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Will the Hobby Lobby Decision Impact the Availability of Truvada?

Will the Hobby Lobby Decision Impact the Availability of Truvada?

JESUSLAND—As just about everyone must know by now, the U.S. Supreme Court on Monday issued its ruling in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby, and while AVN is still analyzing that decision, at least one thing is perfectly clear: Arts 'n' crafts retailer Hobby Lobby and other "closely-held" corporations which claim that their religious beliefs won't allow them to include female contraceptives now no longer have to include such contraceptive coverage in their company health plans.

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But here's the conundrum: If the Hobby Lobby decision supports the "right" of companies not to make available birth control that will prevent women from "catching" a pregnancy, what's to keep those same religious companies from arguing that providing access to PReP drugs like Truvada, which help prevent gays (and, admittedly, everyone) from catching HIV shouldn't similarly be excluded from their health plans?

In his opinion in the Hobby Lobby case, Justice Samuel Alito, joined by the high court's four other most conservative justices, stated, "In any event, our decision in these cases is concerned solely with the contraceptive mandate. Our decision should not be understood to hold that an insurance-coverage mandate must necessarily fall if it conflicts with an employer’s religious beliefs. Other coverage requirements, such as immunizations, may be supported by different interests (for example, the need to combat the spread of infectious diseases) and may involve different arguments about the least restrictive means of providing them." [Emphasis added]

The key word there is "necessarily." So, if some religious company owner objected to his/her company's health plan providing the HIV-preventative Truvada to employees, because to help gay people not die from having sex (Leviticus 18:22, 29-30) is against that company owner's religious beliefs, such a stance might not necessarily fall because it's just a bunch of religious horseshit—not unlike the religious horseshit the Supremes actually bought in Hobby Lobby when it accepted the completely unscientific "evidence" that contraception was equivalent to abortion.

In fact, as Carlos Maza noted today in an article published on Alternet, the LGBT-friendly Lambda Legal Foundation observed in its amicus brief in Hobby Lobby that, "Stepping back from the reproductive health context of these cases, imagine how our nation's workplace standards would be transformed were this Court to embrace the approach the Companies request. Business owners with religious objections to blood transfusion could exempt that life-saving service from their employees' health coverage. They could selectively exclude coverage for 'sinful' medications that control pain, alleviate depression, or manage HIV. Those who believe that all modern medical treatments interfere with Divine will could refuse coverage for all but faith healing."

And as everyone is already aware, conservative religious groups already hate LGBTs with a fiery passion, so it would hardly be a stretch to oppose providing them with medication that might prevent their deaths. And as Maza also notes, considering that Truvada might cost as much as $13,000 for a year's supply, "it seems plausible that anti-gay religious business owners might find covering Truvada to be a substantial burden. And given that many LGBT people have criticized Truvada for encouraging promiscuity and sexual irresponsibility, it seems likely that these business owners could produce a sincere religious objection to being involved, however indirectly, in gay sex."

Yes, Hobby Lobby: the decision that'll keep on giving for years and years!






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Mark Kernes

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