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Supreme Court, Hobby Lobby and Women

Updated on June 30, 2014

Hobby Lobby, Conestoga Wood Specialties and roughly 3 dozen other companies today acquired a new right for for-profit corporations thanks to 5 men on the Supreme Court who determined that a woman's right to privacy, health care, freedom of/from religion comes second to her employer.

I've heard a myriad of arguments -- to a business shouldn't have to violate it's moral values (huh?) to it's a "property issue" about who pays for a service. In my eyes, the property in question is a women's uterus and who has the right to determine how to best treat it in a medical environment.

This is yet another slippery slope decision for corporations against citizens of this country.

It's Not Just the Pill

This decision doesn't extend just to "the pill," but to any birth control method that your employer may perceive to be against their religious moral values -- currently stated (but subject to change) as any method that they perceive to interfere with the matter of course of a fertilized egg.

This position allows your employer to prevent you from getting basically any hormonal birth control. Despite hormone birth control methods usually preventing an egg from being released so there is no egg to fertilize, these companies believe that it works primarily through preventing implantation of fertilized egg and therefore, regardless of scientific fact, can base their decision on ignorance of science in favor of biblical enlightenment.

Under this argument, implants, patches, IUDs and a variety of other birth control methods can be denied. And if they randomly decide a barrier method applies to their "enlightened" position, who knows, maybe they can add that. Who's going to stop them at this point?

Do you agree with the Supreme Court that "closely held" corporations have religious rights?

See results

Slippery Slope

But this isn't just about the contentious issue of women's bodies and allowing them to have a say in their medical issues. It's also about the mission creep of the Christian Evangelicals to make this a "Christian-based nation."

Our "freedom of religion" has often been described as the right to be "free of religion." My practices are mine, yours belong to you and never the twain shall meet. Until today. Today they have pitted citizens against citizen corporations yet again. Corporations and the Supreme Court have changed the face of citizens rights drastically over the past few years. They have made money, speech and have been given "free speech" to tell us the truth... or not. They have been made "people" and today they have been given religion.

To give you an idea some of the other things that companies could possibly go to court to deny on moral religious grounds:

Anti-depressants
blood transfusions
pain medications
medications made with animal based gelatin
vaccinations

Those and many other things affront various religions. Who steps up next to determine they don't want to provide you coverage for a blood transfusion when you're brought in from a car accident bleeding to death? Or when you have a painful wound and you're employer tells you sorry, but I have a religious issue with pain killers?

What else does this end up opening the door to? Will this be the new way to "cost savings" with companies suddenly finding a religious core and cutting expensive procedures?

At what point does the real citizen take precedent over the corporate citizen in this country?

Birth Control Facts

  • 88% of women have used birth control
  • 10.5M women use "the pill" as their primary birth control method
  • IUDs are the most affective form of birth control
  • birth control pills can safely be used "indefinitely" by non-smoking women
  • Plan B does not cause an abortion and is not "the abortion pill"
  • Birth control pills are used to ease symptoms of PMS, endometriosis, irregular menstrual cycles and many other non-family planning reasons.

It's Not Just Birth Control

Birth control is an important part of many women's lives. But not necessarily just for birth control reasons. The same hormones in birth control that prevent pregnancy can relieve pain associated with PCOS and PMS, can make irregular menstrual cycles regular, can slow endometriosis and more. There has been no differentiation in this decision for women who take this medication for reasons other than birth control and the employers involved appear to have little concern that this can be an important health tool for women.

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    • Pragmatic Politic profile image
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      Pragmatic Politic 3 years ago from United States

      "Hobby Lobby's money is NOT the employees money."

      No, and the insurance isn't Hobby Lobby's insurance either. The insurance is another form of payment for working for them. Period. They should be allowed to use it as they and their physicians choose without their boss sitting in the examining room with them.

      It's a great irony the incessant whining the right put up about the false concept that Obamacare put government in your doctors office, yet they're happy to put your boss in there with you.

    • profile image

      SassySue1963 3 years ago

      Does the employer have the right to demand that all the purchases made with an employees salary are morally acceptable to them and then, if found not to be, get to deduct that amount from their salary? No.

      Do you even understand the lawsuit at all? The employees can spend their money on whatever they choose. Just Hobby Lobby isn't going to pay for it. Hobby Lobby's money is NOT the employees money.

      There are all sorts of reasons one is exempted from providing not just contraceptive coverage but any coverage at all that aren't even based on religious grounds - so no, there really is not some standardized plan that must be provided. Check the waiver list. Hobby Lobby has a right to a waiver on religious grounds as much as anyone else on the list.

      Slavery is irrelevant to the argument. Just because I support a decision of a court, or a person, does not mean I support all their decisions. Nice bait & switch try with the subject and direction.

