The U.S. Supreme Court handed down its decision today in the much anticipated Hobby Lobby vs. Sebelius case. That case, for those who need a reminder, would determine if corporations have freedom of religion and can provide health insurance while refusing to cover contraception for women
This is not much of a surprise coming from the court that gave us Citizens United, but it's still a blow. And the kicker is that the court's decision explicitly states that it doesn't matter what the company's profound religious beliefs are and their relation to reality, as long as it's against birth control:
[W]e must decide whether the challenged HHS regulations substantially burden the exercise of religion, and we hold that they do. The owners of the businesses have religious objections to abortion, and according to their religious beliefs the four contraceptive methods at issue are abortifacents. If the owners comply with the HHS mandate, they believe they will be facilitating abortions, and if they do not comply, they will pay a very heavy price—as much as $1.3 million per day, or about $475 million per year, in the case of one of the companies. If these consequences do not amount to a substantial burden, it is hard to see what would.
Included in the four contraceptive methods at issue is the IUD, which is demonstrably not an abortifacent. The IUD makes fertilization impossible, and in the unlikely event fertilization occurred, implantation would fail. If it were an abortifacent, we'd have to consider every failed implantation an abortion. Which is fundamentally silly. That's not an abortion, nor is what the IUD does.
But that right there is the issue. The IUD absolutely, certainly, no room for reasonable or even unreasonable doubt about it has nothing to do with abortion. And yet if your religion tells you it does hard enough, that changes reality enough that you can impact other people's reality with it.
It doesn't matter whether it's true, as long as they believe it to be true. If you show them all the research that proves they have no leg to stand on and they say "Nope. Still too aborty for me," they get to keep on keeping on with denying coverage to employees.
Never mind that many women use birth control for reasons that have nothing to do with not getting pregnant. Never mind that paying for birth control is cheaper than paying for pregnancy and all the associated costs of raising a person. Never mind that they wouldn't even be paying directly for birth control - the insurance company will. Never mind that basically every woman in the country who has ever had sex uses or has used some form of contraception most of the women using contraception right now are using a form of female birth control, be it an IUD, the pill, an implant, or other methods.
Never mind all that. Birth control is cheap, after all. Wait, that's after the insurance eats the majority of the cost (if they cover it) and leaves a smaller price tag for women. If not covered by insurance the cost becomes... quite expensive. It's a prescription after all, which means you pay to visit the doctor needed to get the scrip in the first place. And even if it is covered but you're paying, it can eat out a chunk of change. If you don't make all that much money the co-pay for the visit and the prescription can put the squeeze on you.
None of that's important. All that matters is that Hobby Lobby and these other companies think that their employees will be aborting all over the place if they get access to birth control. Even though that's not what it does.
Even though Hobby Lobby invests in the companies which make the products they claim to have an objection to.
I'm sure that if you presented them with that information they'd stick their fingers in their ears and say "Nope" to that too.
What the Supreme Court has done here is not just screw over women under the guise of freedom of religion. It has found, hiding in the first amendment's guarantee of freedom of religion, a freedom to act on stupidity unencumbered, at least when it comes to contraception. A freedom to live in a completely imaginary world with no basis in fact or observable reality.
This isn't a simple personal freedom. No, this freedom is very free. In fact its only purpose seems to be to allow corporations to harm people with their stupidity, all because they don't like existing in reality.
Wait, this isn't a freedom for people? Not really. Just a special freedom for corporations, because they're apparently more people than people are. As David Gushee, Mercer University professor of Christian Ethics, puts it:
"One way to look at it is this: The whole point of establishing a corporation is to create an entity separate from oneself to limit legal liability," he writes. "Therefore, Hobby Lobby is asking for special protections/liability limits that only a corporation can get on the one hand, and special protections that only individuals, churches and religious organizations get, on the other. It seems awfully dangerous to allow corporations to have it both ways."
Yeah. Corporations get to have their own reality. We, here in the real world, get to enjoy the trickle down from their reality. If you wonder why that trickle down tastes like urine, it's because they're pissing on us little flesh and blood types.
I'm all for the theory that our universe is part of a multiverse, but the Supreme Court isn't exactly a body of scientists, and their evidence seems rather scanty, given it appears made up or otherwise completely untestable. Kind of like the whole God hypothesis, really.
Since corporations have their own reality now, I wonder if they'll try to take advantage of it for tax purposes. Surely their imagined reality doesn't have taxes, after all.
Wonder what other bizarre decisions the Court can make about the nature of reality.
Image Credit The Schmidt Firm, LLC