Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

Supreme Court Rules in Favor of Hobby Lobby Denying Birth Control Coverage to Its Female Employees

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This morning the Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that corporations that are “closely held, for-profit companies” can claim a religious exemption to the Affordable Care Act requirement that they provide health insurance coverage for contraceptives to their female employees. What this means is that, according to our nation’s highest court, it’s totally ok for a woman’s employer to prevent her from obtaining the contraception of her choice through her health insurance. In 2014, our Supreme Court has ruled that it is perfectly fine — totally acceptable! — for a woman’s boss to make decisions regarding her health and her lifestyle. DAFUQ?!

The ruling was made in response to for-profit corporations, like the crafts store Hobby Lobby, a family-owned chain “founded on Biblical principles” — challenging a provision of the Affordable Care Act that required companies with more than 50 employees to cover contraceptive services, like morning-after pills, diaphragms and IUDs.

Representatives from Hobby Lobby argued that the use of some contraceptives is equivalent to abortion, and for that reason providing the coverage through their company compensation packages would violate their religious beliefs (which I guess are more important than a woman’s right to choose her own health services through her company insurance). While the Obama administration argued that the freedom of religion exemption applies only to the company owners individually and not to the for-profit corporations they run, the Supreme Court disagreed and decided that entire corporations can be exempt from following the law if the individuals who run it are religious zealots who think that their beliefs should apply to their employees regardless of whether those individuals share their beliefs.

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg filed a dissenting opinion, stating: “In a decision of startling breadth, the Court holds that commercial enterprises, including corporations, along with partnerships and sole proprietorships, can opt out of any law (saving only tax laws) they judge incompatible with their sincerely held religious beliefs.” She continued, saying the government has a “compelling interest” in providing no-cost birth control to women. “Those interests are concrete, specific, and demonstrated by a wealth of empirical evidence. To recapitulate, the mandated contraception coverage enables women to avoid the health problems unintended pregnancies may visit on them and their children.”

Cecile Richards, president of the Planned Parenthood Action Fund, called the decision a blow to women’s reproductive health:

“Today, the Supreme Court ruled against American women and families, giving bosses the right to discriminate against women and deny their employees access to birth control coverage,” Richards said in a statement. “This is a deeply disappointing and troubling ruling that will prevent some women, especially those working hourly-wage jobs and struggling to make ends meet, from getting birth control.”

This ruling comes on the heels of the Supreme Court’s ruling last week that a buffer zone at abortion clinics in Massachusetts protecting them and their patients from protesters is unconstitutional. Now, protesters have the right to get in the doorway of clinics and in the faces of patients — to harass, yell, intimidate, and literally stand in the way of women seeking abortions and various other health services. I am so disgusted by our country right now and the way we continue to take one step forward and two steps back in regards to civil rights. This is a sad day to be an American, and especially an American woman.

Whether you think today’s ruling affects you or not, if you are a woman or know and love a woman or are raising children who might grow up to be women or love and care for women, or if you’re someone who has enjoyed company-provided compensation packages and the ability to make choices regarding your own health care through those company-provided compensation packages, then this ruling affects you. When you start stripping the rights of some citizens, the rights of other citizens are in jeopardy, too. If that bothers you, vote into office people who will help protect your rights and vote out the politicians who are taking us back to the dark ages one terrible, fucked-up ruling at a time.

[via Huffington Post and NBC News and Mother Jones]

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116 comments… add one
  • mandalee

    mandalee June 30, 2014, 1:28 pm

    On a happy note, I am so so happy Elizabeth Warren is taking a hard line on this. She is one of the few representatives that I am proud to say I voted for.

    On the other hand, I was so sad, disgusted and angry when I heard the news today. Somehow, I convinced myself that there was no way our country would rule against women’s rights in this day and age, and then it happens. I mean, in 2014 our government is essentially stigmatizing women and stripping away rights to an essential part of women’s health care access. I have a million things to say on the topic, but I feel so defeated today. Let’s just say a future nurse practitioner, I can not wait to get involved with the nurse lobby at the state and federal levels because I am so so scared of what our future looks like.

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    • avatar

      snoopy128 June 30, 2014, 4:12 pm

      Not to be picky or anything, but the Obama administration was fighting against this ruling….they stated the religious freedom applies to the owners and not the whole company (and thus company policies).

      It’s important to remember that the Dept and Justice are technically supposed to be removed from each other. Thus, a ruling the court makes on legislation, doesn’t not mean the government made those choice; rather, they are mandated by the justice to accept that interpretation of the legislation.

      However, I totally agree we need to continue to lobby our government to fight these fights and stand up for women’s rights.

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      • mandalee

        mandalee July 1, 2014, 10:29 am

        Oh, yes I know that, I should have clarified that I know the Obama administration (and most sane people I hope) was against this ruling. I was just saying that I love Elizabeth Warren in reference to Wendy using her quote and that any time there is an issue that she said she would stand her when she was running she speaks out on when the time comes in a rational, powerful way instead of changing her tune once elected as many politicians do. I know the legislative branch wasn’t involved in the decision itself but I think it’s important that they speak out against it as well.

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  • Miel

    Miel June 30, 2014, 1:33 pm

    I was waiting for a DW thread to be started on this. I just can’t believe the ruling today. Those are the moments where I want to pack my bags, forget everything about the US and go back to Quebec. I have such a hard time calling this country my new home when I’m so disgusted by some of the policies in places.

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  • avatar

    Amanda June 30, 2014, 1:44 pm

    Well, at least the government will pay for my maternity leave and then for daycare for my offspring so that I can continue working outside of the home. Oh, wait a minute…..

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    • avatar

      Morgan June 30, 2014, 1:47 pm

      Ha. ha. ha. *starts sobbing*

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    • mandalee

      mandalee June 30, 2014, 1:52 pm

      That’s where the disconnect falls for me, I just do not understand the birth control pills/abortions are evil but once baby is here/the mother needs assistance or understanding, etc- *shrug* .
      .
      My very conservative in-laws are painting Facebook in happiness today but are very against “favoring mothers in the workplace”, when one uncle complained about losing a conference room because a few coworkers needed a place to breastfeed and speak out against any help financially or otherwise for low income mothers and children. It’s so disgusting. I mean, it’s 2014 right not the 1800s?

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      • muchachaenlaventana

        muchachaenlaventana June 30, 2014, 2:13 pm

        The disconnect is that rich white men who have no idea what a real woman’s life is actually like are the people who propose and advocate for this batshit ridiculously stupid fcking insanely antiquated and sexist/discriminatory laws. Yeah this isn’t eloquent but I am too pissed off to be PC or eloquent today.

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  • avatar

    Morgan June 30, 2014, 1:45 pm

    I woke up this morning, read the ruling, and strongly contemplated breaking out the vodka. I have a lot of thoughts and feelings on this, but for some reason when I try to type them all that comes out is fjkgjgjkldfjifsdijfejdskdjdf.

    I think my favorite (not favorite) line is the part about “the owners of the businesses have religious objections to abortion, and according to their religious beliefs, the four contraceptive methods at issue are abortificants.” Wait, so their religious beliefs tell them IUD’s cause abortions, so we have to protect that belief?! The fact that THAT’S NOT EVEN HOW IT WORKS?!?! doesn’t come into play?

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    • muchachaenlaventana

      muchachaenlaventana June 30, 2014, 2:14 pm

      Yeah its a thing I like to call SCIENCE. It is really wonderful and could help clarify for these people that in fact oral contraceptives are NO WHERE NEAR IN ANY WAY AT ALL ABORTIFICANTS.

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      • avatar

        Morgan June 30, 2014, 3:27 pm

        Well, the pill wasn’t directly at issue in this case, it was IUD’s and as usual Plan B. Although there’s nothing to stop these people (or other people) from deciding that the pill also violates their religious beliefs and refusing the cover that as well. Also, you can’t just decide that God told you IUD’s cause women to have an abortion every month when that’s NOT HOW IT WORKS.

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      • avatar

        SpaceySteph July 1, 2014, 3:03 pm

        Flash back to me in pre-marriage counseling with the Catholic church where guy stands at front and tells us how the pill causes abortions and my head legitimately explodes and my husband has to kick me under the table to keep me from interrupting.

