Let “the government” pay for “abortifacients”

Corporations that are “closely held” have a constitutionally protected right to exercise their religion, according to the latest U.S. Supreme Court decision.

In her dissent, Justice Ginsburg called the decision “an astonishing feat of intellectual dishonesty”.

She also wrote that,

“The court’s determination that RFRA extends to for-profit corporations is bound to have untoward effects. Although the court attempts to cabin its language to closely held corporations, its logic extends to corporations of any size, public or private. Little doubt that RFRA claims will proliferate.”

RFRA refers to the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. It’s a law signed in 1993 that overturns a 1990 Supreme Court ruling called “Employment Division v. Smith”.

“Let The Government Pay”

There’s a lot of buzz on the net about the possibility that the slew of RFRA-based lawsuits expected to come down the pike will force the federal government to provide various forms of medical care for free.

Sounds like a recipe for shutting down the federal government, to me. To put it another way, I think Alito said, “Let them eat cake” wherever there is a medical procedure covered by Obamacare that pisses off some corporate bosses based on their “sincerely” held religious beliefs.

In his majority opinion, Alito posits that the Obama administration could give away the contraception items* to Hobby Lobby, Mardel Inc., and Conestoga employees who will be denied it after this decision – in that way satisfying a “compelling governmental interest” in a “least restrictive” manner.

Ginsburg, in her dissent, asks “And where is the stopping point to the ‘let the government pay’ alternative? Suppose an employer’s sincerely held religious belief is offended by health coverage of vaccines, or paying the minimum wage [a 1985 case] or according women equal pay for substantially similar work. Does it rank as a less restrictive alternative to require the government to provide the money or benefit to which the employer has a religion-based objection?”

Learn more about the decision at Truthout

Wall Street Journal has more on what these “closely held” corporations are.

Audio and transcript of oral argument before SCOTUS from Oyez

Excerpts from oral argument provided by Alliance for Justice

Burwell v. Hobby Lobby majority decision and dissent – PDF format / Machine readable text

* I think these are the contraceptives that Hobby Lobby et al object to. They are 4 of 20 contraceptives covered by Obamacare.:

Plan B, Plan B One- Step and Next Choice (Levonorgestrel)

Ella (ulipristal acetate)

Copper IUD

IUD with progestin

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