State laws in Arizona, Kansas, Ohio, and elsewhere that would enshrine discrimination in the name of “religious liberty” have faced political setbacks, but a legal victory isn’t certain yet.
In St. Louis, we’ve always said, “Don’t like the weather? Wait a minute. It’ll change.” Well, the weather is not changing in our floodwater-friendly capitol, where a torrent of anti-choice bills is raining down on our heads. It is simply foul.
Much of the defense of the contraception mandate in the Affordable Care Act has focused on the public benefit to making contraception widely available and affordable. But there are a lot of reasons to uphold the mandate that have nothing to do with birth control.
Even if it is true that the Religious Freedom Restoration Act permits the religious exemptions sought by companies opposing the contraception mandate, what of the harm imposed on those whom the requirement is intended to benefit? What legal argument centers their concerns? The answer may lie in the Establishment Clause.
The 2-1 decision held the university had not shown that complying with the exemption process for religiously affiliated nonprofits substantially burdened its religious rights.
Although the university was granted a religious accommodation and is exempt from complying with the Affordable Care Act’s contraceptive mandate, it wants a federal court to block the mandate anyway.
“It’s just a fake front issue to talk about abortion,” House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said of HR 7, the anti-choice bill passed just hours before Tuesday’s State of the Union address. “What they’re really talking about is contraception, family planning, the judgment of women.”
A flurry of legal briefs filed by members of Congress shows that resolution of the birth control benefit lawsuits is as much a political exercise as a judicial one.
Friday’s order may prevent the Obama administration from enforcing the contraception mandate against the Little Sisters of the Poor, but it also may have just won the administration’s case.
The Family Research Council recently presented a paper positing that the problem with abortion is that women are just having too much sex. It’s part of a trend: Increasingly, anti-choicers are dropping the pretense that they’re motivated by “life” and admitting that their efforts are about controlling women’s sexuality.