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US Justice Blocks Implementation of ACA Contraceptive Mandate

Unknown Lamer posted about 7 months ago | from the can-we-just-have-communist-care-instead? dept.

Politics 903

theodp writes "First approved for contraceptive use in the U.S. in 1960, 'The Pill' is currently used by more than 100 million women worldwide and by almost 12 million women in the U.S. But just hours before the Affordable Care Act was to go into effect, Justice Sonia Sotomayor issued a stay temporarily blocking a mandate requiring health insurance coverage of birth control, and gave the Obama administration until Friday to respond to the Supreme Court on the matter. Sotomayor's order applies to a group of nuns, the Little Sisters of the Poor, and other Roman Catholic nonprofit groups that use the same health plan, known as the Christian Brothers Employee Benefit Trust (PDF). The group is one of many challenging the federal requirement for contraceptive coverage, but a decision on the merits of that case by the full Supreme Court could have broader implications. One imagines Melinda Gates is none too pleased. So, will U.S. health care require a Department of Personal Belief Exemptions that are dictated by employers (PDF, 'The Trustees of CBEBT and the management of Christian Brothers Services are dedicated to protecting the employers participating in the CBEBT from having to face the choice of violating their faith or violating the law')?"

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Fuck religion. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45837721)

They need to quit acting like spoiled brats when they're told to get the fuck in line with an ethical society.

Re:Fuck religion. (4, Insightful)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about 7 months ago | (#45837785)

They need to quit acting like spoiled brats when they're told to get the fuck in line with an ethical society.

In an ethical society, citizens should have a right to petition their government for a redress of grievances. If the administration had properly responded, instead of stonewalling, then this stay would not have been necessary.

Re:Fuck religion. (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about 7 months ago | (#45838019)

They have the right. They have exercised that right. The government has responded through the appropriate democratic process, as expressed by the representatives who (after much political debate) voted to pass the act.

Re:Fuck religion. (0, Troll)

DarkOx (621550) | about 7 months ago | (#45838119)

Oh you mean after once side they used a bunch parliamentary tricks to limit debate, ultimately abusing budget reconciliation to prevent amendments to the bill, that democratic process?

Face it the leftists did everything they possibly could within the rules to ram the thing thru because that was the only way it was getting through. They completely violated the spirit of how the legislature has traditionally worked and was intended to work; so they could oppress the minority.

Now they cry cordial triers whenever the other side uses the same dirity pool to try and tie stuff to the debt ceiling or the budget. Anyone who voted for the ACA ( at least in the House ) and now complains or accuses the other side of hostage taking etc on these budget issues is a fucking hypocrite; as is anyone else who supports it remaining enforce given how it was done.

Basically anything that successful undermines this crock of shit legislation in anyway is a victory for the concept of minority rights with majority rule. Anytime Obama wins on this issue is just Tyranny of the majority.

Re:Fuck religion. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45838159)

They have the right. They have exercised that right.

Correction: They're in the process of exercising that right.

redress: the act or an instance of setting right a wrong; remedy or cure. They petitioned the government not to do something they believe is unconstitutional, the government went ahead and did it, and now they're at this final stage.

i.e. That's why courts exist, whether you agree or disagree with their beliefs. Hurr durr. If the concept of a democratic republic is too much for you, I suggest emigrating to North Korea or maybe one of those Arab dictatorships. Then you can like and believe whatever you're told by Durr Leader.

Re:Fuck religion. (1)

AK Marc (707885) | about 7 months ago | (#45838123)

Petitioning doesn't guarantee a favorable outcome. They did petition. They were denied. I'm still confused as to what the problem is. They want to refuse to pay for the pill, if any covered member requests it. As the summary hints the coverage covers nuns and priests, it seems more like they don't want to know if any nuns or priests's wives are on the pill. How could it affect them if they were required by law to pay for something requested if nobody ever requests it?

How many members of the CBRBT currently are on the pill? If it's not zero, it's close enough to not be different than if they decided they wanted to ban paying for all medication from Pfizer or such because they make the pill. Putting ideology above medical care is always a bad idea.

Re:Fuck religion. (0, Troll)

Immerman (2627577) | about 7 months ago | (#45837823)

Because heaven forbid nuns may wish to pursue sexual encounters in a mature and responsible manner, while priests are satisfied abusing altar boys.

Re:Fuck religion. (1)

iggymanz (596061) | about 7 months ago | (#45837909)

Nuns and priests are forbidden from doing either one.

Pro-tip: don't work for a religious organization and practice opposing views.

I'm not a fan of the Roman Catholic Church, but no religious organization has to fund things against their beliefs. I'll even go so far as to assert religious organziations don't have to hire someone of particular gender or race if its against their beliefs. For example, a Hindu organization that helps Indian people doesn't have to hire non-Indians if they don't wish to do so.

Get another religion, work for someone else, if you have such a problem with your religious employer.

Re:Fuck religion. (4, Insightful)

Cordus Mortain (3004429) | about 7 months ago | (#45837957)

It's lucky then that churches don't pay taxes, or they'd have to fund the wars the rest of us have to pay for - whether we agree with them or not.

Re:Fuck religion. (4, Interesting)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about 7 months ago | (#45838171)

It gets a bit stickier when said religious organization must deal with people of different beliefs. If you accept Medicare / Medicaid (which the Sisters undoubtedly do) then you have to treat all of those people without respect to your religious belief (assuming that treatment is considered standard of care). If said patient wants / needs contraception then you must make arrangements for the person to get it. You don't have to prescribe the pills yourself, if that compromises your belief, but you may have to send them down to the (secular) doctor down the street who doesn't have an issue.

