Rightbloggers Go to Holy War for Hobby Lobby, Against Abortion Pills, Lady Judges

tomt200.jpgWell, the Hobby Lobby lawsuit somehow made it all the way to the Supreme Court. The glue and glitter chain's argument, and that of other religious employers, that providing health care which might tempt their employees into pregnancy-free sex was against their religion was put forward last week by lawyers from the Becket Fund, named after Thomas Becket, who like Hobby Lobby was persecuted for his religion by a tyrant.

As typically happens when birth control is mentioned in their presence (see Fluke, Sandra) rightbloggers portrayed the case as one in which sluts forced the innocent to buy them slut pills.They also promoted stranger ideas -- for instance, that liberals were trying not just to enforce their so-called "law" but also to destroy religion, using health care coverage to that purpose (because what other purpose could it possibly have?).

Briefly: Under the Affordable Care Act employers have to provide their full-time employees with health insurance. Also under the ACA, health insurance coverage must include birth control if the insured needs and wants it. Jesus Christ told the owners of Hobby Lobby that to allow their employees to get contraceptives through their health insurance would be a great sin. Thus, this case.

Conservative legal authorities had their own game going, usually involving angels, pinheads, and dancing; for example, when the government asked why Hobby Lobby et alia didn't just opt out of providing health insurance and pay the $2,000-a-head fine, Eugene Volokh of the Volokh Conspiracy ah-ha'd, this "demonstrates that the government actually does not view it as essential that people receive insurance through their employers as opposed to from other sources." Maybe Volokh favors single payer.

muggingthepriest.jpg
Hold on, we thought liberals were all sissies. Maybe he's lisping? Is that why the word balloons are pink? (Via.)
Volokh also proposed alternative remedies: e.g., "Employers with conscientious objections could compensate for not providing contraceptive coverage by adding other valuable coverage to the employees' plans, thus ensuring that the employer receives no financial benefit from the objection and that the employees bear no net burden." Come on, now -- Obama put changes like that in the contraceptive mandate already, and look where that got us. Satisfying logical concerns only works if your opponents are using logic.

Regular rightbloggers didn't bother with this, endeavoring instead to clear up a theological matter: That birth control and abortion are the same thing, at least for purposes of religious liberty litigation.

Ed Whelan at National Review reported that when the White House went to the Institute of Medicine (a liberal fascist "scientific" organization) for recommendations on health insurance requirements, IOM told them to include "among other things, all FDA-approved contraceptives, including those that can kill an embryo." The embryo-killer he refers to is Plan B, which prevents a fertilized egg from attaching to the uterine wall -- which, though it does not generate bloody photos suitable for waving at terrified women at Planned Parenthood, is still an abortion to such as Whelan.

"Hobby Lobby is an abortion case," agreed Whelan's colleague Matthew J. Franck. The Obama Administration was "citing a brief filed by some medical professionals that 'explains' that no abortions are caused by any of the mandated drugs and devices" but, Franck insisted, "that 'explanation' rests on wordplay about 'pregnancy' and 'implantation.'" Franck had an explanation -- scare-quotes presumably missing -- from the American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists and other such groups, and they see it as he does: Once that sperm fertilizes that egg, all rights are transferred from the female body surrounding it to the speck itself.

The more disciplined among the brethren made a point of referring to the birth control requirements strictly as "the Obamacare abortion-drug, contraception, and sterilization​ mandate," which mellifluous usage is apparently meant to sway people who wonder why Hobby Lobby doesn't just cough up the pills already. Others just brassed it out in their own way, e.g. Jill Stanek: "The mandate would require employers - despite their religious objections - to cover abortifacient drugs in employees' insurance plans, or pay heavy penalties." Not only aborty, but also facient, which sounds like "fascist," right?

