Hobby Lobby Ruling: Employers Don’t Have to Cover Birth Control

HobbyLobbyStowOhioIt’s a kick in the teeth to the promoters of “ObamaCare,” but this narrow limitation of the Affordable Care Act is really just a minor hiccup compared to the large number of people now enrolled. NBC News reports on the US Supreme Court ruling in the so called Hobby Lobby case:

The U.S. Supreme Court, in a limited decision, ruled Monday that closely held, for-profit companies can claim a religious exemption to the Obamacare requirement that they provide health insurance coverage for contraceptives.

For-profit corporations — including Conestoga Wood of Pennsylvania, owned by a family of Mennonite Christians, and Hobby Lobby, a family-owned chain of arts and crafts stores founded on Biblical principles — had challenged a provision of the Affordable Care Act.

It requires companies with more than 50 employees to cover preventive care services, which include such contraceptives as morning-after pills, diaphragms and IUDs.

The court’s ruling Monday was 5-4, written by Justice Samuel Alito, and the decision appeared to be extremely limited. It did not appear to open the door to other types of religious-exemption claims by companies.

Instead, the ruling appeared to be a clear victory for the companies that brought the case and for perhaps 50 to 60 other companies like them with similar objections to the contraceptive requirement.

The court found that there are other ways for the employees of the small companies to get contraceptive coverage. For example, the government already has insurance companies pay for the coverage for employees of certain religious nonprofits.

The companies in the Hobby Lobby case had said that the use of some contraceptives is the equivalent of abortion, destroying a human life by interfering with a fertilized egg. For that reason, they said, providing the coverage would violate their religious beliefs.

A principle issue for the Supreme Court was whether a for-profit corporation can claim that its religious freedom allows it to be exempt from a law…

[continues at NBC News]


Majestic is gadfly emeritus.

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26 Comments on "Hobby Lobby Ruling: Employers Don’t Have to Cover Birth Control"

  1. emperorreagan | Jun 30, 2014 at 4:38 pm |


    “There is another approach to constitutional politics, however; one known to the Left: the expression of constituent power. That means articulating grievances, confronting opponents, and promoting solidarity. These forms of politics are constitutive of alternative regimes and counter-institutions, and express the Left’s challenge to ossified constitutional discourses of procedure and formal rights. ”


    Cramming things into a a law that was ultimately a bunch of bullshit the Republicans of the early 90s thought were good ideas then trying to protect it through the courts was never going to be a successful strategy.

    • Lookinfor Buford | Jul 1, 2014 at 9:34 am |

      So do you have *anything* disparaging to say about the democrats that actually did pass this joke of a law, using an end-around, I might add?

      • emperorreagan | Jul 1, 2014 at 11:31 am |

        Sure. See previous comment. It’s ultimately a criticism of democrats.

        As the Obama administration & democrats are the ones for devising both the content and the strategy for the law, the criticism is pointed at them. I’d consider dredging up an idea the Heritage Foundation wrote about in 1989, cobbling it together with what amounts to handouts to preferred “partners”, then expecting to do the rest of the process of legislating through the courts to be a huge failure.

        It’s a failure to both generate ideas and to engage with the populace. The democrats blew their wad to pass a bad law.

  2. Gjallarbru | Jun 30, 2014 at 5:04 pm |

    There is such an obsession that a corporation has the status of a person, that they now have a religion? I would think that a for profit corporation couldn’t possibly have a religion because:

    – It isn’t conscious / has no mind
    – It can’t express a choice on its own

    – It can’t even pray
    – It can’t go to celebrate a faith that it doesn’t have

    – It doesn’t have soul
    – It has no heaven or hell waiting for it
    – It couldn’t quote a holy book, even if it where right there in its head office
    – It couldn’t possibly hold any beliefs itself, only its leaders and shareholders could.

    Surely, thinking a corporation has any religious beliefs, or that even has a mind to hold such beliefs in the first place, should be discarded as stupid. But I guess the insanity of corporatism knows no bounds.

    In my mind, if you want the benefit of a corporation for your economical interest, you can’t then claim you and the company are the same entity. Your company has neither mind nor soul, and couldn’t possibly be religious. So, what am I missing?

  3. InfvoCuernos | Jun 30, 2014 at 8:59 pm |

    these fucking people and their fairytales really know how to fuck up a nice day.

  4. BuzzCoastin | Jun 30, 2014 at 9:33 pm |

    all those contraceptives come from Pig Pharma & Pig Hellcare
    most have potential sides effects &
    have less than 50 years of use experience with which to determine safety
    so Hobby Horse may have done their employees
    an unitended favor in the name of Jebus

  5. Since we’re going back into the Dark Ages, I find I’m looking forward to emergence of the new Black Plague, too.

    • InfvoCuernos | Jun 30, 2014 at 11:45 pm |

      Maybe we could get the smallpox back! That looks like a delightful disease that antivaxxers can enjoy. Also, witchhunts are looking like they might make a comeback.

