One Year After Hobby Lobby…


By Diana Scholl

A year ago today, the Supreme Court ruled that Hobby Lobby didn’t have to include birth control in its employees’ health insurance because of religious objections. Employees from Hobby Lobby and other corporations left without coverage have been paying for their employer’s religious beliefs — literally — ever since.

A year later, here is a look at some other ways religious belief has been invoked to harm other people.

1. Adoption Denied

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder signed into law a bill that would allow taxpayer-funded adoption agencies to deny loving homes to vulnerable children.

Adoption Denied

2. Baby Refused Medical Care

In Michigan, a pediatrician said that she would not help a baby because the baby had two moms. Unfortunately, Michigan does not have a statewide law protecting against this type of discrimination.

Baby Refused Medical Care

3. Pregnant Woman Refused Treatment

Tamesha Means was rushed to a Catholic hospital in Michigan after her water broke at only 18 weeks of pregnancy. Based on Catholic religious directives, the hospital refused to terminate the pregnancy and sent her home twice even though Tamesha was in excruciating pain. There was virtually no chance that her pregnancy was viable, and continuing it posed significant risks to her health.

Pregnant Woman Refused Treatment

4. Child Labor Laws Ignored

A judge ruled that the Religious Freedom Restoration Act prevented investigators from requiring the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints to answer questions about the use of children as workers at a pecan ranch in Utah.

Child Labor Laws Ignored

5. Same-Sex Couples Refused Service

A Colorado bakery refused to make a cake for David Mullins and Charlie Craig’s wedding reception in violation of longstanding state law, based on the owner’s religious beliefs. The oral argument on appeal will take place in early July.

Same-Sex Couples Refused Service

For more on using religion to discriminate, go to

Diana Scholl is the Communications Strategist for the  ACLU

About The Author

Disclaimer: the views expressed by guest writers are strictly those of the author and may not reflect the views of the Vanguard, its editor, or its editorial board.

Related posts


  1. Tia Will

    I have personally found it hard to become too excited about the refusal of services such as wedding cakes and flower arrangements based on the genders of the couple seeking the services. In most cases, they will, without too much difficulty be able to secure the services of another provider. I do not like this form of discrimination but I would not mount a major protest preferring to “vote” with my business dollars. However, it is deeply disturbing to me when the subject being discussed is health care.

    We currently have laws against discrimination when it come to Emergency Room Care. However, it is not unusual for the lack of care to create a situation in which an emergency or life threatening outcome is likely to occur if pre-emergency services are not provided. This is clearly the case in the example of the 18 weeks pregnant woman.

    there was virtually no chance that her pregnancy could survive, and continuing the pregnancy posed significant risks to her health.”

    This is one of the few instances in which I would not equivocate with the word “virtually”. There is no chance that with a clinically apparent rupture of membranes and a symptomatic woman that this pregnancy would survive. I repeat not “virtually”, no chance. None at all. Zero.  Medically controlled oversight of the inevitable miscarriage is warranted. Lack of provision of such service puts the woman at increased risk of death through hemorrhage or infection. This is a clear statement by the religious medical community that “we have the knowledge and the means to help you” and we will not do so. From my point of view as a 30 year obstetrician, if one has the competency, staffing and equipment to perform a potentially life saving procedure, then one has the obligation to do so. These skills and equipment would clearly be available at any hospital that provides obstetric services. And if for any reason they are not available, the obligation would be to transfer the patient to a hospital that would provide the indicated service, not to “send her home”.

    The case of refusal of care for a pediatric patient raises a different issue. I was raised a Christian. I have read the Bible. Where in Christian teaching is it said that one cannot care for a complete innocent because of the choices of the parents ?  Her argument seems to be that despite the fact that she lied to them, stating that she would assume care for their baby and then belatedly informing them that she would not that because their are other providers in her office that will, she is somehow exonerated from her duplicitous actions. What if she were in solo practice or if her partners were all philosophically aligned with her.  Would it be ok then ? What if she were practicing rurally and were the only pediatrician in a broad geographic area……still ok to refuse service to a baby ?

    As a provider of health care, I believe that you have several options. You can either fulfill all of the medical obligations within your area of expertise or you can practice in a location and setting in which you will always be able to transfer care in a timely manner to those who have the ability and will to do so. In either case, you have the responsibility to inform patients up front what services you will and will not provide and how you will handle the situation in which you cannot or will not provider a service. This prospectively informing patients has nothing at all to do with religious belief, it is basic human decency.

  2. Frankly

    A year later, here is a look at some other ways religious belief has been invoked to harm other people.

    Let’s talk about harm from the hateful ACLU and hateful gay rights activists:

    State Silences Bakers Who Refused to Make Cake for Lesbian Couple, Fines Them $135K

    City threatens to arrest ministers who refuse to perform same-sex weddings

    Judge Rules Christian facility cannot ban same-sex civil union ceremony on its own premises

    Kentucky clerk sued for not issuing same-sex marriage licenses

    Wealthy gay activist, Barrie Drewitt-Barlow, says he and his civil partner Tony will go to court to force churches to host gay weddings.

    Judge Orders Colorado Bakery to Cater for Same-Sex Weddings

  3. Tia Will

    Let’s talk about harm from the hateful ACLU and hateful gay rights activists:”

    Let’s talk about the difference between hurt feelings and endangered or ended lives. I don’t now about you Frankly but this is certainly a set of circumstances in which I value lives over offended religious feelings.

    1. Frankly

      There was virtually no chance that her pregnancy was viable

      There was and still is a MEDICAL disagreement on this.  Frankly, because I am, I would trust the Hospital doctors that saw the girl more than I would ACLU attorneys and a very liberal doctor that never saw the girl.   In fact, it looks to me like the story has been embellished for political purpose.

  4. Tia Will

    No Frankly, on this you are simply incorrect. An 18 week fetus cannot survive outside the uterus despite the fact that the heart was doubtless beating at the time of presentation. The pain in this setting is due to one of two things, either contractions or infection ( or both).Please do not imply that I do not know the medicine behind ruptured membranes with pain at 18 weeks. There is no embellishment necessary in this story. There really is not a medical disagreement here, but there certainly is a religious one.  If you doubt this, please find me even one case of viability of an 18 week fetus.

Leave a Reply

X Close

Newsletter Sign-Up

X Close

Monthly Subscriber Sign-Up

Enter the maximum amount you want to pay each month
Sign up for