        I had honestly never heard that before and thought the guy was on crack.. so I went home to Google it. Turns out that’s the Catholic church’s like actual position on the matter. Then I was sorry I didn’t stand up and preach science. Absurd.

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  • sobriquet

    sobriquet June 30, 2014, 1:52 pm

    This is so defeating. I wanna say I hate Hobby Lobby (which I do and I’ll never set foot into one of their stores again), but it’s not even on them anymore. Can I boycott the Supreme Court?

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  • Portia

    Portia June 30, 2014, 1:53 pm

    This makes me so mad. I was reading some live legal blogs this morning when the decision came in and it just keeps pissing me off more and more. And this this isn’t going to end anytime soon: there are plenty of other for-profit companies who are right on Hobby Lobby’s tail: http://now.org/resource/birth-control-mandate-lawsuits/ (also http://m.motherjones.com/politics/2014/04/hobby-lobby-sebelius-contraceptive-for-profit-lawsuits since the other one has been down today).
    .
    This is just making me so mad. And it’s based on bad, outdated science too, which makes me even angrier. Ugh…

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    • avatar

      snoopy128 June 30, 2014, 4:14 pm

      I am so purposely avoid readings this in order to keep my blood pressure in the happy zone.

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  • avatar

    quark June 30, 2014, 2:01 pm

    If they are indeed founded on bible principles, why don’t they share all their earnings with poor and underprivileded like Jesus taught?! Oh wait…. but that would affect their bottom line.

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    • Portia

      Portia June 30, 2014, 2:13 pm

      Exactly. Religious when it suits them and a corporation when it helps them. Hobby Lobby invests in the companies that make the birth control options they oppose.

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    • gigi

      gigi June 30, 2014, 2:30 pm

      I don’t believe its about “religion” per se, but more about repressed, jealous busy bodies who absolutely cannot stand UNAUTHORIZED FUCKING! All unauthorized fucking must cease immediately. Its a sad sad day when this is what Christianity has become, & I say this as the daughter of a pastor. I knew even as a child that the people in my church were judgey hypocrites & my view has not improved much today. There are good people in churches, & good people in religions…. its just too bad they are not the vocal ones.

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      • avatar

        quark June 30, 2014, 2:41 pm

        @Gigi, I agree, it’s not about religion. It’s about a bunch of a$$holes hiding behind religion.

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  • avatar

    ktfran June 30, 2014, 2:05 pm

    Count me in the disgusted with the Supreme Court camp, as well as the USA in general.
    .
    Hey, but at least viagra will always be covered. I mean, thank god men can take drugs to help get women pregnant…. That was complete sarcasm, btw.

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    • muchachaenlaventana

      muchachaenlaventana June 30, 2014, 2:17 pm

      YES look at Hobby Lobbys healthcare policy and I GUARANDAMFUCKINGTEE you that viagara is covered

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  • mylaray

    mylaray June 30, 2014, 2:09 pm

    There have been so many exemptions to the affordable care act, unfortunately I can’t say I’m surprised about this new ruling. I stopped using birth control because mine is not covered. Regarding the buffer zone, I’m not surprised either based on the way the law of freedom of speech here works. But I’m not happy about it. At all. Maybe I’m just so indifferent cause I’ve lost hope. Which I hate to say as a first generation American, but it’s true. I’m not sure what to think about this country.

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  • Addie Pray

    Addie Pray June 30, 2014, 2:13 pm

    I haven’t read the opinion yet to see what it actually means – not that the media isn’t accurately reporting what the case means and not that my review of the opinion means I’ll understand what it means any better than the media will – but it’s just this thing (kind of like wanting to see a movie before I read the review so it doesn’t ruin it for me or so I don’t have the review stuck in my mind as a I watch?) – but I just like to read the opinions first. So I’m trying my darnedest not to read all the commentary on this opinion. But, yeah, I don’t think I’m going to be happy.

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    • avatar

      shakeourtree June 30, 2014, 2:43 pm

      Like you, I feel compelled to read the opinion myself. I will almost certainly still be pissed off after reading it, but I need to know the exact legal reasoning behind it so I can rail against it properly.

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      • Addie Pray

        Addie Pray June 30, 2014, 2:49 pm

        Yes! When I poop on it, I want to poop on it for the right reason so the other side won’t be able to tell me I’m technically wrong on (insert whatever point surely i could never be wrong about) – ha. I’m really not happy though.

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      • avatar

        MsMisery July 1, 2014, 12:39 pm

        I really hope you plan to literally print it out and poop on it. That would be really fantastic.

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      • Addie Pray

        Addie Pray June 30, 2014, 2:51 pm

        Yes! When I poop on it, I want to poop on it for the right reason so the idiots supporting this ruling can’t hang their stupid hat on (insert whatever point surely I could never be wrong about, but still). If that makes sense. Ha. I’m really not happy though.

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      • Addie Pray

        Addie Pray June 30, 2014, 2:52 pm

        oops, sorry, duplicate comment. my overarching point: i’m really peeved by this.

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  • avatar

    SasLinna June 30, 2014, 2:28 pm

    As a non-American, I’m always shocked that healthcare is linked to employment in the US. That just seems so unfair to begin with. You guys need universal healthcare for everyone regardless of employment status.
    It’s interesting though – I live in a country with universal healthcare but contraception is NOT included here either. So we still manage to disregard women’s interests.

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    • Miel

      Miel June 30, 2014, 2:40 pm

      Are there some reproductive care that are covered? Would you pay to have a IUD inserted? Would you pay for tubal litigation? Would you pay for an abortion? Do you have universal healthcare AND universal prescription drug coverage or are they separated? Does your drug coverage include BC pill as a drug or is it excluded? Does your drug coverage include Plan B-type medication?

      It just seems like excluding all contraception from insurance coverage is very wide. Some of it is medication, some of it is medical intervention, some of it is universal because public, or private but mandatory.

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      • avatar

        SasLinna June 30, 2014, 2:48 pm

        Abortions are covered by insurance here. Tubal ligations and IUDs are only covered if they are done for medical reasons and the pill as well as plan B are not included. Actually this is making me mad now.

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      • Miel

        Miel June 30, 2014, 3:09 pm

        For us (in Quebec), abortions are covered when done in a public clinic (although it is also offered in private clinics). Mirena IUD is covered in part but not the copper IUD. Pretty much all hormonal birth control is covered at least in part (pill, ring, patch, etc.). Tubal ligations is covered.

        Our only problem is that there might be a waiting list for an abortion at a public clinic. And it’s also fairly long to get an appointment with a physician to get a BC prescription. Plan B and BC pill are also covered by private medication insurance and there are usually not covered at 100%. Mostly 60-75% depending on the plan. (They are just treated as any other prescription drug).

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  • avatar

    Sue Jones June 30, 2014, 2:28 pm

    It seems that any woman of any intelligence would do her best to steer clear of organized religion and the Republican Party. Neither of those is good for women.

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    • gigi

      gigi June 30, 2014, 2:36 pm

      So agree with this….. I live in a very conservative state & just could not hold my tongue one day, listening to a female co-worked ( & friend) go on & on about this subject. I finally turned around & said “Friend – how can you talk like this? Do you not care about other women’s access to healthcare, whether you use it yourself or not? What about your darling nieces that you love, do you want them to not be able to have access to the tests, care & meds they might need some day?” She was quiet…. but still an avid Republican to this day. I usually keep quiet here since I am in the minority…….

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    • Addie Pray

      Addie Pray June 30, 2014, 2:53 pm

      i agree, sue

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    • Lyra

      Lyra July 1, 2014, 12:26 am

      I can *kind of* see where you’re coming from, however this is an extremely rude blanket statement. I go to church on a weekly basis. Does that make me unintelligent? Having that sense of belonging with my religion is important to me. It benefits me in so many ways…spiritually, emotionally, mentally. My religion provides me comfort and peace when I need it. I totally understand why it’s not for everyone, but it is important to me and I’m offended when people say that organized religion has no value. Christianity in many ways has had a positive influence on my life. I don’t sing it from the rooftops and I’m not vocal about it all the time, but there have been so many times in the past couple years where my faith helped me find peace and serenity. That’s what makes me so sad when these types of stories come out — people tend to paint EVERY Christian in a bad light. For the record I’m a Christian Democratic feminist and I know I’m not the only one.

