We all remember the Affordable Care Act, right? The gift that keeps on giving? Anyway, part of that monstrosity, is a provision for women’s health which states that women should get preventative health care, such as contraceptives, because somehow the rest of us should pay for others to enjoy pleasure. This is after all to prevent pregnancies, and the two people have sex, are only doing so for pleasure, if they are not trying to get pregnant.
Anyway, initially the rule stipulated non-profit religious organizations had to file an exemption form, if they believed in some overarching theism that said every sperm is sacred. If they did, they could be exempted.
But then, Hobby Lobby came along in 2014, and were like, we may not be a fucking church, but we still believe every sperm is sacred up in this bitch. We think we deserve such an exemption, too—SCOTUS agreed.
Then also in 2014, in Wheaton v. Burwell, SCOTUS ruled that you don’t have to file for an exemption, because that’s an undue burden. You just have to notify Health and Human Services (HHS) you’re exercising your right to object.
But it gets better. In 2017 in Zubik v. Burwell, these fuckers decided that just having to notify HHS they intended to abstain was too much effort, and were like, “First amendment, assholes. We don’t have to tell you shit.” But the court was unimpressed, and told them to fuck off.
In 2017, Trump and his merry band of misfits amended the rules, allowing for a “moral” exemption, making it yet again easier to get out of this shit.
Pennsylvania and New Jersey challenged these rules, arguing it was some bullshit discrimination, and a district court agreed.
So here we are at SCOTUS to determine if the federal government was allowed to exempt such people, and if the Little Sisters peeps have standing to sue here.
Ginsburg questioned the idea that the exemptions outside of churches exist at all, because that’s not how the law was written. But the petitioner argued that the law was written to give HHS discretion on whether to require contraceptive care. So since the HHS is run by the executive branch, they get to decide on that rule, which Trump did.
In a 7:2 majority, where Ginsburg and Sotomayor dissented, SCOTUS decided that the executive branch, which directs the Dept of Health and Human Services (DHHS) has the authority to write its own rules, and so they did. They ruled that the rules only required “additional preventive care and screenings,” and the ambiguousness of that statement leaves the door open for DHHS to write it’s own rules within that framework.
Ginsburg and Sotomayor agreed they were allowed to write their own rules within that framework, but this was negating it altogether, which the ACA would not allow.