Clinicians who work for clinics or hospitals associated with religious orders have long worked around these 'issues'. At the Catholic hospital where I worked, we hid the oral contraceptives in a separate closet that we made sure was closed before one of the nuns walked in. And they would not walk in unannounced. Abortions, obviously, were not allowed on campus, but we could refer people to other providers.

The mandate that birth control be provided really is a straw man. Religious orders have been dealing with this for decades. I don't see how this mandate is functionally any different from, for example, a dominant private insurer who offers contraception as part of their insurance packages. All of the hospitals in town realistically have to deal with the insurer and accept their conditions (we're not going to discuss the implications of that right now - it is a very common situation in the US). You do your dance, as above. You get your money. No money, no mission.

Personally, I think the ACA blew it with the requirement that every insurance policy cover contraception (and maternity benefits). The argument for this has been that you need to expand the coverage base in order to keep insurance more affordable. However, the patient base of persons needing or desiring contraception is quite high enough to allow for economies of scale. 30% of the population (approximate number pulled out of my nether region) is big enough to fund a benefit.

Further, the ACA 'isn't' a tax (except it walks like a tax, looks like a tax and squawks like a tax). There is a longstanding precedent for being taxed for something you might not need personally but is considered a societal benefit (think school taxes). Again the construction of the ACA is that of a horribly flawed kludge (that's the nice word) that benefits the status quo in general and the insurance companies in particular. Rationale arguments get buried in the miasma of details that comprise the legislation and give everybody something to hate. Unfortunately, it was probably the best compromise Obama could make. Whether or not it actually improves health care for a majority of Americans is quite unclear.

Re:Fuck religion. (2, Interesting)

DarkOx (621550) | about 7 months ago | (#45838191)

I would go further than that, freedom of associate must necessarily imply freedom from association or its meaningless. Nobody should have to hire anyone or be barred from refusing to do so for any reason however stupid it may be; at least in so far as the government is concerned.

Now if company X actually adopts a policy of refusing to hire gingers or something than I am totally okay with the rest of my fellow citizens boycotting them, protesting out in front of their headquarters or whatever, but government should do nothing.

Basically all the civil rights legislation that has passed is fundamentally anti freedom though and should be in my interpretation of the first amendment UN-Constitutional

Re:Fuck religion. (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about 7 months ago | (#45838059)

I imagine the big fuss isn't actually about the nuns and priests themselves, but the support staff they need to hire. Someone has to do the accounts, handle the legal issues, secure permits, maintain the building, etc. And they run nursing homes, so depending how the administration works they may also be hireing the staff to run them - that means care assistants, medical personell, and a lot more administrators. All those people aren't going to be the most devout catholics - even if the nuns have a 'catholics only' hiring policy, much of the church membership simply ignores the teaching on contraception.

hypocrites (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45838163)

If religion gets into private business then they have to abide by standard business rules. Their choice. The law doesn't apply to the nuns - only to the people they hire. It's against my beliefs to hire anyone that is stupid enough to believe that the earth isn't billions of years old, evolution, or science in general. But I can't legally not hire them as long as they get their specific job done. 2 sides of the same coin.

Re:Fuck religion. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45838077)

And, queue the statist thugs who want to tell us all how to live our perfect lives.

Re:Fuck religion. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45838093)

No...religion is good. I just realized that it is against my religion to pay taxes.

Re:Fuck religion. (5, Insightful)

kheldan (1460303) | about 7 months ago | (#45838193)

I'm glad someone else beside me said it first.

What these people don't seem to understand: Just because your health insurance covers contraception, doesn't mean you're required to obtain and use it! These people who are going on and on about their so-called "faith"? How about they consider this a test of their "faith" to not obtain or purchase it instead of jamming their fucking "faith" down everyone else's throats!

Women have a right to have control over their own bodies.
Get over it already and move on.

All or nothing (0, Flamebait)

ArchieBunker (132337) | about 7 months ago | (#45837735)

You either have healthcare or you don't. No picking and choosing what procedures or medications fit your chosen lifestyle.

Re:All or nothing (4, Insightful)

John Jorsett (171560) | about 7 months ago | (#45837857)

You either have healthcare or you don't. No picking and choosing what procedures or medications fit your chosen lifestyle.

A) This is supposedly about health *insurance*. Insurance is for contingent, unlikely, but potentially costly events. Contraception is none of those, being completely knowable, 100% predictable, and inexpensive.

B) In the olden days, by which I mean pre-Obamacare, you could indeed "pick and choose" what procedures and medications your policy would cover. It's the central conceit of Obamacare that Big Fed knows best and is going to make sure you get it, pounded down your gullet if necessary.

Re:All or nothing (2, Insightful)

jedidiah (1196) | about 7 months ago | (#45837923)

Contraception is something that allows you to manage the unexpected.

> In the olden days, by which I mean pre-Obamacare, you could indeed "pick and choose" what procedures and medications your policy would cover.

In other words, there are no standards and no concept of consumer protection. Corporations are just free to run roughshod over you. This could be your fundie employer or your crass insurance company that has an obvious conflict of interest.

You have no clue about Guilded Age you seem to long for so much.

