Everything Wrong With the Hobby Lobby Ruling

On June 30, the Supreme Court released its ruling in favor of Hobby Lobby in the case Burwell vs. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. On a 5-4 decision, the SCOTUS ruled that it is constitutional for corporations to "opt out" of providing their employees with certain components of healthcare if it conflicts with employers' religious interests (in this case, female contraceptives). This is wrong on so many levels, a few of which are explained below.

1. Separation of church and state: What is the point of having laws, or healthcare, in a religiously diverse country if religion can override it? This ruling violates all principles of the separation of church and state, a vital part of American democracy. Laws, such as the Affordable Care Act, are universal for a reason. When a party, such as a corporation, is exempted, there is no point in having laws.

2. "But it's religious freedom!": Most pro-Hobby Lobbyers declared this ruling a win for religious freedom because employers no longer have to provide contraceptives that are against their religion. Under this logic, it is just for a Jewish employer to force all of their employees to fast on Yom Kippur. Religion should inform choice, not restrict it. A ruling that limits emplyees' freedom to needed healthcare is not a win for freedom, especially because employees will always outnumber employers.

3. An employee's right to their body: What someone should or should not do for their health is between them and their physician, not their boss. This also specifically targets female workers' rights to their bodies, as Hobby Lobby exclusively refuses to pay for female contraceptives. (Extra misogyny bonus points that they pay for vasectomies. Only women aren't allowed to have say over their reproduction.)

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrote in her dissent, "It bears note in this regard that the cost of an IUD is nearly equivalent to a month's full-time pay for workers earning the minimum wage." If women lose cost-free access to contraceptives from their employers, it is likely that they will lose all access to effective, but unaffordable, forms of contraceptives. Instead of prioritizing employers' religious freedoms, which should not be able to override law in the first place, perhaps the SCOTUS should have considered the rights of thousands of American women. (Note: Not a single female Justice voted in favor of Hobby Lobby, a perfect example of why we need more women in government.)

4. It opens the floodgates for religious exemptions: If pro-life Christians don't have to pay for contraceptives, according to Ginsburg then Scientologists shouldn't have to pay for antidepressants. Certain Hindus, Jews and Muslims shouldn't have to pay for medicines from pigs including anesthesia and pills coated with gelatin. Courts will have to decide if some exemptions are lawful, especially in life-threatening cases.

After this 4th of July weekend, it is ironic that the majority of SCOTUS has failed to acknowledge employees' rights to choose their own healthcare, free of a religious standard that is not their own.