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In Contraceptive Mandate Challenges, Women’s Health And Much More Is On The Line

Memo Pad Politics

In Contraceptive Mandate Challenges, Women’s Health And Much More Is On The Line


Despite significant existing accommodations for religious organizations, the current challenges to the contraceptive mandate could severely limit access to reproductive care.

On New Year’s Eve, Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor temporarily blocked enforcement of the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) contraceptive mandate on a Colorado-based religious organization – Little Sisters for the Poor and Aged – paving the way for the heated debates on women’s health that will ensue in the year ahead.

The contraceptive mandate, which requires employers to provide full coverage of all FDA-approved contraceptive methods, has been a lightning rod since it was first introduced. Religious groups argued it violated their religious liberty, given their religious-based opposition to contraception. In response, President Obama modified the mandate by creating an “exception” that exempts houses of worship altogether, and an “accommodation” that enables organizations that identify as religious (such as Little Sisters) to opt out. Their employees can receive contraceptive coverage from a third-party insurer. These provisions should have put a quick end to the religious objections, but they didn’t.

In order to opt out of the contraceptive mandate, organizations must sign a form that certifies they identify as religious and acknowledges that either their insurance company or a third-party administrator will contact employees directly to provide coverage. Effectively, this provision removes the non-profit from coverage of birth control all together. However, Little Sisters argues that the simple act of signing that form constitutes a substantial burden on their religious liberty.

Here’s the kicker: All of this is moot because Little Sisters’ insurance company is run by the Christian Brothers, which is considered a church and is therefore exempt from adhering to the mandate. So while Little Sisters does have to sign the form for procedural reasons (and to prevent them from being fined for not complying with the mandate), the insurance company can – and likely would – legally refuse to provide the coverage.

While this specific case will have little impact on the employees of Little Sisters (who are out of luck either way), an ultimate ruling in the organization’s favor would provide more fuel to the anti-contraceptive mandate fire already raging across the country.

It also lays the groundwork for two cases already on the Supreme Court docket that will determine the future of contraceptive coverage. In those cases – Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood, to be heard on March 25 – the owners of private companies have asserted that providing contraceptive coverage for their employees is a violation of their religious liberty.  The Court will determine if for-profit groups actually have religious liberty, and – if yes – if the contraceptive mandate infringes on that liberty.  That decision will either guarantee contraceptive coverage to millions of women for the foreseeable future, or set a precedent where employers can use their personal religious beliefs as a basis for refusing coverage of a host of health services.



  1. daniel bostdorf January 13, 2014

    Ms. Flynn’s article is extremely important to women of this country. It is simply their right to contraception via whatever insurance policy is offered. There can be no restrictions or exceptions.

    The slippery slope outlined in the article is the fundamental Consitutional point of law that will be argued ay the Supreme Court.

    This is a women’s health issue that should have not have any interference from religious or political objections.

    Under ACA, birth control medication would be provided by the insurers, without direct involvement by the religious or political organization.

    The Contraceptive mandate requires health insurers, or employers that provide their employees with health insurance, to cover some contraception costs in their health insurance plans.

    Contraceptive use saves about $19 billion in direct medical costs each year. half of US pregnancies are unintended.

    What makes this article important is that Flynn raises the Constitutional issues when she states:

    “These cases raise various legal questions to be answered by the courts, as well as serious ethical questions that we must consider. Do we want our bosses interfering in our personal medical decisions? Must we continue to allow reproductive health to be the one area of medicine to be adjudicated by the courts instead of our doctors? If employers can use their position of power to infringe on access to birth control, what’s stopping them from denying access to other services that don’t suit their fancy? Could Scientologist employers deny access to psychiatric drugs? Could Catholic employers deny coverage for treatment of sexually transmitted diseases? It’s quite a slippery slope.”

    Great article and video here about the issue:

    Supreme Court contraception mandate case sparks fierce debate (+video)
    Women’s rights advocates worry that the Supreme Court will lift the mandate on employers to provide workers with a government-set level of health insurance. Religious rights activists want that mandate gone.


    1. Bill Thompson January 13, 2014

      Daniel you are exactly correct. As I was typing your post just presented itself. The last part of your statement is really at the crux of this matter. Do you want your bosses dictating what medical care you may receive. If your boss is a Jehovah’s Witness maybe you can’t get blood transfusions. With faith and religion come many odd beliefs and rituals, religion should be playing no role in the decisions an employee makes with his doctor or his or her own conscience. My bosses rule ends at the end of the day.

      1. daniel bostdorf January 13, 2014

        Can’t agree more!

      2. neeceoooo January 14, 2014

        Very good point, when I am in the comfort of my home my boss has no authority over me (or at least he should not).

    2. Kurt CPI January 14, 2014

      Flynn’s points that you cited are not relevant. These are the same arguments used by ACA critics to discredit it – you know, the ones the same author called ridiculous? This is a test of whether legislation can trump the Bill of Rights. It is specific to whether government can force religious organizations to finance something, or in this case provide a path to finance something, that their religion specifically condemns. It doesn’t matter if you or I agree with their position. It only matters whether or not the ACA mandates as currently written violate the Constitution. This is exactly the process that our government is obligated to pursue, not something that can be ignored because we may not like the outcome.

      1. daniel bostdorf January 14, 2014

        What makes this article important is that Flynn raises the Constitutional issues when she states:

        “These cases raise various legal questions to be answered by the courts, as well as serious ethical questions that we must consider. Do we want our bosses interfering in our personal medical decisions? Must we continue to allow reproductive health to be the one area of medicine to be adjudicated by the courts instead of our doctors? If employers can use their position of power to infringe on access to birth control, what’s stopping them from denying access to other services that don’t suit their fancy? Could Scientologist employers deny access to psychiatric drugs? Could Catholic employers deny coverage for treatment of sexually transmitted diseases? It’s quite a slippery slope.”

        That is the point of the article.

        I was responding to the fact that the ACA is not part of the original Constitution, and simply the 9th Amendment allows for this “Right” to be included that were not part of the original ones…

        You state: ” It only matters whether or not the ACA mandates as currently written violate the Constitution.”

        I agree and the 9th amendment combined with 10th allows for it. No brainer.

        1. Kurt CPI January 14, 2014

          No argument that it’s a slippery slope. But once again I must point out that religious freedom is a specifically mentioned right, not an expansion of generalized rights. As a contrast, if you check the 21st amendment, you’ll see that it specifically repeals the 18th.
          The 10th amendment just states that those powers not explicitly granted to the federal government fall to the states, and those not specifically granted to the states to the people. Like the 9th, it’s intent is to require government to make a contract with the people for specific powers while at the same time not limiting the powers retained by the people. It is consistent with the “government of the people” philosophy. The 9th amendment instructs that the bill of rights is not an all-inclusive list of rights, similar to modern contract language that might contain “including, but not limited to…”. Nowhere does either amendment state that any unlisted rights can serve to undo the specifically listed ones. The Constitution is a legal document, not just a set of guidelines. In any legal document specifics take precedent over any general disclaimer.

  2. Faraday_Cat January 13, 2014

    I simply do not understand why we are even considering this…how does a mandate requiring me to provide this to my employees infringe on my right to refuse it for myself?

    1. Lynda Groom January 14, 2014

      It doesn’t.

      1. daniel bostdorf January 14, 2014


    2. Kurt CPI January 14, 2014

      It doesn’t have to to be unconstitutional.

      1. Independent1 January 15, 2014

        No one has a constitutional right to deprive another citizen of something that the law allows them to have; especially to conform to what should be their own personal preference. What are you talking about??

        1. Kurt CPI January 15, 2014

          I think you’ll find that the organization already has the right to do exactly what you say they do not. The ACA already exempts them from providing coverage for birth control. The issue here is if the Catholic organization has to point employees to where they can get the additional coverage if they desire.
          On your second point, I think they would argue that they are not depriving anyone of anything by not making a referral. They are merely assigning the task of researching it to the employee.

          1. Independent1 January 15, 2014

            You’re wrong on everything you’re posting. Obamacare requires that most all companies cover contraceptives. This from CNN:

            A blockbuster 2012 ruling upheld the constitutionality of the key funding part of the politically charged law aiming to get health coverage to millions of uninsured Americans.

