Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Birth Control, Woman's Choice, Obama-care, Church-State: Front and Center

Family-owned, for-profit Business at Center of USSC Pending Decision
Some Nuns Stand Against Anti-Birth Control Crowd

Overall: The Center of the Argument

Major Update (March 25, 2014): This account of the pending Supreme Court case comes from NPR, in part:

The U.S. Supreme Court has heard the arguments in the latest challenge to the Obama health care overhaul (the ACA/Obama-care).

This time the issue is whether for-profit corporations who cite religious objections may refuse to provide some, or potentially all, contraceptive services in health plans offered to their employees.

It is a case that touches a lot of hot-button issues. In enacting the ACA, Congress required large employers to provide basic preventive care for employees. That turned out to include all 20 contraceptive methods approved by the Food and Drug Administration. Under the law, religious nonprofits were exempted from this requirement, but for-profit corporations were not.

The lead plaintiff in this case is Hobby Lobby Inc., a chain of 500 arts and crafts stores with 13,000 employees. The owners are conservative Christians who object to certain methods of birth control — IUDs and morning-after pills — because they can interfere with the creation of life once an egg is fertilized.

They have said: “We believe that the principles that are taught scripturally is what we should operate our lives by ... and so we cannot be a part of taking life.” So explained Hobby Lobby President Steve Green.

Added by CEO and founder, David Green: “It's our rights that are being infringed upon to require us to do something against our conscience.”

As for me, I believe that the basic point is in this statement (also seen below) of this case: “It isn’t freedom when a woman can be held hostage by the owner of a business.” I also would add that for many reasons today we are starting to see the phrase: “It's my religion or that law is against my religion” as a reason (or excuse) to just ignore a law, or worse, to discriminate like we saw attempted in the recently-vetoed law in Arizona. What is next?

Another 5-4 ruling right now could open the field wide open for all sorts of misguided mischief actually designed to kill the ACA anyway possible... how about someone just saying: “I hate this damn law and I ain’t gonna obey it – I aint’ never gonna get sick or need it. If I do, I’ll pay cash. That is my right to do that and besides, I not trust no darn Federal law of any kind no how.” 

Um ... far fetched? Not really.

Story from here: This whole issue is getting really crazy. The issue or now becoming an iron-clad GOP/right wing belief: “... that you can do anything you want or choose if you simply cite your religious right to for example: discriminate against anyone for any reason; not to allow birth control in health care plans, or maybe even just shoot someone, anyone you choose” again, as long as you say it's my religious belief to do that. 

As explained below in more detail, the Supreme Court is hearing two landmark cases about the validity of a rule under Obama-care that mandates that employer health care plans must cover emergency contraceptives for female employees without co-pays. These two cases carry potentially far-reaching implications for Obama-care in this regard. Possibly hampering:

(1) access to birth control, (2) also redefines or defines the concept of corporate person-hood, and (3) shows what the limits are to the extent to which religious liberty can exempt entities from laws they object to if they cite a religious reason.

I conclude that we are in a fleet of leaky insanity boats heading for the funny farm. If this court (possibly again by a 5-4 ruling) allows this to happen, then it surely speaks very poorly about who we are as a people — indeed as a society that acts rationally.

The Original Post Starts from Here: Great rationale by the Nuns in this story and I say good for them. This case will be heard by the USSC next week.

My reading on this is noted below (emphasis in red):

But, first the background: In January, the Little Sisters of the Poor Home for the Aged in Colorado operated by an order of nuns filed an emergency petition before the Supreme Court claiming that the middle ground the Obama administration had crafted for religiously-affiliated non-profits – i.e., signing a form for a third party administrator to cover contraception violated their religious freedom. 

Attorneys for the Little Sisters said at the time that the Obama administration was “... trying to bully the Nuns into violating their religious beliefs.” 

Now here were are today, but with a different slant: A separate group of Nuns is taking the opposite view. They are defending birth control coverage in the ACA (Obama-care) in their online petition. The head of the National Coalition of American Nuns, Donna Quinn, told Religion Dispatches about that this way: 

“It isn’t faith and freedom when reproductive autonomy isn’t extended by the Catholic Church to women. Now we have other Christian religions seeing what the bishops are doing and saying we will do likewise. It isn’t freedom when a woman can be held hostage by the owner of a business.” 

I totally agree with the rationale. I hope they prevail and win their case. They should. However, with this right-leaning court with their record of many 5-4 rulings, who knows what the outcome will be. In the meantime ponder this comparison on the topic of absolute religious rights and freedoms with this example: 

This case will allow employees to refuse birth control coverage in their employee health care plans if they cite their religious views against birth control. 

We saw only a few months ago that kind of argument fell flat in Arizona. That failed law would have allowed legal discrimination for religious reasons. 

Ponder this: “Yes, that SOB deserved to die. God gave me the absolute right to own and carry a gun. And, yes, I took him out because it is religious right to do so. Praise the Lord.”  

Sound bizarre or far fetched? Only if one is not paying close attention to the roots of the arguments: anti-everything Obama. 

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