Archive for contraception

Will corporations have "a chief religious officer" to dictate birth control use?

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Corporations are people 2

Corporations are not people. Corporations don't get married. Corporations don't wear condoms or give birth (although they do screw us). Corporations don't even get a twinkle in their little beady corporate eyes. But even though they are not living, breathing human beings, they have more rights than we do.  coughCitizensUnitedcough! coughBankruptcyLawscough!

And now we're faced with the appalling possibility that the Supreme Court may rule on something that the founders would consider pure lunacy: that corporations have religious rights that trump the rights of women to make decisions about their own health and reproductive needs.

With that, here are today's Los Angeles Times letters to the editor, because our voices matter:

Re "Taming the boardwalk," March 26:

I read about some of the "artists, the homeless, Silicon Beach hipsters, surfers, inline skaters and tourists" all coming together on the "circus-like boardwalk" of Venice, and I thought, "Strange but nice."

Then I read about our conservative-controlled Supreme Court and arguments about Hobby Lobby not wanting to provide contraceptives to women — many of whom are probably already taking them — and the thought crossed my mind: Just who is strange?

Allen F. Dziuk

Carlsbad

Re "Court looks kindly on test of health act," March 26

Assuming for the moment that the Supreme Court's conservative majority goes ahead and allows employers to refuse contraceptive care for employees on religious grounds, will there be some sort of test of faith for the employers to make sure they aren't just cutting costs?

For example, we know that many business owners go to church on a regular basis, but surely that is never enough by itself to qualify them as honest Christians. If the employer gets an exemption but sins in his or her daily life, would he or she lose the exemption? Do all religions qualify for the exemption, even if this involves claims by heretics and infidels?

How will the corporation express its faith? Do all the board members have to be validly and acceptably religious, or will there just be a chief religious officer?

Philip Brimble

Los Angeles

***

How the Supreme Court can look kindly on a case that would destroy the basic American principle of separation of church and state is beyond me.

This is a case brought in order to refuse birth control to people who do not share an employer's belief system, but the implications are much larger and more poisonous.

If your employer is against blood transfusions, would those be forbidden? If adherents used only prayer to treat sickness — well, just think of the money insurance companies could save.

This court cannot be trusted to make the correct decision.

Alix Fargo

Altadena

Re "Unfair to Obamacare," Editorial, March 25:

I believe the management of Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood Specialties should make it clear that they want only customers who present sworn affidavits indicating that they, or any relation, have never used any form of contraception — and then be prepared to close their doors.

Martin J. Weisman

Westlake Village

***

Aside from the obvious reasons for a rejection of this suit as far as freedom, equality, constitutionality and fairness, another reason for access to birth control is the growing worldwide population and the path we are on to do ourselves in rather soon. Why aren't we more concerned about this threat?

But if corporations do end up being able to dictate birth control use, employees should take back their freedom to choose, demand what wages they've contributed to the company's health insurance plan and use the money to buy Obamacare policies.

Joanne Tatham

Irvine

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Warren: "Soon you'll have a Supreme Court that is a wholly owned subsidiary of big business."

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supreme court justices corporate

Senator Elizabeth Warren is worried about our very corporate Supreme Court. She's worried that they will rule in favor of Hobby Lobby, just as they decided in favor of Citizens United. And that decision has been a disaster.

To quote one of my favorite analysts, Dahlia Lithwick at Slate, SCOTUS will rule on "whether the religious rights of a for-profit corporate entity allow it to refuse to provide for employees insurance that would include certain forms of birth control. In so doing, the court may now be forced to reckon with the question of whether the same corporate personhood that includes the right to free speech also encompasses rights to religious conscience. In other words, Corporate Personhood is back! And this time, it’s got God on its side."

Case by case, this Supreme Court is, indeed, out to legalize corporate personhood.  Conservative extremists have spent decades shaking their political pom poms to cheer zygote personhood.  What next, hypocrisy personhood? But when it comes to actual people personhood, American citizen personhood, voting rights personhood, women's and gay rights personhood, they scurry off to Faux ChristianLand where Fox News [sic] feeds them their next "my belief system trumps reality" talking points.

And now these same zealots are (incredibly) being given credibility by the highest court in the U.S.A.

The following email from Senator Warren landed in my inbox today. As is made painfully obvious by K.C. Boyd's weekly "Upchucks" guest posts here at TPC, the separation of church and state is narrowing daily. This growing trend is serious and is endangering our dwindling democracy. We need to organize our voices and protest immediately, loudly, clearly, and constantly.

Bolding is mine:

Laffy,

Hobby Lobby doesn't want to cover its employees' birth control on company insurance plans. In fact, they're so outraged about women having access to birth control that they've taken the issue all the way to the Supreme Court.

