The Supreme Court has rendered its verdict on Hobby Lobby’s asinine battle against providing birth control to women–and, unfortunately, sense and decency lost: Thanks to a 5-4 ruling, businesses are able to refuse to provide contraception coverage if they claim a “sincerely held religious belief.”
Hobby Lobby and 49 other companies claiming that their religious beliefs trump women’s health argued that the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which has never before been applied to for-profit companies, allows them to impose their beliefs on all of their employees–because, as people, companies have religious rights, too.
However, not all of the plaintiffs got what they wanted in this scheme to prevent women from having easy, affordable access to birth control.
Previously, the Affordable Care Act granted exemptions to private, religious institutions that did not wish to participate in providing birth control to women.
The Religious Freedom Restoration Act, the law at issue in the case, has never been applied to for-profit entities. The Court had to decide whether corporations even have religious exercise rights – making the beliefs of the employer synonymous with the entire company – and weigh that question against the potential harms to the employees.
Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood objected to a handful of contraceptives that they speculate can block a fertilized egg, which is neither documented in the science nor the medical definition of abortion. Other for-profit plaintiffs object to any birth control coverage at all.
Justice Kagan pointed out that, ”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.”
However, the Christian taliban won out with its argument that it should not be made to participate in the process of ensuring that female employees have access to adequate health care.
Hobby Lobby’s religious objection to birth control, however, does not extend to its investments. The company invests in multiple pharmaceutical corporations, including the very company that created Plan B. It’s OK, though. The Catholic church assures us women can just pick up birth control at their local 7-Eleven…you know, right next to the Slim Jims.