Can Your Boss Claim Their Religion Means You Can’t Get Birth Control Coverage?

Yet another example of right wing Christo-Nazi men protecting women.

From The ACLU:

By Brigitte Amiri, ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project
March 25, 2016
I’ve had Donna Summer’s 1983 hit playing in a loop in my head:  “She works hard for the money, so you better treat her right.” Okay, maybe this dates me a bit, but you get the point. We all work hard. So why should any of us be denied health insurance coverage guaranteed by law because of our employers’ religious beliefs?

That’s the question the Supreme Court considered in Zubik v. Burwell when it heard argument this week in the latest challenge to the Affordable Care Act’s requirement that health insurance plans cover contraception without a co-pay. The employers that have challenged the requirement have a religious objection to providing contraception coverage for their employees. But here’s the deal: The employers before the court don’t actually have to provide the coverage if they fill out a one-page form opting out. If the employer opts out, the insurance company provides the contraception coverage to the employees in a separate plan, at no cost to the employer.

But the employers object even to filling out the opt-out form, and they object to what happens when they opt out — that their insurer then provides the coverage to their employees.  What would happen if the Supreme Court accepts their argument? Tens of thousands of employees would lose their contraception coverage.

The contraception requirement was designed to reduce the disparities in health care costs between men and women — women have historically paid more for health care than men. Also, in establishing the contraception requirement, the government recognized the basic principle that contraception is crucial for women’s equal participation in society. Being able to decide whether and when to have children has a direct effect on women’s ability to make their own paths in terms of their schooling, their careers, and their families.

The employers before the court should not be allowed to use their religious beliefs to block their female employees’ contraception coverage any more than they should be allowed to use their religious beliefs to pay them less than men.  Religious liberty is a fundamental value in our country, but religion cannot be used to discriminate against others.

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Laws written by men to protect women deserve scrutiny, Supreme Court told

Most laws written by men “to protect women” actually tend to do the opposite which is oppress and harm them.  Think the laws barring certain foelds of employment, restrictions on abortion or birth control.  This is especially true when men claim a magic invisible imaginary sky daddy tells them to do this to protect women.

The same can be said of men dictating the proper role or behavior for women.

From The Chicago Tribune:

Robert Barnes
Feb. 10, 2016

History holds a lesson for the Supreme Court, the brief warns: Be skeptical of laws protecting women that are written by men.

The nation’s past is littered with such statutes, say the historians who filed the friend-of-the-court brief, and the motives were suspect.

Some protected women from “the embarrassment of hearing filthy evidence” as members of a jury, a sheltering instinct that resulted in female defendants being judged by panels composed only of men.

Some shielded women from having to work nights as pharmacists in hospitals – but not as low-wage custodians.

Some barred women from working as bartenders – jobs coveted by men – but not as cocktail waitresses.

The brief is filed by professors from across the country in the court’s upcoming abortion case, Whole Women’s Health v. Hellerstedt. The brief urges the justices to examine the intent of Texas legislators who say they approved new restrictions on abortion providers as health safeguards for the women undergoing the procedure.

“Any new law that claims to protect women’s health and safety should be scrutinized carefully to assess whether its ostensibly protective function actually serves to deny liberty and equal citizenship to women,” said the brief filed by 16 historians, 13 of whom are women.

It is part of an avalanche of amicus briefs filed by both sides in the case, which will be the court’s most important look at abortion rights in decades.

And the attempt at persuasion, like many of the others, is representative of a specialized brand of legal brief that aims to school the court not about law but about life.

“Brandeis briefs” are long on history and science and short on detailed legal citations. The first of its kind was filed in 1908 by lawyer Louis D. Brandeis, who eight years later became famous as the first Jewish Supreme Court justice.

Last month, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg discussed the importance of the revolutionary brief at – where else? – Brandeis University, in Waltham, Mass., at a ceremony marking the centennial of his Supreme Court appointment.

Brandeis’s submission “was unlike any the court had yet seen. It was to be loaded with facts and spare on formal legal argument,” Ginsburg said. The facts consumed 98 of the brief’s 113 pages.

“The aim of the Brandeis brief was to educate the judiciary about the real world in which the laws under inspection operated,” Ginsburg said.

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North Carolina’s anti-trans law is downright dangerous

From The Guardian UK:

Forcing trans people to use bathrooms that correspond to their sex at birth adds to the discrimination that makes some suicidal

Thursday 24 March 2016

Like all other people, transgender people go to the bathroom to pee. Afterwards, they may even take a moment to comb their hair or just look in the mirror. Overall though, their habits in the restroom are just like yours.

But Wednesday night the North Carolina legislature passed – and Governor Pat McCrory signed – a bill that bans trans people from bathrooms that don’t match the sex they were assigned at birth. There are 40 similar bills being considered in at least 16 US states that echo this now-successful piece of legislation, according to the Human Rights Campaign.

This shocking win not only signals a red alert in the fight for full LGBT equality, but also something more disgusting: a clear message has been sent by North Carolina conservatives, sure to be emulated nationwide, that it doesn’t matter if trans people live or die.

I’m not jumping to conclusions here. An analysis of data compiled by the National Transgender Discrimination Survey last month shows that when young people are denied access to a restroom that aligns with their gender identity, their rates of suicide go up.

Translation: not allowing trans youth to use a bathroom only perpetuates feelings of isolation or depression that lead 41% of transgender people to attempt kill themselves at some point in their lives, compared to the 4.6% in the general population.

This finding should be at the forefront of everyone’s minds as this bill takes effect in North Carolina, and as other proposed legislation moves forward in states like Kansas, where officials have proposed a bill that would allow someone to sue a public school if they saw a transgender person in a bathroom that didn’t match their sex assigned at birth. (Who is going to be checking people’s genitals if this passes? And isn’t that assault?)

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