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U.S. Supreme Court to rule on birth control

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This is why a national health care covering such things and where companies cannot have any influence is necessary.

1 ( +7 / -6 )

Why not? They are major contributors. Does that sound fair? 'I take your money and you have nothing to say about it.' Sounds like robbery. ....Just saying.

0 ( +5 / -5 )

Agreed TumbleDry. When I first heard of the AHA I thought that the requirement for businesses to supply healthcare to their employees was going to be eliminated and instead taxes would be implemented on for-profit organizations to pay towards real national healthcare. Instead we have this mess which could have been totally eliminated if they had taken the above direction.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

'The U.S. Supreme Court will rule Monday on whether an employer can cite religious beliefs as a reason to limit employees’ access to birth control.'

It's pretty sad that this goes on in a developed country in the 21st century. If the court rules against against religious beliefs as an unacceptable reason to limit access to birth control, some of these will drop their snakes in shock.

2 ( +7 / -5 )

I'm all for universal health care, but I'm at a loss as to how birth control fits in there. Leaving aside the idea that your employer should have nothing at all to do with your sex life, the employees still have 16 methods to choose from; that's not enough?

9 ( +10 / -1 )

If the court rules against against religious beliefs as an unacceptable reason to limit access to birth control, some of these will drop their snakes in shock.

Jimizo -- thanks for the laugh. I actually dealt with some Pentacostals recently in a business situation, and was told the pastor did not think our services were necessary -- "The Lord would look over" the employees.

And Cleo:

Leaving aside the idea that your employer should have nothing at all to do with your sex life, the employees still have 16 methods to choose from; that's not enough?

You can't "leave aside the idea that your employer should have nothing at all to do with your sex life", because that is the central part of the argument. IMO, any encroachment by a company in this area is one step too far.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

There are rumours coming out of the Vatican that the Pope will change its stance over birth control and admitting that most catholics don't follow the rule so this would allow the use of condoms and other birth control methods.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

@cleo

I understand the point about alternatives being available but if you take this line of arguement to its logical conclusion, there are preventative non-prescription alternatives to almost every medical condition. ie. In theory, diabetics don't need insulin if they just manage their diet a bit more carefully, migraine sufferers could just go home and sleep whenever they feel a headache coming on. Its really just after weighing the balance of convienience that society has decided that birth control is a valuable thing which should be covered.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

if you take this line of arguement to its logical conclusion, there are preventative non-prescription alternatives to almost every medical condition. ie. In theory, diabetics don't need insulin if they just manage their diet a bit more carefully, migraine sufferers could just go home and sleep whenever they feel a headache coming on. Its really just after weighing the balance of convienience that society has decided that birth control is a valuable thing which should be covered.

Mmm, I don't think so....not all diabetics can get by just by 'managing their diet', and migraine sufferers who are at home sleeping it off are being less than productive at work.

From what I gather, with reference to birth control, the companies are providing the 'valuable thing which should be covered'; they're just not providing all 20 or so choices. To get back to the diabetics analogy, you can have the insulin you need, but maybe not in whatever form you choose (injections OK, pills No? or vice versa). Better still, the migraine sufferers can have the medication they need and go home to sleep it off; but insurance doesn't cover the pillow you put your head on while you're sleeping it off, or the cost of your pjs.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

migraine sufferers could just go home and sleep whenever they feel a headache coming on.

For many with extreme conditions of migraine its much more than a headache. Its intense head pain when medication, sleep, or even being in a dark room do nothing to lessen the intense pain.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

I'm all for universal health care, but I'm at a loss as to how birth control fits in there.

