President Obama versus Hobby Lobby|
January 27, 2014
Senior advisor to President Obama, Valerie Jarrett, wrote for the White House
blog and the Huffington Post that, "A Woman's Health Care Decisions Should Be in
Her Own Hands, Not Her Boss's." I couldn't agree more.
Odd then that the administration is trying to insert bosses, many of them
against their deeply held religious beliefs, into the private health care
decisions of women. Ms. Jarrett writes that, "The ACA (Affordable Care Act) was
designed to ensure that health care decisions are made between a woman and her
doctor, and not by her boss, or Washington politicians."
In fact, the administration has done the opposite. It has forced employers to
act as middlemen between women and their doctors by forcing them to participate
in providing four potentially life terminating drugs and the whole gamut of
FDA-approved contraceptives, even when they object on religious grounds. And
then it thrust the issue right into the portfolio of Washington politicians by
making it an election wedge issue, by using it to stoke partisan bickering, and
by peddling lies about a "war on women."
Look no further than the Little Sisters of the Poor, the first of the non-profit
plaintiffs to reach the Supreme Court to know that the Health and Human Services
(HHS) mandate hurts women. Their complaint is proof that women are not some
monolithic block robotically reacting affirmatively anytime the administration
tacks the word "reproduction" onto a controversy.
Ms. Jarrett went on to write:
"A group of for-profit companies are currently suing to gain the right to deny
employees access to coverage for birth control and contraceptive care, which are
used by the overwhelming majority of American women in their lifetimes. Among
the first cases to reach the Supreme Court is one filed by Hobby Lobby, an arts
and crafts chain whose owners want to be able to take the option for birth
control benefits away from their employees."
The fact is, however, Hobby Lobby, which employs 25,000 people, already covers
and will continue to cover sixteen out of the 20-FDA approved contraceptives
mandated by HHS. The only four forms of contraception not covered are the four
which the government itself concedes can act to prevent implantation.
The owners of Hobby Lobby, the Green family, are Christians who cannot violate
their religious beliefs by being complicit in the destruction of human-life, at
any stage. The government has already exempted--for commercial and other
reasons--over 100 million Americans from having to comply.
Imagine the gall of asking the government to be exempt from a policy that
requires employers to facilitate those drugs because of religious objections.
But according to Ms. Jarrett, that's not gall, that's trying to "seize a
controlling interest over the health care choices of women."
Hobby Lobby doesn't strike me as a company trying to seize anything. On the
contrary. Its owners pay full-time employees 80 percent above the minimum wage,
they close all stores on Sundays, and they offer medical benefits such as an
on-site free clinic at its headquarters.
For the same reasons the Greens cannot be party to four life-terminating drugs,
they cannot deprive their workers of a decent wage, a day of rest, and access to
good health care. And that reason would be their Christian faith.
The government should be ashamed of its treatment of Hobby Lobby. The Obama
administration has dragged a respectable company owned by principled people into
the town square for a verbal and legal tar and feathering, solely because of
their religious beliefs.
Right now, the legal opposition to the HHS mandate--led by the lawyers at the
Becket Fund for Religious Liberty--is the largest class-action religious liberty
lawsuit in American history. The number of plaintiffs is 300 and growing by the
In trying to legally squeeze out those family businesses owned by people who
conduct their affairs according to moral and religious principles, the
government's behavior begs the question: What controlling interest are they
Star Parker is founder and president of CURE, the Center for Urban Renewal
and Education, a 501c3 think tank which explores and promotes market based
public policy to fight poverty, as well as author of the newly revised Uncle
Sam's Plantation: How Big Government Enslaves America's Poor and What We Can do