If birth control is “not your boss’s business,” why do you expect him to pay for it?Posted: July 1, 2014
Liberals’ Hobby Lobby Doublethink
I’m particularly fond of the Game of Thrones reference. Read Jonah’s entire column here.
Abortion-rights protesters gathered outside the Supreme Court building on Monday holding signs that read “Birth Control: Not My Boss’s Business.”
“The notion that denying a subsidy for a product is equivalent to banning that product is one of the odder tenets of contemporary liberalism.”
Much to their chagrin, Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito agreed in his ruling in the Hobby Lobby case.
Of course, that’s not how supporters of the government’s contraception mandate see it. They actually believe that birth control is their boss’s business, and they want the federal government to force employers to agree.
More on that later, but it’s first worth noting how we got here.
First, contrary to a lot of lazy punditry, there is no Obamacare contraception mandate. As my National Review colleague Ramesh Ponnuru notes, even President Obama’s liberal rubber-stamp Congress of 2009–10 never addressed — or even debated — the question of whether companies can be forced to provide contraceptive coverage. Department of Health and Human Services bureaucrats simply asserted that they could impose such a requirement. Indeed, “several pro-life Democrats,” Ponnuru adds, “who provided the law’s narrow margin of victory in the House have said they would have voted against the law had it included the mandate.”
“If I like to dress up as a character from Game of Thrones on weekends, pretending to fight snow zombies and treating my mutt like she’s a mystical direwolf, that’s none of my employer’s business. But if I ask my employer to pay for my trip to a Game of Thrones fan convention, I am asking him to make it his business.”
Moreover, Hobby Lobby never objected to covering birth control per se. It already covers 16 kinds of birth control for its employees. But it objected to paying for what it considers to be abortifacients, which don’t prevent a pregnancy but terminate one. The pro-abortion-rights lobby can argue that “abortion” and “birth control” are synonymous terms, but that doesn’t make it true.
One lesson here is that overreaching can have unintended consequences. We saw that last week when the Supreme Court ruled unanimously that the White House had overplayed its hand when it comes to the president’s ability to make recess appointments. By abusing a presidential prerogative, Obama invited the court to address the issue. As a result, presidential power — at least in this regard — is now more curtailed.
Similarly, the Hobby Lobby decision opens the door for closely held companies to deny coverage of all forms of birth control if they can plausibly argue that doing so would violate their conscience. The decision doesn’t apply to large, publicly held corporations, but even if it did, it is unlikely that many companies would go down that path. And even if they did, birth control would not be “banned” – employees simply would have to pay for it themselves…(read more)
— Jonah Goldberg is a fellow at the American Enterprise Institute and editor-at-large of National Review Online.
- After Hobby Lobby decision, both sides jockey for position, money (washingtonpost.com)
- Hobby Lobby ruling about abortion, not contraceptives (suntimes.com)
- Hobby Lobby still provides contraception (siftingreality.com)
- In Narrow Ruling, Supreme Court Rules with Hobby Lobby on Contraception Mandate (mediaite.com)
- Supreme Court decides Hobby Lobby birth-control dispute (washingtontimes.com)
- U.S. top court rules for companies on birth control mandate (reuters.com)
- The 3 biggest lies liberals are telling about the Hobby Lobby ruling (youngcons.com)
- Hobby Lobby and SCOTUS’s Women Justices (nationalreview.com)
- Neal Boortz: “I can’t remember seeing the left come as unhinged as it did yesterday” (rare.us)