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      • TheLadyE

        Elisse July 1, 2014, 9:45 am

        I second this whole comment wholeheartedly. And no, Lyra, you are certainly not the only Christian Democratic feminist – I am too, and so are my mother and sister. 🙂

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      • Addie Pray

        Addie Pray July 1, 2014, 10:45 am

        I think the point is that organized religions, such as your religion, have done a lot to interfere with women’s right, including taking sides with Hobby Lobby head. That, in and of itself, makes some wonder why a woman would want to be associated with that church. There are pros and cons to most things in life so now one is telling you how to balance that, but that’s Sue’s position. Relax.

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      • avatar

        RedroverRedrover July 2, 2014, 3:35 pm

        Totally agree. This is why I left the religion I grew up in. I realized that I had to believe that either:
        a) God was sexist
        b) God wasn’t sexist and women really were inferior
        c) God wasn’t sexist and women weren’t inferior but the church wished to push the belief that they were

        Those are the only options, unless you belong to a religion that actually is not sexist (and there aren’t many of those). I don’t believe b), and if a) is true then that’s not a God I want to worship. Which leaves me with c), to which I said fuck them. I truly don’t understand how a woman could believe she’s equal to men and yet still support an organization that clearly believes otherwise.

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      • avatar

        Sue Jones July 1, 2014, 10:34 pm

        I do know some progressive Christians/ churches who support gay marriage and women’s reproductive choices and these congregations had to really fight to be affirming churches. There is a lot of bullshit at the top with excommunicating members who do not follow the right wing old boy hard line which is unfortunate. This is very sad to me. Obviously there are exceptions to the rule, but old school Christianity, Judaism , and Islam are just terrible for women. I have a brother who became Orthodox Jewish and their traditions are downright medieval. Women have to wear wigs, and at the special orthodox girls school my niece goes to their “science class” was learning how to bake a kugel! And if the woman wants a divorce she has to get permission from her husband, otherwise she is like a scorned woman. I can see why someone who was raised that way may want to keep on the tradition, but if not why any woman would choose it just confounds me.

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  • avatar

    Sara June 30, 2014, 2:52 pm

    First – I’m too upset to even talk about how ridiculous the big picture is – so let me focus on something smaller from the decision: “This decision concerns only the contraceptive mandate and should not be understood to hold that all insurance-coverage mandates, e.g., for vaccinations or blood transfusions, must necessarily fall if they conflict with an employer’s religious beliefs.”
    .
    But, if one religion’s deeply held beliefs are protected why wouldn’t all religions’ deeply held beliefs be protected? What makes one religion’s deeply held beliefs more worth protecting than another religion’s deeply held beliefs? Why don’t they just say it like it is: if the deeply held belief directly impacts white males in a negative way, it’s not worth protecting. Otherwise, whatever.

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    • gigi

      gigi June 30, 2014, 2:57 pm

      Exactly this.

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    • avatar

      Morgan June 30, 2014, 3:18 pm

      That’s the specific part that made me contemplate the merits of vodka at 10 o clock in the morning.

      Because your religious beliefs don’t trump the important stuff, just women stuff.

      And okay, part of the reason this only applies to the birth control mandate is that a system to allow access to birth control without infringing on the beliefs of non-corporation employers (i.e. churches and religious non profits) already exists, whereas there is no such parallel situation with say vaccines or blood transfusions. So really they’re extending an already existing exemption to also apply to corporations, not creating an exemption where one doesn’t previously exist.

      Still bullshit though

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      • avatar

        Sara June 30, 2014, 4:52 pm

        You said this so well – and got at the nuance in a way I couldn’t. Thank you!

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    • Guy Friday

      Guy Friday June 30, 2014, 6:03 pm

      This is the majority’s attempt to counter-act the dissent’s “slippery slope” argument. It was almost certainly inserted after the dissent had been circulated (because it’s all circulated before publication.)

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    • shanshantastic

      shanshantastic July 2, 2014, 12:14 pm

      Ultimately that will be the argument made by others who want to use different religious beliefs to target other things. The difference the flawed science used to justify the plaintiffs’ position that the contraceptives in question are abortifacients, and the perceived lack of a widespread effect on society from restricting access to those contraceptives (also a flawed position if you draw it out).

      On the other hand there is widely accepted and legitimate science supporting the practice of routine vaccination and the efficacy of blood transfusions in necessary cases, and restricting the former has a proven widespread negative effect on society according to the government (and to me, but I don’t feel like getting into a vaxxer debate).

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  • TaraMonster

    TaraMonster June 30, 2014, 2:00 pm

    I have absolutely nothing coherent to say on this topic. From the moment the NYT notification flashed on my computer this morning I have felt nothing but absolute fury at how blatantly this violates women’s rights. Term limits on Supreme Court Justices. That is the only thing I can see rectifying this insanity. The average lifespan for a white male in the late 1700’s was 38 years. 5 of the current justices have already markedly exceeded the average term length of all supreme court justices since its inception.
    .
    Talk about rolling things back until we’ve reached The Handmaid’s Tale status. WTF.

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  • Skyblossom

    Skyblossom June 30, 2014, 3:13 pm

    If you aren’t registered to vote then you need to go and register immediately. If you are registered vote in every election to get rid of these people who think it is fine for an employer to impose their own religious beliefs on their employees. Why isn’t the religious belief of the employee as valued as that of the employer? We will only be helpless if we sit back and take this.

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  • avatar

    just June 30, 2014, 3:25 pm

    So men have to pay for their own condoms, but women should force someone else to pay for their own BC? BC is not a right; if you want it pay for it yourself. The purpose of insurance is to help protect someone financially from a devastating accident or illness.

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    • avatar

      ktfran June 30, 2014, 4:31 pm

      It’s not about being paid for, in full. It’s about being covered in insurance plans, like a lot of other drugs. And a lot of those drugs that are covered aren’t strictly for devastating accidents or illnesses.
      .
      A lot of birth control is expensive per month if it’s not covered under insurance and a lot of woman simply can’t afford that cost. So, your answer is tough shit? Abstain from sex? Fine, that’s great. But I’m 110% positive that men don’t want women abstaining from sex.

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    • Miel

      Miel June 30, 2014, 4:46 pm

      Also you have to keep in mind that condoms are pay-per-use. You don’t have to wear one everyday for years, even the days you’re not having sex. BC pills are a once per day, continuous method. If a girl start BC control at 16 because she’s with her first boyfriend, chances are her doctor will advocate that she keeps taking it even when her boyfriend is not in the mood, even if she sees him only during the summer because of school schedule, even if she breaks up with him. If she’s like other millions of women in North America, she will stay continuously on the pill until she decides to start a family. That might mean 10-15 years of pills every month.
      .
      What happens the month where she can’t afford it? You can’t jump on and off the pill. If you stop one month, you jeopardize the BC protection sometimes for months. Every time you stop and start again, you’re at risk of embolism or thrombosis.
      .
      In comparison, every time you can’t afford condom, you can ask your buddy for one.

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    • avatar

      Savannah June 30, 2014, 4:46 pm

      Guess what? I buy condoms and I also have a vagina. Its crazy, I know.

      Also insurance covers a lot more than ‘devastating accidents and illness’…like Viagra for instance.

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      • avatar

        ktfran June 30, 2014, 4:58 pm

        Ha, I didn’t want to bring that one up again. So thanks!

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    • avatar

      MsMisery July 1, 2014, 12:44 pm

      Ok, I’ll bite. BC pills are also prescribed for things other than preventing pregnancy. A lot of Rx medications are prescribed for things other than what they were initially intended for. A woman can be on BC and not even be sexually active, but may have other issues that the pill controls or prevents. It’s a hormone. So, you need to start thinking of it as a medication and not the lady version of condoms.

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      • avatar

        jlyfsh July 1, 2014, 12:46 pm

        Yes, definitely a medication for some. I started the pill at 14 to prevent ovarian cysts and control some other issues I had. I’m lucky that my insurance has covered the different pills I’ve been on over the years. Now I use it for both my prescription to prevent cysts and as birth control. But, even if I suddenly became not sexually active, I’d definitely still need it.

