Hobby Lobby, Obamacare and Contraception

A few thoughts

  1. This is one of those "bad policy conflicts with bad policy" decisions that I have trouble getting excited about.   The government should not be mandating tiny details of health insurance policies.  On the flip side, personal religious beliefs should not trump the rule of law (example:  the fact someone has a religion that says it is legal to beat his wife should not create an exception allowing spouse abuse).
  2. That being said, the case only seems legally difficult if one completely ignores the existence of the 1993 RFRA, which most on the Left seem to want to ignore.
  3. I have zero patience with the facile argument that corporations have no individual rights.  Corporations are just assemblies of people.  Our right to assembly should not cause us to lose our other rights.  If I have freedom of speech as an individual, I don't give it up when I create a corporation.
  4. I am even more exhausted with the argument that opposing government subsidies of an activity is the same as opposing the activity itself.  Though half the readers who see this post will assume that I am anti-abortion or anti-contraception, which I am not. (Update:  This seems to be a prevalent argument today, though -- see here)
  5. The most ignored fact of this case in my mind is the absolute insanity of the government mandating that regular, predictable purchases be covered in an insurance policy.  Intelligent health insurance policies should no more cover routine contraception than home insurance policies should cover the cost of light bulb replacements.   Sure, I have no problem if some private person wanted such a policy and a private company offered one -- but mandating this craziness is just amazingly bad policy.
  6. If you really want to help women and reduce their net cost of contraception, stop requiring a prescription for certain contraceptives, like birth control pills.


  1. JIMC5499:

    It was my understanding that Obama Care required that insurance plans pay for 14 different types of contraception, Hobby Lobby's policy covered 9 of them. The only ones that they didn't cover were medications that wouldn't let the egg attach to the wall if the uterus. This entire issue has nothing to do with insurance or medical care, it has everything to do with slamming the owner's of Hobby Lobby religious beliefs.

  2. tmitsss:

    Making Health Insurance tax favored when provided by employer, but not when purchased by a family is the stupid policy that led to this.

  3. marque2:

    Obeying laws goes both ways - that is why we have the constitution. Silly argument. If the government made a law describing how you should worship - I would think you would be against that. If how you warship precludes you from donating to things you find abhorant , that were not enacted for safety reasons (eg not allowing deadly snakes to go through the audience, or not serving flavoraid laced with cyanide) I don't see how the government law is even vaguely enforceable.

    The key to Hobby Lobby is that it is tightly controlled by one family with these beliefs. I don't think GM could have won this argent since it is loosely controlled by shareholders.

  4. Noumenon72:

    As assemblies of people, do city governments also deserve free speech rights?

  5. mesaeconoguy:

    If we remove the blaring leftist noise from this case, it is based on very simple premises:

    -You do not have a right to a job. You have the right to try to find a job.

    -Employers do not have an obligation to employ anyone (this now largely false, as quotas and other biases are now allowable and prevalent).

    -You are free to seek other jobs, if your current employer does not provide the benefits you desire.

    Hobby Lobby ran afoul of the last one, not understanding totalitarian leftists want to dictate employer behavior and compliance.

  6. Zachriel:

    Yes, the Pill can sometimes cause a fertilized egg to be lost.

  7. WarwickBye:

    Aren't the individual rights in the Constitution protections for the individual from the State? Wouldn't city governments be classed as a part of the State?

  8. disqus_wS6OoRCrWQ:

    The corporation is a separate individual from its owners. Both the owners and the corporation itself have freedom of speech, the right to a fair trial, etc, because those rights make sense for humans and for legal persons. But how can a corporation have religious freedom without a religion? Maybe in this case the owners are unanimous in their beliefs, but if they weren't, how would the corporation's own stance be decided? Of course personal religious beliefs can't make otherwise illegal behavior legal, but even if people can have a religious exemption from paying for abortion/contraception, I don't think that should apply to an abstract corporation of multiple people.

  9. ColoComment:

    That's why SC limited today's decision to closely-held corporations, which typically have a very limited number of shareholders. Whether it would extend similar protections to GM or Microsoft is a separate issue.

  10. mesocyclone:

    That is correct. The government, rather than choosing a reasonable way of achieving its (questionable) goals chose the most offensive way, from a religious standpoint. That the HHS secretary was one of the few excommunicated Catholics in the US provides a clue to her motivations: screw the religious.

  11. herdgadfly:

    This whole controversy about free contraception and abortion pills was caused by the HHS writing of rules and not the Obamacare legislation itself. So fixing the problem is as simple as rewriting the rule to comply with the court. I understand that additional SCOTUS rulings today have expanded the limited number of coverages to which Hobby Lobby objected.

  12. Mike Powers:

    The funny part about the RFRA is that A: it was written to protect minority rights (American Indian religious ceremonies involving peyote), and B: it was passed during the prime of Clinton's presidency with overwhelming bipartisan support.

    So, in a way, the RFRA is the perfect example of what Libertarians hate. It is a big-government solution (a literal act of Congress!) created to solve a problem that shouldn't have existed (the War On Drugs) and it's now being used by The Wrong Sort Of People for unsavory purposes.

  13. Captain Profit:

    Roughly three out of four fertilized eggs naturally fail to implant, and I figure if God is that cavalier about them, we mortals probably don't need to treat them as sacrosanct either. But that's just my personal belief on a matter which is relatively trivial to me and I strongly believe others are entitled to their own views. (Some of those others seem to have trouble with pluralism, I'm afraid.)