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Supreme Court-Birth Control Ruling

Posted: July 1, 2014 - 11:12am
Rev. Bruce Prescott, left, applauds during a vigil outside a Hobby Lobby store in Edmond, Okla., Monday, June 30, 2014, in reaction to the Supreme Court's decision that some companies like the Oklahoma-based Hobby Lobby chain of arts-and-craft stores can avoid the contraceptives requirement in President Barack Obama's health care overhaul, if they have religious objections. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)
Rev. Bruce Prescott, left, applauds during a vigil outside a Hobby Lobby store in Edmond, Okla., Monday, June 30, 2014, in reaction to the Supreme Court's decision that some companies like the Oklahoma-based Hobby Lobby chain of arts-and-craft stores can avoid the contraceptives requirement in President Barack Obama's health care overhaul, if they have religious objections. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)

WASHINGTON (AP) — Republicans called it a win for religious freedom. The decision of the Supreme Court, they said, is further evidence the country's new health care law is deeply flawed.

The claims of victory arrived almost immediately after the high court ruled Monday that some companies need not provide contraceptives to women as required by President Barack Obama's signature domestic policy achievement. Yet there's a risk for the GOP in crowing too loudly.

Republicans for years have tried to make inroads with two groups that tend to favor Democrats: women and younger voters. And as popular as the court's decision will be with the Republican base, it's likely to be just as unpopular this year and into 2016 with those who depend on insurance to pay for birth control — a group that includes women and younger voters.

"The thought of your boss telling you what kind of birth control you can and can't get is offensive and it certainly is motivating to women to vote," said Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Action Fund, which plans to spend several million dollars this year to campaign for Senate candidates.

The Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that some companies can hold religious objections allowing them to opt out of health law's birth control coverage requirement. While the ruling does not address the heart of the Affordable Care Act, it's a setback for Democrats and amplifies a longstanding argument from conservatives that the law they call "Obamacare" intrudes on religious liberties as part of a larger government overreach.

"This is a clear and decisive defeat against Obamacare and a victory for the rights of all Americans," Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus said in a fundraising appeal distributed less than three hours after the Supreme Court ruling.

But Republican leaders such as Priebus were careful to avoid mentioning the impact on women and their reproductive rights, underscoring the delicate balance the GOP must strike as it works to improve its image among women. The party is still recovering from a series of insensitive comments made by GOP candidates in the 2012 election, including Missouri U.S. Senate candidate Todd Akin, whose campaign crumbled after he said women's bodies were able to avoid pregnancy in cases of "legitimate rape."

"Republicans have to be careful about not appearing as though they're anti-contraception. This is a constitutional issue," said Katie Packer Gage, a GOP strategist whose firm advises Republicans on navigating women's issues. "We have to be very, very cautious as a party."

Reinforcing its decision of Monday, the high court on Tuesday left in place lower court rulings in favor of businesses that object to covering all methods of government-approved contraception.

The justices' action Tuesday was a strong indication that the earlier decision extending religious rights to closely held corporations applies broadly to the contraception coverage requirement in the new health care law, not just the four pregnancy prevention methods and devices that the court considered in its ruling. Tuesday's orders apply to companies owned by Catholics who oppose all contraception Their cases were awaiting action pending resolution of the Hobby Lobby case.

Polls suggest that most people — and a larger majority of women — think for-profit companies should be required to cover the cost of birth control. A Gallup survey conducted in May found that 90 percent of Americans, including 88 percent of Republicans, see the use of birth control as morally acceptable.

Democrats said the ruling would shine a spotlight on access to birth control and dovetail with a strategy by the party to mobilize female voters on issues such as raising the minimum wage and supporting pay equity for women.

In Colorado, for example, Democratic Sen. Mark Udall's first TV ad noted Republican Rep. Cory Gardner's past sponsorship of a bill to outlaw abortions in cases of rape and incest and support for an effort to grant an embryo the same legal rights as a person, which could have outlawed some types of birth control and all abortions. Gardner now says he opposes the "personhood" measure.

In Iowa, Democrats have signaled plans to highlight Republican Joni Ernst's support of a personhood amendment to the state's constitution. In Michigan, Democrats backing Senate candidate Gary Peters have sought to tarnish Republican Terri Lynn Land's record on reproductive rights, prompting her to air her own ad in April declaring, "As a woman, I might know a little bit more about women than Gary Peters."

It won't be clear until November whether women will respond to such appeals.

Fewer young women typically vote in midterm elections compared with presidential years. And they are particularly disengaged from this year's races: 63 percent of women under age 30 in an AP-GfK poll conducted before the ruling reported they "don't care very much" which party wins control of Congress. Just 21 percent said they were certain to vote in November.

Writing for the court's conservative majority, Justice Samuel Alito suggested the White House could resolve the issue by broadening a birth control compromise it created earlier for religion-oriented nonprofits. In those cases a third party — usually an insurer — can cover contraceptions at no charge to the affected employees, and the government absorbs the cost.

But White House spokesman Josh Earnest signaled the administration may not take that route. Instead, he challenged Congress to pass legislation to address the coverage gap for women. That could put some Republicans in a difficult spot politically, but not right away. For now, they're enjoying what many viewed as a win.

"When Obamacare and its impact on people is front and center in the political debate, it's just not good news for Democrats," Republican strategist Kevin Madden said.

