By Tony Perkins
If you wanted to see fireworks in D.C., you didn’t have to wait for July 4th. Yesterday’s decision on the HHS mandate exploded on the media scene, lighting a fuse under the radicals of the Left. While most Americans watched with pleasure as a pillar of ObamaCare fell, liberals sulked at another loss for lawlessness. Democrats couldn’t fire off their press releases fast enough as they vowed to push their assault on faith in the marketplace by ending justices’ opt-out. Promising a legislative fix, Majority leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) insisted that Americans’ “right” to sex-on-demand trumps a company’s deeply held beliefs on contraception and abortifacients.
As out of touch as liberals are with the law, it turns out that they’re even more out of touch with voters. While the Left trotted out its tired “war on women” line, FRC’s Cathy Ruse pointed out that the majority of women opposed the mandate — including 60% of the lower court female judges who voted to stop it!
Our own survey, which helped shape the messaging for the entire movement, confirmed the trend. Back in May, WPA Opinion Research found in an FRC-commissioned poll that 53% of voters (including 50% of women!) disapproved of the idea that employers’ should have to pay for workers’ sexual decisions. So if there is a war, it’s on the facts.
While the Twitter world ignites with threats of burning down Hobby Lobby stores (and a record number of profane comments), most of the outrage is entirely unfounded. As Sean Davis explained, “The truth of the matter is that the case was about abortion, specifically four types of contraception that can result in the destruction of a fertilized egg. Hobby Lobby paid for 16 different types of non-abortive contraceptive coverage for its employees.”
As liberals try to spin this into a debate about denying women free “reproductive care,” the reality is that the federal government already gives out free birth control and abortion drugs at Title X clinics all across America. What the Court said was that it’s not right to order conscientious objectors to provide it, under threat of crippling fines, when there are other ways to get it to them. Plus, the Federalist jabs, there’s no such thing as “denying access” to birth control if these businesses are paying employees wages they can then use to buy whatever they want. But unfortunately, the Left never lets the truth get in the way of a convenient sound bite.
Meanwhile, the political debate goes on. House Speaker John Boehner, like more than two dozen other members, praised Monday’s ruling. “Today’s decision is a victory for religious freedom and another defeat for an administration that has repeatedly crossed constitutional lines in pursuit of its Big Government objectives. The mandate overturned today would have required for-profit companies to choose between violating their constitutionally-protected faith or paying crippling fines, which would have forced them to lay off employees or close their doors.”
For now, the President, who’s been on the losing end of a number of major Supreme Court decisions, is resorting to a childish response, warning that he’ll try another end-run around the Court to get his way. “They’re acting like the town bully,” Cathy Ruse said. “‘Hey Mother Angelica, you don’t wanna provide free birth control pills to all of these people? Well, then, you pay us $100 every day for every person you refuse to supply… until you change your mind.‘ There’s an easier way, and the Court gave them a map: If the White House wants to give free birth control and abortion drugs to every woman in America, they should pay for it, themselves.”
Of course, the irony in all this is that Democrats are suddenly jumping on the transparency bandwagon, which might be funny if it weren’t so offensive. Senate Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) said yesterday that he would “introduce legislation that requires all corporations using this Supreme Court decision to deny or limit contraception services to disclose this policy to all employed and applicants for employment. Workers have a right to know if their employers are restricting the availability of a whole range of family planning coverage.” This from a party that created an ObamaCare “secrecy clause” to stop Americans from finding out whether their plans cover abortion!
If the President’s party is demanding clarity, we’re all for it. In the meantime, one thing is clear: the days of the HHS mandate may be numbered. In the last 24 hours, seven more religious institutions won emergency injunctions against the order (including EWTN and Wheaton College), setting up phase two of the mandate takedown. As dozens of nonprofits fight on, the Becket Fund predicted “the death knell is sounding for the HHS mandate.” Thank goodness. One vote the other way in the Supreme Court, and the death knell would have been for the First Amendment.
Tony Perkins is president of the Washington, D.C.-based Family Research Council. He is a former member of the Louisiana legislature where he served for eight years, and he is recognized as a legislative pioneer for authoring measures like the nation’s first Covenant Marriage law.
(Via FRC’s Washington Update. Tony Perkins’ Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.)
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