            This time, the court is looking at a part of the law that took effect on Wednesday requiring most employers to provide contraception coverage.

            A Catholic charity that cares for the low-income elderly, the Little Sisters of the Poor, asked the Supreme Court this week to exempt it from having to comply.

          2. Kurt CPI January 15, 2014

            Did you read the article? Here’s the direct quote:

            “Religious groups argued it violated their religious liberty, given their religious-based opposition to contraception. In response, President Obama modified the mandate by creating an “exception” that exempts houses of worship altogether, and an “accommodation” that enables organizations that identify as religious (such as Little Sisters) to opt out.”

          3. Independent1 January 15, 2014

            Insurance companies have been covering contraceptives for at least 6-7 decades; they covered them for my wife back in the 1960s, and there was no big ruckus about it until the GOP has tried over the past 4-6 years to make issues about everything. Here’s a little history too:

            Today, 98 percent of sexually active Catholic women say they have used some form of contraception, as have the vast majority of evangelicals. A recent poll revealed that 58 percent of American Catholics approve of forcing private insurers to cover birth control. (Only among white evangelicals, with their sensitivity about “religious freedom” and newfound zest for “quiverfulls” of children, did a majority disapprove of the law.)

            So, despite decades (centuries!) of religious strife, it turns out that conservative Christians do agree on something: Almost all of them use birth control. The GOP candidates’ display of unity in opposing this law has nothing to do with what their constituents actually do in their own homes. The law is a rhetorical opportunity, a chance to wave the banners of “family values” and “religious freedom” to rally the Red State troops (while the White House, worried that the president can’t afford to seem “anti-religion” in election season, is scrambling to soften the law’s impositions on religious institutions).

          4. Kurt CPI January 15, 2014

            None of that is relevant. It’s not Republicans contesting mandated coverage. It’s not even the Catholic church on the whole. They are almost certainly supporting the challenge, but they are not making the challenge. This is a Constitutional challenge, by a specific Catholic charity, to a specific add-on mandate to Obamacare. That charity believes it has the Constitutional right to be exempted. They’re challenging the mandate based on their faith. Their motive is not to “rally red states”. Waving the values of family, charity and good will is another of their first amendment rights. It is not a test of whether their faith doesn’t meet with my approval, your approval, or the approval of 80% of their congregation. You need to consider the substance of the challenge before making statements that have nothing to do with it.

          5. Independent1 January 15, 2014

            In case you’re not aware, the Supreme Court has already ruled once that it’s unconstitutional for the US government to madate that women can’t use contraceptives – and they made no provision for religious ourganizations being able to bow out of that:

            In the United States, a flurry of legal actions in the 1960s and 1970s changed the landscape of reproductive rights: in 1965, the Supreme Court ruled in Griswold v. Connecticut that it was unconstitutional for the government to prohibit married couples from using birth control.

            In 1965 millions of unmarried women in 26 states were still denied birth control.[29] In 1967 Boston University students petitioned Bill Baird to challenge Massachusetts’s stringent “Crimes Against Chastity, Decency, Morality and Good Order” law.[30] On April 6, 1967 he gave a speech to 1,500 students and others at Boston University on abortion and birth control.[31] He gave a female student one condom and a package of contraceptive foam.[31] Baird was arrested and convicted as a felon, facing up to ten years in jail.[32] He spent three months in Boston’s Charles Street Jail.[33] During his challenge to the Massachusetts law, the Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts stated that “there is nothing to be gained by court action of this kind. The only way to remove the limitations remaining in the law is through the legislative process.”[34] Despite this opposition, Baird fought for five years until Eisenstadt v. Baird legalized birth control for all Americans on March 22, 1972. Eisenstadt v. Baird, a landmark right to privacy decision, became the foundation for such cases as Roe v. Wade and the 2003 gay rights victory Lawrence v. Texas.

            If the Sisters get SCOTUS to exempt them it won’t be on Constitutional Grounds, it will be on partisan grounds just like Citizens United.

          6. Kurt CPI January 15, 2014

            “the Supreme Court has already ruled …” Once again this is totally irrelevant. Nothing in this challenge involves with regard to the government denying anything to anyone.

            “In the United States, a flurry of legal actions..” Your first item was off topic. This is off-planet. The government is not attempting to prohibit birth control. This has NOTHING to do with the issue.

            “In 1965 millions of unmarried women…” Same thing. No one is attempting to make birth control illegal.

            “If the Sisters get SCOTUS to exempt.. ” This is the most ridiculous thing you’ve put forth so far. No party has the authority to dismiss law. Constitutional grounds IS the path they have sought. The ONLY reason they may be exempted (or the mandate removed) is on Constitutional grounds.

          7. Independent1 January 15, 2014

            I thought you knew how political rules were suppose to work. I thought you might be familiar with why the GOP is so up in arms about the IRS holding back approval for some fake GOP organizations claiming they weren’t political organizations and therefore should get TAX FREE STATUS LIKE CHURCHES!! Ministers, priests whatever, HAVE NO RIGHT TELLING THEIR CONGREGATIONS HOW TO VOTE BECAUSE THEY GET TAX FREE STATUS FOR THAT VERY REASON!! Churches ARE NOT supposed to be trying to influence POLITICS!!! if they do, THEY SHOULD BE PAYING TAXES!!!

          8. Kurt CPI January 15, 2014

            Using the alter as a bully pulpit is ethically questionable. But it absolutely IS anyone’s right to say anything they want as long as it doesn’t meet the test of hate speech or incite illegal activity. Just because you don’t like it doesn’t make it illegal.

          9. Kurt CPI January 15, 2014

            A Church must fill out specific forms to qualify for tax-exempt status. I’m sure there’s plenty of fraud in this. But once recognized, that does not remove any other rights. If you can show me where receiving tax-exempt status requires waiving one of the items in the first amendment I’ll change my tune. Otherwise you’re just blowing smoke.

          10. Kurt CPI January 15, 2014

            So, here’s the bottom line on that. Churches can’t endorse any particular candidate for political office. But they may address the morality of political issues.

            See: http://aclj.org/churches-organizations-/political-speech-non-profit-tax-issues

            Since this is not an issue involving a candidate for political office, your argument has no validity.

          11. Independent1 January 15, 2014

            Here’s the code directly from the IRS:

            Churches and religious organizations, like many other charitable organizations, qualify for exemption from federal income tax under IRC section 501(c)(3) and are generally eligible to receive tax-deductible contributions.

            To qualify for tax-exempt status, such an organization must meet the following requirements
            (covered in greater detail throughout this publication):

            ■ the organization must be organized and operated
            exclusively for religious, educational, scientific, or other charitable purposes,

            ■ exclusively for religious, educational, scientific, or other charitable purposes,

            ■ net earnings may not inure to the benefit of any
            private individual or shareholder,

            ■ private individual or shareholder,

            ■ no substantial part of its activity may be attempting
            to influence legislation,

            the organization may not intervene in political
            campaigns, and

            the organization’s purposes and activities may not
            be illegal or violate fundamental public policy.

          12. Kurt CPI January 16, 2014

            Once again….
            The legislation is already there. They are not trying to influence it’s passage or failure. This is beyond the reach of voters. They are challenging the Constitutionality.I truly think that if they had no right to do that, it wouldn’t be permitted. Anyway, I’ll concede that the tax code limits (but does not totally exclude) their ability to participate in politics. But if they were found to have violated tax code their penalty would be a fine or loss of tax exempt status. It wouldn’t remove their other rights. Basically, you’re saying that if a law is potentially unconstitutional, but the challenger is found guilty of an unrelated infraction, that the challenge is invalid?