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  • avatar

    DesiDad June 30, 2014, 3:48 pm

    Some details that may be missed in the commentary from your usual sources:

    Excerpt:
    The HHS mandate requires the family-owned business to provide insurance coverage for potentially life-terminating drugs and devices, contrary to the Greens’ religious convictions—or pay fines to the IRS.

    The Green family has no moral objection to the use of 16 of 20 preventive contraceptives required in the mandate, and Hobby Lobby will continue its longstanding practice of covering these preventive contraceptives for its employees. However, the Green family cannot provide or pay for four potentially life-threatening drugs and devices. These drugs include Plan B and Ella, the so-called morning-after pill and the week-after pill. Covering these drugs and devices would violate their deeply held religious belief that life begins at the moment of conception, when an egg is fertilized.
    — x —
    Link: http://www.becketfund.org/hobbylobby/

    I have seen a comment from a lawyer’s blog that this exemption is based on the RFRA, a separate act of Congress.

    I suppose Hobby Lobby employees will have to buy some kind of insurance rider from outside that covers those specific items.

    BTW, this reaction makes me wonder how people will react when they start to lose their employer-paid coverage once Obamacare’s full impact hits everybody, rather than the piecemeal carve-outs, extensions, and exemptions they have been passing out for the past few years.

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    • Miel

      Miel June 30, 2014, 4:24 pm

      That doesn’t take away the problem that an employer personal belief can now impact on his employees medical decisions and lifestyle. Sure hobby lobby is not against ALL the women having sex, but not covering a particular medication “because of religious belief” is a very messed up situation. My employer has nothing to do with the discussion and decision I have with my sexual partner and my doctor. If we lived in a society where medical coverage was generally not given by the employer, or if it was common for an employer to “cover this but not that”, it wouldn’t be a big deal. But this is not the case. Employers are the main source of health coverage. Most treatment and drugs are covered through those plans. But now it’s ok to pick and choose on this particular issue?

      Hey, maybe my personal belief makes me opposed to dentures, or hip replacement, or calcium supplement. What do I know, it’s apparently fine for me to interrupt the dialogue in between a patient and her physician.

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    • avatar

      Savannah June 30, 2014, 4:44 pm

      The complete irony about this ruling is that those 4 drugs and devices? Plan B and IUD’s being among them, those are the best ways to ensure women don’t have to get abortions. They are the most statistically and medically sound methods for reducing the number of abortions in this country.

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      • avatar

        Janie4 July 1, 2014, 11:15 am

        “That doesn’t take away the problem that an employer personal belief can now impact on his employees medical decisions and lifestyle.”

        Hate to break it to you, but Hobby Lobby wasn’t the first employer to opt out. There are non-profit corporations that had already opted out of this. Most, granted, were Catholic in nature, but still Hobby Lobby wasn’t the first. This also doesn’t mean that a large, non-closely held corporation can do what Hobby Lobby does.

        Plus, what the court was saying wasn’t that there was a straight right one way or another. The law governing this, the 1993 Religious Freedom law says that each case is a balancing act – the government has to weigh the compelling need (IUDs or abortificants covered by insurance) against the religious beliefs of the employer, and find out if the compelling need outweighs the religious beliefs, and if there is no other way to meet the need. The burden is on the government to prove that there is absolutely no other way that the women in question can access Plan B, IUDs, and the other birth control methods that Hobby Lobby refused to cover.

        HHS already has a way for the women who work for Hobby Lobby and the other corporation to get the insurance coverage. It’s what they did for the religious non-profits. They compelled the insurance company to pay for it for free. HHS and the government made no case as to why they couldn’t do the same for a closely-held corporation.

        To wit, a score of other non-profit employers already said “can’t, because it violates our faith”, got an exemption, Hobby Lobby and the other employer asked for the same, and the supreme court says HL should have gotten it too, because the feds had already developed a work around, which was the least restrictive means of meeting the compelling need, respecting both the need and the sincerely held religious beliefs of the owners of HL.

        Link
  • avatar

    Sunshine Brite June 30, 2014, 4:02 pm

    I wonder how much the accommodations will be that people can apply to directly with the health insurance companies which one article said was meant to bridge the gap with these organizations. Some sort of form that religious nonprofit employees currently use.

    I work in closing gaps and I can already see the gaping hole left by this verdict.

    Reply Link
  • courtney89

    courtney89 June 30, 2014, 4:04 pm

    As a female who takes birth control for medical reasons, this whole ruling just….. just.. scares the crap outta me. It makes me mad. And I tend to be more Republican honestly, (shhhhh..) but i feel like I am definitely getting more and more liberal. And this whole ruling makes me angry for women in general and makes me wonder whats to come.

    In the interest of debate, on a friends facebook post, someone she knows posted this pro-ruling comment… thoughts?
    “Don’t like the way a company is run? You shouldn’t support them by working for them, in my opinion. And if you research this more, you’ll find that Hobby Lobby is the reason this got started and they didn’t want to DENY birth control but wanted to provide coverage for birth control that would not terminate a viable pregnancy..a position I think is logical for some American religion despite or inspire of their religious beliefs.”

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    • avatar

      Morgan June 30, 2014, 4:19 pm

      Well, “they didn’t want to DENY birth control but wanted to provide coverage for birth control that would not terminate a viable pregnancy” is a gross misrepresentation of how the four forms of BC under question in the case work. A pregnancy isn’t viable until a fertilized egg implants. Yes, things like the morning after pill prevent that from happening, but fertilized eggs in fact fail to implant with some frequency. Every fertilized egg does not go on to result in implantation and thus pregnancy, so to say that preventing implantation terminates a pregnancy is not particularly accurate. Now, if you want to go on the “life begins the minute the sperm fertilizes the egg” train, I guess you could argue that plan B ends a life. But then life ends a lot more frequently than most people probably realize. And many of these lives were never going to develop into an actual human being.

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  • kare

    kare June 30, 2014, 4:29 pm

    I haven’t I read everything about this, but it was my understanding that most birth control is covered but not the morning after pill. The huge company I work for now doesn’t cover the morning after pill. I’m not sure about IUDs or other methods, but I’m pretty sure they aren’t covered 100% unless you’ve met your max out of pocket. Of course it’s not for religious reasons. Other than that aspect, I don’t really understand why it’s such a huge deal.

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  • leeside

    leeside June 30, 2014, 3:29 pm

    I was reading through another article on this ) where it states that the supreme court ruled in favor of ‘two businesses who say they’re morally opposed to certain types of birth control’ and my questions are:
    How can a business have moral standards or deeply held religious beliefs? and
    What is happening to the separation of church and state?
    Isn’t the separation of church and state in the Bill of Rights? The same people who are gloating over this victory against women are the same ones who will foam at the mouth when the words “gun control” are whispered in a crowded room.
    Can someone explain this?

    Reply Link
    • avatar

      Morgan June 30, 2014, 3:53 pm

      How can a business have moral standards or deeply held religious beliefs?

      Because corporations are people too.

      Jury is still out on whether women are people, but if the jury is made up of the fine legal scholars responsible for this one, I’m pretty sure that verdict is coming back no.

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  • avatar

    HmC June 30, 2014, 4:38 pm

    Yeah this sucks. Birth control is so widely used and is so beneficial to both sexes, how is it even a religious issue at this point? It’s so bizarre to me that it is. I almost just feel like, insurance companies must want to cover it anyway right? I mean, it’s so much less costly than childbirth. So, why can’t they just do their corporate thing and do what costs them less, and big companies just provide insurance because they have to under obama care, and men and women be responsible with their screwing and use birth control if they don’t want a kid, and everyone’s happy?! But oh, empirical evidence and logic have no place in politics, I forgot.

    On a separate but related note, my husband was showing me an episode of the Young Turks last night (liberal/indie news show) where the host discussed a study that had recently been done at Princeton that showed that public opinion on issues had ZERO STATISTICALLY SIGNIFICANT IFLUENCE on public policy. That’s right kids. We do not live in a democracy. But you know what did influence public policy?? The very top percentage of wealth. Obvi.

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    • avatar

      HmC June 30, 2014, 4:42 pm

      Here’s the link to the study. Good food for thought considering how proud we are of our “democracy” and spreading around “democratic” ideals.

