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US Justice Blocks Implementation of ACA Contraceptive Mandate 903

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the can-we-just-have-communist-care-instead? dept.
theodp writes "First approved for contraceptive use in the U.S. in 1960, 'The Pill' is currently used by more than 100 million women worldwide and by almost 12 million women in the U.S. But just hours before the Affordable Care Act was to go into effect, Justice Sonia Sotomayor issued a stay temporarily blocking a mandate requiring health insurance coverage of birth control, and gave the Obama administration until Friday to respond to the Supreme Court on the matter. Sotomayor's order applies to a group of nuns, the Little Sisters of the Poor, and other Roman Catholic nonprofit groups that use the same health plan, known as the Christian Brothers Employee Benefit Trust (PDF). The group is one of many challenging the federal requirement for contraceptive coverage, but a decision on the merits of that case by the full Supreme Court could have broader implications. One imagines Melinda Gates is none too pleased. So, will U.S. health care require a Department of Personal Belief Exemptions that are dictated by employers (PDF, 'The Trustees of CBEBT and the management of Christian Brothers Services are dedicated to protecting the employers participating in the CBEBT from having to face the choice of violating their faith or violating the law')?"
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US Justice Blocks Implementation of ACA Contraceptive Mandate

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  • by Daniel Dvorkin (106857) on Wednesday January 01, 2014 @01:45PM (#45837801) Homepage Journal

    Sotomayor is generally considered one of the most liberal Supreme Court Justices, but here she is issuing a ruling that will make conservatives very happy. In other words, she made the decision based on legal principles instead of her personal ideology. Don't hold your breath waiting for, say, Thomas or Alito to do the same, ever.

  • by Lexible (1038928) on Wednesday January 01, 2014 @01:49PM (#45837845)
    Just like if one's personal faith entails, say, pacifism (of the no support for institutional violence variety), that does not mean that one gets to opt out of, say, taxes that support the military, the police, or the prison system. Not sure how mandating that birth control is part of a federally stipulated health care package and religious (yet Sisyphean) objections to heterosexual sex are going to change that reality.
  • Re:Fuck religion. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ColdWetDog (752185) on Wednesday January 01, 2014 @02:22PM (#45838171) Homepage

    It gets a bit stickier when said religious organization must deal with people of different beliefs. If you accept Medicare / Medicaid (which the Sisters undoubtedly do) then you have to treat all of those people without respect to your religious belief (assuming that treatment is considered standard of care). If said patient wants / needs contraception then you must make arrangements for the person to get it. You don't have to prescribe the pills yourself, if that compromises your belief, but you may have to send them down to the (secular) doctor down the street who doesn't have an issue.

    Clinicians who work for clinics or hospitals associated with religious orders have long worked around these 'issues'. At the Catholic hospital where I worked, we hid the oral contraceptives in a separate closet that we made sure was closed before one of the nuns walked in. And they would not walk in unannounced. Abortions, obviously, were not allowed on campus, but we could refer people to other providers.

    The mandate that birth control be provided really is a straw man. Religious orders have been dealing with this for decades. I don't see how this mandate is functionally any different from, for example, a dominant private insurer who offers contraception as part of their insurance packages. All of the hospitals in town realistically have to deal with the insurer and accept their conditions (we're not going to discuss the implications of that right now - it is a very common situation in the US). You do your dance, as above. You get your money. No money, no mission.

    Personally, I think the ACA blew it with the requirement that every insurance policy cover contraception (and maternity benefits). The argument for this has been that you need to expand the coverage base in order to keep insurance more affordable. However, the patient base of persons needing or desiring contraception is quite high enough to allow for economies of scale. 30% of the population (approximate number pulled out of my nether region) is big enough to fund a benefit.

