This case “marks the first time that the Supreme Court has allowed companies the ability to declare a religious belief — a decision that could reverberate far past the Affordable Care Act to other laws and issues.”
I was dismayed this morning to hear that the SCOTUS ruled in favor of Hobby Lobby in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. because Supreme Court precedence is a powerful thing. I think part of me just assumed that SCOTUS would not rule in favor of Hobby Lobby because, well, it’s 2014 and I figured we were past that. Hobby Lobby has problems with causing abortions – but the birth control covered by the ACA does not cause abortions. Or at least, it does not according to everyone but Hobby Lobby? This suggests that we’re now allowing religious belief as a reason to declare what is or isn’t found to be medical fact. Cue the anti-vaxxers?
Beyond this ruling serving as another reminder that healthcare coverage should not be tied to employment, it has the potential to cause problems in a lot of ways.
1. I’ve already mentioned that ACA covered birth control has not found to be abortion causing. The ACA is attempting to open up access to this type of healthcare. In general, more access to healthcare is a good thing. There’s nothing to argue about here. Healthcare is important. It should be a right – just like freedom of religion. Remember, freedom of religion is one reason why these guys exist.
2. The obvious question. If Hobby Lobby can deny birth control coverage based on their interpretation of medical fact per religious beliefs….. what else can they do? Are vaccinations next? If birth control is not okay but vaccinations are, what’s the legal reasoning?
3. Is it really about religious freedom? Again, this seems to be another move made by the “conservative” and “Christian” citizens of this country – with money and time to spare. I’m beginning to think that the “conservative” people of the Christian religion are seriously hurting Christianity in general. Read this. There’s been so much back and forth in court cases and Congress over what religious freedom really is. We seem to be over-complicating it.
4. What about simple employee rights? Health insurance is part of your compensation provided by your employer. So now, after you are paid, they still have control over what they’ve given you? Will this be a way to further limit health insurance for people not involved in a heterosexual relationship with a person of the opposite sex?
5. Again, the question of access. Ultimately, this feels like an attack on girls and women. I also think this extends to the quality of medical care received. You can argue that this only limits certain types of birth control so what’s the problem? Emergency contraceptives are used after rape. Providing less options for birth controls is more dangerous. It’s true, no argument. Based on my own personal options, if I did not have access to an IUD I would have resorted to sterilization based on surgery – which is immediately more dangerous for me for a number of reasons. I would think, that as a society, we would want to do everything possible to protect the health of society as a whole and limit the number of necessary abortions. (Abortion is necessary if a woman or her healthcare provider decides it is necessary.)
6. Most importantly, why are we allowing entities such as corporations the right to declare a religious belief? What’s next? When will corporations have a gender? Will cities be able to declare religious beliefs and evict anyone that doesn’t fit their code of morals? Why are corporations – which are not concrete things – more important than providing health care coverage to women and girls?
This SCOTUS ruling bothers me because it goes against previous rulings and because I fail to see how it will not cause more questions about healthcare coverage, religious freedom, and personal freedom to arise in the future.
We should be past the point of debating things like who gets what kind of healthcare coverage and for what reasons. We need to move onto more important things, like war, famine, and world peace. Oh, and paid maternity leave.