Not everyone was so strategic. Some of the rightblogger arguments took the form of simple abuse, e.g., "Leftards Going The Extra Mile For Stupidity... Hobby Lobby Case Sends The Left Spiraling Towards Psychotic Dementia!!!" "To me, the outcome of this case should be obvious," declared Frank Camp of Reading The Score. "...I think liberals know this, so they have begun to set up straw man arguments -- many of which are comically stupid." Camp gave as an example Senator Barbara Boxer's comparison of Hobby Lobby's objection to birth control with a theoretical objection to Viagra. Explained Camp: "Barbara 'off with their heads' Boxer has set up a straw man which she believes will distract people from the real argument at hand. Boxer has shifted the debate to women's rights... Boxer is being intellectually dishonest if she thinks that what she is claiming is remotely believable. Either that, or she's just not that bright." OK, perhaps "explained" wasn't the best word for what Camp did here. (Later: "Barbara Boxer is a liar. She is an intellectually, and morally bankrupt woman who seems to have nothing better to do than lie repeatedly on national television." The title of Camp's post is "LIAR ALERT! SENATOR BARBARA BOXER DECEIVES IN HOBBY LOBBY CASE." Somebody prank-call this guy and tell him you need a character reference for Barbara Boxer.)

The religious-right bloggers were about what you'd expect. One assiduous follower of the case was National Review editor and devout Catholic Kathryn J. Lopez. "Do people who run businesses have a right to religious liberty on the job?" she asked, referring to, you guessed it, "the Department of Health and Human Services​'s Obamacare abortion-drug, contraception, and sterilization​ mandate." Lopez also attended demonstrations outside the Supreme Court and concluded from these that "what the Hobby Lobby case is about" is "sexual revolutionary values trumping freedom."

When President Obama visited the Pope, Lopez saw all sorts of Hobby Lobby visions. "The pope - who is not unknown for exuberant embraces - seemed to display a fatherly concern in his body language as he greeted the president," she said, and provided a photo just in case we thought she was kidding. Lopez exulted in what she perceived as the dwindling popularity of Obama -- "long gone are the days since the president has been heralded on the likes of the cover of Time and Rolling Stone" -- and the unstoppable power of the pontiff ("even Barack Obama wants something of what this Pope Francis has. Which is not a winning political agenda, but an eternal one: Christ"). But Lopez bristled when MSNBC referred to Obama and Francis as "champions of income equality." "Don't tell me President Obama is a champion of income equality," seethed Lopez, "when the Little Sisters of the Poor - women religious who serve the elderly poor -- are in court seeking the religious freedom that is our God-given right, and once a herald of our country." But what does that -- ah, forget it, she's rolling.

When Obama left the Vatican, Lopez summed up: "During Hobby Lobby week, is there a prayer our president left the Vatican willing to consider the un-American choice he's forced on the Little Sisters of the Poor?"

A number of the brethren had no such prayer, being convinced that the Obamacare defenders were not merely mistaken -- they were actively seeking to destroy America and/or God.

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10 comments
alexander.bollinger
alexander.bollinger

Just pointing out that you're being too generous to the right on one point (I knooooow...): "The embryo-killer he refers to is Plan B, which prevents a fertilized egg from attaching to the uterine wall..." Not true. Plan B was thought to maybe prevent fertilized eggs from attaching to the uterine wall, but that was a decade ago and that was thoroughly debunked. Plan B only prevents the release of the egg, thus preventing conception. It's on Plan B's Wikipedia page.  

The right's response is that their religious belief that Plan B prevents attachment should be respected by the government, which, if accepted, would literally nullify every law ever. I *believe* that stabbing this dude and taking his money is good for his health and my religion says that he consented to the whole thing, so why am I being arrested?

wesell02
wesell02

Seems to me like this is being blown out of proportion.  The overstretch seems to be on the side of the ACA.  Why would any insurance (other than Public Aid) pay for medication available OTC?  The plan B bills are all OTC for anyone 17 or older.  Gee, I'd like for them to pay for my multi vitamin and Gingko.  Maybe it's a war on the Middle Aged.

dstatton
dstatton

Just wondering...do the policies cover Viagra for unmarried men?  Procreation within marriage is the only reason for sex, so they have no need for an erection.  Even to jerk off.

