Monday we learned that the Affordable Care Act is in fact tethered by certain factors - such as the religious freedom of some companies that don't wish to offer insurance coverage for objectionable contraception.
Much as the U.S. Supreme Court ascribed individual rights to corporations in the Citizens United ruling on campaign finance matters, the high court ruled by a slim margin that the Religious Freedom Restoration Act could apply to more than individuals. Some closely held companies - such as Hobby Lobby, which is named in the suit - can object to providing certain types of contraception within the insurance policies they offer to employees.
The 5-4 vote followed ideological lines, though this time Chief Justice John Roberts voted with the majority on an Affordable Care Act matter.
Balancing religious freedom with commerce and health care is a gnarly task. This suit did not take up those issues. It was aimed only at the contraception mandate. The matter of a business deciding on religious grounds who it would or would not serve - as legislation was posed and withdrawn in Idaho - was not a factor here.
Nonetheless, Idahoans are speaking out in the comment section of our stories and on our Facebook page. Here are some samples:
Sharon Fisher: Isn't it funny how employers' religious conscience only seems to come up in women's family planning issues?
Mike Jones: Given that insurance coverage is part of an employee's total compensation (and most employees pay all or part of their insurance coverage), I'm wondering how this couldn't be used as a precedent for a suit from the next right-wing funded organization saying that an employer can forbid an employee from using their own money to buy contraceptive coverage (or contraception directly)?
Cindy Gross, board of directors at Planned Parenthood Votes Northwest: Their false beliefs about how contraceptives work deny science and in turn they make it harder for women to control their own lives and reproduction. Hobby Lobby will never get another dime of my money.
Melodee Benson Ellestad: I am proud of Hobby Lobby standing up to big government! They have ALWAYS let it be known they were a Christian, privately held company family business! No one pays attention to that until something comes out in the news that doesn't match their own opinions! Are we or are we not a FREE nation?! For those "customers" that go elsewhere, The Lord will replace sevenfold!
TJ Cullen: Me and mine haven't set foot through the door owned by those hypocrites since this started. We will work at seeing they go out of business.
Barb Henderson: I thought this was a freedom issue. Anyone is free to not do business with "hypocrites" and potentially put them out of business. Can anyone honestly imply that he/she doesn't ever do business with "hypocrites?" If we put all "hypocrites"out of business, would there be any doors through which to set our feet? Just trying to think that through! Just, exactly, what is a "hypocrite?"
Judy Borchelt: All of this news attention drove me into the store to see what it was like to shop there, and I found a new resource. Their workers are extremely friendly and helpful. They have a great breadth of product and their pricing is very fair.
Josie Kimber Wolfe: They should not have to pay for any contraception; this is a person's choice.
Victor Voyles: Before the ACA was passed, Hobby Lobby had no problems with the very contraceptives that they based this lawsuit on. They were already in compliance with the law. So why sue? I mean, they were all for it when the white guys were pushing for the ACA.
Robert Ehlert is the Statesman's editorial page editor. Contact him at 377-6437, or on Twitter @IDS_HelloIdaho.