What to Know about the Hobby Lobby Case and Its Effects

Hobby Lobby supporters reacted to the US Supreme Court Hobby Lobby decision on 30 June 2014

Activists protest outside the court building in Washington (Photo Source: http://www.bbc.com/news/28093756)

A craft store would seem the last setting for such an extensive debate involving religious convictions, workers rights, and body rights, yet the Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby decision has propelled an outburst from America’s citizens as the perpetual debate over religious rights continues.

The onset to this debate began with the Supreme Court’s 5-4 decision in the Burwell v. Hobby Lobby case, involving the store chain Hobby Lobby and their worker’s insurance. Within this case the Supreme Court ruled that family owned, as well as closely held companies, are not subjected to the Affordable Care Act’s provisions for no-cost prescription contraceptives within their health plan if this interferes with the owner’s religious beliefs. This monumental decision has created turmoil within the American public for the following three reasons: this ruling supports the notion that the Affordable Care Act (or Obamacare) violates the First Amendment and other laws protecting religious freedom, other companies can, and will, use this religious claim as a way to limit their healthcare coverage, and finally, this decision involves the employer’s religious beliefs in the lives of their employees.

However, these are just a few of many controversial facets to the case, including that those in favor of Hobby Lobby were strictly male and also while refusing forms of birth control for women, Hobby Lobby’s owner’s do not see a problem with men’s forms of birth control such as vasectomies and recreational sex drugs such as Viagra. But before formulating an opinion some important facts to consider include:

  • According to a 2000 study 90% of all United States companies are closely held, and this decision could affect thousands upon thousands of employees.
  • Hobby Lobby continues to provide 16 of the FDA’s 20 approved forms of contraception.
  • Although the debate for women’s reproductive care continues, many forget that under Obamacare not all men contraceptives are covered i.e. vasectomies.
  • “There are important rights here for workers…why are my beliefs circumscribed? What I find damaging about this decision is that it places all the burden on workers and says the only people who have rights here are the CEOs.” ~Neera Tanden, President of the Center for American Progress
  • Of the nine members within the Supreme Court, three are women. All women within the Supreme Court voted against Hobby Lobby which has led many to question why men are allowed to make important decisions involving women’s health.
  • The lack of religious diversity within the Supreme Court could have influenced their final decision.
  • This now raises another issue as the United States Constitution, Article Six, states, “no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public Trust under the United States.”

The Hobby Lobby case will continue to affect both workers and employers for the time being. Though the case has been “resolved”, the issue at hand is still in session.

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