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.
- Martha Plimpton on why the decision was bullshit and how abortion is a normal part of life for many women (including herself).
- Ten reasons that gays keep winning court cases for expanded rights while women lose (plus two more reasons, one of which is named Anthony Kennedy).
- Yes, many forms of contraceptives have health benefits, but why can’t we also say that women want to have sex?
- Oh, and when an anonymous donor set up clinics to give free birth control to women in Colorado? The teen birth rate dropped by 40% from 2009 to 2013, and the teen abortion rate in counties with clinics dropped 35% from 2009 to 2012.
- Another benefit? Covering contraception is much cheaper than covering pregnancy, childbirth, and children’s healthcare.
- France may ban abortions after just 12 weeks, but since they actually help women get birth control, emergency contraceptives, prenatal care, maternity leave, and early childcare, they have much lower teen pregnancy and maternal mortality rates. Maybe we should look into some of that.
- Meanwhile, women on the Gulf Coast are already turning to the black market to buy misoprostol and self-induce abortions, which can be dangerous since some of the pills being sold are counterfeits.
- As a reminder, Justice Antonin Scalia said in an interview a few years ago that he doesn’t think the Equal Protection Clause in the 14th Amendment should apply to cases involving discrimination against women or based on sexual orientation because that wasn’t the original intent. Even though the wording is inclusive of all persons. Cause, you know, corporations are people, but women and gays aren’t. That’s totally how I read Section 1!
All persons born or naturalized in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.
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