Women who become pregnant have to use healthcare services, either for an abortion if they want the pregnancy terminated, or for all the checkups during pregnancy, for giving birth, and then for themselves and the children after birth. That's quite a heavy expenditure they'd be racking up. I don't see a huge difficulty linking birth control to healthcare. It's more of a mental leap for me to understand why people - employers in this case - should be permitted to use religion as a shield against the aspects of social progress and legislation that they find inconvenient, costly, or distasteful.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

@cleo & zichi

Thanks, I agree with most all of what you have both said. The only thing we are missing is a comment from someone pointing out why the methods of birth control that are in dispute, are in fact completely different from the 16 others and why it is inappropriate to even compare them, just like migraines and sleep.

Of course sleep will not be practical or very effective for many migraine sufferers, just like a condom might not be effective for a woman who's partner doesn't use it properly, or pressures her into not using it etc.

Regarding insulin, I think the most popular forms are covered probably because they are proven to be the most effective? ie, 'insulin pills' would presumably take longer to work than injections? In the same way, I suspect the 4 methods in dispute will be evaluated to see if they are unique or more effective that the 16 other methods, if they are then they should be covered in my opinion.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The only thing we are missing is a comment from someone pointing out why the methods of birth control that are in dispute, are in fact completely different from the 16 others

I'm assuming the religious objection is to the idea that morning-after pills and IUDs don't actually prevent pregnancy, but stop a pregnancy that has started from proceeding?

4 ( +4 / -0 )

I'm sure thats the arguement but the pills are legal and corporations themselves can't hold any religious beliefs even if their founders and CEOs do. I suspect the plaintiff corporations will lose and so they should IMO.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

I'm assuming the religious objection is to the idea that morning-after pills and IUDs don't actually prevent pregnancy, but stop a pregnancy that has started from proceeding?

They prevent a fertilized egg from implanting. Many do not view a non-implanted fertilized egg as a pregnancy (though some do, implying a petri dish could become "pregnant").

Christian Scientists would love for the Supremes to rule against Obama; they have religious objections to most every type of medicine. This would really open a hole in the dike of the ACA, which is why it is so important.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

whether an employer can cite religious beliefs as a reason to limit employees’ access to birth control.

that would encourage men not to use birth control and protection or would be sexist since its only with female employees would they really know if people used birth control. This is a bizarre post?

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Religion has no place in policy making, nor politics as a whole. None whatsoever. The US political system is such a mess.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

If there is going to be an opinion for the chain, it will probably be tailored around whether the company is public or private.

The government cannot force proprietorships or partnerships (and arguably LLCs) to have these requirements because there is no legal distinction between that person and their business; an individual has the full protection of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (passed in 1993 to neutralize Employment Division v. Smith). The RFRA prohibits the government from passing any new law that infringes on these individual rights and ties them to the First Amendment. The argument put forth is that, while the corporation has its own legal personality, because the family involved owns all shares and executive control, they can't instruct the corporation to provide these services without violating there individual religious beliefs, and thus are protected by the RFRA.

There is a loophole. There is no employer mandate for businesses with fewer than 100 employees; the company could restructure the business so that each outlet is its own corporation, and drop all health coverage whatsoever.

Whatever the result, there's to be another battle with religious non-profits, however Hosanna-Tabor v. EEOC already opened an exception to the law that you can pass the Titanic through.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

'Religion has no place in policy making, nor politics as a whole. None whatsoever. The US political system is such a mess'

The Republicans are in the jaws of the religious right and this has made them, in the words of one of their own, 'the stupid party'. The Democrats are also to a lesser extent pandering to their stupidity. Hopefully, the judiciary can keep this idiocy in check.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Interesting argument, Steven. Wikipedia notes:

The law provided an exception if two conditions are both met. First, the burden must be necessary for the “furtherance of a compelling government interest.” Under strict scrutiny, a government interest is compelling when it is more than routine and does more than simply improve government efficiency. A compelling interest relates directly with core constitutional issues.

Sounds like the Supremes could not rule against the government given this; however:

The second condition is that the rule must be the least restrictive way in which to further the government interest.

The Supremes may rule that the existence of certain contraceptive methods make other methods unduly restrictive.

