Column: Hobby Lobby ruling out of order



On June 30, five men decided the fate of health care for millions of women around the country.

The case decided that a company does not have to offer insurance that covers contraception, as mandated by the Health and Human Services Department via the Affordable Care Act.

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg nailed it on the head with the dissenting opinion, joined by Justices Elena Kagan, Justice Stephen Breyer and Justice Sonya Sotomayor.

Ginsburg argued that the HHS mandate, requiring for-profit companies like Hobby Lobby to cover preventative care – including contraception – and that religious beliefs of corporations do not outweigh the rule of law.

While the majority opinion ensures that this decision will not infringe on a person’s individual healthcare decisions, what is more invasive than a boss telling an employee what kind of healthcare they can receive?

Therein lies an important point that the Supreme Court failed to recognize: My healthcare is not my boss’s business.

Ginsburg's opinion expresses outrage, but it also speaks about the future: With this ruling as precedent, can private companies deny coverage for blood transfusions and other procedures?

The answer was no, as the HHS mandate was geared toward for-profit institutions, respecting the religious liberties of nonprofit ministries.

Yet Hobby Lobby is a for-profit enterprise. And since the court’s ruling in Citizens United vs. the Federal Election Commission, corporate personhood was granted – for better or for worse – to entities like Hobby Lobby.

This allows them, a non-human entity, constitutional rights. The First Amendment is a beautiful tool and necessary for the continuance of our republic, yet allowing this freedom for corporations is entirely misguided.

The result of the case is a blow for women who wish to prevent pregnancy. Even worse is the rising trend in women seeking out dangerous methods of controlling their reproductive destinies.

Since the implementation of Texas’ new abortion restrictions, women in that state are now traveling to flea markets over the border in Mexico to seek ends to unwanted pregnancies. In that country, it is still a legal right.

As I write this from my hotel in The Hague, Netherlands, I am witnessing rights corroding far from my home.

Monday's ruling is disturbing, but the most chilling point can be found in the last words of Ginsburg’s dissent – words that succinctly examine the path we are on in regard to reproductive rights.

“The Court, I fear, has entered into a minefield," she wrote.

 

 


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