Re:All or nothing (2)

EvanED (569694) | about 7 months ago | (#45838035)

This is supposedly about health *insurance*. Insurance is for contingent, unlikely, but potentially costly events. Contraception is none of those, being completely knowable, 100% predictable, and inexpensive.

Health insurance is weird and not traditional insurance in that sense. Health insurance also covers things like routine medical checkups and dental cleanings with little or no out-of-pocket cost to you, even though those too are completely knowable, predictable, and inexpensive. But of course you realize that.

In the olden days, by which I mean pre-Obamacare, you could indeed "pick and choose" what procedures and medications your policy would cover.

Not realistically for most people. In the real world, your employer would be able to pick and choose what you got, and and if you wanted something else you'd have to go pay an arm and a leg on your own.

Re:All or nothing (3, Insightful)

causality (777677) | about 7 months ago | (#45838073)

Health insurance is weird and not traditional insurance in that sense. Health insurance also covers things like routine medical checkups and dental cleanings with little or no out-of-pocket cost to you, even though those too are completely knowable, predictable, and inexpensive. But of course you realize that.

I've heard it explained thusly: if car insurance worked like health insurance, then every time you put gas in your tank, got an oil change, bought tires, etc., you would file a claim.

And if it worked that way, car insurance would be ridiculously expensive.

Re:All or nothing (1)

Enry (630) | about 7 months ago | (#45838125)

In return you'd get all of those services for just the price of co-pay (maybe not the gasoline, since it's the equivalent of buying food). But certainly repairs and routine maintenance would be at a lower cost.

Then again, we only keep cars for a few years. I can't really trade my body for a new model.

Re:All or nothing (5, Informative)

BasilBrush (643681) | about 7 months ago | (#45838183)

I've heard it explained thusly: if car insurance worked like health insurance, then every time you put gas in your tank, got an oil change, bought tires, etc., you would file a claim.

If it worked like the UK National Health Service, all those things would be free at the point of delivery.

Everyone would pay for it in general taxation. But that amount added to taxation would be only 40% of what American's pay for their health insurance. And the payments would be progressive (more paid by the rich, less or nothing paid by the poor).

Re:All or nothing (1)

CohibaVancouver (864662) | about 7 months ago | (#45838099)

Insurance is for contingent, unlikely, but potentially costly events

So health insurance should not cover pre-natal care for pregnant women? Colonoscopies for middle-aged men?

Presumably by your logic since health insurance should not cover birth control, it should also not cover cholesterol nor blood pressure regulating meds?

Re:All or nothing (5, Informative)

Trepidity (597) | about 7 months ago | (#45838101)

In a modern healthcare system, prevention is preferred over treatment when possible, and it's generally cheaper. A healthcare system that covers only treatment but no prevention is... poorly designed, with perverse incentives that encourage people to never see a doctor or do anything about their health (because it's expensive) right up until the point that they're in the emergency room, and then we cover that. Which is precisely what people in the U.S. do (and what people nowhere else do, because no rational person would prefer going to the ER over seeing a GP, all else being equal).

The other nice aspect of integrated health coverage is no goddamn billing and trying to screw you over with fine print.

I used to live in the U.S., and the billing there is insane and bureaucratic. If you go to the hospital once, for one day for an outpatient procedure, you will receive bills for months afterwards. The hospital itself, the anesthesiologist, the attending physician, the surgeon, the equipment, any drugs used, everything is billed separately and uncoordinated. Half of the bills are wrongly coded and your insurance denies them, requiring hours on the phone to correct. Nobody can tell you ahead of time what the price is, and what your out-of-pocket cost will be. It's a huge mess and extremely unpleasant for everyone except the useless paper-pushers it keeps in business.

Now I live in Denmark. If you go to the hospital, here is what happens: you go to the hospital, you have the procedure, and you leave. If appropriate, you have follow-up visits. At no point do you receive a bill or have to spend hours on the phone arguing with petty bureaucrats.

Re:All or nothing (3, Insightful)

cmorriss (471077) | about 7 months ago | (#45837913)

Everyone can get access to as much healthcare as they want. This simply is a determination of whether very specific religious organizations are required by law to pay for something they find unethical. Just because something isn't covered by insurance doesn't mean it is denied to them. They must simply pay for it on their own. This isn't something that even costs that much.

Re:All or nothing (1, Insightful)

jedidiah (1196) | about 7 months ago | (#45837941)

Is this an actual religous organization though or is it just a wholy owned subsidiary of a Church? At what point does such a subsidiary become a secular entity? The mormon church owned Pepsico at one point in time? Would that mean that Pepsico gets a "religious exemption".

That's absurd of course.

Being owned by a church doesn't make you a church.

Re:All or nothing (4, Insightful)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about 7 months ago | (#45838091)

It all gets very complicated. It can work the other way too - there are plenty of companies which are clearly commercial entities, but happen to be owned and run by people of very strong faith. Chick-fil-A and Hobby Lobby have made headlines last year over just such a scenario. A broad religious exemption can quickly turn into a situation where believers are 'above the law' - able to simply declare that it doesn't apply to them when convenient.

Re:All or nothing (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45838143)

Pretty simple way to decide: does the organization adhere to the faith principles of the church? Then it is part of the church. I'd argue that Catholic schools and colleges should fall under that exemption but can understand argument there, but to argue that Little Sisters of the Poor would fall outside of any church exemption is absurd.