As an aside, Wikipedia also notes:

In the case of Adams v. Commissioner, the United States Tax Court rejected the argument of Priscilla M. Lippincott Adams, who was a devout Quaker. She tried to argue that under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993, she was exempt from federal income taxes. The U.S. Tax Court rejected her argument and ruled that she was not exempt. The Court stated: "...while petitioner's religious beliefs are substantially burdened by payment of taxes that fund military expenditures, the Supreme Court has established that uniform, mandatory participation in the Federal income tax system, irrespective of religious belief, is a compelling governmental interest."

We'll see if the Supremes feel the government's interest in ensuring a woman's reproductive rights are as compelling as ensuring its ability to fund military expenditures.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

People can't understand why contraception should be covered by health insurance? Really? How about the cost of dealing with an unwanted pregnancy?

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

@wipeout The idea here, is that there be no shields, distracting from the West's liberal agenda. If employers and/or government decide an issue for you, in either argument, they ARE involved. Sex life... recreational... secular or religious. The agenda is dictated and supported by whichever industry has the largest bank account, not vocal reaction. As noted in all the rational comments here, conformity remains to the individual. Simply because a vice is recognized and legal, should not mean that one be forced to support it, at the expense of personal conviction.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

@Laguna.

Part of me wants to be flippant and say, "The Tax Court upholding taxes?! Shocker!" As an accountant, I had to take a class on the ACA, and there were some things that make "affordable care" into an oxymoron, like the excise tax on certain medical equipment, or the tax on your health insurance if it gets to close to those Senatorial Cadillac plans.

Less flippantly though, RFRA case law is hit-or-miss based on the Appeals Circuit, so you're right that it might all depend on which side of the bed the justices wake up. For example, Scalia wrote the opinion in Employment Division v. Smith that established generally-applicable neutral laws can take precedence over individual conscience, however he'll most likely now side with Hobby Lobby.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Thanks, Steven. Whether you consider "affordable care" to be an oxymoron depends on the level of your coverage and how much you ascribe to its influences the decreased health care inflation curve. Certainly, much can be done to improve the law's effectiveness and eefficiencies, but allowing employers to make coverage an a la carte is not one.

Scalia, to be flippant, will likely be as legally inconsistent as is his wont when it comes to issues touching on politics. The question is Roberts.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Take religion out of the debate here. Ethics are the true concern. The monthly pill is relatively accepted and the morning after pill is less so. Either misuse or lack of use could result in an unwanted pregnancy. An abortion of a healthy fetus is something quite different.

We all have a level of ethical tolerance differing across the spectrum. No matter what the outcome segments will protest. The fed should have no business in dictating to the rest of us their acceptance level.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

'Take religion out of the debate here.'

How? Why? Have you read the article? The 'ethics' espoused here are specifically Christian:

'Oklahoma-based Hobby Lobby closes its stores Sunday for the Sabbath—rare among US businesses—and credits “God’s grace and provision”

'The company does not argue against other birth control methods covered under the federal law, but says the four types at issue violate the religious principles it tries to apply on a daily basis.'

This is an egregious example of the Christian right attempting to impose its agenda on others. You can't escape down a side alley by turning this into a general discussion about 'ethics' when those mentioned here are certainly not making any such excuse for promoting their Christian beliefs. If you believe that Christianity should influence public policy, say it. The right are getting tiresome in throwing up smokescreens to worm their way out of this.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Now I will introduce religion Jimzo.

What is wrong with the Ten Commandments? Why were they removed from courthouses? Are we better off? Crime continues and even is more brutal w/o compassion in the past decade.

What is wrong with prayer in school? Why was it removed? Is education better today compared to a decade ago? The public school teachers I know are very frustrated in the system. Everyone passes the grade! Text all day in class-it's okay. Bring a water pistol to class and you are suspended with concealing.