          13. Independent1 January 16, 2014

            I don’t know where your last question came from; I’m not aware that anyone is questioning the constitutionality of a law that says you’re not supposed to be trying to influence political campaigns if you expect to get away with not paying taxes. Is there a group doing that? That’s all I’m referring to.
            And it’s been proven that quite a number, in fact most, of the Tea Party groups that were awarded tax free status based on the fact that they wouldn’t support political efforts were actually caught in fact doing just that – donating to political candidates. But yet, they were never fined and asked to pay taxes. Similarly, I’m certain that the IRS is aware that many churches violate the code by having their preachers bring up political issues and give their opinion on them in order to influence their flock, but it’s become such a widespread practice that the IRS has most likely thrown up its hands and is looking the other way as it probably doesn’t have the resources to bring a large portion of churches in America to court for tax code violations.
            That doesn’t take away from the fact that preachers, ministers and other religious leaders should not be
            addressing political issues in their sermons in an effort to influence how their congregations vote; if in fact they expect to not have to pay taxes. And if you don’t think a preacher just saying in his sermon: I understand the government is trying to do this and such and if you want my opinion, I don’t think it’s a good thing – doesn’t carry a lot of weight with their congregation and therefore is tatamount to infuencing legislation, then you are not much of realist.

          14. Kurt CPI January 16, 2014

            I already conceded that you are right on the tax thing. No matter what tea party organization skirted this requirement, no matter that preachers regularly get away with the same thing, it still doesn’t have anything to do with this issue.

          15. 4sanity4all January 18, 2014

            There it is- “no substantial part of its activity may be attempting to influence legislation”. If our government took this seriously, and rebuffed all attempts by religious organizations to change the laws of our country, and states, on contraception and abortion, then we would not have to address these issues again, and again, ad nauseum.

          16. Independent1 January 15, 2014

            You may be able to read the Constitution but you don’t have a clue about interpreting it correctly.

          17. Kurt CPI January 15, 2014

            Once again, that is just a string of words unless you can provide some substantive backing for your assertion. It’s akin to me saying to you, “You can see the sky but you don’t have a clue about discerning its color”.

      2. Faraday_Cat January 15, 2014

        Still not seeing it…they are still guaranteed the ability to refuse using contraception themselves, still guaranteed the ability to believe it is wrong, still guaranteed the ability to preach to those who do not share thier view in an attempt to convert them…it still doesn’t infringe on any rights…

        1. Kurt CPI January 15, 2014

          The problem in my view, is that religious freedom is a specifically declared right. Contraception coverage is a law required of insurance coverage. They seem to be in opposition to each other at least in part. The Constitution is the acid test for any law. If a law violates any rights or provisions of the constitution, it is unconstitutional and therefore void. The law must pass that test, regardless of any other consideration. I believe that is what I was meant when I wrote that…

          1. Faraday_Cat January 17, 2014

            Correct, religious freedom is guaranteed, and requiring companies to offer the OPTION of CHOOSING to use contraceptives or not, based on your personal beliefs, does not infringe on your right to refuse using them. Not offering the option, on the other hand, would infringe on my right to choose to use it, should that be in line with my beliefs.

  3. 4sanity4all January 13, 2014

    This entire issue is ridiculous. If my insurance would pay for a hernia repair, and I never have a hernia, it makes absolutely no difference to me that it COULD provide a hernia repair. Because I may never need one. If it provides a prostate exam, fine, I will NEVER need one of those. But I do not object to that being on the list of provided services. Insurance is to provide what you DO need, out of a huge list of possible treatments. If I do not want birth control, I do not have to request it. If the Catholic Church was good at convincing us to follow their dictates, no Catholic woman ever would request it. However, more than 85% of Catholic women have used birth control, some surveys put it even higher. Therefore, I think that this Catholic war against birth control is just a desperate attempt to control the sexual behavior of Catholic women. We do not think that their denial of birth control is reasonable, and we have been purchasing our own for years, even those of us that worked for Catholic institutions whose medical insurance denied it to us as part of our coverage. My fundamental objection to their objection, however, is that poor women do not have the means to purchase it. They are the ones who need it most. It is cruel to deny them access, while pompously spouting platitudes. When will people who present themselves as Christians begin to act like Christ? Our state should never base it’s laws on religious principles. Our country was founded on religious freedom, which also means freedom FROM religious dictates. Catholics are supposed to become well informed, then form their conscience. Why do our religious leaders ignore that, and try to treat us like ignorant children?

    1. daniel bostdorf January 13, 2014

      The whole basis for over 1700 years of the Catholic cult of personality: Women are NOT equal to anyone. They are to be controlled. Marriage created to control inherited property…it goes on an on…

      1. Kurt CPI January 14, 2014

        Not saying I agree with the Spanish inquisition or Catholic stance on birth control, just pointing out that they do have a very strong case.

        1. ThomasBonsell January 14, 2014

          And just what makes the Catholic case so strong?

          It doesn’t seem to hold water on constitutional issues nor on religious issues.

          This is a commerce issue, not a religious issue, and the Constitution is plainly clear that Congress has the power to regulate commerce, both interstate and internationsl. Congress also has the power to tax and spend to promote the general welfare, and Chief Justice Roberts made this issue a taxing issue. I am getting sick and tired of some religious people claim that their religion allows them to ignore the laws that everyone else must obey. Jesus Christ said they were totally wrong on this issue, and his philosophy and teachings are supposed to be the basis of the Catholic doctrine.

          In the Garden of Gethsemane he told Peter to put away his sword and submit to civil authorities. He also told all his followers to “render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s and unto God what is God’s.” Commerce belongs to Caesar.

          Then we have the matter of what Jesus taught. He never said a word about family planning, abortion, contraceptives or any other matter relating to this. He never said his followers could use their religion to avoid the civil laws; he said just the opposite.

          So these people who object to Caesar enforcing Caesar’s laws are trying to follow dictates that didn’t come from Christ and are, therefore, not part of Christian doctrine. They are man-made theology.

          1. Kurt CPI January 14, 2014

            Your supposition is precisely why the Bill of Rights was added so shortly after ratification. It was out of a need to make clear at least a basic set of unequivocal rights that were off limits to political ambition, religious freedom being in the top slot. It absolutely does hold water Constitutionally or the Supreme Court would never have considered any intervention. I’m not arguing for or against contraception although I’ve stated that personally I’m a firm advocate. I don’t attempt to apologize for church members that do not follow their religion’s precepts, or for the Church that openly permits them to do so even though it is forbidden. I’m simply acknowledging, along with at least one Supreme Court justice, that it is a Constitutional issue.

          2. Allan Richardson January 14, 2014

            What about the religious liberty of employees of these or other corporations, who want to practice THEIR right to have the coverage available? The First Amendment guarantees PERSONS (not corporations or churches) the right to practice their OWN religious beliefs, but the courts have ruled repeatedly that this does NOT exempt them from obeying secular laws that serve a reasonable secular purpose, provided those laws are not INTENDED to thwart religious freedom, and they make the minimum possible impact on that freedom. And one person’s, or corporation’s, right to religious freedom does NOT include the right to infringe on the freedom of OTHERS. Thus, the Catholic Church, for example, CAN preach to its members that they OUGHT TO submit to Church teachings, and CAN cease to recognize the membership of those who refuse (excommunication), but they CANNOT use torture to accomplish that obedience, nor IMPRISON members who have broken no secular law, nor impose the ultimate penalty, as was done during the Inquisition.

            Furthermore, making medical care, including preventive exams and medications, which in the case of women may include contraceptive drugs (sometimes prescribed for purposes OTHER than contraception, even when the patient’s intention to be celibate makes the contraceptive effect moot), available to people regardless of income level, serves the public purpose of promoting public health. And all available scientific evidence tells us, contrary to what a church that denies science might teach, that making it possible for women to VOLUNTARILY limit unplanned and financially burdensome pregnancies, regardless of income level, serves the public purpose of reducing poverty, illiteracy, preventable disease in the women and the children they do have, AND helps to prevent the planetary problem of overpopulation from getting even WORSE than it is already.

            When a public purpose such as this is served, a law that minimally restricts religious freedom, such as requiring Amish buggies driven on public roads to display “garish” symbols on their rear ends to improve visibility by overtaking cars and prevent accidents, or requiring Muslim (and other face-covering faiths) women to have ID pictures taken without their face covering, and to allow officers to look under that covering briefly when necessary to identify them, OR DENYING ANTI-CONTRACEPTIVE LEADERS of a business the power to DENY OTHERS contraceptive access (AS OPPOSED TO refraining from using it for themselves), should be considered Constitutional.