Re:All or nothing (1)

Cordus Mortain (3004429) | about 7 months ago | (#45837979)

I find most wars unethical - yet I have to pay for them.

Re:All or nothing (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45838199)

Tax money is fungible - just assume your taxes went to fund the IRS. Insurance payments are not fungible in that sense - money from the organization directly funds the contraception.

Re:All or nothing (1)

strstr (539330) | about 7 months ago | (#45838051)

There's the issue of children. How do they afford to pay for contraception if they aren't hireable, cannot work, and their parents are dead beats and refuse to help them out? Then the issue for kids to get contraception, should be for their health insurance to pay for it. Also, some of the best forms of contraception cost quite a bit, like Paragard IUDs costs about $700 for the device to be inserted.

Kids and even young women in their college years are the ones who most need to have this covered by health insurance so they can afford to regulate their birthing processes, stay in school, and are afforded the opportunity to be as successful as they can be, until they choose otherwise.

Re:All or nothing (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45838157)

You seem to have an obsession with sex and children.

Do you go for teen boys or teen girls? Both?

Re:All or nothing (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45837933)

Except the "you don't" option is not available. No one is demanding a special plan, the government is demanding that people pay for ridiculous entitlements.

Re: All or nothing (1)

Mabhatter (126906) | about 7 months ago | (#45838011)

But the governments demand is for EVERYBODY THE SAME THING. That is the KEY point of the law here... Employers put money into the insurance hat, and insurance covers conditions based on the LAW not a bunch of trick back room contracts.

This is just like car insurance must provide minimum coverages A, B, and C for various events. If the government decides every policy needs to include windshield wipers and tail lights (to improve road safety) then the insurance companies adjust their plans.

Re: All or nothing (1)

Mabhatter (126906) | about 7 months ago | (#45837953)

This is about what the government expects employers (another type of government) to provide as a minimum standard. These church organizations only "pay for abortions" if their members CHOOSE to go get them. Why don't they just TRUST their members not to get abortions?

This is ultimately back to that old fight the pre-tea party people liked to bring up about only paying 2/3 of my taxes because the gubbrtmint funds 14 things against my religious beliefs. Insurance companies that know better are jumping on this bandwagon because it's good to beat up the government.

Employers are paying for "healthcare" by putting money into the hat for employees that's where employer's rights stop. The GOVERNMENT says what conditions and circumstances that policy must follow to cover EVERY WORKER'S RIGHTS.

Re: All or nothing (1)

digitig (1056110) | about 7 months ago | (#45838023)

These church organizations only "pay for abortions" if their members CHOOSE to go get them. Why don't they just TRUST their members not to get abortions?

What have abortions got to do with it? This is about contraception, not abortion.

Re: All or nothing (1)

BigDaveyL (1548821) | about 7 months ago | (#45838135)

This is ultimately back to that old fight the pre-tea party people liked to bring up about only paying 2/3 of my taxes because the gubbrtmint funds 14 things against my religious beliefs. Insurance companies that know better are jumping on this bandwagon because it's good to beat up the government.

Wouldn't this be an argument for a small Federal government, no?

Re: All or nothing (1)

causality (777677) | about 7 months ago | (#45838177)

These church organizations only "pay for abortions" if their members CHOOSE to go get them. Why don't they just TRUST their members not to get abortions?

As someone uselessly pointed out, it's about contraception but your point stands. It's a worthy question and it has an answer that is not difficult to verify. They don't trust their own people because large organizations, all large organizations, are run by control freaks. It doesn't matter if the control is delivered in the name of an article of faith, in the name of king and country, in the name of making money, etc.

Control freaks are not people who are content to put forth their own views. They have no true confidence in the power of their own message. They certainly have no respect for your natural right to make decisions for yourself and then reap the consequences (separating the former from the latter causes insanity). What they prefer is to remove as many alternatives as possible to _make_ you conform to their vision of How It Should Be.

Re: All or nothing (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45837987)

This isn't about healthcare; it's about health /insurance/; big difference.

Re:All or nothing (1)

bsolar (1176767) | about 7 months ago | (#45838131)

Usually even if you have healthcare you need evidence that you actually need a procedure or medication to get it covered, otherwise you'll have to pay it yourself or get it paid with a private insurance. Here we have universal healthcare coverage and contraception is obviously not covered unless you for some reason actually *require* it and a medic gives you a prescription (like for every other procedure or medication).

Re:All or nothing (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45838155)

How is contraception "health care" though? There's a 100% effective alternative that everyone can use, health insurance or not. Why the hell should I be required to pay for other people's lack of self control?

There's no reason for contraception to be involved in health INSURANCE, let alone health CARE. It's an entirely unrelated expense.

How is this (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45837749)

How is this even a thing? Don't want to use the pill? Don't! No one violates their belief in sky grandpa because the government isn't making anyone buy/take the pills.

Maybe I don't get it.

Re:How is this (1, Informative)

RobertLTux (260313) | about 7 months ago | (#45837895)

Part of the problem is if they don't get a cutout on this then they won't get a cutout on say Abortion Coverage (which many Christians considered Murder). Plus there is the nasty trick of the Morning After Pill which is considered a contraceptive but is in reality an Abortion Pill.

There needs to be cutouts for a great many things (like pregnancy coverage for MALES and Prostate Coverage for FEMALES).

oh btw i stand as somebody that has FAILED to get coverage under ACA (i can't afford insurance and don't qualify in my state for medicare).

