Hobby Lobby: Follow-Up

[Content Note: War on agency; homophobia and transphobia.]

On Monday, the US Supreme Court made its supremely garbage decision in the Hobby Lobby "religious freedom" case. I want to note a couple of things that have happened since then.

1. President Barack Obama, via his Press Secretary, criticized the ruling:
At the top of today's press briefing, Press Secretary Josh Earnest delivered a statement about where the President stands on this ruling, noting: "President Obama believes that women should make personal health care decisions for themselves, rather than their bosses deciding for them."

He went on to state that "today's decision jeopardizes the health of women who are employed by these companies."
Succinct and firm. I am thankful the President took the time to make sure his position on this decision was known. That matters.

(It also matters, to me, that I take the time to communicate it matters when there is an administration and/or personal statement, as much as when there isn't one.)

2. After the ruling, people who observed that SCOTUS had opened a door to all kinds of religiously-justified bigotry against employees were accused of hyperbole and alarmism. Welp, not so much: "Post-Hobby Lobby, Religious Orgs Want Exemption from LGBT Hiring Order."
The day after the Supreme Court's Hobby Lobby ruling, a group of religious leaders sent a letter to President Barack Obama asking that he exempt them from a forthcoming executive order that would prohibit federal contractors from discriminating against LGBT people.

The letter, first reported by The Atlantic, was sent on Tuesday by 14 representatives, including the president of Gordon College, an Erie County, Pa., executive and the national faith vote director for Obama for America 2012, of the faith community.

"Without a robust religious exemption," they wrote, "this expansion of hiring rights will come at an unreasonable cost to the common good, national unity, and religious freedom."
And we're the ones who get accused of hyperbole.

Now, you might quite reasonably be thinking: Well, there's no justification for believing that hiring LGBT people will undermine the common good, national unity, and religious freedom.

And factually you are right! But legally, here's the problem: The Hobby Lobby decision stipulated that the company's beliefs about contraception being abortifacients didn't have to have any justification other than believing it.

From his opinion: "The owners of the businesses have religious objections to abortion, and according to their religious beliefs the four contraceptive methods at issue are abortifacients. If the owners comply with the HHS mandate, they believe they will be facilitating abortions. ...[I]t is not for us to say that their religious beliefs are mistaken or insubstantial."

So, it doesn't matter if there's no factual basis for a religion-based claim. See how that works?

There is now absolutely legal precedent for the writers of this letter to claim that they believe complying with the executive order will be undermining the common good blah blah etc.

Here is the thing about all those arguments re: Hobby Lobby being a limited decision: The Supreme Court's whole job is to write precedent. People need to stop pretending it isn't.

And this, right here, in addition to the fact that people other than cis women need access to birth control and abortion, is why I don't use the "war on women" phrasing and instead call it a War on Agency: Because it's not like these oppressive shitlords are going to stop with cis women's control of our lives and bodies. They will use their encroachment on women's et al's healthcare to launch an assault on any law that guarantees rights around choice, sexuality, gender, and bodily autonomy. (Many of these legal assaults are already ongoing.) We thought Roe was settled law once, too.

This is why we all have to care about each other's issues. Because tomorrow, the people coming after me will come after you, and the people coming after you will come for me. We have to have each other's backs. Always.

3. The Supreme Court also clarified Tuesday that "its decision a day earlier extending religious rights to closely held corporations applies broadly to the contraceptive coverage requirement in the new health care law, not just the handful of methods the justices considered in their ruling."

So all those people arguing this was only about emergency birth control and IUDs so what's the big deal? Were wrong.
The justices did not comment in leaving in place lower court rulings in favor of businesses that object to covering all 20 methods of government-approved contraception.

...Tuesday's orders apply to companies owned by Catholics who oppose all contraception. Cases involving Colorado-based Hercules Industries Inc., Illinois-based Korte & Luitjohan Contractors Inc., and Indiana-based Grote Industries Inc. were awaiting action pending resolution of the Hobby Lobby case.

They are among roughly 50 lawsuits from profit-seeking corporations that object to the contraceptive coverage requirement in their health plans for employees.
They're not just chipping away at Roe; they're chipping away at Griswold.

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