            And given contraceptives (and abortions as well) as the entering “wedge” to allow employers to restrict the medical choices of their employees (considering that the theoretical right to buy their own insurance or pay for their own medical services out of pocket is beyond the means of all but the extremely wealthy), how long before a JEHOVAH’S WITNESS owned business wants to STOP BLOOD TRANSFUSIONS? Or a SCIENTOLOGIST boss wants to deny psychatric care to mentally ill or depressed employees? Or a SNAKE HANDLING charismatic wants to deny ALL MEDICAL COVERAGE on the grounds that HE believes only in faith healing?

            Allowing persons who are, or consider themselves, authorities WITHIN their faith communities, to impose SECULAR force or coercion (INCLUDING economic coercion via an employment relationship), is de facto, if not de jure, an ESTABLISHMENT OF RELIGION.

          3. Kurt CPI January 15, 2014

            I wouldn’t disagree with a word of what you’ve said. You’d make a good member of the respondent’s legal team 🙂 I do think there’s a difference between a for-profit business that happens to be owned by a Catholic (I don’t think that has any merit at all) and a Catholic charity. I wouldn’t want to guess whether or not that represents enough difference to warrant a specific exemption.
            Establishment of religion is one part. Mormons and Jehovah’s Witnesses are examples of religions that were established after the Constitution was adopted. The other part is “Free exercise of religion”, and this is where I see the ambiguity. No question that the first 10 amendments are Individual rights, not corporate. This is another of the really good arguments put forth – maybe the best I’ve heard because it now shifts the focus from one declared right superseding another, and makes the case that individual rights are indeed “unalienable”. This is a very thoughtful and well-supported post.

          4. ThomasBonsell January 14, 2014

            Of course this is a constitutional issue. And it falls under the constitutional power to regulate commerce. not the establishment of religion or free exercise of religion clauses.

            I know why the Bill of Rights was added, and it wasn’t for the reasons you claim.

            In the Constitution Convention, conservative, Alexander Hamilton led the effort to exclude a Bill of rights. He argued that if we wrote a few rights into the Constitution, there would come a time when Americans believe that the only rights that exist are those written down. He was correct, because that is exactly a conservative argument today. Read the Ninth Amendment, it was included to followup on Hamilton’s position.

            The Bill of Rights was included because many delegates said they would not support the new Constitution for ratification in their states unless a Bill of Rights was added. The rest of the delegates promised that a Bill of Rights would be added in order to get their support. If you would study history, you will find out that only 39 delegates of the 55 present signed the document; one reason for a few was lack of a Bill of Rights.

            In the First Congress, James Madison was named to head a committee to propose a Bill of Rights. That is why it was added. They honored their promises.

          5. Kurt CPI January 15, 2014

            You’re entirely correct, but the reason they fought for the Bill of Rights was because they saw ambiguity in regard to individual liberties. The 9th amendment clearly states that the “list” of rights is not all inclusive and in fact does not limit other rights in any way. But it positively states that the listed rights are rights without question. The reason for the Bill of Rights is not the same thing as the logistics of getting it passed. Those amendments still required acceptance.

          6. ThomasBonsell January 15, 2014

            Moat of them didn’t see any ambiguity in regard to individual liberties.They assumed that anyone who could read and understand what they were reading would understand that if government had not been given a power to legislate in certain areas it was not allowed to act in those areas.

            It appears they were wrong, because we have a Republican Party today that tries to legislate in many areas in which there is no power. Such as: the reproductive process; our love lives and marriages; our patriotism or lack of such; what we can inhale, ingest or insert into our own bodies; our thoughts (anti-communism laws), and our free movement. And we have a Democratic Party that sits back and lets the GOP evil deeds remain law.

          7. Kurt CPI January 15, 2014

            I think the responsibililty to change those things falls on the voters. As long as enough voters agree with the Republican position to keep them in office, and as long as Republicans elicit those votes because those voters want to be represented in that manner, that will be the result. Headway is being made – marijuana is legal in some states, as is gay marriage. Nowhere is contraception illegal to prescribe. I think at least one more generation will pass before the freedoms of which you speak are universally accepted as rights. And there are at least some worthy arguments against some of them (pot smoke is bad for lungs).

          8. ThomasBonsell January 15, 2014

            Don’t know anything about pot smoking, because I have never tried it.

            But I do understand that those who do smoke pot do so less frequently than do those who smoke cigarettes, so pot smoking is therefore a lot less harmful to the lungs.

            Even if it were harmful, that doesn’ give government the power to outlaw it, just as it has never outlawed cigarette smoking. Governments always used a constitutional power on that issue, such as regulating commerce, taxing, protecting innocent bystanders but usually in the commerce context or use of public property. The same can be done for pot.

            Government can also use its powers in Article I, Section 8, paragraph 1, to spend tax money to educate the population on the problems with pot smoking. It did that with cigarette smoking. Prohibiting individual actions is entirely different.

            By the way; contraception was once illegal in Connecticut, but was smitten by the Supreme Court. The justification for the SCOTUS decision was an invasion of privacy, but it could also have been a prohibition on the Catholic Church to use the state government to promote its doctrine on everyone. That should be a lesson; churches will use government to impose their beliefs on others but whine when law doesn’t allow them to evade laws everyone else must obey and basing their argument on their religion, even though the issue is commerce, not religion.

          9. Kurt CPI January 16, 2014

            This is excellent logic, and I agree on almost every count. On one issue my views are not as libertarian as yours. The government, or at least some laws, historically have been about outlawing things that were deemed dangerous. The tobacco lobby that pays for the PACs and lobbyists have insured that tobacco remains legal in spite of the cost to society. In my view, if the government can spend your money to pay the hundreds of thousands of dollars per person for surgery, chemo and long-term care caused by a product’s use, they ought to be able to either outlaw it, or to refuse to pay the bills.

            Churches do attempt to use government to impose their beliefs on others. Dogma and indoctrination are still the primary tools of persuasion. You can’t produce a logical argument to “faith”.

          10. ThomasBonsell January 16, 2014

            Getting off the subject a tad. I never considered myself to be a libertarian, but I have long recognized that libertarianism is more closely related to liberalism than it is to consevatism. And one organization that continually represents people harmed by government action, which is fighting for limited government, is the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the conservatives hate that group. Getting a little further off topic: If we analyze his philosophy closely we find that Karl Marx was a libertarian.

            Liberals have been gentle in using government action, always working through a constitutional power rather than just outlawing what they don’t like. They didn’t outlaw child labor, even though that could be done because it was evil, liberals used the power to tax to do the job just as they used evasion of taxes to nail Al Capone. Other methods might entail a bill of attainder.

            I agree that the tobacco lobby and many other lobbying groups do great harm to the nation, but outlawing the practice would be problematic. After all the Constitution protects our right to petition government for a redress of grievances, and that is not really what lobbying always does. The authors of the First Amendment probably didn’t have lobbying in mind when they created it, I think they intended that we had the right to sue government when it improperly steps on our toes.

    2. Kurt CPI January 14, 2014

      You still don’t get it. Catholic postulates don’t object to hernia repairs or prostate exams on religious grounds. And they have the Constitution on their side: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; …”. If the free exercise of a religion includes the prohibition of birth control, it seems that any legislation that explicitly forces any kind of participation – even passive – would be unconstitutional. Justice Sotomayor, an Obama nominee, recognizes that this clearly constitutes a test. Testing the Constitutionality of a law is never ridiculous.

      1. Independent1 January 14, 2014

        If the Catholic church wants to insist on enforcing its religious beliefs on everyone who works for them, then they should not be hiring employees that are not Catholic. No church has the right to impose it’s belief on others. And in fact, God never gave the Catholic church or any other church the right to be his vigilante and to enforce their beliefs outside of those that belong to their religion. The Catholics and many other religions are grossly overstepping their religious bounds by getting into politics in the first place. Churches HAVE NO RIGHT to be suggestingto their congregation whom they should voting for. Neither Jesus, nor God nor any of the apostles gave any instructions for anything other than preaching the Gospel. When Jesus sent the apostles out to preach, he told them to preach the Gospel and if those they preached to didn’t believe what they were preaching, to simply dust themselves off and leave those who wouldn’t believe because it would then be worse for them than if they had neve been born.