    Further, the ACA 'isn't' a tax (except it walks like a tax, looks like a tax and squawks like a tax). There is a longstanding precedent for being taxed for something you might not need personally but is considered a societal benefit (think school taxes). Again the construction of the ACA is that of a horribly flawed kludge (that's the nice word) that benefits the status quo in general and the insurance companies in particular. Rationale arguments get buried in the miasma of details that comprise the legislation and give everybody something to hate. Unfortunately, it was probably the best compromise Obama could make. Whether or not it actually improves health care for a majority of Americans is quite unclear.

  • Re:Fuck religion. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by DarkOx (621550) on Wednesday January 01, 2014 @02:24PM (#45838191) Journal

    I would go further than that, freedom of associate must necessarily imply freedom from association or its meaningless. Nobody should have to hire anyone or be barred from refusing to do so for any reason however stupid it may be; at least in so far as the government is concerned.

    Now if company X actually adopts a policy of refusing to hire gingers or something than I am totally okay with the rest of my fellow citizens boycotting them, protesting out in front of their headquarters or whatever, but government should do nothing.

    Basically all the civil rights legislation that has passed is fundamentally anti freedom though and should be in my interpretation of the first amendment UN-Constitutional

  • by Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) on Wednesday January 01, 2014 @02:24PM (#45838195)

    For some strange reason, the ACA did not fix this problem. We need to decouple health care and employers by eliminating the tax break that employers get.

    McCain wanted to do that in 2008 [cbsnews.com]

    Didn't happen because politics.

  • Re:Nice straw man (Score:3, Interesting)

    by causality (777677) on Wednesday January 01, 2014 @02:45PM (#45838445)

    Nonetheless, let's rip on the conservatives, because you don't like what they think.

    Understand, I think the whole "conservative vs. liberal" program of thought is a narrow self-limitation designed to make sure that who can get on the ballot and actually win an important election is easily controlled by monied interests. A spectrum of this type is illustrated by two points and a line because it is literally one-dimensional thinking. The fact that there are additional points between the two extreme points is supposed to lend the appearance of depth and give people something to argue about while their nation goes down the shitter.

    Having said that, I notice that most (key word: "most" - for you reactive types) of the "I don't like what you think, therefore you are EVIL and I am so much better and smarter than you!" sort of behavior comes from those who identify themselves as liberals. Many (key word: many) of them seem eager to make everything into a personal matter rather than debating the principles behind their beliefs. They really do seem insecure and childish at times. I suppose that's why the emotional "we mean well but never really define what that means because fairness!" rhetoric of what Americans call liberalism appeals to them.

    That's in addition to the naive and sometimes stupid perspective of anyone who thinks "left vs. right" has any real meaning.

    A simple request: if you are functionally illiterate, emotionally volatile, or for any other reason have difficulty comprehending what words like "most" and "many" mean and why I might use them instead of using words like "all" and "every", do me a favor: fuck off and grow up. It's really tiresome.

  • by letherial (1302031) on Wednesday January 01, 2014 @03:00PM (#45838609)

    The catholic church is going to do what to the nun? Fire her? thats about it, thats all they can do. Sorry bud, but the days of burning witches are over, there will be no bigger problem for said nun, except having a baby unemployed

    And no, this isnt about nuns having access to birthcontroll, this is about having a religious boss/ceo who suddenly thinks that because he is catholic he can now force everyone he works for to follow his tenant if they agree with it or not.

    This is just the same fucking fight we have had with religion since its stupid idea was conceived, its now just wrapped in some different kind of bullshit pretending that poor Catholics are oppressed because they cant refuse contraceptive to people who dont give a fuck about there dumbass tenets and the stupid fake god they worship whom they crown and call the pope.

    this is about freedom of religon for the majority of the USA, not your stupid fucking holy book

  • by FuzzNugget (2840687) on Wednesday January 01, 2014 @03:34PM (#45838917)
    Yeah, but *those* violations don't give them the opportunity to puff up their feathers and act all sanctimonious in the public eye to prove their dedication to their bearded sky friend.

"Card readers? We don't need no stinking card readers." -- Peter da Silva (at the National Academy of Sciencies, 1965, in a particularly vivid fantasy)

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