Re:How is this (2)

digitig (1056110) | about 7 months ago | (#45838057)

Plus there is the nasty trick of the Morning After Pill which is considered a contraceptive but is in reality an Abortion Pill.

Wrong (almost certainly). The best evidence is that "morning after pill" works by preventing fertilisation, not by inducing abortion, as you'd know if you'd read the RA (though of course this is /, so there wasn't much chance of that).

Re: (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45838151)

Some religions still consider the morning after pill "abortion" since it can prevent implantation of a fertilized embryo. Since they consider a fertilized embryo a human life, and the fertilized embryo has been killed by prevention of implantation, it is considered abortion for them. The fact that a fertilized embryo may have otherwise not implanted successfully is considered irrelevant.

Re:How is this (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about 7 months ago | (#45838103)

The MA pill usually acts as a contraceptive, but it can prevent implantation as an alternate method of action less commonly. Depends on timing.

Re: How is this (1)

Mabhatter (126906) | about 7 months ago | (#45838117)

If you are a male, then you cannot get pregnant, insurance should account for that, correct. Except you COULD find yourself in a relationship or somehow responsible for part of a pregnancy bill... It happens sometimes, YOOU could be one-in -a-billion, that's why is still called INSURANCE.

Insurance companies know exactly what those rates per capita are for men and price accordingly... They are just gaming the system or POLITICAL points because their business is about to become "services based" rather than "tricky contract based".

Re: How is this (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45837939)

You definitely missed something. In the case of Catholicism (not saying I agree or disagree) facilitating a "moral evil" is also a "moral evil". In this case, the provision of insurance which makes contraception (a Catholic "moral evil") more easily obtained by eliminating co-pays is seen as facilitation and, consequently a "moral evil". Enforced under the threat of fines totaling almost $40,000 per Employee per year represents a substantial burden. In short, if Catholics adhere to Their faith, They are bankrupted; THAT is the issue in question.

Re: How is this (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45838067)

Fine, then start paying taxes like the rest of us and then we might care about your opinions.

Someone's Gottta Say It (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45837753)

Whatever happened to "News for Nerds, Stuff that Matters"?

If I wanted to read stuff like this, I'd wander over to NBC News. Now please stick to what you're good at, delivering me fresh nerd porn.

Re:Someone's Gottta Say It (4, Insightful)

ZorinLynx (31751) | about 7 months ago | (#45837793)

Yet you clicked on the link and read the article. You sure seem to be big on reading things you don't want to read. Are you a masochist? :)

So women's health doesn't matter? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45837811)

Is that because you're a bloke?

Or is it because stuff that matters to you is all that matters to everyone?

Re:So women's health doesn't matter? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45837949)

Non-tech articles like this don't belong on a tech news site. There are plenty of outlets for non-tech news, Slashdot isn't one of them.

Re: Someone's Gottta Say It (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45837837)

Agreed. Whatever I think of healthcare, religion, contraception, or the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, this article shouldn't be on Slashdot.

The beta and this crap content is killing Slashdot (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45837937)

You're absolutely right. So many of us come here for content relating to computers, software, science and technology that just isn't covered properly by the mainstream press. Yet we get presented with totally irrelevant crap like this.

The godawful beta site is just making things worse. Not only is the content rubbish, but the presentation is rubbish, too.

Clearly the current approach is not working. The trend is toward driving existing users away, without drawing away new readers.

I sincerely hope that whoever is in charge at Slashdot or Dice tunes into what's happening here. Slashdot should not strive to be reddit or Digg or whatever the flavor-of-the-month social news site is. Slashdot should return to providing apolitical discussion concerning science and technology. Slashdot should drop this half-assed beta that everybody hates.

Those running Slashdot need to look no further than the GNOME 3 project to see how stupid decisions can totally destroy and ruin what were once vibrant communities. Please don't let that happen here!

The past success of Slashdot wasn't due to chasing the latest shitty web design trends or spewing out politically-charged articles. It was due to that sort of junk being avoided!

Re:The beta and this crap content is killing Slash (4, Insightful)

CohibaVancouver (864662) | about 7 months ago | (#45838127)

Yet we get presented with totally irrelevant crap like this.

This story is less than an hour old and has 100+ comments. Below it is a 'tech' story that's nearly six hours old that has under 40. Seems to me this topic is of interest to the Slashdot crowd, and the Slashdot overlords are doing their job.

This is the problem with religious people. (2, Insightful)

ZorinLynx (31751) | about 7 months ago | (#45837787)

Religious people can't simply leave it well enough alone, and just say "Well if you think contraception is wrong, just don't buy it." Instead, they have to dictate to others what they may or may not do. "We can't allow you to get contraception through our health plan!"

This kind of thinking is wrong and needs to be abolished. Let each person decide what they think is best for themselves. If someone wants to believe a person will "go to hell" if they do something, that's fine. That someone can simply not do it. But don't try to legislate or make it more difficult for others to do what they like to do, provided they're not hurting others.

Re:This is the problem with religious people. (1, Insightful)

iggymanz (596061) | about 7 months ago | (#45837841)

wrong.

this is about religious organizations with employees with the same religious values. here's a pro-tip, don't work for a religious organization if you don't hold their beliefs. Here we have a ruling for nuns.....let me tell you something, if you're a nun and you need an abortion, the Roman Catholic Church is going to cause you many other problems than just not funding your abortion. you won't be a nun anymore.

