[Although] “the religious right views religion as a fundamental, and indeed essential, part of the human experience, the secular left views it as something more like a hobby.... [For the left, therefore,] “it’s as if a major administrative rule was struck down because it unduly burdened model-train enthusiasts.”How fitting then that the suit was brought by a place called Hobby Lobby. Were they indeed lobbying for their hobby? Of course, some viewed the "administrative rule" as one that required people who do not care for model trains to pay for the equipment used by those who do. That is another pair of boots (as the Germans say)!
-- Megan McArdle, Bloomberg View blogger
There is something, who can say what, about this narrow bit of legalistic casuistry by the Supremes that has unhinged the Usual Suspects. Some in NARAL¹ have advocated that people go to Hobby Lobby stores and have sex in the store, so we see that the spirit of rational discourse is alive and well.
¹ Although what the ruling has to do with abortion rights is anybody's guess. Perhaps, if they have enough sex in the stores, some percentage of them will need abortions afterward, and NARAL is simply engaging in a form of product placement.Another commboxer commented that the ruling has set back something called "progress" by a century and a half, although most people might suppose that it has been set back at most two years, and returned us to the misogynistic and patriarchal milieu of 2012. O! The humanity!
Another comment held that "the Court has allowed religion to interfere with sex, which really is 'a fundamental, and indeed essential, part of the human experience'."
Now a more puckish imagination than TOF's might wonder whether it is rather the contraceptives that are interfering with the sex, given that they are disrupting (sometimes chemically) a fundamental part of human experience. But note that nothing (save perhaps prudence) is interfering with anyone's sex. The ruling regards who is to pay for the insurance coverage of the contraceptive methods that disrupt the natural process. But no one charges over the top from the trenches shouting a mouthful like that.
Among the more overheated reactions are those found on the Coyne blog echo chamber, where many of the kommentaklura regale one another with ever-more over-the-top imaginings. Coyne himself begins the fest by saying:
What they’ve done is not only classified corporations as people...apparently unaware that the corporate person has been a cornerstone of Western jurisprudence for well over a thousand years. Otherwise, if anyone took it into his head to sue the corporation called University of Chicago, Dr. Coyne would himself be personally liable in any judgment. He goes on to say:
I’m really afraid for America: afraid that, due solely to our Supreme Court, we are becoming a theocracy.which proves that he needs to lie down with a wet washrag over his face and get a freaking grip. A theocracy? Really? I do not think Dr. Coyne knows what a theocracy is. Of course, MR, one of his kommentaklura dutifully changes 'becoming' to 'is':
We are living in a theocracy and corporatocracy.No, MR. We are not.
Another commenter, realthog, prophesied:
"This decision may put Hobby Lobby out of business. Most of its customers are women, many of whom ... will henceforth shop elsewhere."which stereotypes women. Not all women are the same; not all are obsessed with consequence-free sex. It may be that some women hold the same beliefs as the Hobby Lobby folks! Some may believe that it's nobody else's business. Others may believe that birth control supplies are no more a matter for "health insurance" than auto detailing is a matter for car insurance. Pregnancy, after all, is not a disease, and babies are not "parasitical growths."
However, a few residual voices of sanity have emerged from the general fit of vapors and fainting spells. From the libertarian Cato Institute: The Republic of Gilead Is Not Nigh and from the left-wing New Republic: The Hobby Lobby Decision Was a Victory for Women's Rights. Both authors are irreligious and both have their particular agendas, but at least neither has become unhinged.
Briefly: Obamacare was decreed by administrative fiat to mandate full coverage of the purchase of contraceptives by women. Twenty different contraceptives were listed. Four of these worked by preventing implantation of an already-fertilized embryo. Biologically, this is already a human being, and therefore these four methods are abortifacients, which even some people who accept contraceptives find repugnant. These are the only four mandated coverages affected by the ruling. The other sixteen are still to be subsidized by your employer -- or by you, if you must buy on one of the government-run exchanges.
Since there already existed a "workaround" for overtly religious organizations -- like the Little Sisters of the Poor, designated by NOW as one of the "Dirty 100" -- the Court saw no reason why the workaround could not be used in this case as well. Namely, the company could opt out of funding insurance coverage for the abortifacient methods -- but the insurance companies could be ordered by their bosses in the government to provide that coverage for free in a separate policy.
So the ruling amounts to nothing. Not only will the other sixteen methods continue to be subsidized, but so will be the other four! All the Court decided was that some people with moral objections could not be forced to pay for those. But since none of them were especially expensive to obtain before, it is a wonder that anyone thought health insurance policies ought to be forced to pay for them. Car insurance doesn't pay for your gas and oil or your tune-ups.