Justice Sonia Sotomayor on Tuesday temporarily blocked the Obama administration from forcing some religious-affiliated groups to provide health insurance coverage of birth control or face penalties as part of the Affordable Care Act.
Acting at the request of an order of nuns in Colorado, Justice Sotomayor issued the stay just hours before the requirement was to go into effect on New Year’s Day. She gave the Obama administration until Friday to respond to the Supreme Court.
... Religious opponents of abortion have objected especially strongly to the requirement to provide emergency contraception pills, like Plan B, although most studies show that the drug works by preventing fertilization, not by inducing abortion. ...
The Obama administration has repeatedly defended the birth control requirement. “The president believes that no one, including the government or for-profit corporations, should be able to dictate those decisions to women,” Jay Carney, the White House press secretary, said last month.
Justice Blocks Contraception Mandate on Insurance in Suit by Nuns
Jehovah's Witnesses oppose blood transfusions. Scientologists oppose psychiatric treatment. Will businesses affiliated with these religious groups also be given exemptions for those specifics? If an exception is made for religions with a large following like the Roman Catholic Church or the Southern Baptist Convention, but not for religions with a smaller following such as the Jehovah's Witnesses or the Church of Scientology, would that not be a clear case of the government giving preferential treatment to specific religious groups while denying such privileges to other religious groups, and thus a rather blatant violation of not only the letter, but also the spirit, of the First Amendment's non-establishment clause? Upon what basis is an employer entitled to make health decisions for his/her employees? If a person believes that abortion or contraception is morally wrong, that person is free to refrain from having an abortion or using contraceptives, but that person has no authority or right to impose such beliefs -- or the practical application of those beliefs -- on anyone else.
More to the point, why does any employer have a right to know the medical history of any employee? Is it not the usual operating procedure for any insurance provider to accumulate a resource pool from which to cover the medical expenses of any given subscriber, whether or not that subscriber or any other subscriber ever makes use of specific coverage? And do insurance companies have any requirement to tell every subscriber the medical history of every other subscriber? Is this not really about the typical capitalist desire to maximize the intake of wealth while decreasing any expenditures, rather than any sort of religious conviction? If not, then is this not simply a case of religious imperialism?