Supreme Court to Take Straw Poll on Extreme Case
Claiming that “any religion allowed to be practiced only inside a house of worship, and not in the day-to-day business of life, is a worthless faith,” evangelical pastor Rick Warren’s Washington Post op ed calls on the Supreme Court to assign “religious freedom” to corporations, including the divinely authorized power to dictate and overrule the intimate personal health choices of the vast majority of Americans. Hobby Lobby, a multibillion-dollar business with more than 550 stores, seeks to deny health insurance coverage for contraception for its nearly 16,000 full-time employees.
As the Supreme Court nears a “straw poll” vote on this case, women and men across the country are speaking out in opposition to Mad Hatter-style extremism, and respecting women’s rights to make personal decisions about our health.
At the March 25 Supreme Court hearing, the three women Justices – Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan – sharply questioned whether Hobby Lobby’s mega-corporate crafts chain has religious rights, and whether its owners may opt out of providing some forms of birth control to employees as a result.
On corporations and religious freedom: Justice Sotomayor: “How does a corporation exercise religion? I mean, I know how it speaks and we have, according to our jurisprudence, 200 years of corporations speaking in its own interests. But where are the cases that show that a corporation exercises religion?” (court transcript, p. 18)
On contraception coverage in the Affordable Care Act: Justice Kagan: …Congress has made a judgment and Congress has given a statutory entitlement … to women [that] includes contraceptive coverage. And when the employer says, no, I don’t want to give that, that woman is quite directly, quite tangibly harmed.” (court transcript, p. 37)
Denying some contraception coverage to employees is denying coverage to all contraception:
Justice Ginsburg: “…there are 20 FDA-approved contraceptives, all of them covered by the Healthcare Act…[to Hobby Lobby lawyer Clement] You picked out, in one case what, three, and the other case four? Suppose the employer says contraceptives all together are against my religion, so I’m not going to give any contraceptive coverage…your argument, it seems to me, would apply just as well if the employer said no contraceptives.” (court transcript, p. 38)
Public opinion matters. And we’re speaking out. Here’s what some supporters who have had enough are saying:
Contraception? Really? We’re re-doin’ the *!*!*! fifties here?
Maya Elashi, OakLand, CA
When will this madness end?
Stephanie Norliel Chico. CA
Only women should decide about women’s health issues. No boss or any men period.
Margo Westerlund, Chandler, AZ
My contraceptive choice is to be made by me after discussion with my doctor. This decision will not be made by my employer or the government!
Renee Carter, Falls Church, VA
Keep corporations out of my uterus. Separation of church and state is the law of the land. Neither churches nor corporations have the right to write laws.
Rebecca Kane, Goodells, MI
We must guarantee that women do not lose the right to make the best decisions for their bodies, their families and their lives. We will not give in to bullying, and stand united to protect women’s right to govern their own reproduction!
Suzanne Cowan, San Francisco, CA
Whether religious organizations or secular corporations, employers do not and ought not have the right to restrict the health care (and by extension, the health insurance coverage) of their employees. The only possible exceptions would be employees of religious organizations who have themselves taken some sort of holy orders, in other words they have dedicated their lives to a religion and vowed to obey the rules of a religious order. Free citizens must have the freedom to access health care without restrictions imposed by their employers that differ from the law of the land, no matter how strongly the people running the business or organization feel about contraception, abortion, or other legally sanctioned medical practices.
Nancy Dunn, Granby, CT
The only person with a right to impose religious beliefs on a woman is the woman herself.
Randi Kinman, San Jose, CA
To Corporations and the Government: get out of my bedroom and stay out of it.
Karen Duncan, Los Altos, CA
I will boycott Hobby Lobby and any other business that sticks their nose and religion in their employees’ business because that is also MY BUSINESS.
Beverly LaClair, Newport, MN
To the Justices of the Supreme court of the United States,
For god’s sake, do not allow the churches, synagogues and mosques in this country to dictate the law of the land. If the religious objection to contraception is the goal, let them preach to their own. If the health and welfare of all of the citizens of the United States is at issue, the court must rule in our favor. Let women and their husbands and physicians have the right to accept or reject birth control and abortion. It is a right of every citizen to decide. And it is your job to protect that right.
Ida Luckower, White Plains, NY
To the Supreme Court: If you are going to limit a woman’s right to health care insurance that will not cover birth control and abortions, then I suggest you consider legislation that would make vasectomies mandatory. Don’t you think it’s time for men to step up to the plate and take full responsibility for birth control and unwanted pregnancies? That way, you wouldn’t have to consider all this legislation around a woman’s right to choose.
Alyse Ceirante, San Francisco, CA
I have my fingers crossed that the Supreme Court will do the right thing for a change!!!!
Larry Griffin, San Francisco, CA
Thank you for speaking out!
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