The Supreme Court heard the case of Hobby Lobby, et.al. on the HHS mandate that requires most businesses that employ over 50 individuals to provide coverage for 21 forms of birth control. The businesses that are parties to the suit, while they are private for-profit companies, have incorporated or otherwise stated in their mission statements, that their businesses are owned and operated by individuals that include their religious practices in their work.
Due to their religious beliefs, that are freely stated to potential employees before they consent to work for these companies, they object to providing some or all of the contraceptives in the HHS mandate on moral grounds. The government presented the case that since they are not religious organizations per se, they do not have the freedom to run their businesses with religious overtones, at least not when it interferes with governmental mandates.
That is a thumbnail sketch of the case, and in spite of the fact that SCOTUS will not hand down a ruling until June, there are plenty of pundits offering opinions on exactly how that will end up. It’s interesting to attempt to guess what a given Justice will say on this issue, based on the questions presented during the case yesterday, however, it probably isn’t going to serve anyone to do that. Let’s not forget the ruling that the ObamaCare penalties were actually taxes by Chief Justice John Roberts, that got us to this point in the first place.
While it seems that quite a few of the commentators out there seem to think that this will fall in favor of Hobby Lobby, and the other corporations involved, perhaps at this point it would be better to think about “what comes next?” if that isn’t the case.
Media darling and left-wing feminist activist Sandra Fluke is yet again in the news. She gave an interview to some CNN program called “Starting Point” that nobody watches, just like the rest of the programming on CNN but I digress. Ms. Fluke had some choice words for Republicans.
“I talk to women across the country, they really do feel like this is a shift,” said Sandra Fluke.
Sandra Fluke, who rose to national prominence when she was attacked by Rush Limbaugh following her testimony in favor of increased contraception access, said Wednesday that many women personally feel “they’re under attack” from GOP policies.
“When you look at the facts, quantitatively, there have been a record number of bills in the House to limit reproductive health. … Women feel that. I talk to women across the country, they really do feel like this is a shift, and not in their favor,” Fluke said on CNN’s “Starting Point.”
So once again in the mind of Sandra Fluke and other left-wing feminists, women are nothing more than vaginas and uteruses. The only issues that women care about are abortion and birth control in their minds. Something tells me that not necessarily true. Women, just like men, I’m sure care more about whether or not they will have a job in the failed Obama economy for starters. This whole “war on women” is a distraction from the real issues invented by the Democrat Party and their allies in the media and the feminist movement.
A few months ago, conservatives sought to gain politically by going after the contraceptive mandate implemented by the Department of Health and Human Services. This immediately became an issue of religious liberty for conservatives because it would have required religious institutions to cover contraceptives even if it was against their teachings.
Thanks to some rather nutty comments by Rick Santorum, who openly questioned the use of contraceptives, Democrats were able to spin the issue into a so-called “war on women.” The situation was exacerbated thanks to comments by Rush Limbaugh aimed at Sandra Fluke, who had argued that taxpayers should fund contraceptives. Even though Fluke’s reasoning was flawed, taxpayers shouldn’t be forced to subsidize her contraceptives, Limbaugh’s comments were completely unnecessary and wrong.
The strategy was successful in the short-term, as wedge issues usually are. However, it eventually backfired on them when Hilary Rosen, a Democratic operative, said that Ann Romney, wife of presumptive GOP nominee Mitt Romney, had never worked a day in her life.
Romney took to Twitter to defend herself, setting off a firestorm that caused Rosen to later apologize. The argument from conservatives is that Democrats are waging a “war on stay-at-moms,” largely silencing Democrats on the issue and swinging momentum back to Republicans — at least temporarily.
“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.
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.
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.
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.
The Supreme Court will hear oral arguments tomorrow in two cases — Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby Stores and Conestoga Wood Specialities v. Sebelius — dealing with Obamacare’s controversial contraception mandate.
Though there are some religious exemptions to the mandate, there are no carve outs for businesses that base their operations on their religious beliefs, leaving them to face hefty, potentially crippling fines if they refuse to offer health insurance coverage that covers contraceptives.
The case that has received the most attention is that of Hobby Lobby Stores. David Green, the owner and founder of the crafts chain, argues that the contraception mandate violates his religious liberty under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 (RFRA) because it would force his businesses to offer plans that cover the morning after pill, which, he believes, is tantamount to abortion.
The argument at hand, however, isn’t about abortion, though supporters of the mandate are trying to make it about women’s health. The question is whether the RFRA, which protects an individual’s right to freely exercise their religion, applies to businesses and corporations because of the objections of the owners.
Filings in the case explain that Green runs his business “with religious principles in mind” and points to the company’s mission statement, which commits to “[h]onoring the Lord in all we do by operating the company in a manner consistent with Biblical principles.”
If you haven’t heard, there’s a “war on women” going on. It’s being waged by politicians who want control over women. It’s being waged by power-seeking, petty tyrants who believe women are weak and need their help to live their lives.
But if you think it’s being waged by those evil conservative GOP politicians, whose mission is to keep women in the kitchen, barefoot and pregnant, married before they turn 21, and popping out a quiver full of babies, your myopic vision is a problem.
The Democrats have created an entire industry from victimhood, and they have been successfully using it to win elections.
Their latest battle is the so-called “war on women,” that they have been touting ever since conservatives raised their voices in protest about having to fund Sandra Fluke’s sexual choices.
Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor issued a temporary injunction against enforcement of Obamacare’s contraceptive mandate in the waning hours of 2013, a provision of the law that is the subject of a number of federal court cases.
“Upon consideration of the application of counsel for the applicants, it is ordered that respondents are temporarily enjoined from enforcing against applicants the contraceptive coverage requirements imposed by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, 42 U. S. C. § 300gg-13(a)(4), and related regulations pending the receipt of a response and further order of the undersigned or of the Court,” wrote Sotomayor in the order on New Year’s Eve. “The response to the application is due Friday, January 3, 2014, by 10 a.m.”
The case — Little Sisters of the Poor v. Sebelius — deals with a religious charity organization run by nuns who have committed themselves to serving the poor and needy. Among the vows nuns take is a vow of chastity.
Had Sotomayor not issued the injunction, Little Sisters of the Poor would have been subject to the penalties for not offering health plans that cover contraceptives, including the morning after pill, Plan B and Ella, which many consider to be tantamount to abortion.
“We are delighted that the Supreme Court has issued this order protecting the Little Sisters,” said Mark Rienzi, Senior Counsel for the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, which is representing the nuns. “The government has lots of ways to deliver contraceptives to people–it doesn’t need to force nuns to participate.”