        And when Jesus finished relating to the apostles the parable of the weeds among the wheat (or tares), when the apostles understood that he was talking about bad people being sown among the good, they wanted to run out and round up all the bad people and bring them to justice; but Jesus said NO!! Beause in acting like vigilantes they would well root out the good with the bad, and that God would take care of those that were bad when he (Jesus) returned. What is it the Catholic Church and many other churches don’t understand about NO!! It is not their business to be legislating morality for anyone outside of their own religions!!!!!

        1. Kurt CPI January 15, 2014

          “Churches HAVE NO RIGHT to be suggestingto their congregation whom they should voting for”.
          Actually they do. This is in fact the same amendment that allows them the freedom to exist.
          I’m not about to argue religion. This is not a religious question. If it weren’t for the first amendment there would be no issue.

          1. Independent1 January 15, 2014

            Churches are tax exempt and should not be trying to influence politics which is one of the main reasons they get tax exempt status.

          2. Kurt CPI January 15, 2014

            You are entitled to your opinion that they SHOULD not be. But your opinion does not remove their Constitutional right to do so. Freedom of speech does not end with tax-exempt status.

  4. Lynda Groom January 14, 2014

    Women need to pay attention to what is taking place. Getting out the vote of younger women is very important in stopping this obvious upon women. Don’t stand by and watch the troglodytes take away choices in your lives.

    1. Kurt CPI January 14, 2014

      it’s not a popular vote thing. It’s not a republican thing. It’s a Constitutional thing. If we as a people want to start doing away with other people’s bill of rights protections because we disagree with them, let’s be sure we’re equally willing to give up those that we support when the tables are turned. No, I’m not a republican. Yes, I support birth control as a part of health insurance.

      1. Independent1 January 15, 2014

        You better take a class on the Consitution. Because you’re way out in left field.

        1. Kurt CPI January 15, 2014

          Saying it doesn’t make it so. You’ll need a little more reinforcement for such a statement to be taken seriously. I offer as evidence of this being a Constitutional issue the fact that a Supreme Court justice (sanctioned defender of the Constitution) is involved. Your evidence to the contrary?

  5. jmprint January 14, 2014

    I really don’t understand the religious take on all these. Women have been having their tubes tide and men have had vasectomies for how long now? Years and years and the insurance companies have all ways covered these.
    And all of a sudden the birth control pill is evil. Those that judge need to take a hard look in the mirror.

    1. daniel bostdorf January 14, 2014


    2. Kurt CPI January 14, 2014

      I’d be willing to bet that religious-objector employers have insurance policies that exclude these procedures.

      1. Independent1 January 15, 2014

        Why would they need to do that? Just because the insurance policy may allow a procedure they don’t believe in doesn’t mean they would have to take advantage of that benefit. Or are you suggesting that they may be afraid that they are really not as good of Christians or whatever religion as they should be, so they don’t want to be tempted??

        What you’re basically suggesting is that Catholics should only enter buildins of companies that believe like they do. Of course that would suggest every company should publish what religion the owners are so if they’re not Catholic and therefore provide contraceptives to their employees, Catholics could decide – Hey I don’t want to patronize that business. That’s about the point that the Catholic Chuch is taking things these days.

        1. Kurt CPI January 15, 2014

          I make no such suggestions. Perhaps I phrased my post in an ambiguous fashion. Let me clarify: I’d be willing to bet that this Catholic-sponsored charity prior to ACA had exclusions for birth control if they even offered health coverage. Whether that’s true or not, it’s clear that they HAVE indeed taken advantage of the existing exclusion provided by ACA.

          Concerning your second paragraph, I have no idea where that came from. I have not and will not argue any religious point. I limit my posts to Constitutional protections.

  6. Dominick Vila January 14, 2014

    The greatest irony is that access to contraceptives if being opposed by the same organizations that oppose abortion, forgetting that using contraceptives would reduce the incidence of abortion. Never mind the fact that blocking access to contraceptives represents government intrusion into our private lives, and the fact that those who oppose its use because of religious reasons are not forced to use them. The latter are imposing their views and values on mainstream Americans, and most Americans are not even aware of it.

  7. latebloomingrandma January 14, 2014

    I have read all the “literature” (propaganda) put out in our church bulletins by the Conference of Catholic Bishops, and I still don’t get it. Health insurance is provided to an employee as a benefit for labor provided to the company, as your paycheck is. You use it as needed. What is the difference if the person used their paycheck for all sorts of “sinful” activities?
    What’s next? Signing something as to how you will spend your money before you get employed? I think this decision really could bring the slippery slope to bear. Can religious bosses start denying HIV treatment to homosexuals in their health plans? Can I now start demanding from my car insurer that I don’t want any of my premium money to pay for an accident by a drunk driver? And on and on. What is the basic definition of “insurance?” Or taxes, for that matter. We all pay into something for things we object to, or never use.

    1. Kurt CPI January 14, 2014

      The difference is the mandate. No employer has ever had anything to do with how you spend your money. This mandate specifically says that a portion of their money is for something they have a religious objection to. The difference in whether they are financing contraception directly, or whether you finance it personally with money earned through being employed by the church may be purely semantic. But in their view, the responsibility for choosing a “sinful” course was yours, not theirs. They have absolution.
      Your second point – that we all pay for things we object to or never use is a good one, but I think still qualifies for the religious technicality of where responsibility falls. When we pay taxes we don’t have any control over how the money is spent. Certainly some of it is spent on things that we object to for whatever reason (for example, I definitely object to my tax money being handed out as grants for stupid, meaningless studies). But from a religious perspective, there’s no mandate that a portion of those taxes are specifically to pay for birth control.
      Even though we may think it’s a bad idea or unfair for an organization to skate on coverage that an equivalent non-religious organization would be required to provide, it comes down to the Constitution. Anything that violates a specific Constitutional right is likely to be declared unconstitutional, and note that the enforcement stay was granted by a liberal judge.

      1. jmprint January 14, 2014

        I dare anyone to go into a church sermon and ask how many women are on some kind of birth control. How many women do you think will raise their hand? And do you think that the church will refuse their donations, because they are practicing safe sex. Insurance is insurance an umbrella that covers all.

      2. latebloomingrandma January 14, 2014

        I have enjoyed reading your thoughtful and reasoned replies to everyone. Perhaps you are right and it will come down to a Constitutional test at the SCOTUS.
        I have 2 other thoughts. I can see this restriction for religious organizations that are strictly religious, such as churches. But when a religious organization enters commerce, it has at least entered a secular realm, and must follow the laws of the state and country. People entering a hospital don’t have to be of that particular faith, and can decline pastoral visits. No one is preaching dogma to them. Employees don’t have to espouse to the same faith. So why should the issue of reproductive health care being provided in all health care plans be an issue? It may have everything to do with a medical issue other than birth control. What if a nun needed to be on oral contraceptives strictly for a medical problem such as excessive bleeding from fibroids? There’s something distasteful about having to divulge to your employer that you need medication for a “problem” and not because you are having intercourse. Is it really their business? There is a 4th amendment right to privacy. It seems wrong to single out a certain bodily organ, which can cause all kinds of problems (this organ even has its own specialist, for Pete’s sake) and functions in one-half of the human race whether you use it for pro-creation or not. Men talk about the “pesky prostate”. Ha! They don’t know pesky.

        1. Kurt CPI January 15, 2014

          I suspect your arguments make exactly the points that the respondent will. This is a very strong argument for denying the exclusion. I’m not sure if the Sisters business is considered commerce or if they employ non-Catholic staff. I do believe our local Catholic school only accepts member students (but I could be wrong). It is clear that they do qualify as an employer, and that may be the only applicable test. But you’re right, it will be interesting. If the supreme court takes it up I think it will boil down to whether freedom of religion extends to limit other rights. I’m not sure the 4th amendment is applicable, there’s no transfer of information concerning medical treatments between the insurance company and the employer. Your argument that some contraceptives have therapeutic value for conditions not related to birth control is excellent. I’m glad I’m not the one making the decision.