Re:This is the problem with religious people. (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45837907)

if that's the case, then there is no harm in allowing it in the health care plan. after all -- if the only people on the plan are nuns who believe contraception is morally wrong -- then no one will actually BUY contraception, and it will go unused! tada!

Re:This is the problem with religious people. (1, Insightful)

BigDaveyL (1548821) | about 7 months ago | (#45838053)

Wrong.

You're still paying for that coverage which some groups find repugnant.

Pre-Obamacare, nuns could at least cut out coverage for maternity, contraception and other family planning related things. Not only do groups have moral questions about this, it will cost more, since in theory this coverage isn't needed.

Re:This is the problem with religious people. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45838037)

The religious organizations want special exemptions that the rest of society doesn't get. No taxes and no labor laws? Maybe I should start my own Church of the Anonymous Coward to get all these breaks.

Re: This is the problem with religious people. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45837871)

No, the problem is Congress doesn't bother to check its own laws, like the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

Re:This is the problem with religious people. (4, Insightful)

jbeaupre (752124) | about 7 months ago | (#45837893)

That's what they are arguing: Those that think contraception is wrong shouldn't have to buy it. As employers, they are being told to pay for something they believe is morally wrong. They believe that by being complicit, they risk hell. So they wish to simply not do it. They want to decide what is best for themselves. They don't like that others are dictating to them what they may or may not do.

Sometimes the rights or responsibilities of two people or two groups conflict and has to be hashed out in court.

Re: This is the problem with religious people. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45837947)

I'm waiting for the moment when the Quakers get a refund on the portion of their taxes that pay for war.

Until we give them their rebate, the nuns should just cope with the fact that none of their employees will wind up using contraception even though their insurance covers it.

Re:This is the problem with religious people. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45837989)

They could take the third option: stop being employers and employ an amoral atheist with to make all their decisions, Christians - especially Catholics, never seemed to have a problem following immoral orders before, so it would be odd if they started to have a conscience now.

Re:This is the problem with religious people. (2, Insightful)

Cordus Mortain (3004429) | about 7 months ago | (#45838007)

I want to seem them prove they risk going to hell. Once they can prove that hell exists, then they can prove that paying for contraception (whether they use it or not) risks eternal damnation. Extra ordinary claims require extra ordinary evidence.

Re:This is the problem with religious people. (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45837963)

Religious people are not legislating anything, which is exactly the point. They don't want to be forced to buy contraceptives, and, if they choose not to, then what's wrong with that? Instead, the Obama administration is legislating that religious people be forced to buy it, even if they consider it to be wrong.

If a company chooses not to include contraceptives, then that is their right since they are the ones paying for it. If an individual chooses not to buy a policy with contraceptives, then that is their right. The problem is that contraceptive coverage is *legislated* by the Obama administration. What you claim about letting people decide for themselves is exactly what religious people are trying to preserve.

Re:This is the problem with religious people. (5, Insightful)

mrlibertarian (1150979) | about 7 months ago | (#45837977)

The fundamental problem here is that the government has coupled health care and employers together. For some strange reason, the ACA did not fix this problem. We need to decouple health care and employers by eliminating the tax break that employers get. If we do that, then we'll no longer care what health care plan our employer offers, just as we don't care what car insurance plan our employer offers.

Re:This is the problem with religious people. (4, Interesting)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | about 7 months ago | (#45838195)

For some strange reason, the ACA did not fix this problem. We need to decouple health care and employers by eliminating the tax break that employers get.

McCain wanted to do that in 2008 [cbsnews.com]

Didn't happen because politics.

Re:This is the problem with religious people. (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45838015)

You complain about a company "forcing" it's beliefs on others, all while trying to force yours on them.

It's not about a religious group wanting to deny people contraception, it's about them not wanting to be forced to pay for things they think are wrong. Their employees are still free to go out and get contraceptives, the church/religious entity just doesn't have to foot the bill.

Why is that so hard to understand?

Re:This is the problem with religious people. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45838081)

Religious people can't simply leave it well enough alone, and just say "Well if you think contraception is wrong, just don't buy it." Instead, they have to dictate to others what they may or may not do. "We can't allow you to get contraception through our health plan!"

This kind of thinking is wrong and needs to be abolished. Let each person decide what they think is best for themselves. If someone wants to believe a person will "go to hell" if they do something, that's fine. That someone can simply not do it. But don't try to legislate or make it more difficult for others to do what they like to do, provided they're not hurting others.

That might be true. Though, in this case I think it's likely Republicans taking advantage of religion in yet another attempt to tear down the ACA.

Interesting that it was this Justice (3, Interesting)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | about 7 months ago | (#45837801)

Sotomayor is generally considered one of the most liberal Supreme Court Justices, but here she is issuing a ruling that will make conservatives very happy. In other words, she made the decision based on legal principles instead of her personal ideology. Don't hold your breath waiting for, say, Thomas or Alito to do the same, ever.

Nice straw man (0)

HBI (604924) | about 7 months ago | (#45837921)

Couldn't resist the chance for the dig, could you?

Granting cert on the case in question required more than Sotomayor's concurrence. One imagines the decision to issue an injunction also resulted from consultation with other justices. You have no idea who she talked to, nor what the content of the justices' discussions are.

