Tuesday, July 01, 2014

Twisted Justice

Yesterday, when America’s Supreme Court once again decided 5-to-4, this time in favor of Hobby Lobby/Conestoga Wood, they asserted that the religious beliefs of the owners of private corporations trump the individual beliefs and rights of their employees. This decision does much more than deprive women of insurance coverage for certain kinds of contraception. It gives seriously discomfiting credence to the ridiculous notion that corporations are people and that the rights of corporate persons are greater than the rights of human persons – which is pretty much how things have been going in all areas for some time.

So the Court ended its session with yet another attempt to further a Conservative Christian agenda, redefine personhood, set a dangerous precedent, and create genuine confusion about what is legal, let alone Constitutional. It’s no wonder that Justice Bader Ginsberg in her dissent said, “The court, I fear, has ventured into a minefield.”

I’m so angry about this latest SCOTUS bullshit that I am literally physically, emotionally, and mentally drained. And the thought that I’m morally obliged to help fight this is thoroughly overwhelming – in large part because I don’t understand it.

According to the research I’ve done, the Constitution, in the First and Fourteenth Amendments, makes clear the necessity for a separation of Church and State, even though that specific language isn’t used. But it doesn’t address a unification of Church and Commerce. So what in the Constitution makes it legal for the owners of a private company to determine what kinds of health insurance coverage they will or won’t provide to their employees, not based on cost or law, but on the company’s owners religious beliefs?

Hobby Lobby is a very big company, which is what makes it a corporation. It has thousands of employees in hundreds of stores across the country. This is not a new business, so employees had health insurance in the past. Apparently, it’s the provisions of Obamacare-governed insurance that added types of contraception – such as the Morning After pill and IUDs, methods that can induce abortion – that the deeply anti-abortion Green family (the owners) object to and therefore don’t want to include or pay for (they don’t object to other forms of birth control, such as the pill or diaphragms, which they are willing to pay for – thank you, Green family…).

Let’s say, for the sake of argument, that corporations are people. Why do they have rights that human people don’t have? For example, I have Medicare and pay over $100 a month for it. Medicare covers many things that I will never need, such as medications, treatments, and surgeries that only apply to men. Medicare doesn’t cover dental care or eye glasses or hearing aids – all of which I do need.

Yet I can’t say “I don’t want to pay for men’s stuff, I want my Medicare payments to cover what I need.” If the Green family gets to cherry pick the coverage they will and won’t cover – not just for themselves but for thousands of other people – based on what they believe, why can’t I do the same, just for myself, based on what I actually need? 

This whole thing is fucked up. As usual, it’s about religion, women, and sex, a combination that Conservatives are very uptight about, as well as the idea that big business and microscopic goo have more human rights than women. The mind reels.

It would be bad enough if it stopped there. But as Justice Bader Ginsberg also pointed out, “Would the exemption…extend to employers with religiously grounded objections to blood transfusions (Jehovah’s Witnesses); antidepressants (Scientologists); medications derived from pigs, including anesthesia, intravenous fluids, and pills coated with gelatin (certain Muslims, Jews, and Hindus); and vaccinations[?]…Not much help there for the lower courts bound by today’s decision.”

This, my friends, is what’s known as a truly slippery slope. All of America, I fear, has ventured into a minefield.

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