By Carolyn Moynihan
An important religious freedom case in the US Supreme Court last week had women’s groups of opposing persuasions standing outside in the sleet, brandishing banners and addressing anyone who would listen.
Part of President Obama’s health reform orders all employers except traditional religious congregations to include in their employee health insurance plans coverage of the full cost of contraceptives, including those which can cause an early abortion – or pay a fine, or restructure their business in a such way that they could be, technically, disconnected from the content of health insurance.
Many institutions with religious connections which don’t qualify for an exemption are refusing to accept the new law, and a number are suing the government. But businesses can have a conscience too, and last week’s plaintiffs were the craft chain Hobby Lobby, and Conestoga Wood, whose owners object to abortifacients. Note, they are not objecting to coverage of contraception as such.
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But to come back to the women. All the way through this debate – and it has been going on for at least two years – the White House, its experts and friends have tried to smother the conscience issue by framing the opposition as a “war against women”.
The message is that women are poor little vulnerable creatures who just can’t help getting pregnant at all the wrong times and who depend utterly on Big Brother to make their employers provide them with free contraception, morning after pills and sterilisations. There are no freebies for the men who get them pregnant, though.
This so annoyed George Mason University law professor Helen Alvare and friends that they launched a platform for women who do not want to be patronised by a state that is only interested in keeping them infertile – at whatever cost to their health and happiness that a decade or two of ingesting powerful drugs (and undergoing the odd surgical abortion) might bring.
The group is called Women Speak for Themselves and here is representative Meg McDonnell with the speech she delivered about it on the courthouse steps last week:
Women Speak For Themselves is a grassroots organization with more than 41,000 women from all 50 states and various political and religious backgrounds. Our list is made up of diverse and intelligent women–including doctors, lawyers, teachers, businesswomen, homeschooling mothers, and longtime community advocates. Our partnership with these women—which began in 2012—has produced hundreds of letters to the editor, town hall meetings, letters and meetings with congressional representatives, social media postings, and the occasional protest, all in support of women and religious freedom. Our women and their efforts have shown time and again that women care about religious liberty!
Read more: Mercatornet.com
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