  8. Canistercook January 14, 2014

    Is a birth control pill ‘health care’ or permission to have sex without consequence? I wonder!
    What happened to the inexpensive diaphram?

    1. daniel bostdorf January 14, 2014

      The birth control pill is health care.

      That is all.

      Diaphram has nothing to do with the ACA contraception issue, nor does sex without consequence. Give it a rest.

      1. Canistercook January 14, 2014

        Guess I need to eat to stay healthy but the ACA does not pay for my food! In fact it does not pay for the water I drink and I would die without it!

        1. jmprint January 14, 2014

          You are totally off base. Kind of like Cruz does it.

          1. daniel bostdorf January 14, 2014

            jmprint…ignore this troll (and others who post) and vote him down and flag as off topic and send request for review of Canistercook posts at NM: editors@nationalmemo.com

            They will read your email…

          2. daniel bostdorf January 14, 2014

            ps…click on Canistercook user name and review the posts here at NM….that is what you refer to to the editors….constant off topic, self serving comments that do nothing to push doalogue forward….only meant to disrupt…

        2. Guest January 14, 2014

          A social media troll as someone who seeks to lure or bait people into negative, disruptive rhetoric for their own edification or to commandeer an otherwise free-flowing discussion among colleagues. They don’t recognize anyone that may be interested in discussing something that bores them and opt to criticize or yell “boring” instead of engaging in the discussion. They choose to belittle those who seek the information and discourse as well as those who try to provide it. They simply have no interest in anything that is not self-serving. Trolls will defend their focus on expressing contrary opinions as an honorable attempt to rid the online community of fake-experts, get to the truth of a matter or enlighten their followers; however, their intent has nothing to do with community building or public enlightenment.

        3. Sand_Cat January 14, 2014

          No, other programs you oppose would do so if you needed it.

        4. daniel bostdorf January 14, 2014

          I just need to remind Canistercook about what a troll is….A social media troll as someone who seeks to lure or bait people into negative, disruptive rhetoric for their own edification or to commandeer an otherwise free-flowing discussion among colleagues. …

          They don’t recognize anyone that may be interested in discussing something that bores them and opt to criticize or yell “boring” instead of engaging in the discussion. They choose to belittle those who seek the information and discourse as well as those who try to provide it. …

          They simply have no interest in anything that is not self-serving. …

          Trolls will defend their focus on expressing contrary opinions as an honorable attempt to rid the online community of fake-experts, get to the truth of a matter or enlighten their followers; however, their intent has nothing to do with community building or public enlightenment….

          1. Canistercook January 14, 2014

            I guess this ‘troll’ roped you in!

          2. Canistercook January 14, 2014

            When all else fails try some name calling – suggest ‘idot, stuoid’ etc.

        5. JSquercia January 14, 2014

          Did you read as I did that the season the Little Sisters of the Poor sued was because the objected to filling out the form to gain the exemption . This is ludicrous

    2. jmprint January 14, 2014

      Have you ever had a diaphram inserted into you?

    3. Sand_Cat January 14, 2014

      And of course, you wouldn’t want people to escape the “consequence” (i.e., punishment) they deserve for having sex without your permission in a manner you know is wrong
      The “inexpensive diaphragm” is also likely to be the ineffective diaphragm. But then, that works out for you: people have a better chance of the punishment they deserve.

      1. daniel bostdorf January 14, 2014

        ignore this troll (and others who post off topic nonsense) see comment above

      2. Canistercook January 14, 2014

        No, if they are rich enough I would want them to purchase their own birth control, not expect the Sisters of Mercy to pay for it.
        I favor helping those in need not the ‘entitled’.

      3. Canistercook January 14, 2014

        No I think we should supply birth control to the poor and the rich should not receive it paid by a group of Nuns. It;s the 15 year old single mothers we should be worried about.

    4. daniel bostdorf January 14, 2014

      To all: ignore this troll (and others who post off topic nonsense) and vote him down and flag as off topic and send request for review of Canistercook posts at NM:

      email editors here:

      1. Canistercook January 14, 2014

        Guess you are another that does not believe in the Constitution. Heil Hitler!

      2. daniel bostdorf January 14, 2014

        People have no “right” to post at private websites nor do they have a “right” to post audio/video/photos at private websites. Especially if those posts have appeared years ago and are simply cut and pasted into dozens of websites year after year—as was the case with all of those recently banned here….

        Nor is ther a “right” to constantly post off topic rants and personal attacks.

        People have no “right” to badger or bully anyone with any post. This leads to being banned…as was just done by NM editors with “taxpayer.” And I am sure others soon to be…

        Posting here at National memo is a PRIVILEGE …especially when it can be anonymous without verification of who really is behind the post….

  9. howa4x January 14, 2014

    This is why a republican can’t be president. The current court tilt to the right was courtesy of GWB. Republicans have a religious anti pre marital sex agenda. Although they say they don’t attacking the ability of women to get contraception is attacking their ability to have recreational sex. This is not being done on constitutional grounds since there is nothing in the document about it. This is another case of the conservative movement deciding what is freedom for who and who not. This will be a religious decision only, and a violation of the separation of church and state. If you turn it inside out for a minute, what if the issue was that a company says that because of what they believe religiously, no employee can own a gun. It is the same case since there is no constitutional prohibition banning contraception and every woman has a right of access to buy it and use it. The right always wants freedom for what they believe but fascism for what they don’t.

    1. Kurt CPI January 14, 2014

      First let me say that I support a woman’s right to decide how she manages her reproductive health – lest there be no misunderstanding of where I’m coming from. But (and you knew there was a but), religious freedoms are guaranteed by the Constitution, and historically the Supreme Court has been very cautious in navigating those waters. Mandating healthcare is not a Constitutional right. It was found to be a law that is not in violation of the Constitution in the single area of individual mandate, but that’s a world away from being a Constitutional right. This is not to say that I disagree with the intent of the ACA, but the Constitution is the test for legislation, not the other way around – as it should be.
      The Constitution provides for updates in the form of amendments. But until the Constitution is amended to limit or more explicitly define which religious rights are protected, the Court will make its decision based on the current version.
      Your gun analogy is off-point. A correct analogy would be if the government mandated that everyone own a gun with company sponsorship, that a company that objected to providing guns on a religious basis requested exemption. This is just one dilemma when legislation steps onto Constitutionally questionable ground. The Constitutionality test is the proper course to take for any legislation, not just this ACA coverage mandate, and is crucial in maintaining the system of checks and balances that keeps a free people free.

      1. daniel bostdorf January 14, 2014

        There are legal arguments placed before the court in other cases for past hundreds of years on various other laws enacted that are not part of the Consitution.

        The Constitution is perfectly willing to allow people a “right to health care,” via the Ninth Amendment.

        The Ninth Amendment states that “the enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.”

        If you claim a “right to health care,” there’s nothing in the Constitution that prevents it.

        The Ninth Amendment of the United States Constitution protects all of the rights of the people that are not mentioned specifically elsewhere in the Constitution. It was a part of the original Bill of Rights drafted in 1787 and ratified in 1791. The rights protected are referred to as “unenumerated” rights, and include those inferred by other legal rights, as well as natural, fundamental, and background ones. It combines with the Tenth Amendment to protect the rights and situations not provided for in the previous eight amendments.

        Because every right of the people of the United States could not possibly be mentioned in the Constitution.

        The Ninth Amendment was added to supplement those already mentioned. The amendment protects many rights implied in a universal civil code.

        The first eight amendments of the Constitution provide for the means for Congress to address the rights listed. The Ninth, however, addresses the rights that have not been put into the hands of the government

        The 9ith amendment allows for the ACA sic Obamacare and dozens of other Government laws that support the concept of “Constitutional Implied Rights” that the founding writers of the Constitution could not foresee.

        The Constitution is a living breathing document that allows for expansion of individual RIGHTS over the course of history.

