It is fairly well known that part and parcel of the Christian religion is providing men scriptural cover to control women. It does not matter if it is prohibiting women from praying when men are present, disallowing them from questioning a man, telling women to be obedient to their husbands, or that they were created in subjection to a man; control is control and in the bible women are veritable property of their husbands and subservient to men. Republicans subscribe to that obscene concept as a matter of course, and to drive the point home the conservative Supreme Court gave religious male employers power to control women by restricting their reproductive health choices.
Before, during, and after the Vatican-5 ruled that religious employers had the scriptural right to deny their female employees access to contraception, Republicans and their evangelical base lied and claimed their only goal was religious freedom to withhold health plans that included contraception coverage. That assertion was always a filthy lie and many pundits warned that was the case. On Thursday last late in the day, religious Republicans finally admitted that the Hobby Lobby ruling gave evangelical employers what they wanted all along; power to control women. Specifically, power to control whether they use contraception, participate in family planning, or have an abortion under any circumstances.
Republicans claim their abominable legislation overturning a Washington D.C. anti-discrimination statute that prohibited religious employers from punishing women who use birth control, family planning services, or abortion services was to protect employers’ religious liberty according to the Hobby Lobby ruling. However, they revealed the legislation is about using religious tyranny to control women because the D.C. council included a provision in the law, according to Hobby Lobby, reiterating that religious organizations do not have to provide health insurance coverage for contraception or abortions. Religious Republicans said that is not nearly enough and struck down the D.C. law “prohibiting employers from discriminating or retaliating against workers, their spouses, or their dependents for obtaining contraception, family planning, or having abortions.” According to the sponsor of the religious tyranny legislation, Representative Diane Black (R-TN), the anti-discrimination law “is contrary to the federal statute.” The High Court’s Hobby Lobby ruling simply gave religious employers biblical cover to withhold contraception coverage in health insurance prescription plans; not the right to violate an employee’s privacy or discriminate and punish them for using contraception or family planning.
As the president of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Cecile Richards, said, “This bill makes it open season for bosses to dig into their employees’ reproductive health practices and fire women for taking birth control or having an abortion.” Democrats also understand the implications to workers as well as the Republican motivation behind the religious tyranny legislation. Democrats warned that Washington D.C. “workers would be fired and face retribution for their personal healthcare choices” that, again, is the only purpose of the legislation as an extension of the Hobby Lobby decision. As many political pundits warned when the Hobby Lobby decision was announced, religious freedom had nothing to do with it, contraception had nothing to do with it, and employers providing contraception coverage in health plans had nothing to do with it. It was always about religious tyranny and like the groups behind the push for the Hobby Lobby lawsuit, it was only about controlling women. It is also about invading women’s privacy to gain ultimate control over every aspect of their personal lives.
This legislation is also a gross violation of federal HIPPA Privacy Rules put in place specifically to protect an individual’s medical records and “other personal health information;” including their personal health plans and who their health care providers are. HIPPA laws were enacted to give patients sole rights over their personal health information, including the right to examine their health records, but it does not include their employers. The Republican legislation allows employers to invade the privacy of their employees by demanding information about their, their spouses, and dependents personal health choices or face retribution for non-compliance; something the religious right lusted for long before Hobby Lobby.
That the religious right intended to gain ultimate control over women in Hobby Lobby was never in question, and Republicans dutifully served the interests of the Family Research Council, National Organization for Marriage, and the National Right To Life Committee demanding the religious legislation. Two powerful conservative groups, the Republican Study Committee and the Freedom Caucus, also pushed the Republican House leadership to pass the legislation. The groups asserted that if Republicans did not act, employers would be forced to hire, or keep in place, an employee who held beliefs that did not comply with their beliefs and therefore be uncontrollable.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi put the legislation’s intent in the proper perspective. She said, “Allowing employers to fire employees for using birth control, in vitro fertilization, or any other reproductive health care service is an unconscionable intrusion into workers’ personal lives. House Republicans would even allow employers to fire employees for the reproductive health decisions that their employees’ spouses and dependents make.” Pelosi did not include that the legislation was an unconscionable religious intrusion, but she was right; Republicans want employers to exert control over far more than their employees and it is a sign of what it is store for American women regardless if their employers are religious tyrants or not.
According to Republicans, not allowing religious employers to tyrannize and control their employees is part of the “continued attack on religion and a person’s 1st Amendment right of freedom of belief;” belief in religious control over women. It is noteworthy that despite the Hobby Lobby lawsuit and ruling allegedly being about religious freedom to withhold contraception in employer-provided healthcare prescription plans, Republicans now say it is really about controlling a woman’s access to any reproductive services and the right to invade their privacy to impose “religious freedoms” on a larger segment of the population. It is also, as several ‘license to discriminate’ laws in two dozen Republican states reveal, about imposing religious tyranny on the gay community.
What is stunning, and frankly disappointing, is that men are not taking to the streets and storming the halls of Congress to demand an end to this unending Republican religious assault on their wives, mothers, sisters, and daughters under the guise of some tyrannical evangelical’s religious freedom. It is what the Hobby Lobby lawsuit and ruling by the Supreme Court’s Vatican-5 was about from the very beginning and Republicans made that very clear in passing religious tyranny legislation they said fulfilled ‘federal statute’ according to Hobby Lobby.