The Supreme Court hasn’t wasted any time adding fuel to the religion vs. women’s rights conflagration it ignited with its Hobby Lobby decision on Monday. Late Thursday, just before recessing their current session, they issued one more ruling.
It seems Wheaton College, a Christian college in Illinois, objected to filling out a required federal form and submitting it to their insurer / plan administrator as an alternate way to provide free contraception for female employees under the Affordable Care Act. The college objected to signing the form “because it believes, as a religious matter, that signing the form would be impermissibly facilitating abortions and therefore forbidden.”
In a 6-3 decision split down gender lines, the court said, in effect, “Heyyy, no problem, Wheaton. Just notify the government in writing and everything’s cool.” It noted that the government is free “to facilitate the provision of full contraceptive coverage.” The justices are blocking the ACA requirement in Wheaton’s case until the courts determine whether the coverage requirement is valid for religious institutions and nonprofits.
In short, the court that told Hobby Lobby its owners’ religious beliefs took precedence over female employees’ rights has now allowed Wheaton College the same privilege — and questioned a new federal regulation in the process. The female justices vehemently opposed both decisions.
… and the war on women goes on.
Don’t miss Slate’s examination of this decision and their explanation of how this is a reversal of the court’s position stated just three days ago: Quick Change Justice: While you were sleeping, Hobby Lobby just got so much worse.