      Again - there is absolutely no denial of access. The issue you can't get your head around is called PAYMENT. Not access. Anyone can take anything they so desire. They just can't expect someone else to foot the bill for them. In other words, grow up and support yourself.

    • Pragmatic Politic profile image
      Author

      Pragmatic Politic 3 years ago from United States

      Does the employer have the right to demand that all the purchases made with an employees salary are morally acceptable to them and then, if found not to be, get to deduct that amount from their salary? No.

      They agreed to buy an insurance package as a benefit. The government standardized what could be offered TO THE PATIENT. The patient makes the choice, with the advice of their doctor, on how insurance is used. Not the employer. There is no difference here other than a different form of earned benefit -- insurance v. cash.

      "The law was found to infringe upon the freedom of religion..."

      The Supreme court also endorsed slavery at one point, did you feel that was right as well?

      No one was forcing anyone to take any medication against their will or religious beliefs. Now we do have someone attempting to make access to certain medications for some based on their religious beliefs.

      No one was infringing on their rights.

    • profile image

      SassySue1963 3 years ago

      No they are not.

      Again - they DO NOT HAVE TO WORK THERE. They are not chained to their desks.

      It is their job to pay you a wage for the work that you do. No it is NEVER your employers' job to SUPPORT you. They pay you a wage for the work that you do.

      Benefits are called such because they are an added incentive - they have always differed from business to business. Always. It was always at the company's discretion. Not the government's. That is the problem. The government should not be interfering in such matters. it is overreach at its finest.

      There is this little thing called the First Amendment. The law was found to infringe upon the freedom of religion - which it clearly does - so therefore it is not Constitutional. Period.

      It is funny that their employees did not join in on the lawsuit to force HL to pay for the stuff isn't it? Guess the employees are alright with it.

    • Pragmatic Politic profile image
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      Pragmatic Politic 3 years ago from United States

      How are their rights being denied? They are working to receive a benefits package that provides a guaranteed minimum to the rest of the country. They are being deprived of that benefit and the right to practice their own beliefs -- moral, medical and religious -- because of their employer.

      It is their job to support you in turn for the work that you do for them. It's an exchange of services. If I work for you, you are required to pay me. This isn't a nation that condones slavery any longer. At least I didn't' think so until I started hearing people like you talk.

      "These are not medically necessary things." Again, with your ignorance. I have an mirena IUD because it helps keep fibroids to a minimum. It is medically necessary, either this or taking what is euphemistically known as birth control pills. This is more effective and safe for me as many of the pills cause blood clots for me. I take this to prevent having to have surgery or suffering from severe anemia.

      Unless you are a medical doctor, and more appropriately a gynecologist, you haven't any idea what is or is not "medically necessary."

      Benefits differed from job to job forever -- yes, but now the law says that insurance plans must provide a minimum standard. Birth control, used for whatever reason, is part of that minimum standard.

      No one is telling Hobby Lobby how to do business. Clearly they're digging their own grave on their own time.

    • profile image

      SassySue1963 3 years ago

      How are their employees rights being denied? You still have not answered that question.

      If they want the coverage - they can pay for the coverage. Just HL isn't footing the bill.

      It is NOT your employers' job to raise you. It is NOT the government's job to raise you. It is NOT either's job to support you.

      These are not medically necessary things. It was only 4 out of 20 contraceptives. It is that entitlement mentality that is the problem. You are not entitled to anything from your employer except agreed upon payment for hours worked. Benefits are called that because they are extra and at the companies discretion as they have always been.

      Benefits differed from job to job forever. In choosing one job over another - often those benefits tipped the scale. This hasn't changed anything. It was always the case.

      You are making a mountain out of a molehill that has existed forever. Why should the government be telling businesses how to to do business? Including insurance companies.

    • lovemychris profile image

      Yes Dear 3 years ago from Cape Cod, USA

      No one's telling them what to believe. The problem is they're taking their beliefs out of the private realm, and putting it in the public.

      It's SO not what America is about!

    • Pragmatic Politic profile image
      Author

      Pragmatic Politic 3 years ago from United States

      "You have no right to tell them what to believe. "

      But they have a right to force their beliefs on their employees. Their employees have rights of their own and one of those rights is for the government to not approve laws and practices that favor one religion over another allowing the oppression of someone's beliefs. That's what the Supreme Court just did -- opened the door to the Christian version of Sharia Law through corporate mandate.

    • Pragmatic Politic profile image
      Author

      Pragmatic Politic 3 years ago from United States

      Your ignorance of how an IUD works doesn't make it so.

      "Both types of IUDs work primarily by preventing sperm from fertilizing an egg. The copper IUD releases copper into the uterus, which works as a spermicide. The Mirena releases a form of the hormone progestin (levonorgestrel) into the uterus."

