The opening salvo in what’s likely to be a long legal battle over women’s health issues:

— The U.S. Supreme Court declined Wednesday to put a temporary hold on a controversial provision in the new health care law requiring employers to provide health insurance coverage for contraceptives.

Two businesses challenging the act — the nationwide chain of 500 Hobby Lobby Stores and Mardel, a chain of Christian bookstores — contended that the law violates their religious freedom. Their legal battle is continuing over the merits of their claim. In the meantime, they asked the US Supreme Court to put a temporary hold on the law, which takes effect January 1, 2013.

On Wednesday, Justice Sonia Sotomayor, who handles emergency appeals from the courts where the companies are based, declined to grant an injunction.

In a brief written opinion, she said the Supreme Court has never addressed similar freedom-of-religion claims brought by for-profit corporations objecting to mandatory provisions of employment benefit laws.

“Lower courts have diverged on whether to grant temporary injunctive relief to similarly situated plaintiffs,” she said, “and no court has issued a final decision granting permanent relief with respect to such claims.”

If the two companies ultimately lose in the lower courts, the justice said, they can still appeal to the Supreme Court.

More cases most assuredly to follow…

JOE GANDELMAN, Editor-In-Chief
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Copyright 2012 The Moderate Voice
  • sheknows

    LOL..yeah, I’m sure Hobby Lobby is concerned about the religious implications.
    and if they are, they had better also make sure Viagra isn’t covered anymore.

  • zusa1

    Calling the morning after pill a contraceptive is a euphemistic misnomer.

  • zusa1

    “Obamacare could drive Little Sisters of the Poor out of the US

    The crux of the matter is a religious exemption that the federal government is expected to make available to Catholic churches, but not to other Catholic institutions.

    That’s because unlike Catholic parishes and dioceses, the church’s many affiliated schools, charities, religious orders and hospitals don’t discriminate in their hiring or service, often employing staff — and serving people in need — who come from other Christian denominations or from other faiths entirely.

    “We are not exempt from the [Obamacare] mandate because we neither serve nor employ a predominantly Catholic population,” Constance added. ”We hire employees and serve/house the elderly regardless of race and religion, so that makes us ineligible for the exemption being granted churches.”

    Those employees, she said, number in the thousands.

  • sheknows

    The AHCA does not grant exemptions to profit making organizations that hire over 100 employees, not because they hire interdenominational. AHCA merely states that the employers of >100 or more will have to provide healthcare coverage or be fined $2000 ea employee ( the cost to insure them anyway).
    You have to ask, why would say a Catholic hospital or clinic NOT want to provide health insurance? I don’think they would, and IF they would…shame on them. I say shame on any employer of 100 or more too cheap to offer insurance.

  • sheknows

    Non profit is considered the same as profit in terms of AHCA and the employees welfare.
    I worked for Bergan Mercy Hospital for over 8 yrs…a non profit catholic hospital, but they offered health insurance. Their clinic offered it too.
    Those who care about their employees will always do the right thing. Those who do not will have a problem with it.

  • zusa1

    Sheknows, It’s not about offering health insurance. It’s about offering health insurance that provides services in conflict with their religious beliefs.

    From the article above:
    “The exception is needed, said Sister Constance Carolyn Veit, the Little Sisters’ communications director, because Catholic teaching opposes contraception and medical treatments that cause sterility or can cause abortions.”

  • sheknows

    I guess I am confused on this issue then. Since insurance always paid for vasectomies and tubal ligations before, why is it an issue now? Why would the catholic church, or any religious organization suddenly squawk because the pill has been included in that contraceptive coverage. My sister in-law had a ligation and never heard anything from the catholic church. How many men go to communion every week and have had vasectomies?
    You can’t tell me the catholic church didn’t know people were getting these procedures and that it was covered by their health insurance that THEY contribute coverage to.

  • zusa1

    Sheknows, In 2010, the Catholic Church stripped an Oregon hospital of it’s Catholic designation for performing tubal ligations. I found a listing of various Catholic Universities etc. and insurance coverage varies. Some plans cover birth control, some such a Notre Dame specifically do not unless for medical purposes other than birth control. Issues regarding compliance with Church teachings should be a matter for the Church to resolve not the government. The morning after pill is a whole different beast.

  • sheknows

    Still, non-profit Catholic employers cannot deny access to contraception for those who do not share their belief, or that aspect of it.
    Women pay 68% more out of pocket for healthcare than men do largely due to contraception and health care costs due to pregnancy. The purpose of AHCA is not to punish catholics, but to promote womens healthcare.

  • zusa1

    “Still, non-profit Catholic employers cannot deny access to contraception for those who do not share their belief, or that aspect of it.”

    They are not denying access. If paid birth control is critical to someone and not covered by their employer’s plan, and they do not feel their wages would be high enough to cover it, then they should seek employment elsewhere.

    What about the morning after pill?

  • sheknows

    You are saying the employee should be forced to find a job somewhere else??

    Well it could all be solved then if the employer, before hiring, would have the new hires submit to a questionaire about their needs for contraception, birth control and religious views on the topic. Then both would know if the current healhcare plan the company has would be suitable.
    That’s the old argument about church and state. The bottom line is, the state can make it mandatory for the employer to OFFER it, but the employee, subject to their own conscience and religious beliefs can elect to use it or not. The employer doesn’t have a right to deny contraceptive coverage to everyone who works for them because they don’t hold the same religious views.

    morning after pill? Isn’t that covered also?

  • zusa1

    “You are saying the employee should be forced to find a job somewhere else??”
    If getting paid birth control is a deal breaker then yes. Frankly, it would be low on my list of considerations.

    “The employer doesn’t have a right to deny contraceptive coverage to everyone who works for them because they don’t hold the same religious views.”

    This is the crux of the disagreement isn’t it? Can the state require an employer to offer compensation in the form of a benefit that is in violation of their religious beliefs? It is true that it is the employee that decides whether to accept the offer, but the state is requiring that the offer be made.

  • sheknows

    Zusai, ” the state is requiring that the offer be made”. Yes because not everyone who works for that employer holds those religious views. That would be like an employer who is a 7th Day Adventist who doesn’t believe in medical interference for treatment of illness. Just because THEY don’t believe in it, should not prevent others who work for them from receiving it.

  • zusa1

    “not everyone who works for that employer holds those religious views.”

    This is a good reason why the state should not require someone to buy something for someone else.

  • sheknows

    LOL..our conversation is like a Cirque De Soliel act gone bad.

    We just have to agree to disagree on this issue. I say the state should have the right to tell employers to offer health insurance coverage ( which may include coverage for things the employers finds at odds with in their personal religious beliefs) Like the Seventh Day Adventists who are opposed to medical treatment beyond prayer. That wouldn’t provide much coverage for anyone now would it?
    You feel the Government should not make “religiously objectionable” care by the employer mandatory. The debate will go on without us I am sure.

  • zusa1

    “LOL..our conversation is like a Cirque De Soliel act gone bad.” 🙂