Archive for conscience clause

What next? Ruling that corporations can pray? Brace yourselves.

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separation of church and state 2

The Supreme Court's Citizens United decision has thrown a huge wrench into what's left of our democracy by allowing corporations to have the same rights as people to have their voices heard, giving them the ability to spend all the money they want on political campaigns, which of course gives them undue influence over our elections.

Now we have a new, very problematic issue to worry about: SCOTUS will get to decide if corporations can impose their own religious beliefs on their employees, AKA a giant conscience clause. What's left of separation of church and state could become a distant memory.

Michael Hiltzik's column in the Los Angeles Times rightly states, "The implications of granting corporations the right to free expression of religion are horrific."

He sounds the alarm loudly on the expansion of corporate "personhood," which would give them "the legal right to fire workers 'for engaging in all manner of activities that may not conform to the religious code of the company’s owners, including using contraceptives or terminating a pregnancy, becoming pregnant out of wedlock, or marrying a person of the same sex.'”

gulp

The Obama administration arguably gave too much away when it offered religious groups a way around meeting the contraception mandates of the Affordable Care Act for their secular arms, such as hospitals that serve secular communities and hire staff without regard to religious affiliation. We're seeing a steady encroachment of religious dogma into medical treatment [...]

Giving corporations the status of religious beings would do more than inject religion into the workplace. It would take the community out. Nothing is more threatening to religious freedom than the imposition of religious orthodoxy in places where it doesn't belong. That's the issue that will soon come before the Supreme Court. Brace yourselves.

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Paul Ryan: Use #GOPshutdown, debt ceiling as leverage to deny women access to birth control

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ryan ugh this guy

Back in February, we posted that the Obama administration clarified the contraception mandate to accommodate religious groups.

Then in September, Politico reported this:

The chamber further adopted a “conscience clause” that postpones until 2015 an Obamacare requirement that employers cover birth control as part of their health-insurance packages.

Yes, House Republicans did that, even though over half of the electorate are women. It was one more attempt to hold our government-- and the world economy-- hostage making a ridiculous laundry list of demands, including a “conscience clause.”

It is now October, and Paul Ryan (R-WI) has come out from under his rock. He said this in a private meeting with House Republicans, via WaPo:

Ryan, who stood up and railed against the Collins proposal, saying the House could not accept either a debt-limit bill or a government-funding measure that would delay the next fight until the new year.

According to two Republicans familiar with the exchange, Ryan argued that the House would need those deadlines as “leverage” for delaying the health-care law’s individual mandate and adding a “conscience clause” — allowing employers and insurers to opt out of birth-control coverage if they find it objectionable on moral or religious grounds — and mentioned tax and entitlement goals Ryan had focused on in a recent op-ed in the Wall Street Journal.

Think Progress put it this way: "Republicans in the lower chamber are still hoping to use the talks as “leverage” to limit women’s access to contraception."

The War on Women continues.

Hey GOP, how's that "outreach" thing workin' for ya?

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“How Can a Woman be Anti-Woman? The Ultimate Girl on Girl”

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oh, you nasty pin up girl

My former student and dear pal Lucia Fasano has submitted another post for your consideration. You can also see Lucia in my BLUNT VIDEO: Not Guilty– The George Zimmerman Verdict.

This is Lucia's fourth contribution to TPC. Her first was "Oregon festival empowers girls, promotes Planned Parenthood, anti-domestic & sexual violence groups, more." Next came "If I have to endure being followed in a store, racism isn't over" and Bashar al-Assad: Our first truly Internet-era foe.

Please link over and read what this involved twenty-year-old has been writing.

After getting wind of the House GOP's latest attempt to hold our government-- and the world economy-- hostage making a ridiculous laundry list of demands, including a “conscience clause,” she once again felt compelled to use her voice here at TPC.

Politico:

The chamber further adopted a “conscience clause” that postpones until 2015 an Obamacare requirement that employers cover birth control as part of their health-insurance packages.

