SCOTUS permits employers to exempt coverage for abortion and emergency contraception

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Good afternoon:

Yesterday the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) decided by a vote of 5-4 that employers who provide health insurance for their employees can exempt coverage for abortions and emergency contraception on religious grounds. (Burwell v. Hobby Lobby)

I disagree with this decision because employee health insurance should cover all reasonable medical expenses. Allowing employers to exempt coverage for some expenses, but not others, discriminates against employees who incur those costs and it defeats the purpose of insurance, which is to spread the costs of the few among the many.

Justice Alito, who wrote the majority opinion, approved of the exemption because it is based on the Freedom of Religion Clause in the First Amendment.

The religious beliefs of an employer who provides health insurance coverage for employees are irrelevant. The only relevant consideration is the patient’s medical condition. An employer’s religious belief should have no role in an employee’s medical decision.

Communications between a doctor and his patient and the decisions they make regarding a course of treatment, including taking any prescribed medication, are confidential and should not be shared with anyone, especially the employer.

Employers who provide health insurance for their employees have no right to information about their medical condition and treatment. They should be prohibited from refusing to pay for any category of medical expenses that would otherwise be covered under any insurance plan.

This decision opens the door for other employers to reduce the coverage and cost of their employee plans by claiming they oppose (Fill-in-the-blank) medical expenses on religious grounds. For example, some people oppose vaccinations on religious grounds.

The number of possible objections to coverage that an employer might make is limited to the extent of their imagination.

This is an extremely bad idea.

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21 Responses to SCOTUS permits employers to exempt coverage for abortion and emergency contraception

  1. girlp says:

    So what now can my company petition the supreme court to question my sex life, what I watch on TV, my food choices where does it end?

    • Malisha says:

      It ends with feudalism, which is where all the policies end.

    • volgaknight says:

      Where does it end?

      It starts, and, ends, wherever Antonin Scalia wants it to.
      I don’t claim to be a scholar of American history, but, I’ve been around long enough to sense that this Supreme Court is the greatest existential threat to our form of democracy since the founding.

      Strategically, and, tactically, you have to give the Republicans credit. They have figured out that their reactionary, anti-democratic goals for America limit their Presidential ambitions. So, they adopted an extremely aggressive goal of capturing State Governorships, Legislatures ….and, most importantly, Courts.

      They Gerrymandered much of the country, guaranteeing their candidates perpetual incumbency. And, by placing anti-American, judicial ideologues throughout the court system they guaranteed that whatever racist, misogynistic, and/or, anti-democratic laws they passed, they would be found to be “legal.”

      Kind of reminds one of 1930’s Germany where the German people “voted” away their freedoms, and, into national slavery……..all, legal and proper.

  2. MKX says:

    IMO, they like Rand due to the whopping vanity they have about themselves due to being rich and they like the Bible because the prosperity Gospel tell them that they are the good people and that the poor deserve to be crushed.

    Rand’s view of the poor as moochers and takers fits right into the prosperity Gospel.

    What is very ironic about Rand is that she was the daughter of a bunch of cowards who ran away from Russia during the revolution; and that her life was largely being a lick spittle for the wealthy.

    So where is this “I pulled by self up from my boot straps because I am a producer” ethic?

    And, if I am not mistaken, the Koch’s derived their initial wealth from their father, who was once in cahoots with Stalin.

    And that is perfectly logical.

    Stalinism is a monopolistic form of Capitalism wherein a select few own all the means of production and the party propaganda {arguably a state religious cult} deifies them in the eyes of the toiling masses.

    • Malisha says:

      Isn’t it strange how the capitalist (a/k/a feudal but based on second-string ownership), communist (a/k/a feudal but based on artful redefinitions rather than titles to land), and all the other available forms of government the world’s greatest powers always revert to (whether quickly or slowly) amount to a select few owning all the means of production (except reproduction) while they are deified in the eyes of the toiling masses.