I cannot believe that we live in a world where we would even consider letting some big corporation deny the women who work for it access to the basic medical tests, treatments or prescriptions that they need based on vague moral objections.

But here's the scary thing: With the judges we've got on the Supreme Court, Hobby Lobby might actually win.

The current Supreme Court has headed in a very scary direction.

Recently, three well-respected legal scholars examined almost 20,000 Supreme Court cases from the last 65 years. They found that the five conservative justices currently sitting on the Supreme Court are in the top 10 most pro-corporate justices in more than half a century.

And Justices Samuel Alito and John Roberts? They were number one and number two.

Take a look at the win rate of the national Chamber of Commerce cases before the Supreme Court. According to the Constitutional Accountability Center, the Chamber was winning 43% of the cases in participated in during the later years of the Burger Court, but that shifted to a 56% win-rate under the Rehnquist Court, and then a 70% win-rate with the Roberts Court.

Follow these pro-corporate trends to their logical conclusion, and pretty soon you'll have a Supreme Court that is a wholly owned subsidiary of big business.

Birth control is at risk in today's case, but we also need to worry about a lot more.

In Citizens United, the Supreme Court unleashed a wave of corporate spending to game the political system and drown the voices of middle class families.

And right now, the Supreme Court is considering McCutcheon v. FEC, a case that could mean the end of campaign contribution limits – allowing the big guys to buy even more influence in Washington.

Republicans may prefer a rigged court that gives their corporate friends and their armies of lawyers and lobbyists every advantage. But that's not the job of judges. Judges don't sit on the bench to hand out favors to their political friends.

On days like today, it matters who is sitting on the Supreme Court. It matters that we have a President who appoints fair and impartial judges to our courts, and it matters that we have a Senate who approves them.

We're in this fight because we believe that we don't run this country for corporations – we run it for people.

Thank you for being a part of this,

Elizabeth

scotus supreme court koch smaller

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VIDEO- Huckabee: "Uncle Sugar" Dems give birth control to women who can't "control their libido"

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mike huckabee

Here's all you need to know about what Former Arkansas Gov. Mike "Keep 'Em in Their Proper Place" Huckabee thinks of women. This is what he had to say at the Republican National Committee’s Winter Meeting in Washington D.C.:

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

HuckaDino:

If the Democrats want to insult women by making them believe that they are helpless without Uncle Sugar coming in and providing for them a prescription each month for birth control because they cannot control their libido or their reproductive system without the help of the government, then so be it. Let us take this discussion all across America because women are far more than the Democrats have played them to be. And women across America need to stand up and say ‘Enough of that nonsense."

Methinks mayhaps the Huckster is covering for his own, erm, shortcomings.

Feel free to rant for me in Comments. Words fail me. Well, words longer than four letters.

MSNBC:

Huckabee dismissed the notion that the GOP is engaged on a "War on Women," as Democratic rivals allege.

"Our party stands for the recognition  of the equality of women and the capacity of women. That’s not a war on them, it’s a war for them," he said.

How's that outreach thing workin' for ya, GOP?

reinvention my ass

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Pastor Rick Warren's Not So Kosher Healthcare Plan

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Kosher

Here's the thinking of Pastor Rick Warren, the evangelical Christian leader and shallow religious zealot, according to TPM:

Requiring employers to provide insurance covering contraception is no different than forcing a Jewish deli to sell pork, evangelical Christian pastor and bestselling author Rick Warren said Wednesday.

It's catchy. On the surface it almost seems to make a point that could be an eye-opener -- unless you happen to take the time to analyze this analogy.

"In other words, if all of a sudden they made a law that said every Jewish deli in Manhattan has to start selling pork, I would be out there with the rabbis protesting that. Why? I don't have a problem with pork, but I believe in your right to not have to sell pork if it's not in your faith."

He doesn't seem to get his own point, but being gentile, I don't expect him to get the nuances of kashrut (Jewish dietary law). Hell, I'm a Jew and don't know half the rules. But the issue here that Rick W is missing is that nobody is making you eat the pork, or stopping you from eating it. It's personal choice.

With healthcare, nobody's forcing you to use every provision in your policy. Abortion and contraception are provided to those who, to borrow from your own analogy, don't "keep Kosher/sell pork products."

If you're a large employer and must, by law offer health insurance. That's not a choice you get to make. Also, you have to let your employees make their own "religious" choice. Refusing would be considered imposing religious beliefs on another, an apparent violation of the first amendment to the bill of rights.

Of course that's what the Supreme Court will determine in June. Picking and choosing is when it becomes imposing company beliefs on it's employees. It should not be a company mandate unless that company specifically caters only to those of a particular religious affiliation. Public companies are not religious by definition. They cater to all.

