Friday, January 3, 2014

I Don't Want to Sign a Paper That Says I Don't Have to Do What I Don't Want to Do. WTF?

(Updated below)

The Congressional Select Committee on Birth Control takes time out for a portrait.

Okay, now I'm pissed. Before, I was just worried that America was fucked up. Now I learn that we are fucked up, and the Supreme Court could actually cement, into law, how fucked up we are.

Then again, maybe the Supremes will sing a better tune. But we can't count on it. At least we now know why Catholics, when they're not molesting little boys or imprisoning and abusing Irish girls gone preggers, want to not have to not give birth control, or something. It's the paperwork! From Slate's Amanda Marcotte:
Late on New Year's Eve, Justice Sonia Sotomayor granted a small number of religiously affiliated groups a temporary injunction from a provision in the Affordable Care Act that allows them not to cover contraception in their health care plans if they fill out a form  that states that they want an exemption from the law for religious reasons. Go ahead and read that sentence again. These Catholic nonprofits that wanted an exemption from covering their employees' contraception needs—and got an exemption from covering their employees' contraception needs—are now fighting the provision (that exempts them from covering their employees' contraception needs) simply because they don't want to have to fill out a form that states that they are exempt. Why? Because their employees need that form in order to get birth control directly from their insurers (which they need to do because their employers—these Catholic non-profits—are exempt, as they want to be). 
That's right: These groups are arguing that filling out a form is a violation of their religious freedom and that "religious freedom" means that you should have control over your employee's health care decisions even when they happen outside of the insurance coverage you directly provide for them. Even the lawyer for one of the groups, the Little Sisters of the Poor Home for the Aged, admits that this lawsuit is about trying to weasel out of nothing more onerous than signing a piece of paper. "Without an emergency injunction," Mark Rienzi told the Associated Press, "Mother Provincial Loraine Marie Maguire has to decide between two courses of action: (a) sign and submit a self-certification form, thereby violating her religious beliefs; or (b) refuse to sign the form and pay ruinous fines." And a spokeswoman for the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, lead counsel for the Little Sisters, said, "The government has lots of ways to deliver contraceptives to people. It doesn't need to force the nuns to participate." The problem is that the government agrees and has set up a system so that the nuns can opt out. The nuns refuse to opt out, however, because opting out on paper will allow their employees to get that contraception coverage. [Boldface mine.]
It's important not to read too much in Sotomayor's willingness to grant these groups a temporary injunction from signing a piece of paper. The injunction is only to allow the status quo to continue until the case gets heard in court. That won't be great for the employees of these groups, who will have to continue without employer-provided contraception coverage and will also be unable to get coverage directly from their insurance companies, but it doesn't necessarily mean that the court is siding with the Sisters on this one.
I was a Catholic, I admit, until I understood that having sex when I was unmarried condemned me to burning in Hell forever! So, instead of giving up sex, I chose the wiser path and gave up the Catholic Church. High five!!!

I explained in a previous post that letting a religious outfit -- of any kind -- make religious decisions for other American Humans who are not necessarily participants in that religion -- under the cloak of FEDERAL LAW -- is tantamount to establishing a state religion, which I'm pretty sure is a constitutional no-no. But then again, I've never had Cherrios in the Scalia household and asked Tino if he's really fucking out of his mind instead of modestly fucking out of his mind, so I'm not sure how he and other constitutional originalists might react to an opportunity to really fuck big time with the 51% of the population that would really, really like them some birth control, like right now, or at least when them might really need it. (And I'm not even talking about the other 49% that mostly rely on the 51% to take care of business.)

I wouldn't care, except in 1965 I asked (well, sort of with a blank, hungry, silent stare) a fellow Catholic to abandon Catholic doctrine, and she said (well, with a really quiet and reasonably sweet gesture I won't reveal at this late date) something along the lines of fuck, yeah.

And now, almost fifty years later, the Catholic Church wants to say NO NO NO in spite of the fact that it has no constitutional right to insert fucking shit into the conversation, a conversation that hasn't gone its way for, I don't know, like maybe forever!!

Okay, I'm starting to talk like the teenager I was when my Catholic associate and I won the lottery by not having a baby while using Catholic doctrine that was designed to put us in the position of losing the lottery by having a baby when I could barely figure out the clutch on my dad's '58 Morris Minor.

Again, I arrive at the inevitable conclusion: Antonin Scalia, and possibly John Roberts, Samuel Alito, Anthony Kennedy, and JUST ONE OTHER JUSTICE just might act like they couldn't figure out the clutch on my dad's '58 Morris Minor, either, and decide that HAVE SEX MAKE BABIES is a sensible articulation of the 1st Amendment.

How many of you at this point think I'm crazy for being worried about this?

Update. The Obama administration's response to Justice Sotomayor's stay is out, and it basically says the regulation concerning religiously affiliated non-profits affords the very relief the Little Sisters -- and two hundred other petitioners -- are asking from the Court. In other words, sign the bleeping waiver for heaven's sake. It will be interesting to see what follows.

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