Here is a statement that is objectively false.
In a stunningly misogynistic and regressive decision, five male justices of the Supreme Court of the United States have decided that if you are a woman your boss can force you to adhere to his religious beliefs.
- Kristen Hansen, Blue in a Red County (emphasis supplied).
Now I have no doubt that Ms. Hansen sincerely believes this, but it isn't true. Your boss can't force you to adhere to his religious beliefs.
The statement is not even close. It is not arguably true. Nor is it metaphorically true. It is not true if translated into any other language on the face of earth. It's not true with fingers crossed behind your back.
It just isn't true.
As a result of Monday's decision in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby, no one will be forbidden to use any form of lawful contraceptive. All the Court said is that the government can't force your boss to pay for them - if he or she has a genuine religious objection to providing them.
In fact, the truth is almost the opposite of what Ms. Hansen thinks it is. The rationale behind Hobby Lobby is that the government cannot enable you to force your boss to follow your religion or ethical views regarding aboritfacients (Hobby Lobby covers all other forms of contraceptive, including the pill, the diaphragm, etc.) You cannot make her pay for things that her religion tells her are wrong - unless there is no other way to achieve a compelling governmentment interest. If, as protestors outside of the Court claimed, your birth control is none of your employer's business, don't ask her to pay for it. (And, yes, some of the owners who objected in this case were female.)
But wait - if your boss doesn't pay for something, doesn't that mean that you won't be able to get it? You'd think the problem with that claim would be clear upon stating it.
But I guess not.
To say that a person is "denied" access to something every time someone else is not forced to pay for it does troubling violence to both the English language and to our notions of individual freedom and responsibility. It would be to say that women (and men; these things are normally needed only when one of them is around and, if he is a man, he ought to be concerned too) have been "denied" access to contraceptives until passage of the ACA's mandate. It would be to say that those who work for employers who are not covered by the ACA or whose employers choose not to provide coverage are "denied" access. Neither is true.
To be sure, most of us would prefer that someone else pay for our stuff. And there are certainly people for whom even the relatively low cost of contraceptives can present difficulties. Given the relatively low cost of these drugs, it's not clear that many of them work for Hobby Lobby (it pays sales clerks twice the minimum wage) or, for that matter, any other employer who provides the relatively expensive insurance mandated by the ACA. But let's put that aside. The solution is not to run roughshod over those closely held employers with a religious objection. If the government wants people to have these things for free, it can be done - and more honestly done - without forcing religious objectors to pay for it.
The irony here is that, in other contexts, we want "for profit" businesses to conduct themselves in accordance with moral precepts. We want them to be "good corporate citizens" - but apparently only to the extent that those moral precepts are approved by a political majority.
And there's the problem. The guarantee of religious liberty is not limited to beliefs that "we" approve of. There would, in fact, be no need to protect religious beliefs shared or tolerated by a majority. It is unlikely that any law would ever be passed restricting them.
Now, if you don't like, this, you ought to call for repeal of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. You can argue that someone's desire or need for free contraceptives (the mandate makes no distinction between the two) trumps someone's else's sincere moral convictions about the sanctity of human life and what it means to be complicit in what he or she believes to be an immoral act. But don't pretend that you aren't the one imposing your moral presuppositions on someone else. The fact that you think you are right makes you no less an authoritarian.
The decision is not misogynistic - "stunning" or otherwise. ("Regressive" is just an epithet meaning "I don't like it.") I understand that control over reproduction is critical for women. (It's actually pretty critical for men too; but there certainly is a difference.) But that doesn't permit us to dismiss the associated moral and religious questions. It doesn't mean that all methods of control are acceptable or need to be financially supported by everyone.
Hobby Lobby objected to four of twenty covered drugs that they believe to be abortifacients, i.e., drugs that its owners believe ends a life that has already begun. I had not thought that we had gotten to the point where opposition to abortion - or an unwillingness to pay for it - can be dismissed as misogynistic. That will certainly come as a surprise to the women who dominate the pro-life movement.