Monday, in Sebelius V.
Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. the Supreme Court decided closely held corporations
(where the majority of stock is held by five or fewer people) do not have to
provide their employees with birth control as part of healthcare under the 2010
Affordable Care Act for religious reasons (with an eloquent dissent from Ruth
Bader Ginsberg). The full decision can be found here.
As the son of a converted Catholic, I have…actually very
little understanding of why denying a sperm the chance to compete against
thousands of other sperm for an egg that is only even ovulating once a month is
akin to abortion. Judeo Christian religions, traditionally, have an issue with
the wasting of ejaculate, which made an itsy bit more sense before we
understood just how prolific the body is at producing sperm, and that the vast
majority of them are reabsorbed daily.
All of this is rather beside the point to corporate
personhood and the further restriction of women’s rights over their own bodies,
of course. While religion may play a part, the larger problem is simply that
people should have access to healthcare on an individual basis, and be allowed
to abstain from forms of healthcare that they find violates their religious
beliefs on an individual basis. The ability of multi-million dollar companies
to be defined as “closely-held” to an individual or family by the language of the
Supreme Court’s ruling, and therefore ruled by the executives’ prejudice,
affects the lives of their employees, elevating the religious freedom of
corporations above the rights of the individual.
My initial reaction of outrage also stemmed from concern
about women and female-bodied individuals with PCOS and other conditions that
require hormonal treatment. The good news is that most forms of hormonal birth
control are not affected by this ruling. IUDs, which don’t have the same
potential side effects, as well as morning-after pills, are now A-okay to deny
to one’s employees!
I find this kind of news disheartening and upsetting,
because court decisions are not up for vote, and by and large out of reach of
the public. However, as consumers we can affect how companies use this new
freedom. For the health-food conscious, be aware that Eden Soy has been suing against Obama Care for some time, and lists of other
potential problem companies, most less surprising, have been released: Jezebel’s 82 and Huffington Post’s 14.
For now, nothing has been confirmed, but this is the kind of
news we can’t let die down with our initial outrage. We need to keep tabs, and
hold companies responsible for healthcare practices and the way they treat