Upper Valley reacts to court’s Hobby Lobby decision on contraception

Editor’s note: This article is by Nora Doyle-Burr of the Valley News, in which it was first published July 1, 2014.

WEST LEBANON, N.H. — Opinions varied among Upper Valley residents following Monday’s U.S. Supreme Court decision granting family-owned businesses the choice to opt out of an Affordable Care Act requirement to offer contraception coverage to employees .

Some shoppers at the West Lebanon Hannaford grocery store on Monday afternoon felt the ruling supported the business owners’ religious freedoms, while others worried that the court’s decision represented an attack on women’s access to contraception.

Tunbridge resident Peggy Sears expressed enthusiasm for the Supreme Court ruling.

“I think that’s wonderful,” she said. “Hooray for them!”

She said she enjoys shopping at Hobby Lobby and other “places with Christian values” because she knows she won’t be “confronted by stuff you’re uncomfortable with.”

Like Sears, West Lebanon resident Al Cormier voiced support for the decision.

“I’m totally for it,” he said.

Cormier said church groups and others with religious convictions ought to be able to operate as they see fit, free from the government “forcing them to give out something totally against their beliefs.”

Others said they believed the court had accorded too much leeway to corporations, at the expense of people.

Rebekah Humphrey-Sewell, a Lebanon resident, said her reaction to the ruling would be best described using “swear words.” She wondered aloud, what if other religious businesses decide they don’t want to fund blood transfusions, honor federal holidays or provide benefits to same sex spouses ?

“It violates the separation of church and state,” she said. “I’m really unhappy.”

Lebanon resident Amy Driscoll said she was puzzled by the Supreme Court’s ruling.

“I just don’t understand what people have against women and contraception,” she said.

Monday’s Supreme Court ruling prompted a strong denouncement from U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., one of the leading proponents in Washington for offering contraceptive coverage through the Affordable Care Act.

“Women should be making decisions about their health care with their doctors, not their employers,” Shaheen said in a statement. “Today’s Supreme Court decision unfortunately jeopardizes basic health care coverage and access to contraception for a countless number of women … Blocking access to contraception will have economic and public health consequences that our country cannot afford.”

In contrast, Republican U.S. Senate candidate Scott Brown’s campaign used the opportunity to again state his opposition to the Affordable Care Act in general.

“Scott Brown supports women’s health care and access to contraception but by injecting government into every aspect of our lives, Obamacare threatens all our freedoms,” Brown’s spokeswoman Elizabeth Guyton said via email. “The best solution is to repeal it.”

Nora Doyle-Burr can be reached at [email protected] or 603-727-3213.


  1. Ron Mapes :

    Is the issue really womens access to birth control? I have not read anything that is currently law that specifically denies women from birth control.
    The question is and should be; How do I get someone else to pay for it? I cannot say all, but it appears to me that the people complaining are not willing to take personal responsbility in maintaining their body and actions. Want someone else to pay for it and then place blame on them if something goes wrong.


    • Peter Liston :

      So insurance coverage is now thought of as “someone else paying for your healthcare” ??

      Someone works for a company, the company profits from the labors of the employees — the employees receive compensation in the form of insurance coverage and the coverage they receive is somehow undeserved??

      That’s some twisted logic.

  2. Paul Richards :

    Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H.;
    ““Women should be making decisions about their health care with their doctors, not their employers,” Shaheen said in a statement. “Today’s Supreme Court decision unfortunately jeopardizes basic health care coverage and access to contraception for a countless number of women … Blocking access to contraception will have economic and public health consequences that our country cannot afford.””
    Well Jeanne, like so many people shooting their mouth off about this, you either don’t know the facts or are twisting them for political gain. First of all it would be helpful if the Valley News actually tried to educate people on what this was all about rather than feeding people only part of the story. After obamacare was passed and signed into law, the regime made it mandatory that employers who were offering healthcare insurance had to offer insurance that covered 20 different forms of “contraception” free to the subscribers. 4 of those forms are essentially abortions. Hobby Lobby (HL) objected to paying for those 4 forms of “contraception”. The regime exempted churches from being forced to pay for these forms of “contraception”. Instead, the insurance companies will still offer these 20 forms at no cost to the subscribers but will not be able get reimbursed for the costs. Instead of giving HL a reprieve, like they did to the churches, the regime stood their ground and tried to ram it down HL’s throat and the throats of like-minded companies. They lost the court battle.
    End of story? Not so fast. To extract maximum political gain and fund raising, the dems are first expressing outrage and twisting this into “the war against Women” which they trumped up to falsely accuse their rivals as being against Women. Again, we are talking about 4 forms of “contraception” that are essentially abortions that some companies do not want to sponsor. This is not taking Women back to the dark ages. These procedures will still be available and as you will see below, this ruling will not be a factor to Women at all.
    Secondly the dems will come out with a solution to this mean and horrible ruling that their opponents support and thus proves that they hate Women. There will be big fanfare and the libs will come to the rescue, save the day and all of the cool aid drinkers will applaud and throw hate at their opponents and accuse them of hating Women. The divider in chief will proclaim that Women will not be denied these 20 forms of “contraception” and that the insurance companies will pay for it.
    Why didn’t they just do this in the beginning? Never let a crisis go to waste. If there is no crisis, create one and extract maximum political gain. You can fool some of the people all of the time but you can fool all of the low information voters (and donors) all of the time.
    Does this statement by Jeanne Shaheen sound factual to you?; ““Today’s Supreme Court decision unfortunately jeopardizes basic health care coverage and access to contraception for a countless number of women … Blocking access to contraception will have economic and public health consequences that our country cannot afford.””
    Really? “basic health care coverage and access to contraception”?
    The mass hoodwinking continues…

