We’ve covered this several times already, but even otherwise smart liberals who support the contraception mandate in the Affordable Care Act (ACA) continue to get this one wrong. The ACA (Obamacare) does not cover any contraception that prevents implantation of a fertilized egg inside a woman’s uterus. Also known as abortifacients, federal law forbids the government from providing federal funds for such medications, therefore the ACA doesn’t mandate it.
The ACA only covers “morning after” pills that prevent either ovulation or the fertilization of an egg, not unlike a chemical version of, respectively, traditional birth control pills, condoms, sponges or diaphragms. Neither of the effects of the pill destroy a fertilized egg because the pills don’t allow conception to take place.
Simply put: none of the drugs covered by the ACA are abortion-inducing pills of any kind. NONE!
That brings us today’s phenomenally dumb Supreme Court decision in Burwell v Hobby Lobby Stores. The entire case is based around a colossal misunderstanding, perhaps deliberately so, about the ACA’s mandate requiring that businesses provide employees with health insurance that covers very particular forms of contraception, including “morning after” emergency contraception. The very religious family which owns and operates Hobby Lobby mistakenly believes that the morning after pills covered by the ACA are abortifacients. They. Are. Not!
What’s especially ridiculous about this case is that five of your Supreme Court justices (55 percent of one-third of our U.S. government) actually agreed with this ignorant misinterpretation of what these drugs can do. It’s impossible to fully emphasize enough how truly dumb this decision is, but come winter, we should probably expect to see one or more of the conservative justices driving a van shaped like a dog or getting his tongue stuck to a cold flag pole.
Indeed Hobby Lobby doesn’t object to the use of condoms or other contraceptive pills, just the morning after pills which DO NOT destroy fertilized eggs via prevention of implantation. The New York Times:
Studies have not established that emergency contraceptive pills prevent fertilized eggs from implanting in the womb, leading scientists say. Rather, the pills delay ovulation, the release of eggs from ovaries that occurs before eggs are fertilized, and some pills also thicken cervical mucus so sperm have trouble swimming. […]
By 2007, scientific consensus was building that morning-after pills did not block implantation. In one study using fertilized eggs that would have been discarded from fertility clinics, Dr. Gemzell-Danielsson found that adding Plan B in a dish did not prevent them from attaching to cells that line the uterus.
Despite the proven reality of what the ACA-covered morning after pills do and don’t accomplish, the Court waltzed through Hobby Lobby’s ignorant non-science-based misinterpretation of the covered drugs and decided to allow all closely-held, family-owned corporations, comprising around 90 percent of all U.S. businesses, to be exempt from covering all forms of contraception regardless of type, usage or effect.
It’s one thing for the Court to make a bad decision. But this decision is based on hooey. It’s not just a bad decision, it’s a colossally stupid decision that will surely erupt into, as Justice Ginsburg called it, many other “untoward effects.”
Now, if you don’t mind, I’ll be spending the rest of the day creating my own religion based on my personal beliefs. Any exemptions for my S-corporation from federal or state laws will be [cough] coincidental.