I’m still making my way through the Hobby Lobby oral arguments. In the meantime, let’s look at the Independent [sic] Women’s Forum’s inadvertently instructive arguments against the contraception non-mandate. Let’s throw out the first non-sequitur:
“These cases do not represent a conflict between religious employers and female employees. Women have been and will continue to be free to seek out and purchase the contraceptives of their choice,” IWF Health Policy Director Hadley Heath said.
It is true that granting an exemption would not result in the literal banning of health care. It does not follow, however, that the IWF position does not represent a conflict “religious employers and female employees.” Female employees will be denied a statutory right if the Court accepts the arguments made by the IWF. (A burden that does not just affect the interests of women, either, unless men no longer have any legal or moral responsibility for raising children.) The denial that’s there’s any conflict is particularly rich given that Hobby Lobby et al. are asserting that a “substantial burden” has been created by provision that doesn’t require them to do anything.
Instead, these cases illustrate the inevitable conflicts that result from too much government involvement in health care. The contraception mandate works contrary to women’s interests.
Ah, and once again, we have the show given away. These legal arguments aren’t really about religious freedom; there’s just the latest in a series of ad hoc assaults on the ACA by conservatives who simply oppose the non-affluent having access to health care in principle. The dash of Orewellian nonsense on top is a nice touch, though.
So how does the employer non-mandate work contrary to the interests of women?
Personal health care decisions should be in the hands of free patients and doctors, not prescribed by one-size-fits-all mandates.
Well, fortunately, the requirement that insurance plan cover contraception leaves health care decisions in the hands of patients or doctors. This is one of the many things that makes it preferable to the IWF’s position, which would involve interposing the religious beliefs of employers between patients and doctors.
As for the silliness about “one-size-fits-all” mandates, once again it proves too much. If taken seriously, it would apply equally to any requirements that insurance cover specific things. According to the IWF, employers should get tax benefits for paying employees in health care instead of wages, but requiring that this insurance actually cover things is bad because FREEDOM! They’re welcome to this nutty argument, but neither RFRA nor the First Amendment enacted a free-floating consevertarian opposition to the concept of regulating health insurers.
“This case is about much more than contraception. It is about the principles of liberty that animate our Constitution.” Indeed! Which is why the IWF’s arguments should be rejected.