    • krister adams :

      Paul: Firstly, YES, Ms. Shaheen makes a valid point(s) and speaks factually. Second, why in this country only, are corporations viewed as people but women are not? Third, you say “4 forms of “contraception” that are essentially abortions”…seeing as how you are so into facts, what exactly do you mean here? Could this statement be open to interpretation?

      • Paul Richards :

        Ms. Shaheen; ““Today’s Supreme Court decision unfortunately jeopardizes basic health care coverage and access to contraception for a countless number of women”
        Not factual. This decision does NOT jeopardize “basic health care coverage”.
        “Basic health care coverage” did not go away with this decision.
        This decision does NOT Jeopardize “access to contraception for a countless number of women”.
        16 forms of contraception are still available for free (they never were before), the other 4 are still available and, rest assured that they will be free after as much political gain is squeezed out of the issue.
        How different people view these 4 forms of “contraception” is certainly up to interpretation, agreed. Even though the law of the land has spoken, it will probably be debated forever.
        The bottom line here is that in reality it’s not so much about what this court decision REALLY means. It’s more about keeping people like you and debating the details, getting caught up in the weeds and politicians posturing one way or another to extract political gain. It’s about garnering talking points and pushing a narrative for political gain. It does not matter what the truth of the matter is. If the party that has the most sway with the media can frame the argument to make it believable to the low information voters then that side has won the day. If you really want to see a good example of this just listen to what the DNC Chair had to say about it; http://pjmedia.com/tatler/2014/06/30/dnc-chair-hobby-lobby-ruling-means-republicans-want-the-long-hand-of-government-to-reach-into-a-womans-body/
        That is so far removed from reality yet if she can spread these lies out there far enough and long enough she has seized the day. Tomorrow it will be considered fact. Kind of like when harry reid said obama’s opponent didn’t pay any taxes. It does not matter that it was a bald face lie.
        Are you getting my point? If the regime can keep driving a wedge between people of all walks of life and thus hide the truth then they figure they have won and can continue to wield power over all of us. It does you and me no good to debate these issues but it surely helps those in charge. They will distract us if we let them. We are being deceived as they wield more and more power and we lose our country.
        In the end, this decision will make no tangible difference to the contraception available to Women but it will surely be used for a political battering ram. How this affects Women will have nothing to do with what you or I say about it, agree about it or disagree about it. We must all work together and keep our eyes on the ball if we are to save this country.

        • krister adams :

          Wow, what an incoherent rant. Hot today, huh? You ask “Are you getting my point?”. Absolutely not.

          • Paul Richards :

            I’m not surprised. Never mind, move along, nothing to see here. Don’t you worry your little head about it; everything is fine here in the land of milk and honey.

  3. Carl Marcinkowski :

    Paul, all the name calling and insults are not needed. You’ve used enough lines to make a point. You seem to be the person throwing hate. Also you science is not correct and the medical professionals say that these medications are not ‘essentially abortion’. Employees are entitled to equal compensation that should not be wrangled and tangled with at the whims of the employers. Just pay the insurance premiums and let the employees see their doctors in confidentiality.

  4. rosemarie jackowski :

    About the 4 forms that are essentially abortion causing… There is not universal scientific agreement on the exact moment when life begins and/or ends.

    Disagreement or agreement with the new SC rule is not necessarily a matter of religion. Atheists have moral codes too.

    This legal wiggle-room for conscience might be a good thing. Those who do not support war as a matter of conscience should be exempt from paying that portion of federal taxes.

    • Jon Corrigan :

      The last time I looked, nobody was forced to work for any company. Those employees disappointed with the SC decision have the option of sending their own message – by leaving.



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