Oh, to be sure, I’m glad that Hobby Lobby won its case. That certainly beats the alternative. But there’s much to be concerned about from where I sit.
To begin with, I always saw the Hobby Lobby matter as a clear violation of the free exercise clause of the first amendment. How can you say otherwise when a government mandate would force a Christian to pay for an abortifacient? But, as Ron Paul has pointed out, the court didn’t try to justify its decision based on the first amendment. Rather, they used a law passed in 1993 called the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. While related to the first amendment, it is still merely legislation. A singularly constitutional argument would have been far stronger.
According to a Reuters poll taken prior to the SCOTUS decision in the Hobby Lobby case, a majority of Americans were not in favor of granting exemptions to federal law to “for profit” companies based on the religious convictions of the employer. But I thought that the “for profit” distinction relative to groups, organizations, and companies was spurious from the get-go. The only difference between Hobby Lobby and my company is size. We’re both privately held and run with Christian ethics. My company escapes the mandate because we’re small, but if we were larger I’d be in the same boat as the family that owns Hobby Lobby. The fact that we are making a living (and hopefully a profit) by what we do is irrelevant to whether our ethics apply. I don’t know how to run a business any other way than as a Christian, however poorly I may actually accomplish that. I am relieved that the court upheld my right to do that, although they apparently stayed far away from the Citizens United decision in doing so. Which means, I guess, that large, publicly held corporations and so on have to do what the government tells them to do or else. Which also means I’ll be sure to hold off on my plans for an IPO. Okay, I wasn’t really planning one.
What really disheartens me is the reaction by some to the SCOTUS ruling. With all the “war on women” talk, you’d think that women were being disemboweled in the streets as a result of this decision. I realize that some of the reaction is by people who are profoundly uninformed about the facts of the case, but I think that there are plenty of people that are aware of the facts and still think the decision is a travesty.
You’ve probably heard this already by now, but Hobby Lobby’s health care plan still includes, without a requirement for co-pay, the following categories of FDA-approved birth-control:
Diaphragms with spermicide
Sponges with spermicide
Cervical caps with spermicide
Birth-control pills with estrogen and progestin (“Combined Pill)
Birth-control pills with progestin alone (“The Mini Pill)
Birth control pills (extended/continuous use)
Female sterilization surgeries
Female sterilization implants
It was the abortifacients that were always the problem for Hobby Lobby, not the above listed items, which are provided for in the plan. And yet Iowa Democratic Party spokes person Christina Freundlich, for example, said after the ruling, “No woman should have her access to affordable birth control cut off because of her boss’ opinion.” Access cut off? Access???? Does Hobby Lobby have a goon squad that runs around preventing its employees from buying the abortifacient drugs and devices on their own? Of course not. This is ludicrous whining of the first order.
Which brings me to the more fundamental point. The Left is always trying to get into someone else’s pocket. In this case, they want to engage in sexual activity and send someone else the bill (think Sandra Fluke). They still largely succeeded in that, even if the court allowed this particular exception. There are a lot of people out there that appear to think that it’s acceptable to make demands on someone else’s money. The reaction to the Hobby Lobby case illustrates something else, perhaps: That far more people than we had assumed now also think that religious considerations, even the free exercise clause of the first amendment, are irrelevant in such a matter. As I said, I don’t feel much like celebrating.