Catholic Dominated Supreme Court Flaunts Its Religious Muscle Against Women’s Reproductive Rights

    By Donald A. Collins | 30 June 2014
    Church and State

    Abortion opponents demonstrated outside the Supreme Court on Monday. (Photo: Doug Mills / The New York Times)

    If American women didn’t understand how the Catholic loaded Supreme Court tries to control their reproductive rights, they do now. In the 5 to 4 decision, 5 of the 6 Catholics on this Court of only 9 justices—ironic noun for such opinions—voted against women’s basic human rights.

    This June 30 decision which rules that family owned corporations are not required to pay for contraception coverage makes clear that religious power trumps civil rights and secular governance.

    Read the story from the 6/30 NT Times blow and weep if you care about the separation of church and state and the basic human rights which have been ordered by our Federal Government.

    Supreme Court Rejects Contraceptives Mandate for Some Corporations

    By Adam Liptak | 30 June 2014
    The New York Times

    The Supreme Court ruled on Monday that requiring family-owned corporations to pay for insurance coverage for contraception under the Affordable Care Act violated a federal law protecting religious freedom.

    The 5-to-4 decision, which applied to two companies owned by Christian families, opened the door to challenges from other corporations to many laws that may be said to violate their religious liberty.

    Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr., writing for the court’s five more conservative justices, said a federal religious-freedom law applied to for-profit corporations controlled by religious families. He added that the requirement that the companies provide contraception coverage imposed a substantial burden on the companies’ religious liberty. He said the government could provide the coverage in other ways.

    Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, writing for the court’s four-member liberal wing, said the contraception coverage requirement was vital to women’s health and reproductive freedom. Justices Stephen G. Breyer and Elena Kagan joined almost all of the dissent, but they said there was no need to take a position on whether corporations may bring claims under the religious liberty law.

    On that point, Justice Ginsburg, joined by Justice Sonia Sotomayor, said the court’s decision “is bound to have untoward effects” in other settings.

    “The court’s expansive notion of corporate personhood,” Justice Ginsburg wrote, “invites for-profit entities to seek religion-based exemptions from regulations they deem offensive to their faiths.”

    The contraception coverage requirement was challenged by two corporations whose owners say they try to run their businesses on religious principles: Hobby Lobby, a chain of crafts stores, and Conestoga Wood Specialties, which makes wood cabinets.

    The health care law and related regulations require many employers to provide female workers with comprehensive insurance coverage for a variety of methods of contraception. The companies objected to some of the methods, saying they are tantamount to abortion because they can prevent embryos from implanting in the womb. Providing insurance coverage for those forms of contraception would, the companies said, make them complicit in the practice.

    The companies said they had no objection to other forms of contraception, including condoms, diaphragms, sponges, several kinds of birth control pills and sterilization surgery.

    The Obama administration said it did not question the sincerity of the companies’ beliefs, and it has offered exemptions to other groups on such grounds.

    A federal judge has estimated that a third of Americans are not subject to the requirement that their employers provide coverage for contraceptives. Small employers need not offer health coverage at all; religious employers like churches are exempt; religiously affiliated groups may claim an exemption; and some insurance plans that had not previously offered the coverage are grandfathered in.

    But the administration said that for-profit corporations like Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood must comply with the law or face fines.

    The cases are Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, No. 13-354, and Conestoga Wood Specialties v. Burwell, No. 13-356.

    The companies challenged the coverage requirement under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993. The law was a response to a 1990 Supreme Court decision that declined to recognize religious exceptions under the First Amendment’s free exercise clause to generally applicable laws. Congress effectively reversed that decision.

    “What this law basically says,” President Bill Clinton said before signing the bill, “is that the government should be held to a very high level of proof before it interferes with someone’s free exercise of religion.”

    The threshold question in the new case was whether the companies were permitted to raise a claim under the law.

    The companies argued that they were, and they said the coverage requirement imposed a “substantial burden” on religious practices by subjecting Hobby Lobby, for instance, to fines of $1.3 million a day if it chose not to offer comprehensive coverage, and to different fines of $26 million a year if it stopped offering insurance entirely.

    Some scholars responded that the company would be better off financially if it dropped coverage, and so does not face a substantial burden.

    The administration argued that requiring insurance plans to include comprehensive coverage for contraception promotes public health and ensures that “women have equal access to health care services.” The government’s briefs added that doctors, rather than employers, should decide which form of contraception is best.

    A supporting brief from the Guttmacher Institute, a research and policy group, said that many women cannot afford the most effective means of birth control and that the law will reduce unintended pregnancies and abortions.

    As Dr. Stephen D. Mumford has so eloquently presented for decades, the leadership of the Catholic Church both here and around the world has been working in a clandestine and pervasive way to provide for that institution’s well being, which is based not on its so called spiritual mission, but in amassing tremendous secular wealth and power. This decision underlines how far and how well it has succeeded. In capturing the Supreme Court, it is one third of the way to exercising undue influence on our government.

    We can thank the two Bush Presidencies for this unimaginable situation. Will Jeb be on the Republican ballot in 2016?

    Former US Navy officer, banker and venture capitalist, Donald A. Collins, a free lance writer living in Washington, DC., has spent over 40 years working for women’s reproductive health as a board member and/or officer of numerous family planning organizations including Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Guttmacher Institute, Family Health International and Ipas. Yale under graduate, NYU MBA. He is the author of From the Dissident Left: A Collection of Essays 2004-2013.

    Court rules in favor of Hobby Lobby

    Fr Frank Pavone, National Director of Priests for Life, comments on the Supreme Court’s ruling in the Hobby Lobby Case

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