In the last blog entry, I talked about a Supreme Court decision and gave them the benefit of the doubt. It was a unanimous decision after all and needed the extra attention to find the thread of logic that united the nine disparate judges in their decision to declare the Massachusetts statute unconstitutional. The thread was there and the decision was based on the importance of one of our basic liberties—our freedom of speech. There is no excuse for the June 30th decision to allow the religious convictions of an employer to override the life choices and freedoms of their employees! NO EXCUSE!
In a recent Tucson Weekly article reactions from Ron Barber and Martha McSally are compared. Congressman Barber’s reaction is short and to the point—the decision allows the corporations to trample the rights of its employees. Yes! It doesn’t matter how “sincerely held” a boss’s beliefs are, they don’t have the right to make health decisions for their employees. Republican Martha McSally’s read on the same decision agrees with the court majority (the five male Catholics). Apparently, only SHE has the ability to read and interpret the opinions properly. According to her, she “…actually took the time to read the opinion and my statement here is based on the facts…” I wonder if she took the time to read the dissenting opinion by Justice Ginsburg. It is included in the 95 page .PDF file (on page 60). If you don’t want to read the entire document there are those that have distilled down some of the best passages. Mother Jones produced The 8 Best Lines From Ginsburg’s Dissent on the Hobby Lobby Contraception Decision. Justice Ginsburg points out how the decision to employ contraceptives is not ultimately made by the employer. It is the woman with the help of the woman’s doctor. The employer has no part of the decision even if it is covered in the company’s health care benefits. She also discusses the “mine field” that the Court has willingly stepped into. We won’t have to wait long to see related cases line up for their own particular “religious exemption.” According to the linked article, it only took one day!
Of course, the decision wasn’t decided on constitutional grounds. It was decided based on the requirements of the 1993 RFRA (Religious Freedom Restoration Act). At the heart of this bad decision is the idea that a corporation is defined as a person. It seems there is confusion in the Court about the definition of personhood. The camel got its nose under the tent when the Court decided to apply RFRA to non-profits and allow them to “practice religion” like a person. But even IF you allow that a corporation is a person, the argument that this new type of person gets to tell others how to live their life is a bad one. Also, no matter how “sincerely” you hold your belief, your religious convictions don’t get to trump science and the four contraceptives addressed in this case do not cause abortion no matter how “sincerely” the owners of a craft store believe that they do. That’s just science.
There is so much wrong in this decision I can’t cover it all. Follow some of the links provided for more information on the various arguments. A Supreme Court decision is pretty final and there is no higher appeal but there are still things that can be done. Therefore we should support every effort and every candidate that attempts to abolish RFRA and not support those candidates, like Martha McSally, who support bad Court decisions. Also, when voting consider that Supreme Court candidates are nominated by the President and confirmed by the Senate. Past Court decisions made corporations people that can have religious beliefs. This latest decision allows those corporations to dictate our choices in our health decisions. This must stop.
One last thought. Since in the eyes of the Hobby Lobby owners life and personhood begins at conception, shouldn’t they be paying their pregnant employees double time? After all, they now represent two people and they’re both at work.