Thursday, July 03, 2014

The Hobby Lobby Fiasco

As I am sure most of you are aware, we are on the verge of Independence day here in the good ol' US of A. It is darkly ironic that there is less liberty in this nation this week then there was before it. Now, some of you are going to tell me that the Supreme Court decision with respect to the Hobby Lobby case doesn't strip anyone of their rights, but rather grants liberties. If you honestly believe that poppycock, I think you need to stop reading my blog right now.

Seriously, we are at entirely different cultural mindsets and you're going to find yourself majorly vexed by what I post along any sort of cultural, political, or social topics. You might find Ann Coulter more to your liking. Follow that link and enjoy, because I promise you what I am about to say is going to send you in to an apoplectic fit.

Several people with law degrees and who make a living of studying the law and writing about it have said things that I don't have the verbage to. I don't have a law degree. I have a slightly better understanding of Constitutional law then your average lay person because it was a hobby of Beloved's for several years (the better part of a decade, wherein he seriously considered if he wanted to go to law school). I'm going to apply that bit of knowledge and a keen sense of historical trends to what I am witnessing here.

Part one: Granting corporate 'persons' religious exemptions from existing laws because of 'sincerely held beliefs.'

I have had a problem with corporations being regarded as 'persons' ever since junior high school, where I first encountered the concept. Extending to these businesses rights and privileges that have been the purview of individuals is wrong. It is a blatant act to disregard the anti-trust legislation on the books and should not be permitted to continue. Additionally, the religious exemption sets up a condition where this new legal loophole can be exploited to undermine all of the civil rights work that has been done in this country.

Today, a business such as Hobby Lobby can state that they will not fund health insurance coverage that includes contraceptives and abortifacients due to 'sincerely held religious beliefs.' Tomorrow, a business will deny an African American person service for the same claimed reason. There will be people who are denied services on the basis of their appearance, creed, gender, and disability status all for the sake of 'sincerely held religious beliefs.' You may think I am painting an extreme secenario here but there are places in the United States where people believe that a person falling ill with cancer is a sign of (their) god's judgment against that person. There are places in this country where if you are anything other then Caucasian, you will get harassed just walking down the street. And let us not forget the numbers of people who deem that women who are 'immodestly' dressed are clearly deserving of sexual assault, with out any clear determination of what is appropriately 'modest' dress.

The granting of the religious exemption sets a dangerous precedent that opens up the complete unraveling of the gains of the civil rights movement. Sure, they're not making laws that are saying that women aren't allowed to vote or that 'colored' people should use separate bathroom facilities. They don't have to when such attitudes can be imposed by businesses with out fear of repercussions. All they need to do is cry that they were motivated by their religious beliefs. The precedent has now been established that this is a viable way to escape just punishment for denying the civil liberties of others.

Part two: Ruling on contraceptives and abortifacients while not establishing a position when a fetus becomes a person.

Shame on the Supreme Court on this one. It is as egregious if not more so then what I first addressed. They will claim that they can't make a judgment on when personhood begins in pregnancy but then make this kind of ruling, implying that personhood begins at conception. If they're going to reverse Roe V Wade, they should gird their loins and just do it already. Because they have already made their decision as to when personhood begins, they just haven't said it directly. And I think that is due to cowardice. It is my understanding that only a coward will hem, haw, and do their damndest to not say what they want to say, whilst implying it every step of the way. I'd have some shred of respect for the justices who supported this decision if they had the courage to say 'we believe that personhood begins at conception' rather then put that 'decision' in the hands of the corporations (and the plaintiff of this case most assuredly believes it begins at conception which leads one to believe that must be the Court's position as well).

Part three: Ruling on insurance coverage for valid medical procedures that treat an array of conditions afflicting only people who are biologically female, but socially and culturally affects all women.

This is even more of an outrage then the first two points. It makes me so angry that I feel physically ill. It has taken me some time to process this all and I still am so angry that I can hardly speak. Women are not second class citizens. We make up approximately half of the population. Persons who are born female are no less deserving of potentially LIFE SAVING treatment of their conditions.

People wave their hands and go 'it's only birth control' but these medications help women like myself manage their conditions that can have potentially lethal implications. A ruptured ovarian cyst can have fatal results. Menstrual irregularity is not something to joke about. It can result in a woman bleeding to death if something goes severely wrong. By the way, the medical procedure commonly known as abortion (dialition and cutterage) was what was used to stop my best friend from bleeding to death due to her menstrual problems.

To say that people who are not medical doctors or the patient (or the patient's legal representitive) have any kind of say in what sort of medical treatment they have is beyond the pale. There is irresponsible, reckless, and then this, for which my vast lexicon of insult fails me. Allowing someone who doesn't have any sort of stake in the patient's welfare to have even a remote influence on their treatment is disgusting. To give ground to people who are hostile against the patient on the basis of the treatment they are getting is dangerous and stupid.

There is a reason why back alley abortions had to be stopped. Women were dying. There is a reason why women who suffer from ectopic pregnancy stand a better chance of living today then they did during the 1800s. It's not just because we have better medication. It's also due to treatments like abortifacient medication and the abortion procedures. To declare that these lifesaving treatments are subject to public opinion is wrong.

A woman should be able to get medical treatment for conditions regarding her reproductive system with out any one batting a proverbial eyelash over it. We don't go around shunning people who get appendectomies. We don't shame people with high blood pressure. We certainly don't go around telling people with brain cancer that they're morally deficient. Any medical condition should be treated with the same kind of indifference that we give to broken bones and appendectomies, at the very least. At best, with the kind of compassion that we extend to the person with brain cancer.

And another thing, people who make decisions for women or female gendered persons on the basis of their appearance had better be doing it with that person's consent. Body autonomy is for all people, not just cis-men. The fact that this ruling allows a corporation like Hobby Lobby to pressure their female staff to approach their medical care in a certain fashion is morally reprehensible. A woman or a female gendered person should not be discriminated against on the basis of their body parts or appearance. This ruling allows that type of discrimination.

It is a bad precedent and a shameful ruling by the majority of the Supreme Court. I am deeply concerned as to how the nation will proceed forward. If this 'corporate theocracy' that some other bloggers I know of are talking about is truly forming, then I suspect that we, as a nation, are in a great deal of trouble.

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