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lachowsj
5266
Points
lachowsj 07/01/14 - 07:53 pm
5
2
A victory for women

Hobby Lobby insurance will continue to cover Viagra and [filtered word] implants for men. And Clarence Thomas is getting to an age where he may need that kind of help. Remember, he is not as young as he was when he was harassing Anita Hill.

lachowsj
5266
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lachowsj 07/01/14 - 07:57 pm
4
0
Filtered word

I see the proper term for the male reproductive organ is a filtered word. Maybe I should have said weenie.

mikeng1994
11346
Points
mikeng1994 07/02/14 - 07:46 am
2
1
Or

Tally Whacker or trouser trout. here are some others you might try

http://ncfm.org/2011/06/activities/san-diego/174-ways-to-call-a-[filtered word]-so...

mikeng1994
11346
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mikeng1994 07/02/14 - 07:43 am
3
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I believe he was found not

I believe he was found not guilty of those accusation. Accept the will of the court Lachowski. You don't have to like it, but you have to accept it. Just like conservatives do when a ruler goes your way. Isn't America great?!?!

conwaygerl
5627
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conwaygerl 07/01/14 - 11:04 pm
4
4
Medicine 101

ED, which Viagra is prescribed for, is a dysfunction.

Wanting to terminate a pregnancy is not.

Hobby Lobby pays for birth control, the items they are not wanting to pay for are morning-after pills.

Too bad the headline writer and other commenters are ignorant of this.

lachowsj
5266
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lachowsj 07/02/14 - 09:20 am
3
2
And IUDs

And IUDs. To Mike and cg, of course I will accept the court ruling as the law. That doesn't mean I have to like it. As to my whack at Clarence Thomas, to my knowledge he was never charged with anything. I'm not sure what he did to Anita Hill rose to the level of criminal behavior but it certainly did not reflect well of him. And it always comes to mind when he is making judgments and casting votes about morality. Maybe I would understand him more if he would have actually said a word or asked a question after all these years on the court.

The decision as you know was 5-4. It was poorly written according to most legal scholars across the political spectrum. It went to great pains to say that the ruling applies only to birth control and not to other religious objections, which doesn't make a lot of logical sense. It also in effect says corporations can have not only free speech rights but religious convictions as well but picks what those religious objections might be. At the same time it puts such business at a competitive advantage since they don't have to follow the insurance rules other businesses do.

The written decision seems to say that it is not a precedent and doesn't apply to other situations. If that is true, it proves the majority was just playing politics around this particular issue. And what does that say about judicial activism, the thing that conservatives have long argued against? It also means the majority is trying to avoid a whole raft of other religious issues, the "minefield" Justice Ginsberg talks about in her dissenting opinion. Because if they followed the logical line of thinking, they would surely have to accept religious objections to blood transfusions, etc. And where would the line of thinking stop? Could a business owner with sincerely held beliefs refuse to pay for birth control for any unmarried woman? Could a Catholic business owner refuse to pay for any birth control at all? Or even for the maternity expenses of any unmarried woman?

I believe in this decision and others the current Court has weakened the Supreme Court as an institution. In the past, when hard far-reaching decisions were made, the Supreme Court tried to come to a consensus so that the country as a whole could accept those decisions and get behind them. Even this court was able to send a strong message in their recent decision barring search of a cell phone without a warrant. Because that decision was unanimous, the feeling was that it was unquestionably right. With the Hobby Lobby decision, the feeling is that it is all about politics rather than principle. And that's too bad.

conwaygerl
5627
Points
conwaygerl 07/02/14 - 11:18 am
3
4
SCOTUS

Calling Obamacare a TAX is just as political.

IUDs are notorious for safety issues.
That's not a religious concern, that's a safety concern. Just like, I can't have an open flame candle at my workplace.

Forcing Hobby Lobby to provide morning-after pills is akin to forcing a Muslim restaurant owner to serve bacon for breakfast. Or forcing car companies to install "suicide-doors" in vehicles again.

lachowsj
5266
Points
lachowsj 07/02/14 - 12:13 pm
3
2
Safety concern?

If IUDs were to be banned for a safety concern, they would be banned across the board, not some of the time because of a religious issue.

The Obamacare Supreme Court decision certainly goes along with what I was talking about. The logic of Justice Roberts was strained. Four justices thought Obamacare was legal for other reasons. Four thought it was illegal under any circumstances. I'm glad it went my way but as you know it did nothing to bring the country together on the issue. Contrast that with, for instance, the Brown vs. Board of Education decision. A very difficult social issue, eloquently written and backed 9-0.

conwaygerl
5627
Points
conwaygerl 07/02/14 - 12:58 pm
2
4
not necessarily

"If IUDs were to be banned for a safety concern, they would be banned across the board, not some of the time because of a religious issue."

Not necessarily, for example, why are cigarettes not banned across the board? No one in their right mind would argue that cigarettes are a safe item.

lachowsj
5266
Points
lachowsj 07/02/14 - 02:04 pm
3
2
Let's review

The discussion here is about the Supreme Court ruling allowing certain businesses to decline to provide some kinds of birth control based on the religious beliefs of the owners.

You said: It is just the morning after pill. (On topic but factually wrong.)
I said: No, it is also the IUD. (On topic. Responding directly.)
You said: That's because the IUD is unsafe. (Oops, we have a problem.)
I said: If it were about safety rather than religious beliefs, they would be banned across the board. (Attempting to bring back on topic.)
You said: No, cigarettes are not banned and they are not safe. (Hopelessly off topic. No chance of recovery.)

I'll let you get in the last word on this string, which I'm sure you would do anyway if it took you until kingdom come to do it.

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