Hobby Lobby: Only the lawyers are happy

For the sake of argument, let's say one day I'm shopping at my favorite specialty store, Snobby Hobby, and I hit it off with one of the managers.

We go on a few dates, which go well. Our lives become more and more happily entwined, we meet each other's friends and families, and pretty soon we're talking about making it official and maybe starting a family.

At the first mention of kids, though, she immediately whips out her iPad and starts checking out cribs and such at Petit Tresor. (Of course she would shop there. She works at Snobby Hobby, remember?)

"It's a little soon for that, don't you think?" I say.

"Oh, not at all. See, we have a company policy that life begins at inception."

"Don't you mean, 'Life begins at conception'? "

"No. 'Inception.' Like the movie."

"The Leonardo DiCaprio thing, where they plant an idea in someone's mind?"

"Yes! We've thought about having a child, so now, if we don't, it's like we killed it."

"Sweetie, that's - well, that's insane."

"That's company policy. You don't want me to get fired for killing our baby, do you?"

I'm being ridiculous, of course, but I'm being ridiculous with a point - the Hobby Lobby decision regarding a few specific types of birth control is supposed to be a narrow one, but there's going to be a lot more litigation on this and related cases.

And now we've got Supreme Court judges saying it's OK for your boss to dictate at least part of your health care.

Medical and legal experts writing in the New England Journal of Medicine share this concern: "The Court's decision allows the beliefs of employers of various sizes and corporate forms to trump the beliefs and needs of their employees," they stated.

Medical groups - including the American Medical Association, the American Nurses Association, the American Academy of Family Physicians, the American College of Physicians, and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists - see the decision as hurting health care.

Here's part of the ANA's response: "When employers are allowed to interfere with private health care decisions, it endangers the health and well-being of employees and the general public."

Now we must watch for attempts to cut off access to other medical services because of the religious views of company owners - and yes, I know that the majority opinion in Hobby Lobby says that it only applies to birth control, but nobody's really buying that. (In fact, the court has already issued an order that seems to expand on the Hobby Lobby decision.) The challenges will come, and when they do, the challengers will have ammunition they didn't have before.

As this case progressed, I kept thinking of SB1062, the vetoed Arizona bill that would've protected businesses if they refused service to customers on religious grounds.

In both instances, the idea is that someone can use a religious belief to exempt themselves from the general rules of civil society the rest of us are supposed to follow.

Both cases also caused a lot of rancor. Arizona had an international black eye following the SB1062 mess, and the fallout from the Hobby Lobby decision is only going to be good for the lawyers.

If only, when this whole process started, we'd adopted a simple rule: "Employers, an employee's sex life and reproductive decisions are none of your business. And for the most part, their health care choices are none of your beeswax either."

See how easy that is?