Thursday, July 03, 2014


Once upon a time I lived in a land where judges or justices were not supposed to be, overtly, members of a political party, or particular religion. Maybe you did too. They did not talk publicly about their religion or political views. Their job was applying the law, interpreting the law even-handedly, whatever the political flavour of the nation's government happened to be at the time. Judges or justices were appointed for their excellent record, their wide experience and their intellectual brilliance. Nobody even knew, for sure, their political leanings. Their decisions were almost always clear, trusted and highly respected, even when there was room for some disagreement. In the USA, though, the Supreme Court is politicized and religion-led, which seems to me to be at root of all recent problems with their rulings, as well as their apparent inability to write clear, concise decisions.

While I have no respect for Hobby Lobby and the Green Family who created and incorporated it, and my respect for the Supreme Court of the United States is dwindling rapidly, I am surprised (perhaps ought not to be), at some early misunderstandings appearing as a result of the SCOTUS ruling in the Hobby Lobby case. Threads of outrage, making some points with which I agree wholeheartedly, but some which were quite incorrect, have been all over the net this week. As usual in the USA everything becomes hyper-hyperbolic.

Again, I hate to say anything even vaguely in favour of Hobby Lobby or SCOTUS, but facts are facts. Hobby Lobby and the Green family are not objecting to contributing towards all contraceptive methods. What Hobby Lobby will not cover are the four contraceptive methods listed below. These, Hobby Lobby owners fear, are abortifacients - they believe that these methods are "tantamount to abortion because they can prevent embryos from implanting in the womb". Most commenters say they are mistaken. The four methods to which Hobby Lobby owners object:

Plan B (“The Morning After Pill”)
Ella (a similar type of “emergency contraception”)
Copper Intra-Uterine Device
IUD with progestin

(How odd, then, that Hobby Lobby's healthcare plan pre-2012, pre- the Affordable Care Act, included the first two of those 4 items.)

Other forms of contraception are still covered, for instance:

Male condoms
Female condoms
Diaphragms with spermicide
Sponges with spermicide
Cervical caps with spermicide
Spermicide alone
Birth-control pills with estrogen and progestin (“Combined Pill)
Birth-control pills with progestin alone (“The Mini Pill)
Birth control pills (extended/continuous use)
Contraceptive patches
Contraceptive rings
Progestin injections
Implantable rods
Female sterilization surgeries
Female sterilization implants.

But wait.....that was in relation to Hobby Lobby's case. The Supreme court, the next day, 1 July, confirmed that its decision a day earlier extending religious rights to closely held corporations applies broadly to the contraceptive coverage requirement in the new health care law, not just to the handful of methods the justices considered in their ruling. (See HERE)
The justices did not comment in leaving in place lower court rulings in favor of businesses that object to covering all 20 methods of government-approved contraception.

Oklahoma-based Hobby Lobby Inc. and a Pennsylvania furniture maker won their court challenges Monday in which they refused to pay for two emergency contraceptive pills and two intrauterine devices.

Tuesday's orders apply to companies owned by Catholics who oppose all contraception. Cases involving Colorado-based Hercules Industries Inc., Illinois-based Korte & Luitjohan Contractors Inc. and Indiana-based Grote Industries Inc. were awaiting action pending resolution of the Hobby Lobby case.

They are among roughly 50 lawsuits from profit-seeking corporations that object to the contraceptive coverage requirement in their health plans for employees. Contraception is among a range of preventive services that must be included in the health plans, at no extra cost to workers.

The justices also ordered lower courts that ruled in favor of the Obama administration to reconsider those decisions in light of Monday's 5-4 decision.
Saying anything at all in SCOTUS' favour is now impossible. The whole caboodle is blatantly against Separation of Church and State. Christian groups are being allowed to dictate to their employees on matters which should be immune to outside interference. Some see this as a "slippery slope" - actually I think we're already half-way down that slope and gaining speed. Family planning clinics being closed down, "Christian" employers dictating to their female employees on matters of birth control; several new abortion restrictions also became law this week in at least five states (detail HERE). A road sign in the near distance says:
Handmaid's Tale & Theocracy NEXT RIGHT TURN!

The most significant factor is that this recent ruling of SCOTUS grants corporations religious freedom, along with the "person hood" they already enjoy. What next?


mike said...

