This week, the Internet exploded with rage when the United States Supreme Court issued its decision in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. This decision also came on the heels of a decision regarding a Massachusetts law that put a 35-foot buffer zone around abortion clinics where protestors could not be. If your Facebook feeds were anything like ours, after the Hobby Lobby decision, it exploded with rage from left-leaning feminists who claimed that the SCOTUS had placed religious freedom over women’s freedom—not just once, but twice.
In one of the few times that the TOL authors have all been on the same side of an issue, we’re here to tell you why that is wrong:
The amount of sheer derpitude coming out of the uberLeft’s reproductive rights movement is only matched by the knee-jerk crassness coming in response from the reactionary Right. No, the Supreme Court did not favor religion over women’s rights, or make birth control illegal, or make it inaccessible. Stop sharing those inflammatory NARAL Facebook image macros. Stop whining about “corporate personhood over female personhood.” Just stop breathing. Likewise, Conservative America, if I have to listen to one more smarmy male pundit disapprovingly utter the phrase “consequence-free sex,” I’m going to lose my freaking mind. /micdrop.
Dear Jezebel: not paying for certain types of birth control is not tantamount to blocking access to birth control or denying the personhood of women. The Greens themselves do not care if their employees, individually and of their own volition, obtain the four, so-called “abortifacients.” They are free to do so on their own dime (so much for #notmybossbusiness being apropos).
I do understand where you are coming from, though. If you think that x,y, and z are public goods (or positive rights on par with a social security, education, and food stamps) then a third party’s refusal to foot the bill is kind of like obstructing access to x,y, and z. But that brings us to a broader debate that has been the staple of political discourse (and screaming matches) since forever. The Burwell vs Hobby Lobby Stores Inc. case and the ongoing debate about the contraception “mandate” are among the latest incarnations of a long-standing clash between two concepts of liberty: negative vs. positive. In my view, that’s what the disagreement really boils down to and it is why people seem to be “talking”…I mean, screaming past each other.
SCOTUS does not hate women. Actually, I am not a mind-reader, so I do not know for sure 😉
I am part of that percentage of women who use the lady pill for reasons other than “recreational use.” But at the end of the day, my entire thought on this issue is “meh.” The outrage and dumb comments (from both sides as Aunt Merryweather pointed out) has me “lalala-ing” with my ears covered. Although Hobby Lobby’s reasoning is quite shady, if they want to opt out of certain contraceptives, then let them. I wouldn’t want to work for Hobby Lobby anyway.
If this were Facebook, I’d be hitting “Like” on all the comments above mine. Particularly Aunt Merryweather’s.
My morality tells me I neither want to work for or shop at Hobby Lobby. Thankfully I’m not forced to. Let’s stop creating wide-sweeping legal obligations which put people’s differing moral obligations at odds and cause these expensive and problematic legal battles. The Supreme Court did what it was supposed to do in this case, but let’s not pretend this was a win for liberty – it was simply better than the alternative.
From what I’ve been reading on my Facebook feed, the hyperbole surrounding the Hobby Lobby case is astounding (the most egregious coming from a recent political science graduate who claims, “Business and the economy is regulated by the government, so compliance with public policy is a state matter. I also don’t agree that business owners should impose their religious beliefs on their employees because it breaks the doctrine of separation of church and state established in our Bill of Rights.”) I can’t even handle the stupidity. Since when do “business” and “state” equate?
I think that we’re looking at the Hobby Lobby case all wrong. The court decision literally placed zero, zip, zilch restrictions on buying birth control. It does not force women to work for companies who will not cover birth control—in fact, if a woman’s first priority is “free” birth control, she can always get it through Obamacare OR through a different employer. But Hobby Lobby v. Sebelius also offers women the opportunity to work somewhere that does not directly contradict her beliefs should she be pro-life. That should be a win for women everywhere: non-hostile work environments have been at the core of the left’s movement for 45 years. They should be getting on board, not demanding their vision of the future that excludes conservative women.
First of all, the Supreme Court has left a mechanism by which the government can step in and provide the contraceptives. This is because the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) makes clear that government can incur expenses on itself in order to avoid burdening religious liberties, in order to avoid putting a ‘substantial burden’ on religious beliefs. This is not an issue about contraceptives being denied or banned. 16 of 20 types of contraceptives are covered; women are still able to purchase the remaining four on their own; and it is likely that an addendum to the ACA will push the government to step in and cover the remaining four.
The real issue is about religious freedom.
It is possible that a religion (or at least some adherents of a religion) are misogynist. I believe the argument can be made that certain wings of Christianity are profoundly misogynist. Certainly the history of witch-hunts and barring of female leaders suggests it. However, people are allowed to follow misogynistic religions. It is up to you to advocate for change of those beliefs, either from within the church, as is occurring in the Mormon church, or from outside, by sharing your thoughts and encouraging discussion. Since the contraceptives have not been ‘banned’ in any way, this is clearly an argument about which beliefs are ‘allowed.’ Unfortunately, all beliefs are allowed. That’s the point of the First Amendment.
The burden of going last in the roundtable is that most everyone says what you’re going to say. I will say that watching the reaction to this ruling pissed me off enough to make an uncharacteristic grumpy Facebook status: “If you didn’t want your birth control coverage subject to the whims of government, you should have never demanded that the government intervene in the healthcare industry in the first place.” But, of course, as others have pointed out, the ruling doesn’t actually keep people from getting birth control.
I do, however, want to remind people of something. Religious tolerance—indeed, tolerance in general—is essential to America functioning as a pluralistic society. You cannot have people who believe different things living in the same space if the government takes sides. As Alito said in his opinion: “Among the reasons the United States is so open, so tolerant, and so free is that no person may be restricted or demeaned by government in exercising his or her religion. Yet neither may that same exercise unduly restrict other persons, such as employees, in protecting their own interests, interests the law deems compelling.” The government will likely foot the bill for your IUDs and Plan B’s, so stop whining—the government hasn’t taken a side here. Not everyone believes the same thing you do, and getting the government to enforce what you believe over what they believe is a recipe for disaster.