That is, she's female.
Justice Sotomayor signed a temporary stay of the Obamacare mandate to cover birth control as applied to a community of nuns who claimed they don’t need or want birth control and paying for it violates their religious freedom. I too may have signed the temporary order but don’t think the religious freedom argument will fly on the merits.
If it flies on the merits we will be back to considering sex as an illness and it being OK to charge more for health insurance if you have that illness—pap smears, costs of pregnancy, treatment to mitigate menopause, birth control. It’s a fact that females have more medical expense than males, who have prostate problems and erectile dysfunction and not much else peculiar to their sex. Sterilization by choice is even more expensive for females than for males.
So the real issue is whether we are allowed, collectively, to merge women—who have the preexisting condition of being female—into the greater pool of risk, where both males and nuns subsidize the disability of sex. Partially, in the case of nuns, since they too need pap smears and breast cancer screening and, possibly, birth control pills to regulate weird periods (one of my daughters had that). Religious organizations are exempt from the mandate at issue generally, but these nuns have non-religious enterprises that take them outside the exemption.
Personally, I am opposed to the exemption and do not think the mandate can rationally be held to impose on religious freedom. There being no imposition, there's no need for a religious exemption.
Nobody, Sister, is going to make you take birth control pills if you do not choose to take them.
If your religious freedom is offended by a collection of money that buys somebody else's birth control pills (leaving aside reasons she might need them other than birth control), then my religious freedom is offended by the defense budget and every Christian Scientist is offended by paying for health insurance at all, both individual mandate and employer mandate.
Jews and Muslims are denied religious freedom when food stamps are used to buy pork.
How much more reductio ad absurdum is necessary? There's no end to the idiocy.
As to the employer mandate, I can't even get my head around the difference between a standard minimum policy covering birth control as an employment benefit and a woman employee buying birth control with her wages.
She works. She gets birth control she would not otherwise have gotten. The ultimate source of the payment was the employer.
I suppose we (the government) could offer an exception to age discrimination laws so certain employers could employ only post-menopausal women and therefore never, ever buy any birth control.
Hallalujah, Sister, your freedom is preserved. But...but...then, if you only hire post-menopausal women, I guess you have to worry your head about whether they are having sex at all, because it would by definition be sex that could not result in a pregnancy.
Maybe hire only post-menopausal women who agree to wear chastity belts?
Or hire only men? Oops, that plan--a ministry open only to celibate men--didn't end well, did it?
Would it be too radical to suggest hiring the best person for the job and give everybody the same health insurance and let the whole sex thing be...er...private, at least as far as the employer is concerned? Jess sayin' that would solve a lot of otherwise vexing issues that come with mixing sex and public policy.