Tuesday, July 1, 2014
According to an NBC/WSJ poll, 53 percent of Americans don't agree with the Supreme Court majority opinion siding with Hobby Lobby that employers can be exempt from the Affordable Care Act's requirement that employer health plans cover prescription birth control.
“This is a deeply troubling decision. For the first time, the highest court in the country has said that business owners can use their religious beliefs to deny their employees a benefit that they are guaranteed by law,” said Louise Melling, deputy legal director of the ACLU.
At oral argument, as hundreds of women rallied outside in support of birth control access, Paul Clement argued, “This is not about access to the contraception, it’s who’s going to pay for the government’s preferred subsidy.” Justice Elena Kagan, for her part, had a different answer: ”Congress has made a judgment and Congress has given a statutory entitlement and that entitlement is to women and includes contraceptive coverage, and when an employer says, no, I don’t want to give that, that woman is quite directly, quite tangibly harmed.”
The contraceptive benefit was widely seen as a political win for Obama in the 2012 election, galvanizing single women to go to the polls. Democrats are hoping a similar strategy pays off in key elections this fall.
Pain? Yes. Anger? Of course. Mother Jones was kind enough to offer up quotes from Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg's dissent in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby:
Here are seven more key quotes from Ginsburg's dissent in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby:
"The exemption sought by Hobby Lobby and Conestoga would … deny legions of women who do not hold their employers' beliefs access to contraceptive coverage"
"Religious organizations exist to foster the interests of persons subscribing to the same religious faith. Not so of for-profit corporations. Workers who sustain the operations of those corporations commonly are not drawn from one religious community."
"Any decision to use contraceptives made by a woman covered under Hobby Lobby's or Conestoga's plan will not be propelled by the Government, it will be the woman's autonomous choice, informed by the physician she consults."
"It bears note in this regard that the cost of an IUD is nearly equivalent to a month's full-time pay for workers earning the minimum wage
"Would the exemption…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[?]…Not much help there for the lower courts bound by today's decision."
"Approving some religious claims while deeming others unworthy of accommodation could be 'perceived as favoring one religion over another,' the very 'risk the [Constitution's] Establishment Clause was designed to preclude
"The court, I fear, has ventured into a minefield."
But fear not, hipster knitters: There are other places to get your crafting on.