A question of religious freedom or of women’s health? For the devout, there is no question. Birth control is immoral and no one should be forced to participate in programs that pay for it.
For the third time, the Supreme Court will try and definitively decide the question of whether the federal government can force someone to act against their devoutly held religious beliefs. At issue is the Trump administration’s controversial policy to allow certain exemptions for companies who object to Obamacare’s contraception mandate on grounds of conscience. An appeals court issued an injunction that blocks Trump’s rule from taking effect and the Department of Justice — joined by the Little Sisters of the Poor — are looking to have the injunction lifted.
In 2014, SCOTUS ruled that Hobby Lobby, a closely held family business, didn’t have to comply with the mandate. Then, in 2016, the justices sent back to the lower courts a case involving the Little Sisters of the Poor, ordering the religious order to find a compromise with the Obama administration. This resulted in Obama’s “workaround” where insurance companies could pay for the contraception benefit.
When Trump came into office, he started to whittle away at the mandate, carving out exemptions that would allow most businesses to claim a religious exemption to it, including nonprofits, for-profit companies, private colleges and universities, and other non-government employers. Those changes were blocked by an appeals court and the Trump administration wants the injunction lifted.
“Allowing employers and universities to use their religious beliefs to block employees’ and students’ birth control coverage isn’t religious liberty — it’s discrimination,” said Brigitte Amiri, deputy director at the America Civil Liberties Union’s Reproductive Freedom Project.
A ruling from the Supreme Court could come as soon as this summer just months before the 2020 presidential election. Democrats hope to create a contrast with Trump on the issue of health care, pointing to his rollback of ObamaCare’s contraception mandate and his efforts to repeal the 2010 health care law.
Ms. Amiri illustrates perfectly that opponents of this mandate just don’t get it and perhaps never will. You can’t barter matters of conscience. Maybe because the issue is black and white, right and wrong for some people the ACLU and other leftists are blinded by their own ignorance of how some people live their lives.
The problem with attacking religious freedom in this way is that today it’s a contraception mandate while tomorrow it could be something far more dangerous. As the left attempts to undermine some of our most cherished rights in the name of “community,” something vital and important is lost. It’s worth the fight to prevent that from happening.