A provision of Obamacare, implemented by HHS Sec. Sebelius, includes a no-copay contraception mandate to all insurers included in the exchanges to be made available starting in 2014. Catholic leaders, fundamentalist evangelicals and, of course, libertarians, raised their voices in opposition to the contraception provision.
It was claimed, much to my astonishment, that mandating insurance companies to include no-co-pay contraception was a violation of their religious liberty. Then, as his tendency is, Rush Limbaugh raised the stakes by declaring that Sandra Fluke, who eventually testified in favor of women's access to contraception....was a "slut" for talking so openly about it. Yes, it got ugly.
But mainstream, rotted, media.....no longer obliged to explain what's true and what isn't.....played along with the entirely phony claim that Obamacare would force taxpayers to pay for women to have sex. Most Holy Bishops, still rectory-deep in their own pedophilia coverup, put on their best pious face and swore that Obama had done the unthinkable by granting reproductive-age women access to contraception in Obamacare. Repeatedly, these Most Holy men cried out from behind their protective sanctimony bemoaning that if American women were granted access to no-co-pay contraception through Obamacare.....it would be the biggest attack on religious freedom and liberty...EVER.
Law suits followed. One of which has just been ruled upon. The crux of the complaint from a Catholic business owner....
...the plaintiffs in this suit argued that the birth control rules substantially burden their faith by requiring them to pay for employee health benefits which might then in turn be used to pay for birth control.
Here's the Elder Bush-appointed Missouri federal court Judge Carol Jackson's opinion of that complaint....
The burden of which plaintiffs complain is that funds, which plaintiffs will contribute to a group health plan, might, after a series of independent decisions by health care providers and patients covered by [an employer's health] plan, subsidize someone else’s participation in an activity that is condemned by plaintiffs’ religion. . . . [Federal religious freedom law] is a shield, not a sword. It protects individuals from substantial burdens on religious exercise that occur when the government coerces action one’s religion forbids, or forbids action one’s religion requires; it is not a means to force one’s religious practices upon others. [It] does not protect against the slight burden on religious exercise that arises when one’s money circuitously flows to support the conduct of other free-exercise-wielding individuals who hold religious beliefs that differ from one’s own. . . .
[T]he health care plan will offend plaintiffs’ religious beliefs only if an  employee (or covered family member) makes an independent decision to use the plan to cover counseling related to or the purchase of contraceptives. Already, [plaintiffs] pay salaries to their employees—money the employees may use to purchase contraceptives or to contribute to a religious organization. By comparison, the contribution to a health care plan has no more than a de minimus impact on the plaintiff’s religious beliefs than paying salaries and other benefits to employees.
Health care insurance is an employee benefit paid for by the employer. It is no different than a paycheck. The employee has earned the health care insurance benefit just as she has earned her paycheck. The health insurance benefit belongs to the employee, not the employer.
Just as an employer has no right to prevent an employee from spending her paycheck any way she sees fit....so too, the employee's health care insurance.
Now, I suppose super-conscientious religionist employers could try to monitor how their female employees spent their paychecks......you know, because the religious employer's right of conscience just might be violated by the nature of the purchases made by his female employees. For example: what if the employer was a tee-totaling Independent Baptist who deemed alcohol consumption as a guaranteed ticket to HellsFire? Alcohol consumption violates the employer's conscience. Should that employer have the right to deny a paycheck to an employee because that employee might buy alcohol with it?
Of course not.....and the same is true of health care insurance and contraception. It is not the employer's right to dictate how his employees will spend or use the pay and benefits that the employer provides.
The most important line from Judge Jackson's ruling is found here...
[Federal religious freedom law] is a shield, not a sword. It protects individuals from substantial burdens on religious exercise that occur when the government coerces action one’s religion forbids, or forbids action one’s religion requires; it is not a means to force one’s religious practices upon others.
Claims of having your religious liberty or rights violated cannot be used as an excuse to "force one's religious practice upon others."
That's exactly right and it is what this Reverend has claimed from the moment Mr. Conservative and the Faux-rage machine cranked up the totally ignorant argument that providing contraception coverage within health care insurance violated the religious rights and/or liberty of employers.
About This Blog