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U.S. Supreme Court Upholds Religious Objections To Contraception 1330

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the should-have-gone-with-commie-care dept.
An anonymous reader writes In a legislative first, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled on Monday that for-profit companies can, in essence, hold religious views. Given the Supreme Court's earlier decisions granting corporations the right to express political support through monetary donations, this ruling is not all that surprising. Its scope does not extend beyond family-owned companies where "there's no real difference between the business and its owners." It also only applies to the contraception mandate of the health care law. The justices indicated that contraceptive coverage can still be obtained through exceptions to the mandate that have already been introduced to accommodate religious nonprofits. Those exceptions, which authorize insurance companies to provide the coverage instead of the employers, are currently being challenged in lower courts. The "closely held" test is pretty meaningless, since the majority of U.S. corporations are closely held.
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U.S. Supreme Court Upholds Religious Objections To Contraception

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  • by mattack2 (1165421) on Monday June 30, 2014 @08:05PM (#47355231)

    So I hope that a business can refuse to pay for it even without having to pretend to believe in an invisible man in the sky..

    If not, I hope one of them sues, because the government is then preferring one religion over another.

    (I think this, and many other things, should be paid for by the person themselves...)

    • by alen (225700) on Monday June 30, 2014 @08:11PM (#47355275)

      you should learn to read
      SCOTUS specifically said it has to be a closely knit ownership structure with a history of religious beliefs against abortion

      just like aereo, this is a narrow ruling

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by mattack2 (1165421)

        OK, then why can't I be a "closely knit ownership structure" (I did already hear that part today, btw) in the "Church of Money", and my church believes I shouldn't have to pay for things people can pay for themselves?

    • by Shakrai (717556) on Monday June 30, 2014 @08:16PM (#47355335) Journal

      (I think this, and many other things, should be paid for by the person themselves...)

      That's kind of the crux of the matter, isn't it? A month of generic birth control pills costs about $10/mo [reproductiveaccess.org]. Purchased in bulk, condoms are about $0.50/ea [amazon.com]. Both are readily available at no cost from a variety of sources for those who can't afford them. Setting aside the heated political debate, it seems foolish to route these sorts of purchases through your insurance company, with inevitable overhead, rather than simply purchasing them yourself.

      Of course, low information voters on both sides eat this shit up. It's red meat for the bases of both political parties.

      • by compro01 (777531) on Monday June 30, 2014 @09:29PM (#47355963)

        That's kind of the crux of the matter, isn't it? A month of generic birth control pills costs about $10/mo. Purchased in bulk, condoms are about $0.50/ea. Both are readily available at no cost from a variety of sources for those who can't afford them. Setting aside the heated political debate, it seems foolish to route these sorts of purchases through your insurance company, with inevitable overhead, rather than simply purchasing them yourself.

        Great! The people least able to afford a pregnancy can only get the least-effective forms of birth control! Awesome! That's definitely not a bad idea.

        Or we can offer them any method they want, including far more effective and foolproof ones (IUD, implant, etc.), all at the same cost, which is what the mandate is about.

    • by radarskiy (2874255) on Monday June 30, 2014 @10:20PM (#47356333)

      "should be paid for by the person themselves"

      An employee's compensation comes in the form of direct wages and benefits that include medical insurance. One way or another the employer is paying for it.

      Does the employer have a say in how the employee spends their direct wages? If not why is come compensation privileged and some not?

      Does the employee receive some other compensation to make up for the reduced medical insurance coverage? If not why should some employers be entitled to compensate their employees less on the basis of religious beliefs?

      • by hsthompson69 (1674722) on Tuesday July 01, 2014 @12:20AM (#47357113)

        Medical insurance provided as compensation was essentially a dodge against wage controls - so yeah, ideally, we'd end the practice of employer-based insurance, and let people buy on the open market, or pay fee for service. COBRA portability was an attempt to deal with the problem, but the *real* issue is that employers shouldn't be in the business of providing insurance.

    • by Vellmont (569020)

      ?

      If you claimed to have a religious belief that you shouldn't pay for certain types of healthcare, you would be by definition, not an atheist.

      As far as your odd plan to create a religion based on this belief... well go right ahead, but be prepared to act like a religion. Courts aren't stupid, and they aren't going to let you make up your sham religion for the sole purpose of evading the law. It's an old con, and the court system is wise to it.