      Reply Link
  • Guy Friday

    Guy Friday June 30, 2014, 6:11 pm

    I’ll quote my friend, who’s a lawyer in California and whose opinion I agree with:.
    “Just something to keep in mind on Hobby Lobby… the Religious Freedom Restoration Act was supported by a broad coalition, in response to a Supreme Court decision, and passed unanimously by the House and 97-3 by the Senate. It was explicitly drafted to require courts to interpret it broadly and above-and-beyond the Constitutional requirements. Today’s decision was one of statutory construction and not Constitutionality. Let’s put blame where blame is due: on a reactionary feel-good law with sweeping breadth. Put another way: stupid law in, stupid decision out.”.
    .
    I’m not saying I agree with the decision or the ramifications that come from it. But CONGRESS made this legit, not the courts, a Congress that, by the way, had a number of supposed “pro-choice” Democrats voting in spades for this. Truthfully, it was always going to go this way, because Scalia and Thomas are strict constructionists of the Constitution (and there’s no actual “right to birth control” enumerated in the Constitution, a fact they’ve stated in every birth control case since they’ve been on the bench), and Alito and Roberts follow a “if the people didn’t want it this way, Congress shouldn’t have voted for this” stance in most cases. So vote out the 97 senators who supported the RFRA.

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  • mylaray

    mylaray June 30, 2014, 6:19 pm

    I have a question…Plan B is over the counter (at least in most states I think) so how does any health insurance cover that anyways?

    Reply Link
    • avatar

      DesiDad June 30, 2014, 6:50 pm

      I have heard that under Obamacare those are to be paid for for “free.” I use the quotes because the premiums have gone up in an attempt to cover all those “free” goodies…

      Reply Link
    • kare

      kare June 30, 2014, 11:45 pm

      My insurance doesn’t cover plan B, but I think it’s mostly because they don’t want to get to the point where they have to cover every over the counter drug. My regular birth control pill is free, but the time I took plan b definitely wasn’t….still, cheaper than a baby.

      Reply Link
  • avatar

    Lo June 30, 2014, 7:40 pm

    I spent a large portion of today reading this opinion and the news coverage on both sides of the coin, and I think a lot of the commentators on this thread are missing some of the key points of the decision – including its scope. I encourage everyone to head over to Real Clear Politics for their coverage of today’s decision from both sides of the coin (the site is a collection of both conservative and liberal news coverage, which I always find help distill reality from all the noise).

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  • bittergaymark

    bittergaymark June 30, 2014, 7:41 pm

    So now I guess it’s gotta be ##YESALLWOMENSHOULDBEPREGNANT

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  • avatar

    JR June 30, 2014, 8:02 pm

    I’m going to be flamed for this, but:

    Elizabeth Warren’s statement is highly hyperbolic. So is Wendy’s. NO ONE is denying women access to birth control. This ruling only says that a private employer shouldn’t be forced to pay for it. Women are free to get contraception through their own insurance, or by switching employers, or by *GASP* – paying out of pocket like the rest of us have done for years.

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    • Skyblossom

      Skyblossom June 30, 2014, 8:21 pm

      Because these women, and husbands of women, are paying health insurance premiums but getting no say about what they get for their money. Many employees now pay 50% of the cost of their health insurance but still get no say in what is included. Why should the employer have all of the choice and the employee have none of the choice?

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  • avatar

    DesiDad June 30, 2014, 7:22 pm

    Simplified explanation to tide people over until AP chimes in.

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  • avatar

    Dietcokeaddict June 30, 2014, 9:54 pm

    Most employees have no say in their coverage. Many companies offer only one health plan. Some people want alternative medicine but it’s not covered, some people want home births but those aren’t covered. My daughter has a condition that requires physical therapy but our insurance only covers 20 sessions a year. We didn’t get to pick that that’s what we got. After our sessions are up we will likely pay out of pocket or look into other methods to help her. If this was a deal breaker, we would seek alternate coverage via the exchange or look for new jobs with different coverage. The hobby lobby employee has three choices if they want an iud – an alternate BC method, seeking coverage elsewhere, or finding ha job where this is part of the coverage.

    Side note: Someone raised the question in this thread about plan b being over the counter now – what does that mean for insurance coverage. My plan also doesn’t cover OTC drugs. I’m so curious.

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  • Addie Pray

    Addie Pray June 30, 2014, 10:00 pm

    Update 1: I’m reading the opinion, and I’m not happy.

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  • avatar

    Dietcokeaddict June 30, 2014, 10:04 pm

    @miel, I don’t think this means you can unilaterally say you’re opposed to dentures or artificial hips. Wouldn’t you need to demonstrate that dentures were morally objectionable within your religious belief system? I would think you’d need some historical evidence of opposition to dentures.

    Addiepray, can you clarify?

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    • Miel

      Miel June 30, 2014, 10:20 pm

      How about you invent a religious belief system ? How long do you have to make it happen before you can have “historical evidence”. Some churches in the US are considered as real religion, protected by the freedom of religion, and yet they are only a hundred years old. Do you know about the Jedi religion ? Yes, from Star wars. In the 2001 census in New Zealand, Jedi was the second most popular religious affiliation in the country… luckily those people weren’t making serious claims, otherwise we would have a serious number of Jedi believers in this world (many tens of thousands all across the commonwealth when you look at the censuses of the last fifteen years).
      .
      My point is, “personal belief” should never have such an impact, as an employer, on the lives of your employees. I mean, they went around a law because of those beliefs! I don’t think “religious beliefs” are an excuse to not follow the laws that were voted in your country of citizenship.

      Reply Link
    • Addie Pray

      Addie Pray July 1, 2014, 12:46 am

      Well, except, it kind of does mean you can say you’re opposed to dentures – if by “you” you mean the owners/controllers of a family owned for profit corporation what sincerely believes dentures violates their religious beliefs. And you’ll say haha what religion believes that – so now you’re asking the government to step in and decide which religious beliefs are legit? So either the gov’t says “nah, I’m not buying it, being anti-dentures is not a sincere religious belief” – so, great, they’re favoring “main stream religion”? or they say ok, you don’t have to allow your employees to use the care that they’ve purchased for dentures – so, great, that’s nuts.

