

      Yet your (apparently) Jesus-approved Viagra is still covered, Jasper. So no worries, right?

    • mindy

      Jasper, they are NOT abortion pills. Educate yourself.

      • MikeHaas82

        He’s right about one thing – associates of HL *do* pay for contraception themselves, as well as other medications and services – NOT HL.

  • disqus_Sb0Tz4ZxB0

    Abortion abortifacients and contraception are seldom, if ever, necessary in maintaining a woman’s good health. Because we are a nation founded on religious rights and liberties, these procedures and drugs, not banned but available on demand, should be purchased and financed only by those who personally choose abortion and/or contraception. No one should be forced by government to take part in the prevention or destruction of human life. This is not a “women’s health” issue, it is a moral issue.

    • http://johnshore.com/ John Shore

      he or she said anonymously….

    • MikeHaas82

      They’re not abortifacients, not according to the majority opinion of physicians. Also, corporations do not pay for insurance for their associates. Rather, they keep wages low to recoup any upfront costs and charge their associates for the rest. Do try to catch up.

    • AtalantaBethulia

      Re: “these procedures and drugs, not banned but available on demand, should be purchased and financed only by those who personally choose”

      Which is the case when a person uses their health insurance plan to compensate their health care provider when they receive health care and their pharmacy when they fill prescriptions into which they have contributed premiums and to whom they pay copays for whom the insurance is issued in their name or the name of their responsible party.

      Q: Why should the government be able to tell businesses what they cover on their their health insurance plans?

      A: The government has a compelling interest in public health. Unwanted and unintended pregnancy is a public health issue because poverty, education, healthcare costs, child abuse and neglect and crime are public health issues. That highly effective, woman-controlled contraceptives have not been covered comprehensively on insurance formularies was one of the complaints raised in town hall meetings and with US Senators and Representatives as healthcare reform was being crafted. This was the fix: The powers that be wouldn’t support a single-payer universal system, it had to remain in the current form (for-profit, market-based, within and outside of the employer-based program), so, one of the elements of setting “minimum standards” for “comprehensive coverage” was to include contraception as “basic healthcare coverage” and a vital part of “preventive medical care.” It’s called a compromise: You don’t get everything you want. I don’t get everything I want.

      My vagina and uterus and ovaries are part of my body. I expect to receive comprehensive care for these parts of my body when I see my healthcare provider. And as a healthcare provider myself, I advocate for my patients in that contraceptives greatly improve the lives of women in a multitude of ways. That men will never know what it’s like to bleed one week a month for forty years of their lives from the ages of 12 to 52 means you can’t know what a Godsend contraceptives are for women. They make what is otherwise a miserable experience for so many women tolerable. This isn’t JUST about preventing pregnancy – which should be more than enough. This is about quality of life: regular periods when they can be expected, less heavy, less painful and shorter periods, or no period at all, ending debilitating pain from ovarian cysts, family spacing and planning so as to help keep a family out of poverty, allowing women to go to school and continue to work… The benefits are overwhelming and practical – physically, emotionally and economically.

      Addressing the job crises, poverty and education and all the other social ills that plague a society involves contraception. I wish more people understood why this is a public health issue for us all and a quality of life issue for all women and, by association, also men.

    • Andy

      “Because we are a nation founded on religious rights and liberties”

      What? No. No we aren’t.

      “This is not a ‘women’s health’ issue, it is a moral issue.”

      It’s both, really.

  • George Waite

    [Antagonistically patronizing and wildly unhelpful comment deleted]


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