No, this isn't about the Fecal Cliff; it's about the collision of federal courts, and whether or not freedom of religion persists in the USA:
On Nov. 11, U.S. District Judge Joe Heaton refused to grant a preliminary injunction to stop the mandate from being enforced on the Greens while the court decided their case on its merits. In his ruling on the injunction, Judge Heaton determined that the Greens were not likely to establish they had a right to “free exercise” of religion while operating Hobby Lobby.
The Greens appealed their request for an injunction to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit. A panel of two appeals court judges refused their plea.
As a result, the Left was ecstatic: Hobby Lobby either complies or gets whacked with daily fines of $1.3 million, starting tomorrow. But wait - out of the blue of the northern sky comes...Sky King! Well, maybe not, but in a similar case, the 7th Circuit not only issued an injunction, it slammed the 10th Circuit decision as well:
The government also argues that any burden on religious exercise is minimal and attenuated, relying on a recent decision by the Tenth Circuit in Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. v. Sebelius, No. 12‐6294 (10th Cir. Dec. 20, 2012). Hobby Lobby, like this case, involves a claim for injunctive and declaratory relief against the mandate brought by a secular, for‐profit employer. On an interlocutory appeal from the district court’s denial of a preliminary injunction, the Tenth Circuit denied an injunction pending appeal, noting that “the particular burden of which plaintiffs complain is that funds, which plaintiffs will contribute to a group health plan, might, after a series of independent decisions by health care providers and patients covered by [the corporate] plan, subsidize someone else’s participation in an activity condemned by plaintiff[s’] religion.” Id. at 7 (quoting Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. v. Sebelius, 870 F. Supp. 2d 1278, 1294 (W.D. Okla. 2012)). With respect, we think this misunderstands the substance of the claim. The religious‐liberty violation at issue here inheres in the coerced coverage of contraception, abortifacients, sterilization, and related services, not—or perhaps more precisely, not only—in the later purchase or use of contraception or related services.
The decision in the 7th Circuit not only gets it exactly right, it also opens the door to Hobby Lobby for immediate injunctive relief. Those daily $1.3 million fines that the Left was crowing about aren't going to happen.
Nor is this a situation in which an evil corporation declines to provide health coverage, or declines to provide contraception coverage. They're very clear about their willingness to continue to provide preventative contraceptive coverage:
They simply ask that they not be forced to subsidize what their religious beliefs tell them is infanticide. Their employees are in no way prevented from purchasing abortifacients on their own, nor are they discouraged from doing so; the owners of the company simply object to a government mandate that would force them to pay to provide these for employees despite the religious views of the owners.
Another aspect, left entirely unaddressed, would appear to involve issues of equality - clearly, the mandate applies only with respect to female employees; male employees would never have any use for such products. And this brings up a fundamental disparity in so-called "healthcare insurance" in regard to governmental interference: it ignores the fact that men and women are different.
Why should either gender be obliged by government mandate to pay for coverage that they will never need? What is fair, or even rational, about requiring men to pay for "well baby care" and contraceptives when the men are not themselves reproductive? And why should women pay for prostate exams when they lack a prostate?
If lower health care costs are the goal, then every service should be selectable; as any cable subscriber can attest, "bundled" packages generally suck.