Supreme Court allows Hobby Lobby to force religion on employee healthcare
On June 30th, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that an arts and crafts company named Hobby Lobby can refuse to pay certain forms of contraception in employee healthcare benefits based on its religious beliefs.
Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg stated in her dissent for the minority:
The exemption sought by Hobby Lobby and Conestoga would override significant interests of the corporations’ employees and covered dependents. It would deny legions of women who do not hold their employers’ beliefs access to contraceptive coverage that the ACA would otherwise secure.
Justice Ginsburg’s dissenting statement concludes that not only does the ruling allow corporations to deny a multitude of women significant health benefits; it also makes the Affordable Care Act (ACA) less effective.
Additionally, Amy Davidson of The New Yorker asserted that
Hobby Lobby is really asserting two religious beliefs: that abortion is immoral and that the kinds of contraception it doesn’t want to pay for are, in fact, a form of abortion, even though the scientific evidence says they are not. The majority defers to both of these beliefs.
The Huffington Post writer Kim Bhasin also chimed in on the controversial ruling, addressing the “gaping hole” in Hobby Lobby’s religious beliefs against abortion:
Hobby Lobby remains quiet about its dealings in China. The company did not respond to requests for a list of Chinese factories it does business with, and did not provide information about what percentage of its merchandise comes from China.
Then there’s China’s controversial record on abortion. The country’s one-child policy was slightly relaxed in 2013, but the family planning bureaucracy still exists. Since the government instituted the policy 40 years ago, there have been more than 330 million abortions in China, according to health ministry data cited by the Financial Times.
Potential consequences for Court decision in favor of Hobby Lobby
This Supreme Court ruling has the potential to perpetuate more Constitutional challenges to the healthcare law based on religious beliefs; one example of a potential challenge would be the multitude who don’t believe in vaccinations. This group could easily argue the same religious right of exemption similar to the way Hobby Lobby and Conestoga did in the Supreme Court. Companies that don’t believe in vaccinations could refuse to pay for employee healthcare benefits under the same premise, regardless if the Supreme Court claims otherwise.
Most states in the U.S. allow religious exemptions from vaccinations. According Dr. Joseph Mercola, in an article he wrote back in December 2011,
All 50 states allow a medical exemption to vaccination (medical exemptions must be approved by an M.D. or D.O.); 48 states allow a religious exemption to vaccination; and 18 states allow a personal, philosophical or conscientious belief exemption to vaccination.
However, also be aware that vaccine exemptions are currently under attack in every state because the wealthy and powerful Pharma/Medical Industry lobby is trying to take them away, especially the religious and philosophical or conscientious belief exemptions.
Note that most states allow for religious exemptions from vaccinations yet the Supreme Court made an exception for certain female contraception but at the same time the Court states that, according to ABC News, “other coverage requirements, such as immunizations, may be supported by different interests (for example, the need to combat the spread of infectious diseases) and may involve different arguments about the least restrictive means of providing them.” Since it’s legal for families to gain exemption in states for personal and religious reasons from vaccinations, and since corporations are afforded the same rights as ‘flesh and blood’ persons under the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision, it’s highly reasonable to say that certain companies will refuse to pay for vaccinations under the same rights.
Despite whether you agree or disagree with Chief Justice John Roberts Court’s judicial interpretations and decisions, it appears that there’s a good chance that the Roberts Court will be regarded by many as the most controversial, regressive, anti-secular, anti-women’s rights, and pro-corporate Supreme Court in U.S. history.
Maybe even the most corrupt Court of all-time.