Yes, House Republicans did that, even though over half of the electorate are women.

Here is Lucia's latest:

How Can a Woman be Anti-Woman? The Ultimate Girl on Girl
By Lucia Fasano (@lucia_fasano)

A question I get asked often is, “How can legislation be anti-women if some women support it? Like Michele Bachmann, Sarah Palin or Texas Rep. Jodie Laubenberg?” Well, anything a woman supports isn’t inherently feminist (Women's rights advocacy on the grounds of political, social, and economic equality to men).

It's easy to be a woman and still be anti-woman. It's easy to be a woman and speak/vote from a place of privilege (such as you don't have ovarian cysts, you don't have to scrounge pennies for doctors appointments, you don't have unwanted sexual assault, you're in a higher social class, you have a light period, you are unable to have children anymore, you already have children, you have a family that would support an unwanted child and not beat you, etc etc etc) and deny other people basic healthcare.

Just like it's easy to vote on a war you're not going to fight.

Just like it's easy to vote against gay marriage when you're not gay.

Feminism isn’t about sisterhood, it’s about personhood regardless of gender identity (not the personhood of corporations or fetuses). Feminism is Rep. Jodie Laubenberg being able to say that rape kits are a form of abortion, and fellow constituents being able to say she’s absolutely wrong-- not because she’s a woman.. but because she’s an idiot.

But we wonder why a woman or an educated man would support legislation that is absolutely medieval. Some of my friends wonder if they know about the benefits, like the medicinal power of contraceptive pills, or that family planning prevents unwanted pregnancies/abortions.

Some politicians do and ignore it, and some fundamentally don’t understand-- charged by ideological judgment.

It all comes down to this: Every intricacy of the GOP's constant bombarding of anti-women agenda is steeped in the hatred or self-hate and shaming of women.

It is steeped in religion, the political science of manipulation and social hegemony, steeped in sexism and misogyny, social constructs and ideals of purity, in the mind-washing and manipulation of the sexually repressed, absolutely entrenched in rape culture, anti-science, un-empathetic, bigoted and fearful of the poor, minorities, or 'deviants'.

It goes so deep. Some GOP politicians only fit a few of those categories, some fit the whole bill. Some are just ignorant and really think they're doing god's work.

But it's mostly about control, and it’s been a long time coming.

But hey, what do I know. My idea of a 'conscience clause' would be tearing up all people with no conscience for women's basic health care and rights with my CONSCIENCE CLAWS.

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WTF is the matter with Michigan? Just when you thought it couldn't get any worse...

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Michigan Governor Rick Snyder said that union busting is “pro-workers! It’s a good thing! This is a positive thing for unions!” Then the union busting “Right-to-work for work for less” measure was signed it into law. It's important to remember that Michigan’s “Right to Work” law contains verbatim language from ALEC model bill.

Speaking of remembering, remember King Ricky's appalling financial martial law? That was the legislation that allowed one person to dictate all kinds of things without any input from voters. For example:

He could do away with unions, with police officers, mayorships, you name it. You voted for someone and they won? Pfft, fuggetaboutit. OUT.

You like that school your kid goes to? Nevermind. GONE.

You cherish democracy and thought it would always be The American way? TOO BAD.

Remember all my rants about the GOP’s goal of crushing unions as a way of denying Democrats their political funding which would lead to eventual single party rule? Me too.

And now Michigan's House has passed new version and sent it to the Senate all nice and repackaged under a different name, and they're pushing it right on through as they are wont to do:

The state House passed late Wednesday what the Snyder administration says is a new and improved emergency manager law, but opponents say is a warmed-over version of what voters rejected Nov. 6.

Michigan gun owners with extra training could carry concealed weapons in schools under a bill OK'd by a House panel Yes, guns in schools are A-OK with Michigan's "pro-life" Republicans:

Gun owners with concealed weapon permits could get additional training that would allow them to carry their concealed firearms in schools and at sporting events on school property under legislation approved Wednesday by a Michigan House committee.

