Over at National Review Online, also known as the other, albeit Flash and pop-up ad laden, intersection of Popery and Conservatism on the internet is a forum on two very important cases being argued before the Supreme Court today.
Specifically, Sebelius, Sec. of H&HS vs. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. and Conestoga Wood Specialties vs. Sebelius, Sec. of H&HS are being heard.
The articles include:
For those seeking another point of view, media darling, and keening banshee Sandra Fluke has an editorial in the Washington Post whose first paragraph is at best a distortion and at worst a flat out lie. It becomes more risible from there.
|This about sums up HHS’s case.
For Dr. J. it’s pretty much cut and dry. Two privately held companies owners do not want to pay for contraception for their employees, which is now mandated by the Federal Government, because it contradicts their religious beliefs. The mandate harms these business owners ability to act in a manner according to their consciences, and indeed are fined for the civil disobedience required to maintain their religious beliefs.
Essentially, IUDs (and oral contraceptive agents at least theoretically) can prevent implantation. Oral contraceptions have multiple mechanisms of action (thickening cervical mucosa and preventing ovulation, but they also prevent implantation, and there’s no way of knowing if and how pregnancy is prevented after an individual schtupping). Even injectible/implantable chemical contraceptives function the same way. These companies should therefore not be forced to cover objectionable, and elective medical treatments. Yes, contraceptives are elective and not medically necessary therapies. They do not treat pathology.*
Contraceptives are cheap, they’re readily available, and employees are paid by their employers cash-money with which they are not prohibited from procuring contraceptives, or discreetly terminating pregnancies with said cash-money. Now there are some morals clauses at Catholic Schools and Church offices where if an employee is dumb enough to advertise a licentious lifestyle, that might be grounds for dismissal, but the case is not about that. Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood are not forbidding their employes to pay for contraception themselves.
Contraceptives are not sacrament, nor a part of any religious practice with which Dr. J. is aware, and while there are some SCOTUS decisions regarding access to contraception
based on penumbras and emanations, forcing a third party to pay for a product is pretty much found nowhere in 225+ years of jurisprudence. Furthermore the First Amendment should trump any penumbra or emanation. Besides, the overreaching party in Griswold vs. Connecticut was Connecticut, a state government. Again the state was trumping individual liberty, just as is going on in these cases.
By way of an aside, the medical use of contraceptive pills or injections for indications other than contraception is and has been sanctioned by the Roman Catholic Church (ask Paul VI) since their initial availability, and therefore they’re covered for those indications by virtually all plans, including those issued by Catholic and other self-insured religious places of employ.
He hopes that the Supreme Court will see this issue the way they’ve seen other religious liberty issues during Obama’s presidency and go 8-0 or 7-1. Justice Kagan, Dr. J. suspects, has to recuse herself from these cases due to her prior work as Solicitor General, however, she’s disappointed him in the past by not recusing herself, but even she’s sided with the First Amendment when push has come to shove.
We wish nothing but the best for Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood as they are clearly in the right, and we look forward to hearing the decisions this summer.
* But what about Viagra, Dr. J.?!??! First of all, Viagra treats erectile dysfunction which is pathology. It also treats pulmonary hypertension which is not germane here. Second of all it is a lifestyle/quality of life medication and each insurer/plan has the right to offer or not offer coverage as they see fit without endangering lives through lack of coverage. Lastly, an individual can pay cash-money if their employer/insurer decides not to cover it.