      Reply Link
  • Addie Pray

    Addie Pray July 1, 2014, 12:22 am

    Ok, I read the opinion. I’m pissed. I’m going to try to break down what happened. But I haven’t read any of the concurring or dissent opinions yet or any of the media’s commentary and they’re smarter than I am, and they’ll make good points that will make me say, “Oh, good point! Now I’m even pissed’er!” So far, I’ve only read the majority opinion and here’s what happened without opining on what (terrible things) this means for the future. Though, I don’t think it takes a genius or too much deep thinking to realize how crazy this ruling is, how much uncertainty it’s created for the future and whatever future “sincere religious beliefs” some owners will cook up … I mean, really.
    *
    First, do you kinda know how laws work? So, federal statutes (e.g., the “Blankedy Blank Blank Act of Some Date” get passed by the U.S. Congress from time to time. Sometimes/often/always the statutes/acts (same thing) don’t quite fully work out the details, so they include terms that say, “Oh hey, people, by the way, we give (insert relevant agency in the executive branch) the right to enact ‘rules,’ aka ‘regulations’ that explain what the Act really means, ok? Ok. Check back in a few months and see what rules we’ve enacted!”
    *
    Quick example: the Act could say it applies to all “employers with 50 or more full-time employees,” which leaves everyone scratching their heads wondering, “What the heck? How the hell do you define ‘full-time’? Let’s call Addie and ask if she knows. Addie, is it an employee who works 40 hours in a week, even for just one week a year, like a seasonal employee? Help, I don’t know if the Act applies to this employee or not. I’m going crazy here, help!!!!!” Addie reads the Act but it’s not clear. So she reads the regulations but shit, they’re not published yet! So she looks up case law to see if there are any courts who have been presented with the same question and who answered it? Darnit, nothing there either! So, for $450 per hour, Addie says, “I don’t know the answer.”
    *
    Then, later, after we’ve all gone nut speculating what the hell the Act means, the department finally issues regulations and hopefully in there somewhere it says something straightforward and helpful like, “Oh, by the way, you know that part of the Act that applies to ‘full-time’ employees only? Duh, that totally means employees who work an average of 130 hours each month over the preceding 12 months.” Oh, thank you, regulations!! So that’s how that works. Addie can then give better legal advice. That’s how the “law” (statutes/acts + rules/regulations) work!
    *
    Do you know about the Religious Freedom Restoration Act “RFRA”? I didn’t know much about it before. But basically it’s a federal statute that says the federal government can’t take any actions (e.g., federal agencies can’t issue regulations) that “substantially burden” a person’s exercise of religion unless that action is the “least restrictive means” of achieving a “compelling government interest.”
    *
    Do you know about the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010, or “Obamacare” as many like to refer to it? It’s a federal statute that says covered employers have to provide affordable health care. What care? Oh there’s a bunch of stuff it says. Among other things, it includes “preventative care and screenings” for women but it doesn’t elaborate. And there’s some fancy calculations regarding what is affordable and what penalties apply if a covered employer doesn’t provide affordable health care. The act gives the U.S. agency called the “Department of Health and Human Services” (HHS) – (side note, my high school was called Hickman High School, so when I hear “HHS” I think “Go Kewpies of HHS!” Also, my high school mascot was the Kewpie, which is a naked baby doll if you had to ask) – to promulgate rules to ‘splain the Act.
    *
    So, the Department of HHS (go Kewpies!) consulted with physicians and other experts and listened to testimony and polled the public and all that jazz, I’m sure, and ended up promulgating rules that explained, “oh hey, by Obamacare’s provision requiring affordable care for ‘preventative care and screening’ for women, we means the 20 or so methods of contraceptives that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved.” Ok, cool, so that’s what that means, good to know, thanks, moving on. But in case you were concerned, HHA exempted non-profit religious institutions – so not all employers are required to provide such care.
    *
    EXCEPT WHOA WHOA WHOA RELIGIOUS PEOPLE WHO CONTROL FOR-PROFIT COMPANIES TO SHIELD THEMSELVES PERSONALLY FROM LIABLITY AND TO ENJOY CERTAIN BENEFITS THAT COME WITH CORPORATION-HOOD WOULD NOW LIKE TO RE-INSERT THEIR PERSONAL PREFERENCES ON THEIR THOUSANDS OF EMPLOYEES, PLEASE.
    *
    So three for-profit corporations (Hobby Lobby, Conestoga Wood Specialty, and Mardel) are pissed because they don’t like 4 of the 20 contraceptives approved by the FDA, because 4 may have the effect of preventing an already fertilized egg from developing any further by inhibiting its attachment to the uterus.
    *
    The opinion spent some time proving just how religious the founders and current owners and officers are, and how all three companies are “closely held” meaning, each owned and controlled by members of a single family, and no one has disputed the sincerity of their religious beliefs. (Who cares, really. I know a lot of crazy people who sincerely believe in their craziness.)
    *
    They (the for-profits who have sued) prefer that the care that their employees purchase at allegedly affordable prices not be used for one of those 4 contraceptives. They’ve asked the U.S. Supreme Court to protect them!
    *
    To protect them, four things have to be decided.
    (1). Does the RFRA apply to corporations? If no, then that’s it, the case gets thrown out; nothing to decide, women using care provided by their employers can pick whichever of the 20 contraceptives they prefer; do not move on to No. 2. (Except the answer the court reached was not “no” – it was “yes.”)
    (2), If yes, the question becomes, did the regulation enacted by HHS “substantially” burden the corporation’s exercise of religion? If no, then the case gets thrown out; nothing to decide, women using care provided by their employers can pick whichever of the 20 contraceptives they prefer; do not move to No. 3. (Except the answer the court reached was not “no” – it was “yes.”)
    (3). If yes, was the regulation achieving a “compelling interest”? If no, Hobby Lobby Head wins. (Except, phew, the court assumed there was a “compelling interest” in the reg. We move on to No. 4).
    (4). If yes, was the regulation the “least restrictive” means of achieving the regulation’s compelling interest? If no, Hobby Lobby Head wins. If yes, women win. (Spoiler alert – the answer was “no,” the Hobby Lobby Heads win; ok, you knew that.)
    *
    Regarding No. 1, the court ruled: yes, the RFRA applies to corporations. Why? Well, technically, the RFRA applies to “persons” but “persons” is not defined, and the RFRA was intended to provide broad coverage, and the dictionary defines “person” as including corporations unless narrowly defined. That’s why, I guess.
    *
    Also, because the court was really worried for the merchants’ rights. See, the dear merchants who own the corporations are put into a very difficult spot. They must either forego their personal beliefs and follow the federal law (blasphemy) or they must forgo the protections that incorporating provides (think tax benefits, liability benefits, protecting personal assets, etc.) (poor things) to enforce their personal believes on their staff. The court ruled the RFRA is broad and not meant to put merchants in such dire situation. (Forget about their female employees who would like to choose the right FDA-approved contraception for themselves; no one really considered their rights.)
    *
    Regarding No. 2, yes, applying the HHA regulation to corporations seriously violates their sincere religious belief that life begins at conception because if they refuse to provide conceptive coverage or drop coverage altogether, there are hefty monetary penalties. The question is whether the mandate imposes a substantial burden on the objecting parties’ ability to conduct business in accordance with their religious beliefs. Put again, when is it immoral for a person to perform an act that is innocent in itself (e.g., provide affordable care so women can purchase one of twenty contraceptives approved by the FDA) but that has the effect of enabling or facilitating the commission of an immoral act by another (purchasing 1 of the 4 contraceptives the owners don’t like)? The court does not feel comfortable judging these religious beliefs as mistaken or unreasonable. (Very big of the court).
    *
    Regarding No. 3, the court assumes the regulation was to achieve a compelling interest. (Phew.)
    *
    Regarding No. 4, here, the court ruled that the government failed to show the regulation was the least restrictive means of achieving the government’s compelling interest. Why? Oh, because it (the government) could have assumed the cost of the excluded contraceptives. What? Government provided health care? Bwahahahahahahahaha – I can’t finish this review, because I’m laughing my head off at this point. Also because I have to do some work but have managed spending all evening reading this opinion (and playing with Moose and drinking wine.)

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    • Addie Pray

      Addie Pray July 1, 2014, 7:09 am

      So that’s it. Basically corporations can now use the RFRA to argue regulations they don’t like offend the sincere religious beliefs of their owners … You know how many regulations there are that require companies to do stuff? A lot. I have no idea which one will be targeted next and what rights of ours may be subject to some old white owner’s sincerely held religious belief… And now what, are our courts going to be clogged by each owner who says “nah, I don’t want to do that because my LLC believes x, y or z.” And I get that the ruling is only limited to contraceptives – but that’s just because THAT was the dispute at issue. There’s a every clear test outlined in the case. All corps need to do is make a connection between (insert whatever law exists) and their (insert sincerely held religious belief) and go trough the compelling interest / least restricting means analysis.

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      • Addie Pray

        Addie Pray July 1, 2014, 7:31 am

        I mean, the irony is, for employees with religious beliefs that regulations protect, now corp owners can argue nah, not gonna follow those laws because of my own beliefs. I still need to read the dissent – I know it’s only gonna make me more mad.

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      • avatar

        jilliebean July 1, 2014, 8:46 am

        Addie, thanks for the awesome legal interpretation! This really is a horrifying decision, and it can’t be coincidence that the men voted as they did and the women dissented. The direction of this country really depresses me lately.

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      • Dear Wendy

        Dear Wendy July 1, 2014, 8:59 am

        THIS is really the worst part about the decision — the idea that this ruling opens doors for employers to discriminate at will using their religious beliefs as an excuse to not follow the law. It makes me sick. And it’s not rich, white men who will be discriminated against. It’s women and minorities. WHY in 2014 is it still such an uphill battle fighting against discrimination and protecting our basic rights?!

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      • Cymepkee

        Cymepkee July 1, 2014, 9:40 am

        In response to this argument, that it sets legal precedent for discrimination, someone just told me that private businesses should be able to choose who to hire, and who not to hire, for whatever reason. So, that’s the type of sound logic we are fighting against.

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    • veritek33

      veritek33 July 1, 2014, 3:11 pm

      I just had to comment that I’m dating a Kewpie right now. AND I KNOW WHAT A KEWPIE AND HHS ARE!

      Reply Link
      • Addie Pray

        Addie Pray July 1, 2014, 3:25 pm

        Kewpies are the best!