  3. bettykath says:

    What I find so offensive is that corporations have expanded their first amendment rights to include religion. Closely held corporations also include the multi-billion dollar Koch industries, Walmart and a few other very large corporations. It is so offensive to use the religion of a corporation to discriminate against women, or any other group.

    • Malisha says:

      Bullying is the American Way.

    • girlp says:

      For the Koch brothers Ayn Rand is thier religion although I would not put it past them to use the Bible to justify whatever they want to do.

      • Malisha says:

        I’m envisioning a right-wing Christian corporation finding out that an employee “spilled his seed” as did Onan, and sentencing him to be stoned.

        • girlp says:

          There are some who have promoted doing that to Gays and Lesbians I’ve never seen anything like this the country has turned topsey turvey. I hope people vote these idiots out this fall but I’m hearing that is not likley.

        • There’s a great comic going around Facebook in which the Suprime Court allows Walmart to sacrifice employees to Ctulhu as a religious freedom.

          • That’s a hilarious and spot-on joke that exposes the potentially catastrophic flaw in new rule.

            Religious freedom used to be constrained to the realm of thought, belief and worship with legal protection prohibiting discrimination against people for their religious beliefs.

            This ruling permits people with one set of beliefs to impose them on other people who disagree with those beliefs. That is an extremely dangerous precedent that is directly opposed to the concept of religious freedom. This decision is radical and wrong. It has the capacity to be the exception that swallows the rule and ignites a religious war.

  4. colin black says:

    Now we know why Dr Evil an his clone mini me wher so evil

    Brought up by friggin BELGIANS EH .




  5. colin black says:



  6. MKX says:

    Health insurance is a form of monetary compensation. So this decision, IMO, is the same as the employer withholding a workers pay, if the find out it is used for something they object to on religious grounds.

    Their whole mind set reveals the philosophical epic failure that the USA has become.

    They really do believe that the tip of the pyramid of wealth supports the base.

  7. crazy1946 says:

    This decision by the SCOTUS affirms that in essence the owner of the business is allowed to make personal choices for the employee. IMO this is another decision by this Republican controlled court to affirm that the owner of the business in not an employer, but instead a slave owner…. these people own you, just like they did before the civil war… Slavery is not dead in this nation, it simply operates under a new name…

    • I agree. This ruling is extremely offensive and further evidence of a right wing and Republican war against women.

      • crazy1946 says:

        Professor, the ruling also allows the GOP/TP/NRA party to continue to use the Anti-Abortion talking points to campaign on.. If the ruling had been allowed to stand, women would have had ready access to low cost or free contraceptives which in turn would have lowered the unplanned pregnancy rate, which in turn would have reduced dramatically the abortion numbers. Now we all know that one of the main talking points of the GOP/TP/NRA party is one of the few that they find effective, other than the rumor that Obama is going to take their iron penis’s away (guns, aka WMD’s), so to take that from them would be unfair, right? This SCOTUS decision fits in real well with Governor Piyush Jindal’s call for the religious wacko’s to overthrow the legally elected (by the majority of the people) president/government of this nation. How long can a nation this divided by outside interests continue to stand?

      • MKX says:

        The message I get from Republican males is that a women who has sex for enjoyment should not have a way to escape God’s punishment of having to bear a child.

        Again, I ask, how is anything they promote NOT a violation of separation of Church and State?

        Pagan tribes, because the individuals were not mental, enjoyed sex and, took measures to abort children, if resources were scarce.

        Now some will say that the above violates their religion.

        And they have their freedom because the state does not require that they abort their child.

        However, an atheist, who might see having a baby as an option based on her current economic situation is denied her right to choose because of another persons religious view on who decides life and what the purpose of that life is?

        I added “purpose” because these life-concerned Reich Wingers sure as hell don’t give a shit about the baby, once it is born.

        So I conclude that the baby is punishment and that they feel the State must deliver God’s judgment – that is a Theocracy.

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