Yesterday’s SCOTUS ruling on the Hobby Lobby case was a welcoming gesture not only towards religious freedom, but also freedom of conscience.
Lots of people are commenting; so I’ll offer a few quick thoughts myself. This decision doesn’t mean that we rest and that the battle is over. Here are two considerations:
- Some states, definitely Washington state, already required businesses to offer contraception coverage before the HHS Mandate. Now that the Supreme Court has ruled clearly that closely run family businesses can exempt themselves from the Mandate, I hope that these businesses will be taking the necessary steps, even turning to the courts. For those businesses which have had to pay for the coverage but have not utilized it, I wonder if a good attorney could even get them a reimbursement of funds they were required to pay…illegally.
- Health care reform has a long way to go. Justice Alito didn’t say this specifically in his decision for the majority, but some of his language could be taken to hint at it. Setting aside the financial mess of our current system, there are at least two other considerations.
- 1. We need a movement to challenge the definition of contraception as something that falls under health care. In fact, contraception usually works to keep the female body from working as it should. Definitions are very important. At the UN, for example, the Catholic Church and other organizations have worked effectively to keep the term “reproductive health” from including abortion. If someone is interested, I have an idea for a campaign that could work. I already own the URLs. Just need someone with bandwidth and funds. Contact me offline if you are that person – no looky loos.
- 2. Health insurance is a mess. It used to be something that only covered major illnesses. For a variety of reasons, many related to employee compensation, it has come to cover just about everything. Maybe we need to curtail health insurance so that it covers major health issues. Then patients might be a little more aggressive in how they navigate their health care, particularly with regard to cost. As far as I can tell, the model where insurance covers just about everything ends up costing doctors a lot in terms of administrative services, which in turn drives up the cost of the medical service delivered.
Also the face of the movement against the HHS Mandate was that of young women for whom pregnancy is still relevant. Too often, I’ve seen these protests/discussions/debates carried out by women (on both sides of the issue) who are obviously too old for this to be a personal issue.
And I saw Lori Windham, one of the attorneys for Hobby Lobby, give her remarks on the steps of SCOTUS. She was simply amazing. Her analysis was good, her delivery was great. She did not sound like an attorney.
Despite the work ahead of us, there’s much to celebrate. Cheers!