        Link
  • avatar

    Matt Carroll July 1, 2014, 9:57 am

    So, after a quick poll of the comments, I’m probably the only person on this side of the argument here. Please be civil and attack the argument and not me as a person. A few points:
    1) Nothing is stopping people from buying what they want in the free market. There’s a pre-occupation with it not be covered making it not available. The four products in question are not that expensive. These aren’t HIV or cancer treatments and employees are free to buy their own insurance or find another employer.
    2) The concept regarding the religious belief is that life begins at conception. Thus anything that could prevent a fertilized egg from implanting is a problem. They allow the others because they prevent fertilization in the first place. This may seem like a semantic difference, but that is the theological belief: Life begins at conception. You can argue whether that’s true or not, but that’s the belief.
    3) The requirement for covering contraception was never voted on by congress. It was part of the HHS mandate that was decided by bureaucrats. This forced the hand of the employer, they didn’t want to be involved in the decision in the first place: bit.ly/1mdWJdR

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    • Addie Pray

      Addie Pray July 1, 2014, 10:57 am

      1. That’s not the point. The point is there is a law that mandates that employers provide preventative care to women and owners of companies that employ women don’t want to based on their personal beliefs. That they can go else where to buy it? Not the point. Similarly, there are laws that say you can’t discriminate against employees based on the color of their skin. What you’re saying is kind of like saying, “hey, no one is telling blacks they can’t work, they just can’t work at the companies that don’t want them because their religion is opposed to people with that skin color.”

      2. I get their point. Their religion believes life begins at contraception and that anything interferes with a fertilized egg from implanting is a problem. We all get their argument. No one is saying they’re wrong or right. We’re saying “that’s nice, that’s your belief, go forth and believe that but don’t interfere with my rights.”

      3. Yes it was. The ACA provides that employers must provide preventative care and screening – if you read testimony, findings, transcripts of legislative hearings, you’ll find contraceptives was considered included and nothing was mentioned to suggest congress did not expect to include contraceptives. The fed. regulations have interpreted the ACA as including the 20 contraceptives the FDA has approved. That the Hobby Lobby folks are only disputing 4 of the 20 shows the issue is NOT with contraceptives in general (otherwise all 20 would have been disputed).
      *
      The thing is, I understand the “life beings at conception” argument – that’s your religious belief. But it’s infringing on rights of others. Moreover, the implications of this rulings have no bounds. What’s to say YOUR employer won’t have sincere religious beliefs that make it immoral for it to provide whatever care you have sought, for whatever personal reason. There are religious groups that don’t believe in a lot of medical treatments because it interferes with god’s will … should we let them, should they own your company, decide what treatments you want?

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      • Addie Pray

        Addie Pray July 1, 2014, 11:01 am

        Also, insert whatever Ruth said. I still haven’t read her dissent. I’m saving it for a fun read at a coffee shop.

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      • Portia

        Portia July 1, 2014, 11:15 am

        Oh, you have to read the dissent! I haven’t gotten through the whole thing, but man, she (and her clerks) were on fire! Also, I just found out I’m going to a talk of hers in a month and I’m so excited.

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      • Addie Pray

        Addie Pray July 1, 2014, 11:32 am

        I’m saving it for a nice little outing to a coffee shop! (I like to save good stuff to read for dates with myself at coffee shops.) When I first discovered City Wendy, I printed off all the alphabet writings (or briefs or drafts – god, I can’t get legal terms out of my head – what are they called? Essays?) and read them at a wine bar. It was so fun! (I have a short attention span so can’t take a BOOK with me, you see.)

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    • Skyblossom

      Skyblossom July 1, 2014, 11:18 am

      Why should women be paying health insurance premiums and then have to pay out of pocket for the health care that they actually need? It makes no sense. The same people who support this stand are the same ones who warn that if there is mandatory health care the government will get between you and your doctor and interfere with your health care. Now they are arguing that it is perfectly fine for your employer to interfere with your health care. Why can’t women be allowed to choose the policy that works best for them, with the benefits that work for them? Why should the employer insert them self into the process. I could even understand the argument if the employer was the only one paying for the health care but women are having deductions taken from their salary every paycheck to pay for a service that doesn’t provide what they need. There are many women who can’t take hormonal birth control for various reasons yet they can’t use their own health insurance to pay for the birth control that will work for them. Every woman, should be able to pay for a health insurance plan that meets her own needs and her own situation. If she has trouble remembering to take the pill in a timely manner she would be more responsible and better off using an IUD. IF she travels frequently and is in a different timezone all of the time she might be better off with an IUD. If she is at risk for blood clots she should use an IUD.

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      • avatar

        ktfran July 1, 2014, 11:28 am

        THIS! Thank you so much for this.
        .
        The argument “pay out of pocket, it’s cheap,” “find another insurance plan,” and “get a new job” don’t wash because: 1. It’s not cheap to a lot of people. 2. Why should one lose benefits with their company because they don’t want to cover necessities. Medical benefits are part of the overall compensation package. You shouldn’t have to look elsewhere. 3. In this market, finding a new job sucks.
        .
        I mean seriously. It’s common sense.

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    • avatar

      quark July 1, 2014, 12:22 pm

      1) But it is expensive. An IUD costs anywhere between $500-$1000 which, for someone making a retail clerk salary, is probably half of ther monthly check. And that doesn’t include the doctor visit which also won’t be covered.
      2) and 3) what everyone else said in their replies.

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    • avatar

      DesiDad July 2, 2014, 2:32 pm

      Sorry, Matt, there is simply no way to argue with people who refuse to allow the kind of freedoms that we used to take for granted. They do not see the irony and contradiction between these 2 statements:
      “It is not anybody else’s business!”
      “Somebody else must pay for what I want”

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      • Miel

        Miel July 2, 2014, 2:52 pm

        Of course with over-simplified statement like “Somebody else must pay for what I want”, you do contribute to a rich and meaningful debate. The principle behind insurance (of all kinds) is not really about “other people paying for the stuff I want”. It’s about protecting each other since we all belong to the same society. If you think insurances are about people being spoiled kids and asking for free gifts, you probably don’t understand the current situation as much as you think.

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      • Skyblossom

        Skyblossom July 2, 2014, 3:09 pm

        Women aren’t wanting something for free. Women want their health insurance premiums to cover their actual health needs. That isn’t wanting treats for free, it’s wanting my money to pay for the things I use instead of paying for what everyone else uses but I then pay for mine out of pocket. When I was in my 20s the only healthcare I routinely used was birth control. During my entire 20s I used antibiotics twice so my healthcare for most of a decade was birth control. At 29 I had a baby so that last year I used my health insurance for a pregnancy and delivery. To skip the greatest need that most young women will have and say that they are greedy for wanting it to be covered with the payments that they are making is wrong. There is nothing wrong or greedy in wanting your payments to cover your needs or in feeling that you should have some say in what you are getting for your money.

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  • Skyblossom

    Skyblossom July 1, 2014, 11:21 am

    I think it’s time to go to a single payer, government sponsored, health insurance that bypasses the employer. It is time to take our health care out of the hands of our employers and let us have the health care we need.

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    • mandalee

      mandalee July 1, 2014, 11:42 am

      Yes, this! I know people are so against a single payer system in this country but anyone I’ve ever spoken to that lives in or comes from a country with it, so okay anecdotal evidence and all that, speaks much higher of the healthcare and its cost in their home country than they do of the United States. The thought that access to affordable health care, and I say that loosely since the best employer plan I had required me to pay $300 a month premiums out of pocket monthly, is tied to employment is mind boggling if you really think about it. It gives complete control over the individual cost of health care to employers because they chose the plans, what they do and do not cover and what the employee’s contribution will be to said plan. Also, I would assume that most people who work at companies who employ low wage workers have even more abysmal plan options than those that employ higher wage workers, again burdening those who can barely afford to make ends meet with higher healthcare costs, which makes them less likely to use preventative services because of the cost, which then it turn raises the overall cost of healthcare on all of this when they claim bankruptcy when a healthcare crisis occurs.