Nonetheless, let's rip on the conservatives, because you don't like what they think. This pretty much defines "being an asshole". Which you are.

Quit it with the "Straw Man Fallacy" Fallacy. (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45838031)

Please, please, for the love of debate, never again accuse somebody of committing the "straw man fallacy" when in fact they have not.

You have committed what is now called the Straw Man Fallacy Fallacy. That's when you commit a fallacy by accusing a fellow debater of having engaged in straw man fallacy when they have not.

And please refrain from ad hominem attacks upon other people here. Please do not call other people here "assholes", for instance, just because they advocate an idea that you personally disagree with. That is very poor debating style.

This is not reddit. We engage in intelligent discourse here, like mature adults. Please apologize, refrain from engaging in immature behavior in the future, and we can then all move on to more important discussion.

Dangerous Road (4, Insightful)

Spad (470073) | about 7 months ago | (#45837815)

By that logic you should also exempt organ transplants, blood transfusions and any other medical procedure that any group, religious or otherwise, objects to. In other words, you might as well give the fuck up and stop providing any coverage at all.

Re:Dangerous Road (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45837959)

Or (and here's a silly idea) implement single-payer.

Re:Dangerous Road (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45837985)

It is not logically required that there be One Plan.

Re:Dangerous Road (1)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | about 7 months ago | (#45837991)

Well, why not. There are occasional news stories of Christian Scientists rung up for murder because they didn't get their kids treated for pneumonia.

Contraceptive drugs are often used for treatment of medical conditions - it isn't just about pregnancy.

This kind of political crap is one of the many reasons I believe religious organizations should be taxed.

Re:Dangerous Road (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about 7 months ago | (#45838147)

Most states have an exception in their child abuse laws that specifically states that withholding vital medical care due to sincere religious belief is not a criminal act, even though withholding vital medical care for any other reason would be considered abuse and grounds for prosecution. 37 states, currently.

Source: http://www.ndaa.org/pdf/Religious%20Exemptions%20to%20Child%20Neglect%202013.pdf [ndaa.org]

Re:Dangerous Road (2)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | about 7 months ago | (#45838001)

In other words, you might as well give the fuck up and stop providing any coverage at all.

That's a good idea. Employer-based heathcare is an idiotic idea, only put in place as a temporary hack to get around [unconstitutional] wage-controls in the post WWII era, and causes all of these absurd legal scenarios, which do deserve to be challenged. But challenging the symptoms is a never-ending, and so losing, game.

Employers know full-well what an employee really costs, and it's only because the tax code favors this arrangement that they even care if the money goes to insurance premiums or directly into the employee's paycheck.

You're missing the point (3, Insightful)

BigDaveyL (1548821) | about 7 months ago | (#45838009)

Technically, you are free to work for any employer or no employer at all. You are also free to buy contraception (or organ transplants on your own). You are free to buy your own insurance as well. The problem is that you disagree with your employer on a benefit that they are paying for. Just like any other employer policy, if you do not like it, you are free to leave (or in this case buy your own). If the religious convictions of your employer bothers you, whether they are right or wrong, technically no one is holding a gun to your head to work there.

Re:You're missing the point (3, Insightful)

amorsen (7485) | about 7 months ago | (#45838137)

The problem is that you are not actually free to buy your own insurance, because if the employer does it for you, they get to use pre-tax money to do so, whereas you have to pay tax first. There are other problems too of course, since health care bought by individuals is so much more expensive, it is a niche product, and niche products are usually expensive in a mass market economy. Still, the fundamental problem is the tax issue.

This Isn't Slashdot Material (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45837819)

Please confine non-technology related articles to other venues.

Re:This Isn't Slashdot Material (1)

iggymanz (596061) | about 7 months ago | (#45838165)

Contraceptives are technology. ACA can only be implemented with technology. This is policy about technology.

Personal faith != alternative to legal system (1, Interesting)

Lexible (1038928) | about 7 months ago | (#45837845)

Just like if one's personal faith entails, say, pacifism (of the no support for institutional violence variety), that does not mean that one gets to opt out of, say, taxes that support the military, the police, or the prison system. Not sure how mandating that birth control is part of a federally stipulated health care package and religious (yet Sisyphean) objections to heterosexual sex are going to change that reality.

Re:Personal faith != alternative to legal system (2)

jbeaupre (752124) | about 7 months ago | (#45837973)

Slight difference. Taxes are spent by the government. Pacifists are not being asked to directly pay soldiers. Insurance payments are made by the employer, not through the government.

In a striking parallel, pacifists are exempted from certain provision of serving in the military that would conflict with their moral belief.

Re:Personal faith != alternative to legal system (1)

ranton (36917) | about 7 months ago | (#45838139)

Slight difference. Taxes are spent by the government. Pacifists are not being asked to directly pay soldiers. Insurance payments are made by the employer, not through the government.

In a striking parallel, pacifists are exempted from certain provision of serving in the military that would conflict with their moral belief.

How is that a slight difference at all?

Pacifist don't pay for soldiers, they pay taxes and some of that money goes to soldiers.
Employees don't pay for contraceptives, they pay insurance premiums and some of that money goes towards contraceptives.

There is no difference at all.

