birth control

Hobby Lobby reaffirms religious liberty, one of the bedrock principles of the Constitution

For all the things the Hobby Lobby decision does — and you can read Jason Pye’s piece on the relevant parts of Alito’s decision here — there are few things it does that will have reverberating ramifications for the future of everything from defining contraceptives as preventative or abortifacient, to whether or not our Constitution is a flawed document full of “negative liberties” as our President once declared.

But for now, the most important thing to remember is that this image being thrown around social media is a lie:

Lie

It’s a lie on so many levels and it’s tremendously disturbing that the kids are sharing it as truth. First, the opinion is narrow. It applies only to “closely-held” corporations who can prove they have a religious objection. Is your boss the owner of a closely held corporation?

Second, no one is denying you access to anything. You are free at any time to buy any of the four types of products the decision says Hobby Lobby does not have to supply. (Hobby Lobby, by the way, offers 16 other types in their health coverage. Those crazy fascist religious righties.)

LA Gov. Bobby Jindal: Get Government Out of Birth Control

//creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/fr/deed.en)], via Wikimedia Commons

In an excellent piece urging that oral contraception become available over the counter that ran in this morning’s print edition of the Wall Street Journal (subscription may be required), Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, whose résumé includes a litany of health policy wonkery, sounded the death knell of both big government’s dominion over one aspect of reproductive health, and the pharmaceutical industry’s influence over that policy. Further, Jindal’s position masterfully bridges the gap between social conservatives and libertarians, as it accounts for both market-based health care (vs. Obamacare) and the protection of religious liberty and conscience (also vs. Obamacare). Here’s an excerpt:

Sugar Daddy Government

Women have come a long way in this country. Gone are the bad old days of when a woman’s place was solely in the home. Violence against women is rightfully condemned. Women participate in all aspects of American life from the workplace to the political arena. While we should remain vigilant to ensure we don’t take any steps back in protecting equal opportunity to women, you would think the feminist movement would declare victory. Unfortunately, that has not been the case.

I love women. I was raised by a single mother. I love strong, independent women; the type of woman you would think the feminist movement would embrace. However, the modern feminist movement; with few exceptions, are not about celebrating and promoting strong, independent women. The feminist movement has instead morphed into the womyn’s liberation left which has decided to destroy the sexist patriarchy and replace it with Sugar Daddy Government that will provide women with everything from free birth control, to subsidized child care, to student and small business loans, and taxpayer subsidized abortions.

The activists of the womyn’s liberation left of course are not entirely to blame. They have many willing accomplices in our political class like Barack Obama who even drew a little cartoon to pander to them. Like other groups who derive a part of their living from the plunder of taxpayers, the womyn’s liberation left and their fellow travelers are more passionate than most voters about keeping the benefits they have and, if possible, expanding their benefits than the average American who is just trying to make a living for their family. Instead of the males in the family providing for women or women providing for themselves, the womyn’s lib left now want women to rely on a sugar daddy, Big Government.

Fake “Rights” versus Personal Responsibility

“Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it, misdiagnosing it, and then misapplying the wrong remedies.” ~ Groucho Marx

It truly is almost unbelievable. Our national debt is at $16 trillion and rising, with annual deficits of more than $1.5 trillion. Our national debt is now greater than our GDP, and at a level greater than what Greece was at when its economy collapsed. Our lauded entitlement programs are bankrupt, yet our politicians seek to expand them. Unemployment is still well above 8%, the longest such period of sustained unemployment at that level since the Great Depression. We’re barely past Valentine’s Day and gas is more than $3.50 per gallon, and expected to rise above $4, and possibly as high as $5/gallon, by summer. Iran appears the be rapidly closing in on getting a functional nuclear weapon, and has been threatening to close the Strait of Hormuz, through which about a fifth of the world’s oil supply flows. We have a president hell bent on destroying the fossil fuel industry, much like his signature achievement, ObamaCare, is crippling the health care industry.

Our own government has been selling assault weapons to Mexican drug cartels, and is now directly responsible for the deaths of dozens of Mexicans and Americans, yet they act as if it were of no more import than having incorrectly filled out some government form (actually, they’d probably find that a much more grievous sin). The dollar is weak and the economy anemic, despite the trillions spent on the stimulus, auto union and Wall Street bailouts, and slush funds for the politically connected.

Has the world gone mad?

ObamaCare’s massive increase of government involvement in health care is already causing its share of problems.  You simply cannot give government a bigger role in something so personal without creating all sorts of conflicts about what should be covered, and what should not.  There are simply too many competing groups with values and needs that do not overlap. The current health care system is already a mess because of this, and further nationalization will only make it far worse.

It’s also not terribly surprising that the first major battle of this war has to do with reproductive health.  During the passage of the law this was already a fierce debate.  Now, the storm that is consuming much of the public discourse is regarding the coverage of contraceptives.  Some argue that they should be covered under the mantle of “preventive services”, while others object to this for religious or fiscal reasons. Whether we like it or not, this is a matter of public interest now.  While most libertarians and some conservatives want to eventually remove government from the issue, it is there for the foreseeable future.  So it’s a debate we must have.

Over the last week, this debate has all revolved around the testimony of Sandra Fluke, a 30-year-old law student at an expensive university who nonetheless found it outrageous that she and her fellow students should have to pay for their own birth control.  Her statements brought up a number of issues, and, in my mind, provided an excellent opportunity to demonstrate the mess that government involvement in health care creates, and the entitlement mentality that has pervaded our culture.  This mentality is all around us; just last week I witnessed a woman throwing a near fit at my local Rite Aid because her $9 over-the-counter allergy meds were not paid for by her insurance.

