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This Week in Misogyny: Hobby Lobby Fallout

You didn’t think we were finished talking about the Hobby Lobby decision, did you? Let’s get this all out of the way so we can talk about all the other misogyny news later. 

While plenty of defenders of the decision tried to claim that it was limited and that of course wouldn’t apply to other strongly held religious beliefs and that there were plenty of options for women whose employers didn’t want to provide contraceptive coverage, it didn’t take long for other lawsuits to start sliding down that slippery slope.

  • The Supreme Court handed down a temporary injunction on Thursday that said nonprofit Wheaton College didn’t have to fill out the forms that would allow them to opt out of paying for contraceptive coverage and submit them to their insurance company, since they argued that even filling out the form violated their Christian beliefs since it authorized the insurance to offer contraceptives free of charge. Instead, they can write a letter to the government that states their religious objection, which at this time does not guarantee that coverage would be made available. Justices Sotomayor, Ginsburg, and Kagan are pissed about the apparent bait-and-switch.
  • Appeals courts have also been ordered to reconsider several cases involving corporations suing to avoid covering any contraceptives at all. One of the suits was brought by Eden Foods, prompting people to petition Whole Foods to stop carrying their products.
  • While one group of religious leaders had already asked President Obama to include a exemption for them in an executive order banning anti-LGBTQ discrimination in companies that have federal contracts, some of his closest advisers wrote to him the day after the SCOTUS decision to use it to bolster their argument. However, another group of religious leaders wrote to Obama to urge him not to give in; “Our government must adhere to the highest standards of ethics and fairness in its own operations, we believe that public dollars should not be used to sanction discrimination.”
  • Lawyers for two men detained at Guantanamo Bay say that since the ruling extended personhood to corporations, then the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) applies to Gitmo prisoners and that they can’t be prohibited from taking part in Ramadan prayers.

At least Senate Democrats are working quickly to pass a new bill that would clarify the RFRA provision that was the basis of the decision; for-profit companies would be explicitly blocked from refusing to provide federally-mandated health coverage based on religious beliefs. Of course, there’s no way in hell it’ll pass the House, so it’s pretty much a symbolic gesture.

While it’s important to keep track of which companies decide to discriminate against women based on the SCOTUS decision, let’s also give props to those that are coming out to support our rights. Kiehls is donating $20,000 to Planned Parenthood NYC. My local Buffalo Wild Wings are holding a fundraiser for PP Mid-Hudson Valley (good at the Wappingers Falls and Middletown locations).

High fives to Judge Richard George Kopf, who wrote a blog post in which he literally told the Court to “STFU.” He also pointed out that it looks sketchy that every member of the majority is a Catholic man who was nominated by a Republican president (and he was a George H.W. Bush appointee, but apparently can still think in terms of law and logic instead of politics).

Next up: During the next session, which opens in October, the Supreme Court will hear a case about pregnancy accommodation in the workplace. Given the bench’s current attitude toward workers and women, that could really suck.

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[E] Hillary

Hillary is a giant nerd and former Mathlete. She once read large swaths of "Why Evolution is True" and a geology book aloud to her infant daughter, in the hopes of a) instilling a love of science in her from a very young age and b) boring her to sleep. After escaping the wilds of Waco, Texas and spending the next decade in NYC, she currently lives in upstate New York, where she misses being able to get decent pizza and Chinese takeout delivered to her house. She lost on Jeopardy.

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