Issues

A Democratic Congress Could Undo The Hobby Lobby Ruling and Protect Women

The Guttmacher Institute issued a press release today that should frighten Republicans, as it clearly lays out the future going forward after Monday’s egregious SCOTUS ruling giving corporations the right to deny contraception healthcare insurance coverage to women. Guttmacher points out that the administration could take actions but also, Congress could act through new legislation.

“The Obama administration has not yet indicated what specific actions it might take in response to the Court’s ruling, but it has stated that it “will work with Congress to make sure that any women affected by this decision will still have the same coverage of vital health services as everyone else.” The administration could take the Court’s suggestion and expand the existing accommodation to closely held for-profit corporations that assert a religious objection to some or all contraceptive services and methods.”

They continue, “Congress, too, could act through new legislation to protect employees and their family members from their employers’ objections.”

Yes, all is not lost. As I pointed out yesterday, this is a huge platform to hand to Democrats in an election year. Republicans are now going to be running against birth control, and as Guttmacher notes, “More than 99% of women aged 15-44 who have ever had sexual intercourse have used at least one contraceptive method.”

Discriminating against contraception because it might be used as an abortifacient is a fail. Furthermore, Hobby Lobby objected to at least one form of birth control that regulates a woman’s eggs even before they are fertilized. But taking this a step further, contraceptives are often prescribed for medical reasons. Take the IUD as an example. Before Obamacare, insurance could and did refuse to cover an IUD ordered by a doctor for medical reasons because it could be used as contraception. IUDs are often ordered for women suffering from hemorrhaging. The only other option is endometrial ablation surgery, which usually means she can never have children.

Let that sink in for the family values.

The Guttmacher Institute also made it clear that the government has a strong case for its contraceptive policy, “Indeed, in an impassioned dissent, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg—citing the Guttmacher Institute’s amicus brief —made it clear that the government’s case for the contraceptive coverage policy is very strong. Decades of scientific evidence and the life experiences of millions of women show that contraception enables women to prevent unintended pregnancies and to plan and space wanted pregnancies. That, in turn, has numerous health benefits for mothers and babies and promotes women’s educational, economic and social advancement.”

There are 100 entities that sued over the contraceptive mandate in the Affordable Care Act, so the conservative (and hypocritical) Hobby Lobby is not alone. Given Hobby Lobby’s history and other business dealings, it’s obvious that they don’t really object to birth control, but rather to this president and the ACA. However, this is the position Republicans find themselves in given President Obama’s relentlessly sound judgement and willingness to entertain ideas from the opposition.

As Republicans chase themselves off a right wing cliff, not only their 2012 platform embraced the liberty killing personhood amendment, but when parsed out, it was looking like they wanted to abolish contraception all together. And here we have Hobby Lobby making that argument.

The thing is, a real Congress could change this. A Congress that was willing to put people first could change this. Democrats and Independents can run on something that almost everyone agrees upon, and that is that women’s healthcare should not be something an employer can opt out of, and birth control is part of a woman’s healthcare.

The worst hypocrisy of this whole debacle is the fact that birth control is the single best way to reduce abortions, and yet Hobby Lobby and the GOP are against it for “religious” reasons, which they tie to being “pro-life”. This is not even the usual GOP position of being pro-fetus, but rather, this is being pro-abortion. They are actually causing more abortions on purpose, because they know that empirical evidence shows that access to birth control reduces the number of abortions.

Sarah Jones

Listen to Sarah on the PoliticusUSA Pod on The Daily newsletter podcast here. Sarah has been credentialed to cover President Barack Obama, then VP Joe Biden, 2016 Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, and exclusively interviewed Speaker Nancy Pelosi multiple times and exclusively covered her first home appearance after the first impeachment of then President Donald Trump. Sarah is two-time Telly award winning video producer and a member of the Society of Professional Journalists. Connect with Sarah on Post,  Mastodon @PoliticusSarah@Journa.Host, & Twitter.

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