Mondays always have the CommunicateHealth team buzzing around, getting a handle on the start to another busy week. Yesterday, many of us did so a little less cheerfully after hearing the Supreme Court’s ruling that Hobby Lobby’s religious beliefs allow them to opt out of covering certain forms of contraception for employees. And yes, that’s even though the Affordable Care Act (ACA) says they have to.
This is an unnerving decision on multiple levels. It’s a blatant attack on access to contraception, which is enough to be upset about on its own. But as fired up as we can get about that, the decision goes far beyond birth control. It sets a disturbing precedent for religious freedoms trumping health care reform. Zoom out even more and we’re talking about religious beliefs beating federal law in the highest court in this country.
This ruling means that thousands of women and their dependents will go without the complete contraception coverage promised to them by the ACA. It means that women’s health care needs have taken a back seat to ideology. And, as the liberal justices wrote in their dissent to the decision, it sets the stage for companies to “opt out of any law (saving only tax laws) they judge incompatible with their sincerely held religious beliefs.”
As Elizabeth Warren posted yesterday via Twitter: “The current Supreme Court has headed in a very scary direction.”
Unfortunately, we couldn’t agree more.