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Burwell vs Hobby Lobby

By Dr Sharon Thompson on June 30, 2014 in Community

scotus_imageThis morning I was glued to SCOTUS Blog awaiting the decision on the case of Burwell vs. Hobby Lobby.

To recap, this case was spurred by the Affordable Care Act which mandates health insurers to include contraceptive coverage as part of a panel of preventative health services (the contraceptive mandate).  Hobby Lobby–a corporation (and several other companies) objected to the idea that health insurance they purchase on behalf of their employees would include payment for contraception on the grounds that it violates their ‘religious beliefs’.
Today the Supreme Court in a 5-4 decision ruled that government cannot mandate ‘closely held’ corporations purchase health insurance that includes contraceptive coverage.  They leave the government the option to pay for coverage directly.

I am interested in the fact that among other things the court found that the contraceptive mandate is not ‘the least restrictive’ option. Today I am meditating on the question: least restrictive for whom?  I used to think ‘the people’ were the object of these concepts in the law so the courts would be looking for regulations to be least restrictive to people but we are living in times where government is not ‘the people’ and ‘corporations are people’.
My mind is spinning. I need time and a quiet room. (Too early for a drink?)

You can read the entire opinion at http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/13pdf/13-354_olp1.pdf  or the SCOTUS Blog commentary at http://live.scotusblog.com/Event/Live_blog_of_opinions__June_30_2014

Dr Sharon Thompson

About the Author

Dr Sharon ThompsonView all posts by Dr Sharon Thompson
Dr. Thompson received her undergraduate degree in Biology from Vassar College and a Masters in Public Health from the University of California at Berkeley. She went on to medical training at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City and completed her postgraduate training in Obstetrics and Gynecology at the Harvard affiliated integrated Brigham and Women's and Massachusetts General Hospital residency program.


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