The bill, OK'd 7-2 by majority Republicans along party lines, is awaiting potential final votes before lawmakers conclude their lame-duck session. [...]

Public schools - currently gun-free unless someone openly carries a weapon - would have to allow concealed weapons under the bill... [U]nintended consequences - more potential for altercations at football games or students finding teachers' guns in locked places.

Is it the right time to discuss responsible gun regulation yet?

Because Republican just can't seem to learn any lessons from the November elections, they decided to pass a bill attacking LGBTs and women. And to make double super sure that their so-called "small government" keeps their big paws off the rights of individuals, they included a "conscience objection" for health care providers who don't want to give that care when they feel it conflicts with their religious beliefs. Never mind anyone else's beliefs... or non-beliefs.

In other words, they get to discriminate against gay people and female people, even when it means that their well-being is at stake:

The Republicans in the Michigan legislature have passed a bill today that would allow hospitals, nursing homes or any other health care center to deny services that run contrary to the religious teachings or conscious of its leaders. This so-called conscience objection bill would open the doors for healthcare providers, insurance companies and employers to disallow healthcare services to anyone they find objectionable, such as LGBT people and women seeking family planning services including birth control and abortions.

There you have it, Michigan in a very ugly nutshell.

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VIDEO: Oklahoma doctor refuses to provide emergency contraception to rape victim because of personal beliefs

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Jaw-dropping. Watch and weep:

Via Think Progress:

An Oklahoma emergency room doctor refused to provide emergency contraception to a 24-year-old female rape victim because the medication violated the health provider’s personal beliefs, a local CBS News affiliate reports. The hospital also denied the victim a rape kit, noting that it had no appropriate nurse on staff to administer the test.

The good news, if you can call anything about this story good, is that she went to another hospital and got medication and the rape kit. 

I'm beginning to "believe" that the so-called “conscience clause” was created by someone with no conscience.

At the risk of offending anyone whose faith would dictate the same kind of response to a rape victim as that doctor's, very sorry, but I'm going to say this anyway, because my beliefs/opinions are as valid as the next person's:

If your beliefs are getting in the way of doing your job, then get another job.

If your beliefs affect a severely traumatized crime victim in a way that traumatizes her (or him) even more severely, then you need to switch occupations.

If your "Christian" beliefs cause you to act in a not-so-Christian, unsympathetic, unempathetic way to a fellow human being who is clearly suffering, then find employment elsewhere. Do unto others. And stop judging, lest ye be judged right back.

If your beliefs interfere with your Hippocratic Oath, then why did you take the oath? And why did you break it?

And if your beliefs include indulging in hypocrisy about so-called "small government" not intruding on America's privacy-- as you intrude on another person's privacy and personal decisions, someone who is able to decide for herself what she should do with her own body-- then you're in the wrong damn line of work.

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Obama administration replaces "conscience clause" for health-care workers

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President Obama often does things quietly, subtly, often too quietly and subtly. This is one of those times, and this one thing made Paddy and me really happy. So, in the interest of being more obvious and shouty, I bring you this lovely removal of another ugly Bush stain:

The Obama administration rescinded most of a federal regulation Friday designed to protect health workers who refuse to provide care they find objectionable on personal or religious grounds.

The Health and Human Services Department eliminated nearly the entire rule put into effect by the administration of President George W. Bush during his final days in office that was widely interpreted as allowing such workers to opt out of a broad range of medical services, such as providing the emergency contraceptive Plan B, treating gay men and lesbians and prescribing birth control to single women.

Calling the Bush-era rule "unclear and potentially overbroad in scope," the new, much narrower version essentially leaves in place only long-standing federal protections for workers who object to performing abortions or sterilizations. It also retains the Bush rule's formal process for workers to file complaints.

Better. Much better.

FYI: Conscience Clause Wiki.

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