Senate Fails to Override Hobby Lobby Decision, So Instead You Get This Clarification

Last week, the Senate tried to vote on a bill that would have banned for-profit companies from being able to opt out of federal law based on their religious beliefs. It would have effectively overridden the Hobby Lobby decision. Wouldn’t that have been something?

But the Senate is the Senate, and is a giant pain in the butt of the US of A, and while they probably could have passed the bill if it had gone to a vote, they couldn’t muster the 60 votes they needed to get it out of debate.

The bill is basically dead for the moment, unless the House votes on it. So in the meantime, the Department of Labor has released a helpful clarification. It specifies that if your employer is a for-profit company, and wants to tell you that Jesus knows best what you can and can’t do with your reproductive system, it must notify you before it takes away your birth control.

A senior Obama administration official told the Huffington Post that they issued the clarification because, “we are making clear that if a corporation like Hobby Lobby drops coverage of contraceptive services from its health plan, it must do so in the light of day by letting its workers and their families know.”

Which means that you aren’t gonna just show up at CVS one day to pick up your refill and then get charged a whole bunch of money for it, at least not without knowing it’s gonna happen in advance. Don’t you feel better? No?

As Jezebel pointed out, the very slightly bright side to this clarification is that there will be evidence of who is evoking God to regulate their employees’ uteri:

“it will leave a paper trail that disgruntled employees could easily pass onto media outlets, which media outlets can then convey to the general public. The public can then avoid shopping at places run by people who think that birth control is murder.”

If and when that happens, we (and other media outlets) will be here to make more lists to help you avoid them.

Autostraddle staff writer. Copy editor. Fledgling English muffin maker. Temporary turtle parent. Zine creator. Swings enthusiast. Political human who cares a lot about healthcare and queer anti-carceral feminisms. I asked my friend to help me write this bio and they said, "Good-natured. Friend. Earth tones." Another friend said, "Flannel babe. Vacuum lover. Kind." So. Find me on Twitter or my website.

Maddie has written 100 articles for us.

2 Comments

  1. “Last week, the Senate tried to vote on a bill that would have banned for-profit companies from being able to opt out of federal law based on their religious beliefs.”

    This sentence makes everything just that much more fucking surreal. How is this A THING!?!? What the loving hell is wrong with the US!?!? HOW CAN RELIGIOUS GROUPS BE EXEMPT FROM THE LAW!?

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