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Medicine United States Politics

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

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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  • I'm ok with this (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 30, 2014 @08:14PM (#47355327)

    Are condoms covered by insurance? Nope!

    Equal protection folks; this is more than just women's rights. When male contraception is mandated to be fully covered by insurance with no cost share then I'm ok with female contraception covered too.

  • 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 []. 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.

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

  • 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?

  • by mattack2 ( 1165421 ) on Monday June 30, 2014 @08:22PM (#47355385)

    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 TheDarkDaimon ( 3022989 ) on Monday June 30, 2014 @08:43PM (#47355555)
    Does this mean that a Jehovah's Witness run company can deny coverage of blood transfusions because it is against their religion? Something to think about.
  • Re:Not the same. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Shakrai ( 717556 ) on Monday June 30, 2014 @08:48PM (#47355605) Journal

    Getting hormonal birth control from a doctor other than your regular doctor means that those two doctors have to both have access to your medical records or both consult on any issues you might have

    Isn't that the whole point of the push for EMRs? And what stops her from seeing the regular doc then getting the script filled at a clinic? Or just paying the $10/mo for it? My insurance company isn't giving me free condoms, and I don't have any get out of jail free cards made available to me if my birth control fails.

    Condom breaks and the woman doesn't want a kid with the guy? She can take the morning after pill, get an abortion, or give the child up for adoption. Man doesn't want a child with this woman? Too bad asshole, we're going to confiscate 15% to 25% of your post-FICA earnings for the next 18 years, and there's not a damn thing you can do about it, even if she broke the condom in the first place or lied about being on pills.

  • Re:A win for freedom (Score:4, Interesting)

    by worldthinker ( 536300 ) on Monday June 30, 2014 @08:50PM (#47355625)

    earned benefits are the property of the employee. There were already mechanisms in the ACA that would have shielded an employer from "paying" for abortion. But an employer has no more right to say how an employee uses a benefit as they do their earned money. This decision will not stand the test of time. It will fall in a like manner that the Bowers v. Hardwick case was revisited and overturned decades later with the majority opinion admitting the SCOTUS had been "wrong".

  • 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....

  • Re:A win for freedom (Score:5, Interesting)

    by I'm New Around Here ( 1154723 ) on Monday June 30, 2014 @09:19PM (#47355879)

    Corporations have ONE religion, and that is to make as much money as possible.

    Except many of them don't, of their own choice. They put their profits into humanitarian endeavors. Especially corporations such as the one that owns Hobby Lobby., where the owners' religious beliefs preclude a lavish lifestyle.

    They are under common law obligations to screw over people to do so.

    This has been stated on this board repeatedly, and it is completely incorrect. The person who explained the court case to you was either lying to you, functionally illiterate and unable to make sense of a court paper, or simply parroting lies that had been said to them earlier. Please read Dodge v Ford Motor Company, and stop parroting this lie to others.

    Tto say they have religious convictions is absurdity at its finest.

    You obviously have to clue what is actually the case here, with this corporation. As a non-religious person myself, I find it unfortunate that your own feelings about religion override your sensibilities.

    Watch the abuse begin. It's the latest slip down the slippery slope started in 1800s when the absurd idea of "Corporate Personhood" started.

    Watch the abuse that tries to begin get slapped down instantly, since this ruling stated it is only covering this one particular aspect of the Affordable Care Act's insurance mandate.

  • by fyngyrz ( 762201 ) on Monday June 30, 2014 @09:27PM (#47355943) Homepage Journal

    Is a baby chicken a baby chicken when the fertilized egg/sperm combo has divided into 16 cells, none of which have differentiated, none of which are nerves, spine, brain, eye, etc.?

    The answer to that -- obviously, unless you're utterly bewildered or completely ignorant of the process itself -- is no. It's not philosophical; it's fact-based science. A potato is more sophisticated. Its cells even have more chromosomes than humans do.

    The line is blurry, all right, but it isn't blurry at conception (that's not a person OR a chicken) and it isn't blurry anywhere near term (that IS a person or a chicken.) The blurry part, that's the real problem, because the determination needs to be based on something rational and functionally able to ensure we do not do unintended harm or harm in ignorance. Religious hucksterism aside, there are readily determinable progressions in the process that cross various well defined lines.

    Personally, I view it this way: If the organism doesn't have a differentiated nervous system, at best, it is directly comparable in its current state to plant life. As soon as it does, however, you've got animal life, and now we've crossed a line where the well-being of something that can feel is at stake.

