The internet is on fire discussing another terrible decision from our nation’s Supreme Court, another attack on women. On Monday, June 30, 2014, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby that for-profit employers can decide whether or not to cover their employees’ birth control and contraception. Strictly speaking, the conservative majority ruled that for-profit corporations with religious objections can opt out of providing contraception coverage under the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
This staggering decision puts corporations above women. Four years after the Supreme Court ruled that corporations have free speech rights in its controversial Citizens United decision (Jan 21, 2010), this Supreme Court granted religious rights to for-profit corporations! It opens the door for corporations to opt out of other laws, now that corporations have new standing.
Photo Credit: Daily Kos
The case was brought by Hobby Lobby, an arts and crafts chain founded by evangelical Christians. If you’ve ever been to Hobby Lobby, you see the staff is mostly women, and the customers are mostly women. And while Hobby Lobby is hugely profitable, their employees are paid little. Hobby Lobby sued the government over the ACA because the owners don’t want to have to provide their employees with insurance coverage for some forms of birth control, like IUDs or the morning after pill, which they claim cause abortions, contrary to scientists and the FDA.
The majority opinion is striking as Justice Samuel Alito concentrates on his view of the rights of corporations being the same or more than the rights of real people. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg looks at the actual cases, and clearly considers the health care needs of employees. Justice Ginsburg’s scathing written dissent was 35 pages long!
Ginsburg wrote that her five male colleagues, “in a decision of startling breadth,” would allow corporations to opt out of almost any law that they find “incompatible with their sincerely held religious beliefs.” She questions the exemption extending to other employers with interesting religiously grounded objections that are out of the mainstream.
Is it possible that our Supreme Court majority was so hot to interfere with Obamacare and/or birth control that they really don’t understand how far reaching their decision is? Could it be our Supreme Court majority is pushing their own questionable scientific views on birth control and abortion? Is it possible that the conservative men who were the majority vote don’t understand another truth about their ruling? Women depend on birth control for other medical reasons. Now bosses can make birth control inaccessible by refusing to cover it. Did they consider the real-life impact on employees at all?
These conservative justices are engaging in blatant judicial activism – they are basing their judicial rulings on personal or political beliefs rather than on existing law.
The conservative justices really seem to ‘know not what they do’
As NOW president Terry O’Neill said on CNN, this and other terrible rulings “would not be possible if we had women’s equality enshrined in the constitution.” Women need an Equal Rights Amendment now more than ever!
President, NC National Organization for Women
(Emphasis added here was not included in the Onslow Times printed version of the article)