      • Oginikwe | Jul 1, 2014 at 9:58 pm |

        My money is on MERS and antibiotic-resistant bacteria. I see witch hunts on Fox News almost every day.

  6. Jonas Planck | Jun 30, 2014 at 11:20 pm |

    Shouldn’t there be at least some effort made on the part of the corporation to demonstrate that it actually believes what its owners say it believes? Like, you know, showing up in church JUST ONCE?
    Also, what specific Bible verse prohibits contraception? There’s the thing with Onan, but that only prohibits coitus interruptus in the extenuating circumstance that God has directly ordered you to impregnate your own sister. I don’t think that’s covered by any insurance plans, but I might be wrong about that. And since the drugs in question don’t actually cause viable embryos to abort, since when does the court rule in favor of people who are literally arguing that they believe something that is provably false? That’s a slippery-ass slope if ever I saw one… Could I say that I don’t have to pay taxes because I believe that the government itself does not exist? Or that I should be immune to prosecution for murder, since I don’t believe that anybody ever actually dies?
    Would it be possible to get them to agree, “Oh I’m sorry, you don’t have to purchase car insurance, because you believe that cars are living creatures, brought to life by the arcane magic of leprechauns, and therefore cannot be insured except by life insurance.”?

    • Lookinfor Buford | Jul 1, 2014 at 9:37 am |

      Do you really think the people should be forced to buy into this scam? Do you really pretend that this is a good law? Really dude, I’ve respected some of your postings. But your defense of ObamaCare is by far more disingenuous than any religious belief.

      • Jonas Planck | Jul 1, 2014 at 2:31 pm |

        I defended obamacare? Oh, I see what’s happening, you’re doing the zero-sum thing again where you think that opposing one stupid thing automatically means you approve of another stupid thing if they are opposed to each other. Not so.
        It’s bad enough that the system had to be screwed up, that insurance got subsidized, and they’ve decided that you must be employed by a large company to even get insurance, (piss off, self-employed people!) and that it must be provided by employers (another obstacle to starting a small business), but now they’ve gone and MADE IT WORSE by declaring that basically, actual people aren’t really people, they cannot decide what their own religious beliefs are if they wish to have jobs, and that the religious beliefs of an inanimate object that does not actually HAVE any beliefs of any kind supersede not only their absurd health care law, but the needs of actual living people, regardless of whether or not these fallacious beliefs which do not exist ARE EVEN A PART OF THE RELIGION which the inanimate object is being said to have!
        Do you wish to opt out of being forced to do things that go against your moral beliefs? TOO BAD! You’re a human, and humans still don’t get to do that! Not unless you spend millions of dollars on a massive legal effort to LIE to the supreme court and say you own a person that is not a person who shares your erroneous beliefs in a religion that does not actually say that what you object to is objectionable, regardless of whether or not what you are objecting to even is what you say it is!

        • Lookinfor Buford | Jul 3, 2014 at 10:49 am |

          Touche.. I over-simplified your stance. While I see your point that corporations effectively have a right (as if they were individuals) to conscienciously object to a law, while true individuals do not (because it’s impractical for them to assert that right), I suppose that it is at least a good thing that SOME entity has the means to stand up and fight against a bad law.

          Yes, I do think it’s a bad law. Not for religious reasons at all. It’s because having sex is a personal choice, accountability matters, and if a human wants to have recreational sex, it should be on them to take precautions, not their freakin’ employer, nor the taxpayer.

          But the flip side of your argument can also be made (if I understand you correctly). There are many laws today that people can and do disobey as a form of civil disobedience. We all agree that stupid laws denigrate and demean the concept of the rule of law, and therefore, stupid laws are meant to be challenged. Marijuana use is a good example, civilly disobeyed (openly) for 5-6 decades now.

          However, corporations don’t get to exercise that disobedience nearly as lightly as the individual. If Hobby Lobby had tried to, in this case.. business – over. If a mandate came down that I MUST provide my daughter with contraception, for example, I could easily shirk that law without much effort. So it cuts both ways.

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  8. DeepCough | Jul 1, 2014 at 7:46 am |

    Contraception IS NOT abortion!

  9. Lookinfor Buford | Jul 1, 2014 at 9:38 am |

    Contrary to popular (male) belief.. wait for it.. Free contraception will *not* help you get laid.

    • True, but it’s the moral thing to do.

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    • It gets you lots of free balloons to inflate though, which at least makes ones’ lonely batchelor pad look a little more festive.

  10. Laura Hurt | Jul 2, 2014 at 5:43 pm |

    I would love to see the scale that says what counts as a sincerely held belief. How are they going to separate the people who SAY they have a sincerely held belief from the people ACTUALLY having a sincerely belief? I also would love to see the scale that says which sincerely held belief trumps science and which one doesn’t.

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