The "what next?" never fails to amaze me...the conservatives have become craftier in their pursuit of objectives. Your topic today is about SCOTUS, but the same applies to anything that can be politicized, particularly the politicians, themselves...the modernized politics of today require taking a stand on religion, family values, and their implied morals and ethics. Politicians pandering to the corporate donors has become old hat, so 1990s, that it's now in the background.

Can't stop abortion? Then add layers of Texas state regulations applicable only to abortion clinics that no other non-abortion out-patient surgery clinics are required to observe. Our one remaining abortion clinic here in Corpus Christi closed July 1st, because it could not meet the new regulations...the nearest clinic serving southern TX is in San Antonio, three to four hours away by car.

I'm very surprised that marijuana and gay marriage legislation has made it this far in the hell-and-brimstone era. I suspect it won't be long until the religious conservatives find a way around these issues, too. The SCOTUS-Hobby Lobby decision could help to counteract some of this liberalness...if you don't like something, just claim it is against your religious freedom, which has already been legislated in some states. At least marijuana generates corporate $ and prospers the tax collectors. Offended gays quit buying from discriminating corporations. Money talks.

We are under the influence of the Uranus-Pluto square being activated by planets whisking through Cancer right now, Mars-Saturn conjunction August 25th, planets align in Libra to T-square Uranus-Pluto in October, another Uranus-Pluto square in December with planets conjunct Pluto, then the lunar nodes align with Uranus-Pluto in January. The last Uranus-Pluto square in March, 2015, with planets conjunct Uranus!!! So, you ask "what's next?"...only the shadow knows...LOL.

mike (again) said...

P.S. - Interesting to note that here in the USA, the tides ebb conservative to liberal back to conservative about every twenty years. This duration also tends to match a real estate trend (18 year cycle as well. The current Uranus-Pluto square is a prime mover, but there is a concomitant cycle under it.

The twenty year cycle could coincide with the Jupiter-Saturn conjunctions every twenty years or the lunar nodal returns every 18.5 years. I think it has more to do with the nation's July 4th birth date with natal Sun in Cancer square Saturn (exalted) in Libra. Every 18.5 years, the lunar nodes will be in the position they are currently in, with the south node in Aries, north node in Libra. This puts the transiting north node conjunct Saturn and both nodes squaring the natal Sun...a crossroads of national expression, direction, and restructuring. The transiting nodes will directly aspect the natal Sun-Saturn square this next December and January.

Uranus-Pluto were within five degrees of conjunction in 1963 and the transiting north node was conjunct USA's natal Sun, square natal Saturn. The economy was stable at that time, but JFK was assassinated.

Twilight said...

mike ~ I'd be surprised and disappointed if many women (who I expect make up at least 80% of Hobby Lobby's customers) don't abandon the store because of this. Hobby Lobby doesn't exclude all contraceptives from their health plan, but their case has opened the floodgates for those who will likely do so.

Lots more frustrations still in the wings then, according to the astrology - "as above so below".

Re (again) ~ Yes, I think the ebbing and rising tides of one side of US politics or t'other is likely to link to the lunar nodes. I've found in my own life history that this pattern happens (perhaps made more noticeable due to my Cancer ascendant.)

Trouble is, though, at present there's not enough major difference between the two parties to benefit the people much as political tides ebb and flow. We are so badly in need of a discernible Left in things other than gay marriage and marijuana!!

Vanilla Rose said...

The only good thing that has come out of this court case is the revelation that some of the contraceptives Hobby Lobby objected to don't actually prevent implantation. This news (well, news to me) may open the options available to women for whom this is an issue.

It's scary to think that an employer can try to make it more difficult for a person to access any type of contraception. And have you seen the meme about what about employers who don't want their taxes to pay for war? What is the Supreme Court going to do about that???

Twilight said...

Vanilla Rose ~ As the saying goes "It's an ill wind that blows nobody any good"..... if reporters are correct about the implantation factor - I haven't researched that aspect of the story in detail.

It's downright unjust that an employer can dictate on anything to employees other than those things related to their actual work for that employer.

I think the question is, or ought to be, what about citizens who don't want part of the taxes they pay, going to pay for war, and murder by drone? But then, citizens aren't corporations so we have no rights.

R J Adams said...

I can only agree - what next, indeed?

Twilight said...

RJ Adams ~ We shall soon see - of that we can be sure!