Rick Warren's problem is really this: Health insurance is not really an ala carte business. Generally you can't say I just want to buy insurance to be covered for broken bones and Meningitis. Nothing else. No other diseases or injuries. No gall bladder, kidney, liver, cancer stuff. Just the broker bone and Meningitis coverage. How much will that be?

It's not done that way. Generally in a health policy all medical issues are now covered except for death. (That's what life insurance is for.) The options are the deductibles and percentage of coverage.

But what the Republicans and more specifically the Christian evangelicals are fighting for is to turn health insurance into a strictly ala carte business. And according to them, if you're an employer who must provide healthcare insurance for your workers, you should be able to pick and chose what's covered and what's not.

They don't mind paying for your appendicitis or your treatment for migraines. They just don't want to contribute to total health care if it involves something they don't approve of -- in this case, contraception and abortion. They prefer to treat these matters after the fact, after there's an unwanted newborn, or perhaps the mother dies during the pregnancy or delivery. Caring for unwanted children or funerals for mothers with foreseeable complications is the acceptable way to go.

To create a pick-and-chose healthcare menu would make certain coverages too costly and other services not at all within a consumer's reach. So all medical issues get bundled together to bring down the price for the total coverage. Splitting out certain care issues would destroy the pricing model. And that seems to be the goal of the Republican obstructionists. They can't beat the law, so they'll work any angle to make sure it doesn't function.

Back to the the Kosher Deli analogy: In his equation, the Deli are employers. Pork is abortion/contraceptives. He says you shouldn't make the Deli provide insurance it finds contrary to  their religion or doctrines. And I agree. But insurance isn't pork. It's not against anyone's religion -- except perhaps Christian Science who don't subscribe to using doctors at all.

What may be contrary to one's religious beliefs is but one part of the picture of healthcare insurance. And nobody's making you "eat the pork."  Insurance policies serve a larger population than just one religious belief. So if you don't want pork (abortion) don't order it at the Pink Pig Baconarium for lunch. But don't stop others who love their bacon cheeseburger or their link sausages from eating there. That's taking away their choice.

When you make that decision, Pastor Warren, you're not letting others make theirs. You're taking away my rights. So don't eat or sell pork if you don't want to, but don't stop those from getting access to it if they have such a desire.

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A Big Fluke You, Evangelicals.

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Sandra Fluke

Last night, Chris Hayes had Sandra Fluke and right-wing radical and Washington Examiner contributor Tim Carney going tete-a-tete on his All In show. They were discussing the two cases the Supreme Court has agreed to hear (probably in March, verdict in June) on corporate religious freedom rights, as they might affect the Affordable Care Act.

When you hear Sandra Fluke speak so eloquently below, you can see why this "whore" according to Rush Limbaugh was fought hard in being allowed to address a congressional panel on Women's Health and Contraception hearing by the terrified, misogynist, Republican party. How dare she spew common sense in such easy to understand words. The GOP was justified in trying to keep her silenced as she destroys all of their fanatical arguments so easily.

It's clear that the evangelicals are on the road with their bullhorns blazing, their pulpits popping  and their zealotry oozing. The more they speak, the easier it will be for the nine SCOTUS justices to see how giving religious freedom as a foundational justification to a company is wrong. It's tantamount to giving corporations the license to pick and chose which laws they wish to abide by and those they chose to ignore. Giving a corporation first amendment rights designed for individuals, (in this case religious freedom), will be the slipperiest slope they may ever have adjudicated. It's very doubtful that under scrutiny and behind closed-door discussions, the SCOTUS members will want to totally destroy human American with Corporate America. It could happen, but I wouldn't bet on it. Not if they are presented arguments like these:

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Appeals court decision, written by Bush appointee, rules against #Obamacare contraception coverage mandate

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church state Religion and Politics

Just the other day I posted about a column written for the Los Angeles Times by Michael Hiltzik: What next? Ruling that corporations can pray? Brace yourselves:

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."

Today Roll Call has just added to my jitters. Next stop, Supreme Court:

A federal appeals court has ruled the contraception coverage mandate in the Affordable Care Act violates the free exercise of religion.

The ruling by the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit adds to the debate about a provision that factored heavily in the 2012 presidential election and comes amid an effort by President Barack Obama to fill three open slots on the powerful D.C. Circuit with his own nominees. Senate Republicans are blocking those picks, which has Democrats considering whether to use the “nuclear option” to install Obama’s judges.

If there was ever a question about why judicial picks are important, and why elections matter, this should put that to rest.

By the way, the decision was 2-1 and was written by Janice Rogers Brown, an appointee of GW Bush.

I rest my case.

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Video- Bill O'Reilly Claims Peer Pressure, Not Contraceptives, Will Prevent Teen Pregnancy

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That is up there with the stupidest things I've ever heard. Via.

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