        1. Kurt CPI January 14, 2014

          No argument on any of that. But enumerated or not, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;”, is SPECIFICALLY listed. Specifics always trump implications. Expansion of rights is one thing, denial of specific rights quite another. I’m not alone here, a gal by the name of Sotomayer also thinks this is a Constitutional question.

          1. daniel bostdorf January 14, 2014

            I agree with a Constitutional review…..I am saying the 9th and 10th amendment allow for the ACA to begin with and its provisions.

            The challenge before the court are worth exploring, but I believe the court will fall on the side of ACA and its provisions that are being challenged as being Constitutional as well.

            By the way, The woman” of the Supreme Court, Justice Sotomayer, is far from being a pejorative “gal.” 🙂 …..nicely meant reply towards you….and that good ole citizens united “guy” Roberts ain’t too shabby either 🙂

          2. Kurt CPI January 14, 2014

            Not meant to be pejorative, no disrespect intended.

          3. daniel bostdorf January 14, 2014

            I know—I thought it was cool 🙂 human….just teasing…need humor here sometimes…

          4. Allan Richardson January 14, 2014

            Would a revived Aztec Church of Quetzalcoatl be protected by the First Amendment in practicing human sacrifice?

            Are Native Americans whose rituals involve eating sacred mushrooms, protected in their use of what the law otherwise calls illegal drugs? Or Rastafarians with ganja (marijuana) as a sacrament (the latter may benefit from current changes in public opinion)?

            If a Catholic who owns or runs a business does not believe in using birth control, he or she has a right NOT to use it. But religion is personal, and so his or her employees who are NOT Catholic have the same right to practice THEIR beliefs which ALLOW it.

          5. Kurt CPI January 15, 2014

            I doubt your first point has been tested, but I’m pretty sure of that outcome.

            On you second point, the answer is yes. In fact, Native Americans who’s religious practices include the use of peyote (mescaline), an illegal hallucinogenic, are permitted to use it as a part of religious ceremony.

            I believe a for-profit business that happens to be owned by a Catholic is different than a Catholic charity, a church-sponsored entity. Whether or not that justifies exemption is the problem.

      2. howa4x January 15, 2014

        There are a number of employer mandates aside form this one. The technicality is that the mandate applies to the insurance company . They must offer it in their plans. On the other side of the coin and you know there is always another side, do they cover men’s’ ED drugs? If they do then there should be no reason they can’t cover a woman’s contraceptives.

        1. Kurt CPI January 15, 2014

          On the other hand, the objection is to contraception, by contrast ED remedies would probably be more pro- than contra- conception.

          1. howa4x January 15, 2014

            I don’t understand why giving an erection to an older guy isn’t the same as contraception coverage. An older guy wants it to have sex and a woman wants contraception to have sex

          2. Kurt CPI January 16, 2014

            So you’re saying it’s just about sex? 🙂 I think the key word is contraception, not sex. I have no idea what part they cover. Anyway, the provision for their fiscal exclusion is already in place. This challenge is purely on a perceived moral issue. As it now stands, according to this article and other sources, they are exempt from paying for contraceptive coverage. This is about whether or not they have to include a third-party rider where their employees may obtain contraceptive coverage. So it’s not about sex, and its not about money. It is an honest conscientious objection – to contraception, not sex.

          3. howa4x January 16, 2014

            What would you want contraception for if you are not going to have sex? . A contraceptive pill has no moral or immoral value by itself, since it is just a pill, like aspirin. So then comes the question about what is the pill going to be used for, which in this case is to prevent pregnancy stemming from a sexual act. That is where the moral equivalence comes into play. So this issue is directly about the right of women to engage in sexual acts for pleasure and not for childbearing. It is also about imposing your own religious beliefs upon those who don’t follow it. Morality is in the mind of the person. Some people find out of wedlock sex immoral and others find murder immoral. The second issue is if the company’s insurance policy covers ED medication like Viagra. If it does then we have a discriminatory policy sanctioning a mans right to have sex, since why else would you take a Viagra, but not a woman’s right to engage in it and protect herself. Morality is a slippery slope.

          4. Kurt CPI January 16, 2014

            First of all, let me reiterate that I’m not taking sides, just presenting some perspective (in politically tilted forums discussions are often just pages of people all expressing the same point of view – you can’t have a debate on the best dog food if everybody likes Purina). But.. You made my point – “So this issue is directly about the right of women to engage in sexual acts for pleasure and not for childbearing.” That is called contraception. No one argues that it’s fair or that it isn’t discriminatory – it is on both counts. But if your going to equate viagra to birth control pills on the basis of contraception, you’d need to demonstrate that viagra is a contraceptive. It may well be that sexual liberty trumps the religious objection to contraception, but that would be for someone with a lot more experience than me to decide.

          5. howa4x January 16, 2014

            I think I wasn’t clear on this point. Viagra allows a man to have intercourse, and is used if he has a medical problem. The goal for taking it is pleasurable sex(hopefully). A woman takes contraception to safely engage in sex with out the fear of pregnancy. Both drugs are made so people can engage in sex.
            I think the debate is tilted too much toward the woman’s side and not the man’s. If religious people think it is immoral for a woman to engage in pre marital or out of wedlock sex than why don’t these same religious people make more of an example about the men who engage in the same practice? So in this vein of argument why should Viagra be available to single men who are going to use it to engage in out of wedlock sex?

          6. Kurt CPI January 16, 2014

            “…why should Viagra be available to single men who are going to use it to engage in out of wedlock sex?”

            Now there you might have a point – IF (and I don’t know) they cover ED drugs for unmarried men, since we’re safe in assuming that premarital sex is still a sin. However if the existing exemption already provides for them not covering ED drugs, and the mandate requires them to offer alternative coverage only for women’s contraceptives, that would be the only item they need to address.

          7. howa4x January 16, 2014

            I’m going to assume they cover it because mine does

          8. MJRinPA January 17, 2014

            Birth Control pills are frequently prescribed for medical needs other than contraception. It might be time for the medical community to give these drugs a better name that describes their other uses.
            If a doctor decides that a woman needs a specific drug for a medical condition, let’s say fibroid tumors, that decision should be between the woman and her doctor. It does not involve members of Congress. As a medically prescribed drug, it should be covered by health insurance, as all other drugs prescribed by your doctor.
            It’s about women’s health care, not sex, and not punishment for sex. That’s the argument that the Democrats need to make loud and clear.

          9. howa4x January 17, 2014

            Good point

    2. JSquercia January 14, 2014

      As a Catholic I find myself incensed at the idea that there is an infringement of religious liberty by having religiously affiliated organizations provide Birth Control . Why should a non catholic doctor working in a Catholic Hospital lose his religious freedom ?
      You made an EXCELLANT point about gun ownership .Ironically the same people screaming that your employer has the Right to determine what medical procedures you may receive would go Bat Shit Crazy if their employer tampered with their gun rights .

      1. Allan Richardson January 14, 2014

        This would come very close to an ESTABLISHMENT of religion, if people with secular authority over others can use that secular authority to force others to comply with THEIR religious beliefs.

        1. howa4x January 15, 2014

          very true

    3. neeceoooo January 14, 2014

      Another example would be someone with lung cancer, because they smoked their whole life, not being covered because the smoking was something that was done with full knowledge of the possible outcome.

      1. daniel bostdorf January 14, 2014

        Preexisting conditions are covered under ACA.

      2. howa4x January 15, 2014

        That is why the tobacco companies should bare all the costs of treating smoking related lung cancer. they know exactly what harm their product would cause.

      3. howa4x January 15, 2014

        this is a case of direct lying and the tobacco companies should be held responsible for all the costs of smoking related lung cancer.

    4. dpaano January 14, 2014

      If we don’t watch out, howa4x, we’ll be back where we were when we left England to come to America. The same types of religious restrictions are now being put on us (or are trying to be put on us) that we fled from to begin with! Unfortunately, I don’t want to go back to the 1700’s, and I’m sure there are many women out there that don’t want to either! We’ve come a long way, baby, and we’re not going to stop!

      1. Independent1 January 15, 2014

        That’s exactly what red states like Texas and others are doing by shutting down abortion clinics so women who have the constitutional right to an abortion can’t get one unless they travel to another state or country. Texas is in a sense turning itself into a theocracy.