Whats wrong with planned parenthood? THey will abort third term pregnancies no questions asked. Morally wrong in my opinion. Many disagree but have you ever seen a third term termination? He or she is fully formed and can survive in many cases.

Religion is a moral compass for many who do need it. Not everyone does however the majority seems to embrace it.

The Fed has no right to dictate to business what to accept or not in regards to religion. Hobby Lobby should be applauded. I personally disagree but would not impose my belief on them. They stand their moral ground and sacrifice a big $$$ day for their beliefs.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

@MarkG

Okay. You do believe that Christianity should influence public policy. I applaud your honesty. Many on the right are wary of stepping into the dangerous area of violating church and state separation and throw up smokescreens when trying to smuggle their ideas in but you are clearly not. Fair enough. I apologise for my misunderstanding and lumping you in with the dishonest.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Birth control is a personal decision and nothing to do with church or state!

2 ( +4 / -2 )

What is wrong with the Ten Commandments?

Nothing in particular.

Why were they removed from courthouses?

Because religion has no place in law.

Crime continues and even is more brutal w/o compassion in the past decade.

1) There is less crime now in the US than at any point in time in its history.

2) I didn't wear a blue shirt today. There were no new wars today. That doesn't mean that wearing blue shirts starts wars, nor that not wearing blue shirts prevents war. My point being that you are trying to equivocate two things that have no connection.

What is wrong with prayer in school?

1) If people want to teach prayer, they should teach it at home. Religion has no place in school

2) Not all kids are believers in Christianity. Why should they be forced to pray to a god they believe to be mythical?

Why was it removed?

Because religion has no place in school

Is education better today compared to a decade ago?

Again, a false equivalency.

Whats wrong with planned parenthood? THey will abort third term pregnancies no questions asked.

What does the first sentence have to do with the second? And what do either have to do with birth control in the US?

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Now you know America is an underdeveloped county in its true nature. The government tells you what you should or should not do in bed and what you should or should not eat for your proper diet. Americans still believe America is a FREE country.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

The monthly pill is relatively accepted and the morning after pill is less so. Either misuse or lack of use could result in an unwanted pregnancy. An abortion of a healthy fetus is something quite different.

This is a technical issue. The morning-after pill does not technically "abort" a fetus.

Fertilization happens in the fallopian tube. The fertilized egg must then find its way to make a proper attachment to the uterine wall. The morning-after pill is designed to render the uterine wall temporarily incapable of the attachment. The simple fact of nature is that -- pill, or no pill -- the vast majority of fertilized eggs will not attach and be flushed from the body. Naturally. If this is "abortion," then who is the Author of that process -- one which "aborts" many more fertilized eggs than the number of first trimester abortions by multiples?

Secondly look at the hypocrisy and inconsistency. The religion involved forbids divorce except under certain strict conditions. Are these companies scrupulous in denying benefits to the current spouse of a man who has divorced one or more previous wives? Or is that something they just don't care about, and turn a blind eye to?

It is better if governments and companies allow people access to benefits and not try to involve themselves in moral decisions best left to the individual.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

This is an egregious example of the Christian right attempting to impose its agenda on others. You can't escape down a side alley by turning this into a general discussion about 'ethics' when those mentioned here are certainly not making any such excuse for promoting their Christian beliefs. If you believe that Christianity should influence public policy, say it. The right are getting tiresome in throwing up smokescreens to worm their way out of this.

Except this is NOT religion affecting the government, this is government intervening in private business and by extension religion. Your attempts to conflate this as somehow an assault on the government by the "Christian right" is nothing short of intellectual dishonesty.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

@zichi

Birth control is a personal decision and nothing to do with church or state!

Well you are half right. Since a persons religion is indeed a personal matter, a couple's birth control decisions do have something to do with their faith. As for the state you are absolutely correct. The government should not be involved with birth control or any other health care related matter. That is why Obamacare is such a pernicious law. It is because the Left insists upon injecting themselves into health care and dictating peoples choices for them that we are even having this debate.