Re:Personal faith != alternative to legal system (1)

misexistentialist (1537887) | about 7 months ago | (#45838027)

Sotomayor's order applies to a group of nuns, the Little Sisters of the Poor, and other Roman Catholic nonprofit groups

They don't pay taxes

Insurance and contraception (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45837873)

As an insurance, covering contraception makes no sense as insurance covers risks (and mainly risks you cannot cover yourself) and close to 100% of women below the age of 50 need contraception, so it becomes either pay for the pills themselves or pay to the insurer whatever the pills would have cost in the first place + administrative fees. Now, it makes sense as a redistribution policy to 1) have men pay for women's contraception, 2) subsidize contraception for poor women. However, since socialism is a dirty word in the USA, everyone pretends health coverage is private insurance even though covering something that is 100% certain to occur does not make any sense for an insurance contract.

Hopefully there was a denial of ... (2)

rnturn (11092) | about 7 months ago | (#45837903)

... Viagra coverage for men, too. Only seems fair. If you can't get it up, it must be part of His plan.

Frankly, I've never understood the Church's fanaticism about birth control and sex without conception. I guess their `thinking' is along the lines of what comedian Chris Rush said when he joked (paraphrasing): "Don't you know that when you masturbate you're murdering millions of potential Christians?"

Vasectomy? (3, Insightful)

mveloso (325617) | about 7 months ago | (#45838145)

Why isn't a vasectomy or condoms covered by Obamacare? There's nothing in the law that specifies contraception coverage is female-only.

Why this is dangerous for workers (0)

Hey_Jude_Jesus (3442653) | about 7 months ago | (#45837929)

If the supreme court allows for profit corporations to deny health care insurance for religious reasons only the worker will suffer. If you work for a Jehovah's witness employer they may demand that blood transfusions be covered. If you work for a Christian Science believer they may demand only broken bones be covered by health insurance. A Christian faith healer may demand that they not be required to offer any health insurance and that those sick workers should pray the disease or injuries away with the grace of Jesus. The employee earns their health care insurance with their labor. It is no different then being paid wages. Just like the government can mandate wages and work conditions they are able to mandate health care insurance coverage for workers. This is under the general welfare and commerce clause of the constitution. A religious exemption allowance would allow the Racist Church of the Creator members not to hire non-whites based on their beliefs. In other words, if SCOTUS allows a religious exemption for employers compensating employees chaos will rein for workers across America as every religious belief will have to by law be accommodated by the government and the employee will have no recourse.

Re:Why this is dangerous for workers (1)

jedidiah (1196) | about 7 months ago | (#45837967)

The Supremes are already busy ensuring that individuals have no recourse and that only corporations have any rights. So it would be situation normal for them.

religious beliefs (1)

devent (1627873) | about 7 months ago | (#45837969)

Since when it is an issue obeying the law on the basis of "religious beliefs"? If there were a religious organization that believes in human sacrifice do they get an exemption of obeying the law of homicide?

There are many laws that can be dismissed on the basis of "religious beliefs": sacrifice, torture, divorce, adoption, medical care, anti-racist laws, equality laws, holidays, and the list goes on. If the Little Sisters of the Poor have issues with the law of the land they are free to go to other countries that are more compatible with their."religious beliefs".

What hypocrites the Little Sisters of the Poor are. Birth control health coverage would firstly help those poor woman that the non-profit group says they care about. It would help to get those woman an education and some chances of escaping their status.

If its in stock, we got it. (1)

gwgwgw (415150) | about 7 months ago | (#45837995)

Any retail store and anybody you work for ALWAYS have quirks. We are going to have to live with that. There are gotcha problems every which way you go (even where you step).

Ask any avid brick & mortar shopper. You want something? You'll have to learn who offers what.

As long as all customers/employees are treated the same when they come through the door you should be happy.

You don't like what they offer? Don't go there. Don't seek employment there. Move to a different place... look there.

Next Step (3, Insightful)

ntchpalm (1541261) | about 7 months ago | (#45838055)

The next step is for CEO of BIGCOMPANY to decide that cancer is something decided by God, and that paying for their employees to get treatment to cancer violates their religious beliefs.

Separation of church and state (0)

sl4shd0rk (755837) | about 7 months ago | (#45838087)

Doesn't refer to seating arrangments. If you holy-rollers don't agree with contraception, then don't fucking use is. Simple. Every religion since always has tried to conform the world their their viewpoints and it's the main reason why society can't have nice things. If you want to live your life nailed to a cross, go ahead but stop thinking you need to force your belief system on everyone else. Same goes for atheists. sick of hearing you whiners too. Believe what you want and let others believe what they want. That's a hell of a lot closer to the peace and tolerance that every religion claims to be about but never gets it right.

Do not. There is no try. (3, Funny)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about 7 months ago | (#45838109)

News for nerds -- as if politics isn't bad enough, of what need have nerds for things which keep women from getting pregnant?

Apparently USA is religion first, then rational. (-1, Troll)

yossie (93792) | about 7 months ago | (#45838113)

This whole argument is pathetic. A panel of experts, including Doctors, determined that contraceptive should be part of a rational medical insurance plan. How is possible for a religious order to override that, stating, basically - we believe this is not the case, so we would like to ignore the law and the experts in favor of our belief? Separation of church and state? This is pretty much the exact opposite of that. Apparently we, the USA, are indeed a religious, not rational, country. The forefathers are rolling in their graves..
Insurance isn't a statement of faith - it is a product with stated basic requirements - an employer either offers a package that lives up to these or it should not offer insurance at all (and pay for its employees to use the ACA!)
Disappointed but not particularly surprised..

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