    The entire argument is muddied by the concept of potential; I agree potential is there, but it was also there for every sperm that missed the mark and every egg that remained unfertilized.

    So -- were I able to make it so, which is not only not the case but laughably far from the case -- I'd draw the line for abortion that is not directly amelioration for serious health risk to the mother, or a consequence of known problems with the growing organism (no brain, etc.) right where the nervous system begins to develop such that there are actual nerves present.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 30, 2014 @09:32PM (#47355989)

    Sorry, but a corporation is not "just" a group of people.

    If a group of people breach a contract, you can sue them and they will have to pay you back from their own assets. If a corporation breaches a contract, you can only touch corporate assets.

    If a group of people dump toxins into the environment, they can be personally fined and put in jail. If a corporation dumps toxins into the environment, the corporation pays a fine and the people who initiated the dumping don't get touched.

    If a group of people destroy the economy through fraud, they can be fined and put in jail. If a corporation destroys the economy through fraud, it gets a slap on the wrist from the SEC.

    The law treats corporations differently from "groups of people" in many respects. One of those respects should be their rights. The underlying people have the same rights as before, but the corporation -- as its own entity -- need not have all the same rights as those people.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 30, 2014 @09:45PM (#47356087)

    Chick-fil-A is run by Southern Baptists, and they gave money to speak out against what they considered to be immoral. I'm a gay man. I give to groups promoting atheism because I consider Christianity to be immoral. Are you going to persecute me as well in the name of tolerance? In your twisted world, who exactly is allowed to speak out on political and social matters?

  • Re:A win for freedom (Score:1, Interesting)

    by DogSqueeze ( 3592869 ) on Monday June 30, 2014 @09:54PM (#47356151)
    That's true... and you're free not be employed by that business. I certainly wouldn't work for someone that denied me blood transfusions as part of basic medical insurance. They're at a disadavantage, not me.
  • by nitehawk214 ( 222219 ) on Tuesday July 01, 2014 @12:47AM (#47357255)

    Right, only Christian beliefs are protected in 'merica.

    If this had been a Muslim or Jewish or any other religion owned company... you can bet your ass the Supreme Court would have ruled against them.

  • Re:A win for freedom (Score:4, Interesting)

    by dywolf ( 2673597 ) on Tuesday July 01, 2014 @08:16AM (#47358849)

    Ignorance of the rankest degree.

    1) They aren't free.
    The law simply requires that any plan offered by a company must meet some set of minimum coverage. Among that was a requirement that all preventative healthcare must have zero cost sharing or copays. IE, paid for entirely by premiums, no out of pocket cost when you go to get them done. Why? Because preventitive care and tests are a helluva lot cheaper than the alternatives. And that included basic contraception.

    2) They never paid for it in the first place.
    You, the employee did, via your premiums.

    But, you say, "the employer kicks in funds" .... yes, funds that you earned by your work and accepted in lieu of additional wages. It's a basic economic truth that those funds the employer kicks are YOURS not the employer's. The are two reason for the employer to engage in this behaviour: 1) Tax breaks (which the ACA further enhanced) to incentivize it, and 2) the employer, essentially buying insurance in bulk can get a better price as compared to if every employee bought insurance individually.

    3) This decision is exceptionally broad. It breaks the corporate viel rendering it meaningless. They say it's limited to JUST contraceptives (and thus, religious ideas agaisnt vaccines and bloodtransfusions are in theory not allowed, and thus THOSE mandatory coverages must still occur)...but that's actually quite doubtful. This is the first step down the road of "Bob, I didn't see you at morning prayers. I really need to be there on time."

    This is not a step towards freedom and if you believe that, you're an idiot.

  • The way I see it, the intent is this: the people who own the corporation do not wish to have the resources of that corporation...which they themselves own and govern...used for purposes that conflict with their moral views.

    The way to prevent their resources being used for things they disagree with is to lobby for political change, just like any other individual. I can't arbitrarily decide not to pay some of my taxes because I don't like some aspect of what the government does. I can't pay someone less than minimum wage because I dislike what they spend their money on and wish to discourage it.

    The deal is that you get to benefit from a highly educated, safe and prosperous society where you can make lots of money, in exchange for playing by society's rules. It's a democracy so you have some say over those rules, but you have to abide by them.

    So if society thinks employees should get basic healthcare insurance that includes this form of contraception every corporation should be obliged to provide it, while being free to advocate changing the requirement.

"I'm not afraid of dying, I just don't want to be there when it happens." -- Woody Allen