The Best Takes on Yesterday's Hobby Lobby Decision
A few takes on the Supreme Court's decision yesterday to allow companies to refuse to pay for emergency contraception.
Here's a roundup of some of the best takes on the Supreme Court's decision, announced yesterday, defining corporations (like Hobby Lobby) as human beings with the right, under the First Amendment, to deny employees access to federally mandated coverage for contraceptives like Plan B emergency contraception.
From Jezebel, a list of the 82 companies (including a bunch of Catholic-affiliated organizations, Eden Organic Foods, and the University of Notre Dame) that believe they shouldn't be required to follow the Obamacare mandate to cover birth control because they think birth control is murder.
From Jessica Valenti at The Guardian: "It seems appropriate that that quote from Ellen Willis is from the essay 'Abortion: Is a Woman a Person?' Because what's at stake in a decision like this – and in a debate like this – is women's basic humanity, of which sexuality is an integral part. Yes, contraception is about health and women often need birth control for medical reasons – but we also need it for sex, and that's just fine.
From the brilliant Amanda Marcotte, writing at Pandagon for Raw Story, who makes the point that it's completely incongruous for birth control opponents to simultaneously argue that birth control is super cheap (they've apparently settled on $9 a month as a supposed average) and make the case that having to pay for birth control will bankrupt companies:
The thing I found interesting was how many of them screamed “buy your own!” at me. This is stupid for two extremely obvious reasons. One, using insurance to buy contraception is, in fact, buying your own. That insurance belongs to you, and is neither your boss’s nor, as some conservatives seemed to believe, a public entitlement program. Second, there is no reason to believe any of the feminists they’re screaming at work for Hobby Lobby or any of the other companies that want to opt out. Which suggests “buy your own” is just a new form of conservative gibberish to give voice to their fear and loathing of female sexuality and should not be taken literally.
From Skepchick, which was "dumbfounded" by yesterday's decision, and argues that the impact of yesterday's ruling is much broader than you think. As Fizz noted this morning ... it could actually mean government-funded slut pills.
One of the most interesting parts of the decision was that SCOTUS made it clear that the government is allowed to step in and provide the contraception coverage. So, you know when everyone at Fox News and a couple of your crazy relatives on Facebook were freaking the fuck out about their tax dollars going to pay for contraception for all the slutty sluts and you had to point out that the government was not paying for the contraception, the employers and insurance company were? Well…funny story. Now that some corporations no longer have to include contraception coverage for their employees, the likely outcome will be the government stepping in and paying for it. So THANK YOU CONSERVATIVES FOR OUR FUTURE GOVERNMENT FUNDED CONTRACEPTION!
First Draft, another feminist blog, writes in (unusually) frustrated fashion: "'Religious freedom' now means 'my freedom to be untroubled by anything that challenges or differs from me' and 'individual responsibility' means 'I got mine' and 'rights' mean nothing if you're anything other than a rich white dude."
No offense, I feel compelled to say, to rich white dudes, lest they become oppressed by a mean hashtag on Twitter or something, and feel something akin to constraint on their speech or movement or ability to do whatever the fuck without hearing a word to the contrary of their every goddamn fucking wish. I can't imagine how bad that might make them feel, after all.
I am so tired of this neediness, I really am. I am so tired of hearing people who have everything in the world that a person needs to feel secure complain that they need more, that they need universal approbation, that they need to grind in their heels while stepping over the bodies of those who are not worthy. I am so tired of it not being enough, you have all the money and power, now you need all the love, too.
And two from Echidne of the Snakes, who makes the point that this "narrowly tailored" decision (narrowly tailored to only impact half of all U.S. citizens) actually sets a precedent for future religious "exceptions" to the health care mandate, including people who "object" to vaccinations, blood transfusions, and other forms of life-saving care.
Echidne also notes that employer-provided health care isn't some kind of special benefit from "benevolent feudal lords and ladies but part of the worker's overall salary/wages plus benefits package. When someone accepts an employment offer, that 'someone' regards the whole compensation package as compensation." Including contraceptive benefits. Full stop.
Hobby Lobby's "sincere religious belief" against Plan B emergency contraception and intrauterine devices didn't prevent the company from investing some $73 million in "mutual funds with investments in companies that produce emergency contraceptive pills and IUDs.
Tiny Cat Pants, meanwhile, is trying to wrap her head around the idea that she, as a human woman, has fewer rights in the United States than a corporation. "Me and Puerto Rico, we’re supposed to feel like we’re Americans but be okay with all the ways we’re constantly reminded that we’re not. I bring up Puerto Rico because my body is property, but not property I can fully own and control."
Feministing is also pissed. They write that granting religious "beliefs" to corporations "just goes to show how dangerous this ruling is–and not just for the millions of people in this country who rely on contraception, think it’s generally a pretty useful thing instead of the root of all evil, and reject the idea that it’s any of their bosses’ goddamn business. In their decision, the court said the ruling applies narrowly to the birth control mandate, but it’s unclear why the principle would stop there."
MSNBC points out that although the Supreme Court's specific ruling applies only to "closely held" corporations like Hobby Lobby, it opens the door for larger, publicly held corporations to claim that they have their own religious objections to certain forms of health care including birth control.
"In any case, saying the decision is narrow because 'only' women’s health care is affected reflects a value judgment too, where the practical realities of accessing health care is subsumed to the corporate owner’s will. According to the Guttmacher institute, 'some 62% of all women of reproductive age are currently using a contraceptive method,' and 99% have ever used one. And as the panel of medical experts that decided that contraception would be part of the ACA’s minimum coverage requirements saw, cost is a barrier. All this is not exactly a marginal concern."
Finally, Mother Jones reports that Hobby Lobby's "sincere religious belief" against Plan B emergency contraception and intrauterine devices (IUDs) didn't prevent the company from investing some $73 million in "mutual funds with investments in companies that produce emergency contraceptive pills, intrauterine devices, and drugs commonly used in abortions" as part of its 401(k) retirement plan.
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