It isn't as if Hobby Lobby is against birth control. They are just in opposition to those few types that destroy the fertilized egg. If Hobby Lobby loses this case they will have no choice but to dump their employees on the Obamacare exchanges. Ironically, this is exactly what the Left wants - the most people possible under the government's direct regulation and control.

“Everybody agrees that churches and Catholic charities have the right” to cite the First Amendment, said constitutional lawyer Noel Francisco.

It makes no sense that only religious institutions have the First Amendment right to freedom of religion. The first amendment also applies to individuals.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Seems kind of silly that a business owner can deny benefits to a real human being based on his belief of a fairy tale. I'm also curious if there are people who think government should stay out of issues such as these while at the same time supporting government section to make abortion more difficult. You can't have it both ways....

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

What is wrong with the Ten Commandments? Why were they removed from courthouses? Are we better off? Crime continues and even is more brutal w/o compassion in the past decade.

What's wrong with them? Too many things to put in a short post. But as to why they don't belong on courthouses, they represent religion where it is specifically not the business of American official institutions to do so. This becomes even more of an issue in the modern age when increasing numbers of people are atheist, secular, or belong to religions which the Ten Commandments have nothing to do with.

In terms of what belongs in a courthouse, the commandments either have no relevance at all (e.g. I am the Lord thy God), or they proscribe acts that are legal (thou shalt not commit adultery, thou shalt not covet, thou shalt not kill), and therefore the commandments directly contradict the law. The only one that is really in agreement with the law, essentially without qualification, is thou shalt not steal.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Just announced by the Supreme Court. Hobby Lobby, et al, wins.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

5-4 decision. It's insane. Just wait till people stop paying their taxes for religious reasons.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

5-4 decision. It's insane.

Yes. It shows how deeply the nation is divided against itself. This so-called victory is also anti-religious.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I suppose workers shoukd start asking about the religious views of company owners before accepting job offers.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I do not have a religion but I am thankful for the Supreme Courts decision. The government that governs least, governs best - especially for a non-public entity. The government needs to stay out of Americans sex lives and bedrooms. The companies are providing birth control. If their employees fail to use it or use it properly then it is not the companies responsibility. The majority held that the decision only applies to closely held corporations. I agree with that. I see if differently for publicly held companies.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I do not have a religion but I am thankful for the Supreme Courts decision. The government that governs least, governs best - especially for a non-public entity. The government needs to stay out of Americans sex lives and bedrooms. The companies are providing birth control. If their employees fail to use it or use it properly then it is not the companies responsibility. The majority held that the decision only applies to closely held corporations. I agree with that. I see if differently for publicly held companies.

I agree. As usual, I feel there is once again, too much government overreach and should stay out. I don't have a problem buying any birth control, but don't make me pay for it, buy it yourself. Especially people that that don't believe in it, shouldn't have to foot the bill, if it runs against their principles.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

@Bass

I don't have a problem buying any birth control, but don't make me pay for it, buy it yourself. Especially people that that don't believe in it, shouldn't have to foot the bill, if it runs against their principles.

Birth control and even abortifacient's are fairly cheap. IUD's are expensive but the other abortifacient's are about $35. That's it. Yet privileged elitists like Sandra Fluke believe that every American should provide for her sex life. Obama, Hillary and the rest of the extreme Left in America are claiming that the Hobby Lobby denies women access to all birth control. Of course that is a full out lie. Any Ivy League women can take their privileged behinds over to Planned Parenthood and get free condoms and cheap abortions. It is wrong to force people to participate in and pay for the termination of human life which is the result of personal choice. It is their choice, their bodies, and their responsibility.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

This headline is misleading. It is not just about "birth control," it is about trying to force a company to provide Abortion Pills to their employees. That is morally reprehensible, and wrong. There can be no justification for trying to make a Christian company pay for something they consider to be murder.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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