Archive | Health Care RSS feed for this section

Hobby Lobby & The New Age of Slut-Shaming

3 Jul

Here are the wrong opinions I’ve seen in the earlier Hobby Lobby thread, rebutted. 

“Freebies”

No one is getting anything for free. Hobby Lobby offered employer-based health insurance coverage through private health insurance companies. The employees were free to choose to purchase that coverage. In the end, it was the employee – not Hobby Lobby – who was the contracting party and policyholder.  Hobby Lobby won the right to interfere with a private, legal contract between two contracting parties, neither of whom was Hobby Lobby.  By paying her health insurance premium, the employee received coverage for which she contracted, and this included coverage for certain contraceptives that require a physician’s prescription.  So, on top of the contraceptives not being free, but bought pursuant to a paid-for health insurance contract, this is Hobby Lobby interfering with the doctor-patient relationship.  

“Religious Freedom”

This case was about the extension of a legal fiction – corporate personhood – into human personhood. All of a sudden, corporate entities can have “faith” – something that is impossible, because a corporation doesn’t physically exist. Hobby Lobby’s founders are free to exercise their religion however they want. They are free to reject the contraceptives they find objectionable. They’re even free to use no contraceptives at all. No one infringed on that in any way, shape, or form. But by choosing to participate in the non-faith-based for-profit marketplace, Hobby Lobby should be treated as any other corporate entity. If Hobby Lobby wants to be a church and enjoy the exemptions from laws of general application that offend its founders, then it should have done so. The slope here is ridiculously slippery. 

“1st Amendment” or “Constitution”

This was not a constitutional case. It interpreted a federal regulation as being violative of a 1993 federal statute, which was passed to protect American Indians and their exercise of religion. From the opening of the majority opinion: 

We must decide in these cases whether the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 (RFRA), 107 Stat. 1488 , 42 U.S.C. §2000bb et seq., permits the United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to demand that three closely held corporations provide health-insurance coverage for methods of contraception that violate the sincerely held religious beliefs of the companies’ owners.

and

Our decision on that statutory [RFRA] question makes it unnecessary to reach the First Amendment claim.” The decision is not based on the First Amendment.

and

Any First Amendment Free Exercise Clause claim Hobby Lobby or Conestoga might assert is foreclosed by this Court’s decision in Employment Div., Dept. of Human Resources of Ore. v. Smith, 494 U. S. 872 (1990).

So, no. This was not a Constitutional case, and nothing was declared unconstitutional. 

“They can buy it themselves”

Yes, they could, but they bought health insurance so that it would be covered.  Health insurance policies cost money, and they routinely cover these drugs and devices. Hobby Lobby subsidizes the premium, but it is not a contracting party. As such, it should have no say over what drugs are prescribed and covered, just like it should have no say over which doctor an employee can see, or what diseases the Bible supposedly says are real or not. The women who work for Hobby Lobby are now treated differently from other women working for other corporate entities, and their options for health insurance prescription coverage are more limited than the policies dictate. Hobby Lobby has now opened the door to businesses micromanaging the terms of other people’s contracts for them, when Hobby Lobby is not a party to the contract. 

“These drugs are objectionable; cause abortions”

No, they’re not. Now, we’re not only legally acknowledging that a legal entity can hold “faith”, but we are buying into that company’s false pseudoscience. The drugs and devices to which Hobby Lobby objected – some IUDs and the morning after / week after pills – are not abortifacients. You might believe they are, but they scientifically are not. The Supreme Court did not only rule that Hobby Lobby’s alleged “faith” overrules federal law, but also succumbed to a faith-based opinion that is rebutted by objective fact. If Hobby Lobby sincerely believes that, e.g., SSRIs are forged by Satan in the hellfire, presumably the SCOTUS would just take that without argument and allow Hobby Lobby to interfere with their employees’ health insurance contracts and forbid them from being covered under the prescription coverage provisions of the policies. Sorry, folks! Hobby Lobby’s God wants you to just buck up and live with your anxiety and depression! 

“This is limited to just this one case”. 

Looks like Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was right, and the Courts are now going to be overwhelmed with awful corporate entities suing to not have to provide any contraceptive coverage at all

Business owners who don’t want to pay for their employees’ birth control are ending that coverage after the Supreme Court said they could choose on grounds of religious belief not to comply with part of the health care law. Some owners are already in touch with their brokers in the wake of Monday’s ruling. Triune Health Group Ltd. wants to know how soon it can change its coverage to stop paying for all contraceptives, said Mary Anne Yep, co-owner of the Oak Brook, Ill., company that provides medical management services. “We were ready to go when we heard the decision,” she said. Triune had filed lawsuits against the U.S. government and the state of Illinois because of requirements that they pay for contraception.

So, there you go. Women’s health comes second to a corporate entity’s alleged “faith”. As the American right continues its lurch backwards into what they envision as some pre-Roosevelt golden age, women find their status being relegated to that of a second-class citizens. After all, I don’t see Triune or Hobby Lobby demanding that health insurance contracts for male employees exclude Viagra, which can be used to commit sins. 

Slut-shaming. It’s as American as apple pie, and now endorsed by five males on the Supreme Court of the United States of America. 

Advertisements