  • by geekoid (135745) <dadinportland @ y a hoo.com> on Monday June 30, 2014 @08:09PM (#47355255) Homepage Journal

    put their religion before the constitution. Shocking.

    Religious fuckers are destroying this country.

    • by stoploss (2842505) on Monday June 30, 2014 @08:24PM (#47355407)

      put their religion before the constitution. Shocking.

      Religious fuckers are destroying this country.

      Meh. You are complaining about the symptom rather than the cause.

      While I am not religious, I do respect the rights of religious people. It is unconscionable for them to be forced to provide benefits that are in opposition to their morals. However, I am in favor of ubiquitously available contraception (for everyone, not just women, I'm egalitarian that way...).

      The real issue stems from the retarded decision back in the high income tax bracket era of the early 20th century that led to the IRS allowing health insurance premiums to be tax-deductible from payroll. That fucking brain damaged decision led to our current clusterfuck of employer-provided health care.

      Fix the underlying cause, and this problem becomes a non-issue. I prefer the UK's approach, with public & private healthcare systems. Besides, do you really want to undermine the First Amendment simply to try to hack on yet another kludge for the collapsing employer-provided approach to health care in this country?

      You can probably go a long way toward convincing the conservatives by pointing out that a large portion of our population is already on socialized healthcare programs that won't ever go away (Medicare, Medicaid, TriCare, the VA, all governmental employees, et al) unless we replace them with universal healthcare, and that countries with socialized health care pay *less* in health care costs/taxes than we do for our "free market" (but not really) solution.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Shakrai (717556)

        However, I am in favor of ubiquitously available contraception (for everyone, not just women, I'm egalitarian that way...).

        We had it before the ACA's mandate. 85% of group health plans provided it. Non-profits in all 50 States and many local governments make it available to those who can't afford it. The cost is not prohibitive even for those without insurance who don't wish to avail themselves of the aforementioned options.

        The mandate was a solution looking for a problem, or if I'm more cynical, it was an effort to throw red meat at the base and distract them from the shitty economy. "Sure, we can't get you a job, but don

        • by compro01 (777531) on Monday June 30, 2014 @09:03PM (#47355745)

          We had it before the ACA's mandate. 85% of group health plans provided it. Non-profits in all 50 States and many local governments make it available to those who can't afford it. The cost is not prohibitive even for those without insurance who don't wish to avail themselves of the aforementioned options.

          You're assuming all birth control methods are created equal. They aren't.

          The pill is a comparatively poor method in terms of success rate (roughly 9%/year failure rate and needs to be taken religiously every day) compared to more recent methods, such as IUDs (0.2-0.8% failure rate, depending on type. Basically foolproof as they're insert-and-forget for 3+ years) and implants (0.05% (this is actually better than the success rate for tubal ligation), insert-and-forget for 4 years).

          The mandate expanded the state of things from "Oh, you're poor, so you get the failure-prone pill because it's cheap" to "Take your pick of any method, they're all covered", which is a good thing. Saddling people who can least afford a child with the most failure-prone method for preventing that is a recipe for disaster.

          • by Entrope (68843)

            The only way you get a 9% per annum failure rate for oral contraceptives is if you don't take them. If taken correctly, they are more than 99% effective over a year. (Don't believe me? Ask these people [plannedparenthood.org].)

            But hey, if laws are okay just because they make good policy, let us continue. A well-regulated Militia, being essential to the security of a free State, every adult citizen should be required to buy a pistol, a long gun, and keep in practice with both; if they do not pass an annual marksmanship test, th

      • by CrimsonAvenger (580665) on Monday June 30, 2014 @08:50PM (#47355627)

        The real issue stems from the retarded decision back in the high income tax bracket era of the early 20th century that led to the IRS allowing health insurance premiums to be tax-deductible from payroll. That fucking brain damaged decision led to our current clusterfuck of employer-provided health care.

        Note that this was a side-effect of WW2.

        During WW2, Wage and Price controls were put into effect for many industries.

        Which left companies unable to attract talent by paying them more. So, some bright boy figured that he could offer free health insurance as a perk of the job (instead of higher pay).

        By the time the dust of WW2 had settled, the current system of employer-provided health insurance was firmly established. Leading us inevitably to today....