      So...that said and done. Say they didn't work as a preventative and were an abortifacient? What about women who don't believe life begins until birth? Or until the fetus can survive outside the womb? Do their beliefs now come secondary to a corporation? And you're okay with that? Kowtowing to the beliefs of a corporation? Is that the "new capitalism" now, they get to tell us what we will and won't believe and control the benefits we work for to enforce those beliefs? This your America?

      IUDs are not abortifacients.

    • profile image

      SassySue1963 3 years ago

      Science doesn't say that. Science says that an IUD prevents a fertilized ovum from implanting on the uterine wall. They believe that once fertilized that is human life. You have no right to tell them what to believe. That is what they believe. You don't have to agree with that belief but you don't dictate their religious beliefs.

    • Pragmatic Politic profile image
      Author

      Pragmatic Politic 3 years ago from United States

      "...consider them abortion inducing."

      Despite the fact that SCIENCE says they're not.

    • profile image

      SassySue1963 3 years ago

      @lovemychris - Hobby Lobby only objected to 4 of the 20 contraceptives because they consider them abortion inducing. Viagra in no way can be said to be abortion inducing can it? Libs always bring up viagra when it is irrelevant.

      Hobby Lobby is not against birth control. Read up on a subject before you comment on it. Only those 4 types.

    • lovemychris profile image

      Yes Dear 3 years ago from Cape Cod, USA

      Yeah, but old men don't have to pay for Viagra...

      And men don't have to pay for vasectomies...and say: isn't that birth control?

      And what's next, "Don't come to work with make-up, or short dresses, you Hussy." ??

      So, very good. The Supreme Court has said women are second class citizens.

      Nothing new from them.

      Citizens United made us ALL second class citizens.

      Nice SC Picks, George. Another legacy of your BS.

      5 to 4.....as all decisions are, huh?

    • Pragmatic Politic profile image
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      Pragmatic Politic 3 years ago from United States

      "While no employer must offer coverage, some larger businesses may have to make a payment in 2015 or 2016.

      The payment is called the Employer Shared Responsibility Payment and applies to employers of different sizes at different times"

      Right off the "Obamacare" website.

      "the Supreme Court merely upheld the First Amendment's guarantee to freedom of religion."

      No, it didn't. It stomped all over their employees right to freedom of religion and to not be oppressed by religious laws that would appear to favor one religion over another, which the SCOTUS just did.

    • profile image

      SassySue1963 3 years ago

      No, Hobby Lobby does not have that choice. Obamacare mandates they provide insurance.

      With this ruling the Supreme Court merely upheld the First Amendment's guarantee to freedom of religion. They are not forcing their religion on anyone. Period. They don't have to work there, they aren't forced to pray, they aren't forced to attend services, they aren't forced to preach or study scripture. THAT is forcing your beliefs on someone. You know, like forcing people to pay for abortions when it is against their religious beliefs.

    • Pragmatic Politic profile image
      Author

      Pragmatic Politic 3 years ago from United States

      "No one is taking away the rights of their employees - they do not have to work there do they? "

      A citizen of this country has the right to not be oppressed by the religion of another through our government. Well, at least that was the case until today. Today our government said it is okay for corporations to force their religious preferences on their employees. Period.

      If Hobby Lobby wants the tax break they get from paying for health insurance, they should have to follow the law. They also have a choice... not get the tax break and pay their employees what they would normally pay the insurance companies.

    • profile image

      SassySue1963 3 years ago

      It is true that Hobby Lobby is a corporation in the sense that it is a business that is

      incorporated. It is not a corporation as in big business. If you read the decision it said where at least 50% of the company is owned by fewer than 5 persons (or a family) and has an ESTABLISHED religious base. (not exact words but what it said in a nutshell).

      No, Wal-Mart cannot file tomorrow to stop funding for these things.

      No one is taking away the rights of their employees - they do not have to work there do they? It is not like their religious affiliations are or were any secret.

      In essence, this ruling protects the rights of indviduals. Are you saying that no religious person should be allowed to own a business unless they are willing to abandon their personal beliefs? It only states that owning a business does not mean you forfeit your INDIVIDUAL rights.

    • Pragmatic Politic profile image
      Author

      Pragmatic Politic 3 years ago from United States

      And in the process have taken away the religious rights of all their employees. A corporation has no religion and therefore should have no religious conscience to be offended.

      If you don't want the government in the examination room with you, why on God's green Earth would you want your employer in there with you?

    • profile image

      retief2000 3 years ago

      NO! The Supreme Court said that the government does not have the right to force an employer to pay for that which is counter to his conscience. It is a bald faced lie told by lefties that Hobby Lobby opposed paying for contraception. They opposed paying for abortions and abortofacients. Wipe off you lenses, you have something brown on them.