Topic Tuesday #88 2014/03/25 - "Religious Freedom of Corporations"

Topic Tuesday #88 2014/03/25 - "Religious Freedom of Corporations"

It was a busy day for the United States Supreme Court as they heard 90 minutes of arguments over what is universally referred to as the Hobby Lobby case (also includes the Mennonite-owned Conestoga Wood Specialties Corp.). In case you had not heard of this, the core question of the case is, "can the federal government require employers to provide 100% coverage for 20 types of contraception?"
Over 100 lawsuits have been filed. More than 80 amicus briefs were submitted, just for this case, by all sorts of religious organizations all bent of supporting the religious objections to contraception including IUDs and morning-after pills. Paul Clement, arguing for the corporations argued that the issue is "so fraught with religious controversy" that exceptions for the family-owned companies should be made since it was done for religious non-profits, such as churches, charities, and religious schools. The three female Justices were not amused.

Justice Sotomayor wondered whether other employers with religious objections would be able to opt out of covering other medical procedures, such as vaccines or blood transfusions.

"One religious group could opt out of this, and another religious group could opt out of that, and everything would be piecemeal, and nothing would be uniform," chimed in Justice Elena Kagan.

The general left side of the court questioned whether for-profit corps should be able to claim religious views. The right side, championed by Justice Scalia, wanted none of that argument, retorting, "There is not a single case which says that a for-profit enterprise cannot make a freedom-of-religion claim."

The reason this can even be an argument is thanks to the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993. It was designed to basically give companies the option to fight laws that their religious beliefs disagree with. The companies contend that for profit businesses should enjoy the same rights as people to exercise religious beliefs...
This makes me wonder when I will see a company wearing a yamaka and walking into a synagogue. Not likely... ever.

Of course... This is about the rather touchy issue of abortion. This being the root of their objection to four specific methods of birth control that prevent a fertilized egg from implanting in the uterus. They claim that this is akin to abortion.  The amicus briefs from the reproductive rights organizations assert that the methods merely prevent fertilization by inhibiting ovulation or by preventing sperm from reaching the egg, thus preventing an unwanted pregnancy.

Now... it might not REALLY be about abortion, and more about the government forcing a company to pay for healthcare for their employees. This is the hot button that could have some impact. Not that much impact, as one way or another the law will remain nearly intact and female Americans will ultimately be covered for contraception, either by private insurers or the government.

But seriously... A "corporation" or "company", is not a person. A "company" should not be able to have religious views. A "company" cannot be tried for treason or executed. A "company" can't vote for elected officials, though it can contribute to a campaign. Ultimately, a "company" is an extension of the people that run it. These folks are just using it to either save money or force their views on their employees. Either way, not cool when it comes to health.

And what do you think?