Oh, the part about limited scope? Just kidding.

Here’s a piece of news I missed, despite (I thought) paying close attention:

Less than a day after the United States Supreme Court issued its divisive ruling on Burwell v. Hobby Lobby, it has already begun to toss aside the supposedly narrow interpretation of the decision. On Tuesday, the Supremes ordered lower courts to rehear any cases where companies had sought to deny coverage for any type of contraception, not just the specific types Hobby Lobby was opposed to.


I’m dumbfounded. They really are opening the door to letting godbotherers do everything they can to impede women’s access to contraception, including getting extra special gift-wrapped gold-plated exemptions from ordinary laws that apply to everyone else.

Justice Samuel Alito, who wrote the the 5-4 opinion, used numerous qualifiers in an attempt to limit its scope, but a series of orders released by the court Tuesday contradict any narrow interpretation of the ruling.

So Alito (and the others) must have been lying, yes? They didn’t change their minds overnight, after making the ruling public…so they must have lied about limiting its scope.

The court vacated two decisions by the US Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit—Autocam Corp. v. Burwell and Eden Foods v. Burwell—and commanded the appeals court to rehear the cases in light of the Hobby Lobby decision. In both instances the Sixth Circuit had rejected requests from Catholic-owned businesses that sought to exempt the companies from offering insurance that covered any of the 20 mandated forms of birth control. The Supreme Court also compelled the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia to reopen a similar case, Gilardi v. Department of Health & Human Services. “With Tuesday’s orders,” wrote The Nation‘s Zoë Carpenter, “the conservative majority has effectively endorsed the idea that religious objections to insurance that covers any form of preventative healthcare for women have merit.”

Can we secede?


  1. John Morales says

    The law of the land recognises that, unlike other types of objection, religious objections are special cases meriting exemption.

    (Not very secular, though)

  2. carlie says

    So, think any of those companies are going to stop covering IVF, given that it specifically ON PURPOSE creates excess embryos that never get used? And if any do, will the same people support that decision?

  3. raven says

    It’s all confusing probably because it is..confused.

    The religious misogynists with their War on Women want to:

    1. End legal abortion (illegal abortion will just go up like it did before).

    2. End welfare, most of which goes to poor people and their children, often to young, single mothers.

    3. Reduce or eliminate birth control.

    You can’t have all three!!! It’s simply impossible.

    Birth control was invented long ago to solve a lot of problems, including abortion and unwanted children born to people who didn’t have the money to care for them. It’s been wildly successful and is wildly popular by just about everyone except supposedly celibate batchelor RCC priests.

    I’d ask the religious kooks just how they are going to deal with items #1 and #2 without contraception, but why bother. They aren’t thinkers. Nobody home upstairs.

  4. ema says

    The law of the land recognises that, unlike other types of objection, religious objections are special cases meriting exemption.

    Meriting exemption only if they affect the now unambiguously decreed, by the highest court of the land, to be the Unter class of the country, the garbage, the uterine containers.

    Because try and claim religious exemption to, for example, flog people, smoke peyote, or not pay taxes and see what happens.

  5. raven says

    Oh, the part about limited scope? Just kidding.

    Yeah, that is for sure. It took them a day to broaden their religious exemption from US laws.

    1. We will just have to see how broad their exemption gets. I’d expect it to be as broad as possible.

    2. Why contraception? The court is making an arbitrary decisions that BC beliefs of church leaders (not shared by the rank and file) are more important than other religious beliefs. And it is completely arbitrary, mainline Protestant churches in general don’t have a problem with BC. Some of them even get that more BC = less abortions.

    3. So we will just have to see how broad religious exemptions from our laws get and who gets them. In theory, it could be complete chaos. The faith healers who own companies wouldn’t have to pay for any health insurance. And the Pagans get to declare June 21, the Summer Solstice, a national holiday.

    Who knows, maybe the fundie xians can go back to stoning disobedient children, nonvirgin brides, adulterers, and heretics to death

  6. forestdragon says

    Once again, all animals are equal, but some are more equal than others.

  7. leni says

    I wonder what would happen if my company’s sincerely held religious belief was that only non-white women should use birth control. So I would pay for it for them, but not for white women.

    Perhaps I could also offer a free vasectomy coverage for everyone except white men. Theoretically that would be fine, as long as they could get vasectomy coverage from the government.

    Hmm, seems like separate but equal is ok after all.

  8. Crimson Clupeidae says

    I hope, in light of these rulings, states (at least the liberal ones that might actually care about 50% of their population that are *gasp* female!) simply start passing laws that effectively, if not directly, over ride the RFRA. We know it can be done (look at all the state laws effectively banning abortion), and I’m sure a lot of the conservative states are already looking at ways to make this ruling even more draconian, so let’s hope there are enough legislators across the US who care to craft legislation in their states that effectively gut this ruling.

    It’s the only short term (and only local, unfortunately) solution I can think of, and it will create the necessary legal confusion to hopefully send this topic back to the courts. We can only hope there’s a more sane line up at the time.


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