McSalmon
McSalmon

All this, so a pack of smug asshats can keep their money, knee the law in the balls, and punish people for the audacity of wanting health care, and claim they did it all for Jesus and the little babies. I hold that the Hobby Lobby sells nothing so damned important that every store couldn't be plowed under and turned into a park, and anyone would miss it.

alexander.bollinger
alexander.bollinger

@wesell02 Why would insurance pay for Plan B? Because it's a whole lot cheaper than pregnancy, birth, and childhood medical needs.


Also too, this case isn't just about Plan B, it's directly about several contraceptive devices (that aren't OTC) and is effectively about all birth control, about all medical treatment that an employer may object to, really.

wesell02
wesell02

@kurt.haslett @wesell02 And how is that selfish?  Does your insurance pay for Over the Counter (OTC) Meds Kurt?  I have never heard of any that do.  Why would they include it in the ACA?


McSalmon
McSalmon

@Mustanggt05 @McSalmon@wesell02Hobby Lobby is not committed to the beliefs of their employees. They have somewhere over 10000 employees across their chain, and I can guarantee you that very few of them were consulted when the management decided to take away part of their health insurance for religious beliefs that they don't share. Hobby Lobby's commitment of belief begins and ends at the Green's welcome mat. 


If this passes, and God help all of us, it very well may, what else can we expect? Can they fire an employee who has an IUD? Or had an abortion? Can they punish a worker who has had a divorce? Can they stop IVF treatments next? Can they administer a warning to employees who bring carnitas to a Friday pot luck instead of fish? Can they require a tithe? They may not be interested in these changes, but under such a ruling, there is nothing stopping them from doing so.


My understanding is that HL was approached by lobbying orgs to act as a test case against the ACA though a potential loophole. No problem, this happens all the time, but let's be honest with ourselves - this isn't some expression of deeply held beliefs on the part of the Greens and the folks at Hobby Lobby and Conestoga; this is a cold political maneuver designed to undermine a law that is currently providing millions with low cost health insurance.

Mustanggt05
Mustanggt05

@McSalmon @wesell02 As I interpreted the reading HL insurance has always paid for BC (about 20 different kinds) including condoms, diaphragms and all of the hormonal pills and implants.  Now the ACA had included OTC plan b type pills and the IUD which are used to interrupt implantation after conception. 

IMO this is what happens when we try to force a one size fits all insurance plan.  Too much law and governance creates  a lack of flexibility and creates problems where problems have never existed.  Regardless of how this shakes out, I applaud HL for spending time and resources to take this to the finish line.  They are definitely committed to their beliefs and employees.  If they weren't they would just pay the fine and push everyone onto the exchange.


McSalmon
McSalmon

@wesell02 It isn't just about OTC medication for Birth Control - there are many different types of birth control, and Plan B is supposed to be a last ditch effort. IUDs for example, are expensive to implant. Others aren't so expensive, but require a prescription, and a doctor consult. 


But, that isn't the main issue to start with. The SC isn't hearing arguments on whether Hobby Lobby can decide not to support BC in it's employee plan, it's deciding whether it should be exempt from the fine for non-compliance on religious grounds. That! is the main issue; whether a corporate body, which exists by the grace of the state to begin with, can have a religious belief at all. The founders can, the board can, but the business itself is supposed to be an independent body from them. 


If the SC finds in their favor, it means that a corporate board can break a law on the basis of a 'religious code' which they may institute as they see fit, while still enjoying the limited liability from lawsuits and the like from their legal charter. It is, at best, an invitation for mischief and at worst, a catastrophic legal precedent which could damage the rights of all other citizens.


And, again, this is all over a bullshit move on the part of the people behind Hobby Lobby - they previously HAD a policy that allowed for BC as I understand it, and just wanted to tweak it without paying the fine. I repeat - no one in this world needs glitter and scrapbooks so damned badly that Hobby Lobby would be missed if every store was turned into a softball field.

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