When we last met, both the federal government and the Little Sisters of the Poor had submitted their homework assignments to the Supreme Court on the issue of health coverage for contraceptives. Should the Sisters be required to fill out a form saying they declined contraceptive coverage? That would be cooperating with evil. Should they be required to do nothing, with only their insurance company required to provide notification? That has problems too. Still, the briefs had been submitted and the court now had its second chance to do its job and decide the issue for good. Instead we got this:
The court punted the issue back to lower courts, and said its unanimous ruling “expresses no view on the merits of the cases.” In the unsigned opinion, the court emphasized: “In particular, the Court does not decide whether petitioners’ religious exercise has been substantially burdened, whether the Government has a compelling interest, or whether the current regulations are the least restrictive means of serving that interest.”
They have decided nothing. Nothing! Without Anton Scalia around, they’re flailing helplessly. Either they’re hopelessly deadlocked 4-4 and are buying time, or else they really need a foil to inspire them.
I do sort of wonder what’s going on here. I suppose it all has to do with self-insured entities, just like the feds warned. If, say, a Catholic hospital self insures and chooses not to provide contraceptive coverage, then it really doesn’t matter if they fill out a form or not. Who’s going to provide the contraceptives? There’s no separate entity to do it.
I’m curious: how does this work in other countries? They have Catholic hospitals, don’t they? And Catholic charities. And so forth. And health coverage is universal, and I imagine some (most?) countries cover contraceptives in their universal coverage. What’s the Catholic Church’s take on all this? Is the United States the only country they’re mad at?
So what’s my solution? The Post Office. Hear me out. There are lots of fans of postal banking out there. I keep asking why anyone thinks the Post Office is especially well suited to the task of banking, and the usual answer is that they have lots of buildings all over the country. I guess buildings are the main qualification for providing banking services. So why not postal contraceptives too? We could train some postal workers in each Post Office to become specialized contraceptive nurses, and then provide everything free of charge right there. Pills, IUDs, implants, whatever. Are you with me on this?