      • by bidule (173941)

        While I am not religious, I do respect the rights of religious people. It is unconscionable for them to be forced to provide benefits that are in opposition to their morals. However, I am in favor of ubiquitously available contraception (for everyone, not just women, I'm egalitarian that way...).

        I don't know. They are forced to pay for many things through taxes, which includes blood transfusion and the like.

        If we define a minimum set of benefits for all citizens, noone should have the right to forbid them. It's not the corporation's right to decide how its employees will behave, it's the employee's right to decide not to use those benefits because it goes against the employee's religion.

        Should an atheist be penalized because he works for a religious corporation?

    • by phantomfive (622387) on Monday June 30, 2014 @09:31PM (#47355973) Journal

      put their religion before the constitution. Shocking.

      At least read a summary of the decision before opening your mouth and letting people know you didn't read.

      This was NOT a constitutional decision, it has nothing to do with the constitution on either side. The constitutional issue was already decided in the 1990 case of Employment Division v. Smith, in which is was decided that yes, the government can make laws that contradict religions.

      In response to that, congress passed the RFRA [wikipedia.org] (which Clinton endorsed, incidentally). The law says that if there is a reasonable way to avoid impinging on someone else's religion, the government should do so. In this case, the court found that there are reasonable ways to avoid forcing people to do what they don't want (for example, the government could offer free contraception, or they could do with corporations what they've already done with non-profits).

      In short, it wasn't a constitutional issue at all. It was a reconciliation between two laws that were passed by congress. If congress wants to change the law, they are free to do so.

  • Thou shalt not kill (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 30, 2014 @08:16PM (#47355337)

    My religion says that killing is wrong. Can I refuse to pay the percentage of taxes which goes to the military?

  • Bad media coverage (Score:5, Insightful)

    by nurb432 (527695) on Monday June 30, 2014 @08:18PM (#47355353) Homepage Journal

    To start with Hobby lobby was NOT against contraceptives, and offered it to their employees. They were against 'after the fact' options. Like "plan B".

    Avoiding the truth was a plan to harass and go after them using media bias, much like Chick-fil-A was attacked.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      Chick-fil-A were attacked because they were openly bigoted.

      • by Lord Kano (13027) on Monday June 30, 2014 @08:42PM (#47355549) Homepage Journal

        Chick-fil-A were attacked because they were openly bigoted.

        Were there any documented cases of Chic-Fil-A refusing to serve someone because they were gay? Refusing to hire someone because they were gay? Attacking someone because they were gay?

        LK

        • by Trailer Trash (60756) on Monday June 30, 2014 @10:36PM (#47356489) Homepage

          Chick-fil-A were attacked because they were openly bigoted.

          Were there any documented cases of Chic-Fil-A refusing to serve someone because they were gay? Refusing to hire someone because they were gay? Attacking someone because they were gay?

          LK

          Since the guy you're actually asking seems to be uninterested in answering, I'll answer for you.

          The answers are "no", "no", and "no".

          What happened was that the president of Chik-Fil-A, Dan Cathy, expressed an opinion on same-sex marriage that was exactly what Barack Obama had expressed just a couple of years earlier and that HIllary Clinton had also expressed. Oddly, only one of these three people were harassed for their opinion.

          Oddly, it happens to be the one of the three with the least power to effect any change in regard to the subject matter at hand. But, he doesn't claim to be a "Democrat", which is an allegiance which absolves one from all responsibility and repercussions from their opinions.

          • by Yosho (135835) on Tuesday July 01, 2014 @01:07AM (#47357367) Homepage

            What happened was that the president of Chik-Fil-A, Dan Cathy, expressed an opinion on same-sex marriage that was exactly what Barack Obama had expressed just a couple of years earlier and that HIllary Clinton had also expressed. Oddly, only one of these three people were harassed for their opinion.

            Wow, like leaving out details much?

            Just for reference, the problem isn't that Dan Cathy expressed an unpopular opinion. The problem is that Chik-fil-A's "charity" organization, the WinShape Foundation, has donated millions of dollars to anti-LGBT hate groups. Did Barack or Hillary do that?

    • Everyone uses the slippery slope argument in politics and the media... Even on /.

