The Supreme Court heard oral arguments via teleconference this morning on maintaining the Trump administration Obamacare rule that made it easier for religious organizations to opt-out of giving free birth control to their employees.
Under President Obama, employers and schools could only opt-out of giving birth control coverage if they could prove they had an alternative avenue of coverage for employees. The Trump administration changed that rule, making the opt-out easier to get.
The court heard arguments this morning from Pennsylvania and New Jersey, which challenged the administration rule in appeals court.
“We will not allow people of faith to be targeted, bullied or silenced anymore,” President Donald Trump said when the rule was imposed.
New Jersey and Pennsylvania sued, saying they would have to pick up most of the cost of contraceptive coverage, and a federal appeals court last year blocked enforcement of the rule nationwide. The Trump administration and the Little Sisters of the Poor, an order of Catholic nuns that has consistently fought the contraceptive insurance requirement, asked the Supreme Court to take their appeal.
The Obama administration’s rule was cast as an attempted workaround for people of conscience. They claimed that since organizations and companies wouldn’t directly be funding contraceptive coverage, it should satisfy any misgivings they had about their religious beliefs.
But the Little Sisters of the Poor and other religious organizations disagreed, as does the U.S. Department of Justice.
In its court filing, the Justice Department argues that the exceptions should be broader, because many employers sincerely believe that any use of their health plans to provide contraceptive coverage — even if they are not directly involved in the process — makes them complicit in a violation of their religious beliefs. A federal law, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, allows federal agencies “to be more protective of religious rights than might strictly be required,” the government says.
The Obama administration didn’t care about conscience or religious beliefs. They cared about crafting a rule that could survive in court while still satisfying women’s rights and pro-abortion groups. Telling religious people to turn away while others used their money to purchase contraceptive coverage was deceitful and demonstrated a total lack of understanding when it came to people of faith.
The Obamacare law “does not grant the agencies authority to exempt broad classes of employers from their obligations,” they say, and the accommodation eliminates an objecting employer’s direct role in providing the coverage but still allows female employees, students and other beneficiaries to receive the care they need.
Do women “need” contraception? Women’s rights groups argue that contraception is a medical necessity since 90 percent of women will use them in their lifetimes. And pregnancy will endanger the lives of some women, making contraception necessary.
Even if you have no moral objection to contraception (or E.D. medication), there is an argument against subsidizing it. Sex is not a medical necessity and, let’s be honest, there are as many women as men who view sex as a recreational activity. For those women who absolutely don’t want to get pregnant, or where having a child would be a crushing financial burden, there are alternatives to forcing people of conscience to violate their most closely held beliefs.
Many liberal groups simply don’t understand these beliefs. And they never will.