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  • cmary

    cmary July 1, 2014, 12:34 pm

    So I just have a question. I’m not arguing one way or another, really, because I don’t want to be voted off Dear Wendy, but how is this different from other medications and whether or not they’re covered? Because I take daily medications for my ulcerative colitis. I have insurance, through my husband’s job right now, but they don’t cover anything toward my prescription cost. I pay $250 a month for the medication I need. Once I’m eligible for insurance through my own job, I can switch to plan with better coverage.
    .
    How is that different from the contraception thing? Some people need it for medical reasons, just like I need my meds for medical reasons, to,you know, keep me alive. Some companies won’t cover contraception in their insurance, just like my insurance doesn’t cover my meds right now. I can receive better coverage with another company, so as soon as I can, I will switch.
    .
    I’m not trying to argue. I just wonder what the difference is between contraception coverage and shit coverage for medication in general. I mean, hell, before I changed meds, I was paying $850 a month for these pills. And I’m not exaggerating those costs.

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    • Miel

      Miel July 1, 2014, 1:13 pm

      I’ll start this saying that I’m not 100% sure about all the things I’m going to say. Whoever knows better should totally correct me if I say something wrong. This is just my own personal understanding.
      .
      So it began because the government decided that it would be beneficial for the nation if everybody had health care. So they made it mandatory, and that included requesting most employers to provide health care. But then you need to define what is in that “mandatory package”. I’ll start here a comparison with elementary school. We decided a while ago that it was mandatory for kids to attend some sort of school, so we defined what “school” meant (a normal elementary school, some alternative school for kids with special needs, home schooling, etc.). That was done so nobody would just put 10 kids in a walk-in closet, lock them in there, write “school” on the door and be able to say “my kids are in school all day”. Basically, we made a minimal package of what “school” should include (math, language art, sciences, etc). The same here with health coverage, we don’t want employers to make up some fake health care that doesn’t cover squat, so we elaborated “what should be the minimal coverage for something to be called health care”? And it included some basics stuff that was deemed necessary for everybody (accident, heart disease, cancer, emergency visits…)
      .
      Now some things are included in the package, but it doesn’t mean all of them are included. Math is included in school, but astronomy might not. It doesn’t mean that astronomy is a forbidden topic in school, it’s just not a mandatory one, because we don’t think it should be mandatory for every kid. We do think math is mandatory though. Same for health care, we do think that chemotherapy should be covered for all, but sadly ulcerative colitis medication is not. So some plan covers it and others do not.
      .
      Here the 20 FDA approved contraceptive method were considered to be part of the “mandatory package”. It was like “grammar” or something in school. The problem is that now some people wants to argue that they will have a school, and kids will go to that school and get a diploma out of it, but they won’t teach grammar. And that’s a problem because most people think the kids education will suffer from the fact that grammar is not taught. Sure, the kids could change school, but we still see a problem from the fact that the school would keep its accreditation even though it doesn’t teach grammar!
      .
      So it’s a bit the same for the health care coverage. I’m sure it sucks for the people like you who need treatments that aren’t usually part of the “mandatory package”, but we also can’t include ALL medical services and product in that mandatory package. Doctors and professional sat down to decide what was the most useful for the nation (do we need grammar and astronomy ? or just grammar ?) and they made a decision. And now hobby lobby wants to pick and choose based on their personal beliefs (they’ll teach grammar for the most, only not the future tense conjugation) and it doesn’t sound right.

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    • theattack

      theattack July 1, 2014, 2:04 pm

      hi cmary! I agree with Skyblossom that your meds should definitely be covered for you, and that really really sucks. I do think there are some differences at play here though.
      .
      First for a made up statistic, probably like 90% of adult women will be on birth control at some point in their lives. Probably like 99% of adult women will have sex at some point in their lives, and will need to be able to control their reproduction when they do. Not very many people have ulcerative colitis in comparison. That doesn’t make the issue any less important, and it doesn’t make your experience any less horrible. The society-level rage just isn’t there to support your meds because it’s much more specific to your needs.
      .
      Additionally, access to birth control is a gendered issue, and lack of access to birth control systematically keeps women as a group down. Due to how much this targets a certain demographic, the effects of this could sweep the nation and could amount to disadvantaging an entire population rather than just individuals.
      .
      Again, I really don’t mean to be insensitive here, and I can’t believe you have to deal with those costs. That is truly outrageous, and I hope that you can get coverage for that. The people who are denying you coverage deserve bad, bad things.
      .
      And then of course, the other major issue with this ruling is granting corporations the ability to hold religious beliefs and cry “BUT JESUS!” whenever they feel like it, regardless of what the issue is.

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      • avatar

        ktfran July 1, 2014, 2:54 pm

        I really hope the women at Hobby Lobby file a Civil Rights Act Title VII complaint, on the grounds that the company is treating female employees differently than male employees by refusing to cover gender-specific health services.

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      • Addie Pray

        Addie Pray July 1, 2014, 3:07 pm

        oh that’d be interesting

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    • avatar

      RedroverRedrover July 2, 2014, 3:44 pm

      Is it possible that the meds aren’t covered right now, but will be in the future? What I mean is, where I live, we have a “drug schedule” which lists the drugs which get covered by health care. New drugs that are relatively unproven, experimental drugs, and price changes on existing drugs don’t get added to the schedule right away. Which means that if you’re on new drugs or experimental drugs, you have to pay yourself. If you’re on drugs and the price goes up, the schedule price doesn’t, which means that you have to pay the difference out of pocket. But eventually, once it goes through the bureaucratic process, it’ll end up on the schedule (unless it remains “experimental”, meaning that there’s not enough proof to show that it’s a helpful treatment for the condition).
      .
      Is it like that, or do they just randomly say, some drugs aren’t covered for no good reason?

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  • Skyblossom

    Skyblossom July 1, 2014, 12:41 pm

    I think it is as wrong for your medication to not be covered as it is for an IUD not being covered. This is why we need to get away from employers getting between us and our appropriate medical care.

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    • avatar

      DesiDad July 2, 2014, 2:37 pm

      I think we should be buying our own health insurance. Having employers cover it was a historical accident (from the 1940s) and it will be better to extract ourselves from that.

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      • Skyblossom

        Skyblossom July 2, 2014, 3:14 pm

        I agree we should be extracting ourselves from employer sponsored healthcare but I don’t want to go back to a system where it is only an open market so people with pre existing conditions are excluded from health coverage. Our friend’s son only has health coverage because of Obamacare. He developed Crohn’s disease at the age of 4 and with that pre existing condition he wouldn’t have gotten any health policy. He has graduated college and is working for a small company that doesn’t offer health insurance. He is a great person, hard working and deserving of the health care he needs to remain healthy. There are lots of people just like him. He is contributing to society.

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      • avatar

        ktfran July 2, 2014, 3:23 pm

        Or to an open market where women pay a lot more for insurance based on biology. Pregnancy, birth control, mammograms just to name a few.
        .
        I don’t like the current way of doing things, but some of the alternatives are also scary.

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    • avatar

      RedroverRedrover July 2, 2014, 3:38 pm

      That’s why single-payer is a good solution. Everyone gets covered regardless of employment status. And no one pays more than anyone else, except in the sense that the more income you have, the more taxes you pay. But at the hospital or doctor’s office, you pay the same. Actually you don’t pay at all, unless you get something special that isn’t covered. When I had my baby I had to pay $45 for a private room, but other than that I didn’t pay a cent.

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  • avatar

    SpaceySteph July 2, 2014, 4:11 pm

    Your hate-read of the day regarding this whole stupid thing:
    This guy’s privilege reaches through the screen to smack you in the face. And don’t even get me started on his off-handed smack talk about Orthodox Jews. I know more than 5-6 in my fucking city, asshole.

    (P.S. if you use donotlink.com you can link people to the site without helping their stats… my go-to link-shortener for sharing hate reads!)

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  • Portia

    Portia July 9, 2014, 11:55 pm

    Sad, sad update that somehow flew below the radar: SCOTUS clarified their position that their ruling applies to all 20 forms of birth control (not just the 4 disputed): http://www.msnbc.com/rachel-maddow-show/court-conservatives-add-insult-injury-contraception So anyone that’s arguing, oh it’s only these 4 “aborifacents”! Nothing about the birth control that 90% of women in this country use! Have at your pills! Well… Yeah.
    .
    On the bright side, looks like the senate democrats are introducing a bill to override the decision:
    .
    So, if anyone is in a conservative state or your senator hasn’t already pledged their support for this bill, please please please write your senator!

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