      IMO, this whole fuss on Plan B is kind of a crock. It costs about $50 at a drug store (you can get it over the counter and buy it with a downloadable $10-off coupon) with a $35 generic available. Comparatively, a birth control pill runs anywhere from $10-$100 (but mostly commonly hovers around $20 and mail order saves you about $5) and generally requires a prescription to be covered in a health plan (because they will make yo

  • WTF rich people? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Lumpy (12016) on Monday June 30, 2014 @08:23PM (#47355391) Homepage

    You bitch about paying for welfare kids, and you bitch about women not wanting kids to abort them. PICK ONE AND STFU!

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 30, 2014 @08:26PM (#47355415)

    Healthcare is a form of compensation, just like your wages, your employer can not tell you how to spend your wages, why can they tell me what healthcare services I can utilize? Also, companies don't "pay" for healthcare like its some sort of charity they generously give to there subjects, employees pay for it themselves by providing work for the company!

  • by dbIII (701233) on Monday June 30, 2014 @08:34PM (#47355487)
    What if I object to funding the health care of people who smoke, drink or don't belong to whatever small sect of a Church I belong to? That's going to create a budget hole plus an expensive tangle of red tape once that sort of "freedom" gets going.

    If people want a government run on religious lines instead of for everyone there's one setting up in the middle of Iraq and Syria about now.
  • by the eric conspiracy (20178) on Monday June 30, 2014 @08:50PM (#47355621)

    Coupling the two has always been a cluster fuck. This is just one more reason to abolish this particular linkage.

  • by nimbius (983462) on Monday June 30, 2014 @09:05PM (#47355755) Homepage

    on the one hand it means religions, er, corporations, can discriminate against everything from blood transfusions to births without circumcision, but...it also means the opinion shreds whatâ(TM)s known as the corporate veil (the principle that establishes a corporation as a distinct entity from its owners or shareholders). This would mess with a lot of businesses and how they do business.

    Hobby Lobby 'also for all its piousness' has a retirement plan that invests very heavily in the manufacturers of the forms of contraception it claims to abhor so much. make of that what you will.

    • on the one hand it means religions, er, corporations, can discriminate against everything from blood transfusions to births without circumcision,

      No it doesn't......the court decision is fairly clear why this reducto ad absurdum would be ruled out under the law.

      it also means the opinion shreds whatâ(TM)s known as the corporate veil (the principle that establishes a corporation as a distinct entity from its owners or shareholders).

      No it doesn't, as much as you'd like it to. There are plenty of cases where the 'corporate veil' provides no protection.....for example, a corporation can't protect a murderer, and after SOX, it can't protect against many types of financial malfeasance either. If you're a CEO, you still can go to jail.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 30, 2014 @09:07PM (#47355779)

    As a follower of THOR, the God of Thunder, I have been forced to operate my business in a manner which directly contradicts my faith. Government mandated building codes have forced me to maintain so-called safe electrical wiring so that my employees don't get electrocuted. I sincerely believe that this is merely a way for the faithless cowards to avoid Thor's judgment. You see, if you die of electrocution, it means that you have offended the Thunderer and have been righteously smitten by his divine will.

    Thor asks little of us, save that we provide an offering of mead to him at each meal. Yet most of my foolish employees would deny him even this small request. That I'm forced to provide buildings which shield these wicked individuals with safe, modern, electrical wiring is a troubling incursion upon my religious freedoms as a business owner. I feared that if I continued to follow the Government's secular laws, that I would be denied access to Valhalla.

    Thanks to the Supreme Court's wise decision today, Obama and all of the witless cretins in my employ shall soon feel the wrath of Thor's mighty hammer, Mjolnir!

    Praise be to Thor!

  • by skywire (469351) on Monday June 30, 2014 @09:12PM (#47355827)

    Those exceptions, which authorize insurance companies to provide the coverage instead of the employers

    If ever there were a case of smoke-and-mirrors, this is it. Saying that the insurer, not the company paying for the policy, is (wink, wink) paying for a benefit offered to the insured under the policy, a benefit the insurer does not simply give away to all comers, is transparently absurd. Whatever you may think about forcing companies to pay for policies that cover particular things, at least be honest about it.

  • 28th Amendment (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bl968 (190792) on Monday June 30, 2014 @09:44PM (#47356079) Journal

    We need a 28th Amendment to the Constitution - All rights specified in the Constitution of the United States and all Amendments thereto shall apply to Natural Persons only.

    We can call it the Commonsense clause.

We don't know one millionth of one percent about anything.

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