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The Left is Freaking Out about the Supreme Court's HobbyLobby Decision, and Needs to Calm Down

Updated on July 1, 2014

The Supreme Court Didn't Just Declare Women Not People

The news coverage has been insane. Do people with working brains actually suspect that women are no longer considered people under the eyes of the law? The whinging and bombast has been predictably devoid of actual close readings of the decision at hand, from the majority opinion that decided the case. The radical notion that when an alternative program is available from the federal government for religious organizations, that program should also be available for privately held, for-profits is apparently too much for some people to wrap around their heads.

Women are still people. Insurance will still be covering contraceptive care. The employers are simply opting-out of paying for it, and making reasonable objections per their faith in a very narrow, specific case where the public good is still upheld through a federally-subsidized program.

So, women aren't going to be buying intrauterine devices out of pocket. Pills can still be administered and paid for with insurance. For the women involved, it will be a seamless process as similar as if their employer actually covered the medicine. All it means is that a federal program designed for non-profits that helps cover those aspects of healthcare will be picking up the tab on the portion of the insurance plan that the employer finds morally objectionable.

Again, Let's Be Very, Very Clear

A better interpretation of the decision, regarding precedent, is as follows. Private, non-profit religious institutions have access to a special federal program to mitigate their organizations moral positions on contentious issues while balancing the public good. Following this Supreme Court decision, privately-held organizations and companies with the same religious and moral position can access the federal programs that non-profits have, in these very specific, special cases.

So, that's it. That's the decision, in a nutshell. It bodes very well for the case coming down the pipe where the federal program that is cited as a solution is being challenged. In fact, it looks like that federal program is very secure in light of this new judgment.

No pitchforks necessary. No revolution in the streets. If anything, the women at HobbyLobby can feel more secure knowing that they are guaranteed coverage from the state when their religions don't line up with the religions of the owners of their own business.

And, nobody has to make an issue out of it. The employer clicks a box somewhere with their insurance agent, and everything happens behind the scenes. There isn't even a need for a storewide, all-hands meeting about it. It just seamlessly happens.


But the dissent was so noisy and everyone quoted it!

The popular memes and images I see, along with all the most shared articles, talk not about the decision, itself, which is the actual law, and is narrowly defined, but about the dissent written by Ruth Bader Ginsburg. In this, she imagines a long string of hypotheticals and fantasies that are not spelled out in the majority, and have nothing to do with the decision, itself. Instead, it frames what is a decision related to the ability of equal access for private and non-profit companies to federal programs into a bombastic, over-the-top yowl about women's rights and women's bodies and nothing to do with the actual case, as it stands.

Again, no one is saying there aren't some women who might need access to these medical devices and pills. They are saying that if a non-profit can ask the federal government to pick up the tab because of religion, that a for-profit can also ask the federal government to pick up the tab for the same reason. It has nothing to do with bosses telling women employees how to live, or what is covered and not covered. This isn't a case or a precedent about women. It is a case about equal access to federal relief for both non-profit and for-profit companies.

Seriously, go read the thing. It's publicly available.

Don't believe me? Why not go read the whole decision, yourself. It's very clear, and paints a very narrow picture of what is actually happening, here.

Here is a link straight to the SCOTUS website!


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    • PDXBuys profile image

      PDXBuys 3 years ago from Oregon

      I wonder how long it will be before the Supreme Court corrects that law.

    • Kathleen Cochran profile image

      Kathleen Cochran 3 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      It may be. Let's not have more of the same.

    • PDXBuys profile image

      PDXBuys 3 years ago from Oregon

      If the law applies equally to equally to everyone then why do only young men have to register with the Selective Service? Isn't than government-endorsed gender bigotry?

    • Kathleen Cochran profile image

      Kathleen Cochran 3 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      I think laws should apply to everyone, just as everyone shoul have the same protections under that law. Exemptions based on your religious beliefs? That's called bigotry just dressed up in Sunday clothes. What have we just spent the last 40 years trying to minimize?

    • PDXBuys profile image

      PDXBuys 3 years ago from Oregon

      Don't forget that the Religious Freedom Restoration Act was passed by Congress (with a near unanimous vote) and signed into law by President Clinton in 1996.

    • profile image

      mbuggieh 3 years ago thought:

      Would you be so supportive of the Supreme Court's recognition of a morals or "conscience clause" if, for example, SCOTUS had ruled that privately held companies owned and operated by gays and lesbians could refuse a particular form of insurance coverage or benefit to heterosexual employees?

      Let's say insurance coverage for birth control of any kind citing that heterosexuality in and of itself as a practice was offensive to the morality and conscience of the owners?

    • cathylynn99 profile image

      cathylynn99 3 years ago from northeastern US

      how to provide female hobby lobby employees with birth control has not been decided. the scenario you describe is one option being considered.

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 3 years ago from Houston, Texas

      From what you just wrote, the law is very clear. More companies will probably use that loophole in the law to save on their expenses if it is allowed. Good to know that women will be covered in any case.

    • Kathleen Cochran profile image

      Kathleen Cochran 3 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      The employers are simply opting-out of paying for it, and making reasonable objections per their faith.

      And that's the problem. Want to be a ministry - be a ministry. Want to be a for profit business - the law should be the same for everybody. What really irritates me is that most Hobby Lobby employees are women working for minimum wage. Just the group who ought to be inflicted upon because of their boss's religion. I hope, on behalf of those people, nobody calms down any time soon.