Santorum, Birth Control and Federalism

This past week in Arizona, the remaining contenders for the Republican presidential nomination gathered for the last debate before the Super Tuesday primaries. Not unexpectedly, considering the moderators of these debates tend to be members of the left-leaning national media, the questions directed at the Republican candidates were often premised on a liberal worldview. Maybe nowhere was that more obvious than in the media feeding frenzy surrounding the beliefs of former Sen. Rick Santorum regarding birth control.

As a member of the Catholic Church, Santorum adheres to the belief that abortion and even the use of birth control are immoral. The media has seized upon this as proof that, were Santorum to win the presidency, he would impose a theocracy upon America, the implication being that he would use government to block abortion and birth control to those that desire it. Mitt Romney, in a previous debate, was perplexed by the question of whether states have the right to ban birth control, correctly noting that no state was even considering such a move, so why bring it up?

While several of the candidates touched on it, this was a golden opportunity to discuss a subject of immense importance and one that too few Americans could define, much less elaborate upon…the doctrine of federalism.

Missing the point on the contraception mandate

Over the past few weeks there has been much discussion of the Obama Administration’s decision to mandate that even organizations associated with the Catholic Church cover contraception.  This has raised the ire of many on the right, who view this mandate as an assault on religious freedom.  Since the Catholic Church does not believe in using contraception, they argue, forcing them to cover it means they must violate their consciences.  Leaving aside the details, one thing is clear to me - the critics of the mandate are almost without exception missing the larger point.

The contraception mandate is awful, for sure, but not because it is an “assault on religion.” It is wrong because the government has no business telling ANYONE what they must cover.  The mandate would be wrong whether it was inflicted on a Catholic group, or a secular one.  And to be honest, I don’t think that religion is even a major factor in the decision to establish the mandate.  It is born out of a belief that there is some imaginary “right” to free health care, including contraception.  That is the true abomination.

Furthermore, why is there outrage only now?  Is it somehow okay to force non-Catholics to pay for other’s health care?  I understand this involves an issue of great moral importance to Catholics.  But is a federal mandate more wrong because it goes against a religious teaching?  I say this because many, including myself, do not subscribe to a religion, or belong to one without much political clout.  It is disturbing that somehow my liberty is not worth as much because I am in a minority and I don’t have groups lobbying on my behalf.

Hobby Lobby wasn’t really about birth control, it was about an abuse of government power

On January 8, 2012, former Clinton spokesperson in his putative role as objective moderator of a Republican presidential primary debate fired the first warning shot in what soon became known as the “War on Women.” He asked the candidates if birth control was included in the right to privacy and if states had the right to ban it.

In what was surely a total coincidence (totally, you guys!), just days later the Obama administration would declare the federal contraception mandate for all insurance-providing companies to provide copay-free birth control in their coverage.

The War was on, contraceptives instantly became a legal right (read: entitlement), anyone who opposed forcing companies to pay for them hated women, the term “slut” became both an intolerable slur and a badge of honor, the administration and the courts both carved out religious exemptions that shrill harpies decried as emerging theocracy, and men were suddenly illegitimate politically since only women were justified in voting on health issues.

All of this is, of course, ridiculous. But the issue is now so viscerally charged that it is untouchable in the public discourse. So let’s uncharge it with a hypothetical allegory.

WHAT IF…

As part of a new Healthy America plan, Congress passed a comprehensive nutrition, exercise, and health bill, including a federal mandate for all employers with over 50 employees that requires they have a cafeteria that provides balanced meals to all employees working at least 30 hours per week.

Today in Liberty: Darrell Issa may hold White House official in contempt, Senate Republicans block anti-Hobby Lobby bill

“If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the results of a hundred battles.” — Sun Tzu, The Art of War

— Issa may take action against defiant White House official: David Simas, director of the White House Office of Political Strategy and Outreach, may find himself in contempt of Congress for his refusal to testify yesterday before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee on violations on the Hatch Act. “I can’t rule it in or out, yet,” said Chairman Darrell Issa (R-CA), according to Politico. “I can’t answer what we will do in this case, but I can tell you that there is a similar case that occurred under President [George W.] Bush and the similarities are significant.” Democrats on the committee, of course, defended the White House, which has ostensibly claimed executive privilege in order to prevent Simas from testifying. Because, you know, the suspicious political activities of the White House are basically state secrets. Or something.

Today in Liberty: Americans say Obama is the worst president in 70 years, Senate Dems push for vote on crony Ex-Im Bank

“Necessity is the plea for every infringement of human freedom. It is the argument of tyrants; it is the creed of slaves.” — William Pitt

— Obama is the worst president since World War II: But George W. Bush isn’t far behind, according to a new survey from Quinnipiac University. “President Barack Obama is the worst president since World War II, 33 percent of American voters say in a Quinnipiac University National Poll released today,” Quinnipiac notes. “Another 28 percent pick President George W. Bush.” Richard Nixon was a distant third, with 13 percent. Ronald Reagan was the top-choice for best president over the same timeframe, followed by Bill Clinton and John F. Kennedy. It’s worth noting that Obama finished fourth on that list, while Bush 43 was tied for last place. Also worth noting is that Americans believe that the country would be better off if Mitt Romney had won the 2012 presidential election.


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