Yesterday, the Supreme Court released its final two opinions for the term. One case, Burwell v. Hobby Lobby, has generated a good deal of press coverage and reactions from the public.
The Court sided with Hobby Lobby in a 5-4 decision.
Some of the reaction: “an all out assault on access to contraception and to other reproductive health services” (Irin Carmon of MSNBC); “today is a sad day and a defeat for women, for healthcare, for freedom, and for religious liberty in this country” (Ilyse Hogue of NARAL Pro-Choice America); “the anti-choice movement wants to limit not just affordable access but all access to abortion and birth control” (Sandra Fluke, a social justice attorney).
These comments are not consistent with the facts.
The case is simply about the right of a “closely held” for-profit corporation to have a policy of not paying for any procedure that they feel ends human life. What “closely held” means may be the subject of a future case.
Regulations under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) requires employer health plans to provide coverage for preventive and screenings for women without any cost sharing requirements, which include 20 contraceptive methods approved by the FDA, including four that have the effect of preventing a fertilized egg from attaching to the uterus.
Hobby Lobby, a privately owned corporation, provides healthcare policies to its employees that cover 16 of the 20 contraceptive methods. Due to the Christian beliefs of the owners, Hobby Lobby would not provide coverage for the four methods that have the effect of preventing a fertilized egg from attaching to the uterus, which they feel is the equivalent to an abortion. It bears repeating: Hobby Lobby covers 16 of the 20 contraceptive methods. This case is not about Hobby Lobby not providing coverage for contraception.
You would never know that from the some of the public reaction.
Why the Left is complaining about the loss of access to contraception is quite strange. No one is taking away anyone’s birth control. It is a lie to state otherwise. The defendant in this case pays for many forms of contraception. The owners of Hobby Lobby have sincere religious beliefs. Forcing the owners to violate their beliefs to pay for something they find objectionable is selfishness.
What’s striking is that this was a 5-4 decision. The fact that there are four justices who would vote to have owners of corporations violate their religious belief is incredible. This is why presidential elections matter. We cannot afford a fifth liberal vote on the Supreme Court. One more reaction: “Which means that the…corporation employers can impose their religious beliefs on the employees.” (Hillary Clinton, one-time and possible future candidate for president). As stated earlier, presidential elections matter. No more liberal justices means no more liberal presidents.