        1. howa4x January 15, 2014

          Christie a phantom moderate defunded planned parenthood so it is republican governors not just red states

          1. Independent1 January 15, 2014

            Looks like Republicans will foist their nonsensical beliefs on anyone they think they can control. Chrisite sure thinks he can control people – even to the point of lying. In case you didn’t see Rachel Maddows show last night, here’s a link that proves Christie is a LIAR too!!


          2. howa4x January 15, 2014

            I’ve been watching it, also up with Steve Karnaki is digging deeper it’s on sat and sun mornings

      2. howa4x January 15, 2014

        They should change their name from the grand old party to the turn back the clock party

  10. dpaano January 14, 2014

    Why are the conservatives SO concerned about women and their bodies? I mean, SERIOUSLY??? The next thing you know, they’ll want to put us all in berkas, keep us from working, and stop driving cars! It’s ridiculous as hell, especially in such a forward-thinking (or used to be) country like the United States! What happened to our freedoms….I guess women don’t get any! And, the stupid part is that the insurance companies will pay for Viagra and penile implants, but they won’t pay for contraception……amazing!!!

    1. Faraday_Cat January 15, 2014

      Well, you don’t need “contraception” if you’re an old white male…so that kind of explains it, right? And your comment about berkas is spot on, although I’m sure that they would call them “Freedom Scarves” (or “scarfs”, depending on how far south you are). I remember thinking when I was in Iraq, “Why would any woman want to be subjected to the edicts of this religion?”…of course at the time I thought that about Islam, but now I am wonering the same thing about fundamentalist Christianity (or the Republican party, since it’s a religion unto itself).

  11. DBH316 January 14, 2014

    It all comes down to the same thing whenever you talk about Republicans, GOP issues, Tea Party or the far Right: You can’t fix STUPID.

    1. daniel bostdorf January 15, 2014

      yep….they can’t “git er duuunnnn”

  12. suseduck January 14, 2014

    The Catholic Church considers premarital & extramarital sex a sin. What’s driven me nuts about this whole argument is that everyone seems to be overlooking that if the Church gets its way with the contraception mandate, other important medical services will be next.
    If you’re an unmarried man, no prescription coverage for Viagra for you. No treatment for STDs for anyone not married. All religious organizations will be free to deny coverage for any other medical services as they see fit.

    To me, this is nothing more or less than religions being legally allowed to force others to adhere to their beliefs–by denying them insurance coverage for basic, legal heath care. Regarding the Catholic Church, I can easily foresee their next logical line of attack if they succeed with this–they can refuse to hire anyone they deem not in line with their beliefs–divorced folks, gay folks, any woman who uses contraception or has had an abortion, etc etc.

    Our cherished freedom of religion is not open-ended. It stops where the law would allow any religion to impose its beliefs on others.
    Are we really ready for that?

    (Full disclosure: I’m a baptized, Catholic-schooled, now seriously-lapsed Catholic.)

  13. pisces63 January 15, 2014

    What does the constitution have to do with any of this. I am not getting it. If I like cherry lollipops and a religious institution says don’t eat it, what does the constitiution have to do with it. Birth control. It was illegal and women and doctors could go to jail for using it. It has been around since before Egypt. The Bible gives you potions and when it is acceptible to use. The Catholic church no more cared about women’s produtive rights until after the plague of the black death. The population of Europe had been so decimated (over 1/3 of the total population) they decided it was wrong for midwives to issue birth control and abortants. They demonized the midwives and called them witches and placed a target on their backs. One town in Germany burned every woman as a witch due to these phony edicts. Thus the witch burnings up to Salem, Mass. Their whole righteous indignation is as phony as any other edict put out there. BC’s are used for other reasons other than controlling birth. My sister was put on them at 12 due to menses that kept her in pain for two days out of the month. You could hear her pain in her moans and cries. They alleviated this problem right away. She had her first child after marriage, at aged 22 and their second at 29. Learn your history and the hypocrisy of religion. they have allowed and denied what suited them at the time. There was a time they would have told us we were less than the lowest and should obey all people over us like kings, queens, land owners, etc. My bad a lot of them still do. NOW they are the rich 1% who need not pay taxes nor hire or if hire, pay minimum wage with no health insurance.

    1. daniel bostdorf January 15, 2014

      You state: “What does the constitution have to do with any of this.

      Well—the premise of the article is based upon challenges to specfic add on provisions to The ACA law and its “contraceptive mandate.”

      SUMMARY contraceptive mandate is a state or federal regulation or law that requires health insurers, or employers that provide their employees with health insurance, to cover some contraception costs in their health insurance plans. Many states in the US have such mandates, and the Obama administration has proposed a federal mandate to apply to all new health insurance plans in all states…..


      On March 16, 2012, regulations were issued which ensure coverage for
      employees of enterprises controlled by religious institutions that
      self-insure. Regulations were also issued which require coverage for
      students at institutions controlled by religious organizations which
      purchase insurance. It is believed by the federal government that it is
      not possible under current law to require contraceptive coverage for
      students at institutions controlled by religious organizations which
      self-insure.[9][10] In June 2013, an appeals court allowed a lawsuit against the mandate by Hobby Lobby to proceed.

      Supreme Court schedules hearing on birth control mandate:


      There are legal arguments placed before the court in other cases for
      past hundreds of years on various other laws enacted that are not part
      of the Constitution. Like the ACA that the supreme court declared constututional……Now the challenge to the “contraceptive mandate.” ie why the constitution is involved…

      The Constitution is perfectly willing to allow people a “right to health care,” via the 9th Amendment. This would also include contraception medicines etc…

      The 9th Amendment states that “the enumeration in the Constitution,
      of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others
      retained by the people.”

      If you claim a “right to health care,” or a right to have contraception included in ACA….there’s nothing in the Constitution that prevents it.

      The 9th Amendment of the United States Constitution protects all of
      the rights of the people that are not mentioned specifically elsewhere
      in the Constitution. It was a part of the original Bill of Rights
      drafted in 1787 and ratified in 1791. The rights protected are referred
      to as “unenumerated” rights, and include those inferred by other legal
      rights, as well as natural, fundamental, and background ones.”

      Hence why Andria Flynn wrote teh article to begin with….

    2. latebloomingrandma January 15, 2014

      Maybe the problem is calling it “contraceptive care” and should be women’s health care. Endometriosis is a very painful condition and is treated with hormones. Women’s bodies are more complex and some women have medical issues in which a pregnancy could cause serious problems. Access to gynecological care is essential to 50% of the human race. Why all the obsession over the sex part when it may or may not be the issue?

      1. MJRinPA January 17, 2014

        Thumbs Up!! This is exactly the point. The drug coverage is part of a woman’s health care needs. It has nothing to do with sex. But the GOP/Tea Party has made it about sex, to get their way.
        If a doctor prescribes a drug for a woman’s health, and her health insurance covers prescriptions, then all prescriptions must be covered. The government has not interfered in men’s medical decisions, why are they allowed to interfere in women’s medical decisions?

  14. pisces63 January 15, 2014

    Also, working for an insurance company, if they can approve and cover Viagra and anything a little man’s heart desires, why not BC’s. Mine were never covered. My husband and I paid out of pocket for them. Back then(1974-1980–when I got pregnant on them with our youngest) they ran $40.00+ a month. Our youngest child is now 33. YET!!!!! When viagra came out at $80.00 a pill, it was covered immediately!!!!

  15. Marsha Matthews January 15, 2014

    Because it’s such an onerous task to fill out a form … all that reading … and writing … and thinking … whew! I’m exhausted just thinking about it. What’s next, church collection baskets with credit card swipes in each pew? Why not … it’s not anywhere near as taxing on ones physicality … all that walking … and standing, waiting for the basket to come back … then having to walk allllllll the way to the sacristy … and dump the baskets … and count all those greenbacks … the poor things!

    This has absolutely nothing to do with “religious freedom” and “religious persecution” and has everything to do with religion seeking to keep women barefoot, pregnant and chained to the stove.


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