Thursday, July 10, 2014

Hobby Lobby - Update

As I mentioned in my previous post, the only way to “fix” the Supreme Court decision allowing closely held corporations to deny birth control coverage if it is contrary to their sincere religious beliefs, is for Congress to pass a remedy bill.

Senate Democrats began this process yesterday, introducing the “Not My Boss’s Business Act.”  Democrats are introducing a similar bill in the House.

Unfortunately, I don’t see any of this doing any good in the foreseeable future.  They may get the bill passed in the Senate, but I don’t think it has a prayer in the House.  I’ll be surprised if Speaker Boehner lets it come up for a vote.  Probably won’t even get out of committee.

Obviously, it’s a political maneuver on the part of the Democrats, to get as many Republicans on the record as against women’s reproductive freedom as they can, so they can beat on them in the mid-term elections.  And I don’t have a problem with that.  They need to run on what they stand for, and Republicans are against anything that has to do with Obamacare, period.  If that’s their stance, then they have to defend it.

What’s cracking me up (in the story I linked above) is how Mitch McConnell is calling out the Democrats on conducting “show votes.”  Here’s what he said:

We’d have a better chance of working our way through bills that we need to pass if we cut out the show votes and didn’t eat up time trying to score points for the fall elections.”

Yeah, Mitch, those are just show votes… not something important and vital like trying to overturn the ACA by holding more than 50 different votes over the last few years, when there was zero chance of it passing the other house and being signed by the president. 

Yes, I know McConnell is in the Senate, and it’s the House that keeps pushing the anti-ACA bills, but it’s not like he and Boehner aren’t in cahoots.  When one of them farts, the other says “Excuse me.”

Also, it’s not a “show vote,” for the people that are greatly aided by the birth control portions of the ACA.  And I’ll tell you one more thing… If I hear one more jaggoff spout off about not wanting to “pay for sluts to have sex,” I’m gonna scream.

That’s a low-grade bumper-sticker sentiment and people saying that are either willfully or genuinely ignorant of the basic facts at play.  Providing birth control is chump change compared to picking up the costs of birth and care for lower income people having unwanted babies.  It’s spending one dollar to save hundreds.  It LOWERS the amount of money coming from our tax dollars; it does not raise it or add to the deficit.

Also, there’s the added kick that increased use of birth control reduces abortions, which is a goal on both sides of the issue.

As with any other issue over the last 6 years, I have a pretty good suspicion of why the Republicans are fighting it so hard…


  1. Any time I read something political I feel like I'm a real life episode of 24. Everyone's jerking off someone. No one cares about anything but themselves. I'm so over politics, it's not even funny.

    But you wrote it up perfectly so I don't have to pour over stupid NYT posts.

    1. All politics is now, is people scurrying around trying to protect their own nut.

  2. That cartoon is right on. Good post, my friend. The rest of the civilized world continues to move forward while we look like a bunch of neanderthals. This court is a travesty.

  3. Thanks, Jayne. I was saving that toon for the right moment. This was it.

  4. Florida's congressmen make great cartoons.

  5. Coming soon to RPM: How birth control and women's issues are actually good for men (who really actually like women as people). Do these guys have wives and daughters?

    1. Of course BC is good for men, rational ones, anyway, who aren't looking for ways to control women by tying them down at home with kids. Men and women should have an unalienable right to determine when they reproduce.

  6. I am late to the party, but since I consider you well-informed, maybe you can help me better understand what is going on.

    I don't completely understand why people are up in arms about a company's unwillingness to pay for certain things. No one is saying that a woman can't be on BCPs (although as I understand it HB is even willing to pay for some types). At my last job, over 5 years ago, I think it cost something like $90 for a three-month supply. And on my husband's insurance after that, it was around $200 for a three-month supply. That had nothing to do with ACA or religious beliefs; the companies just chose not to pay for those particularly brands (I checked out a few brands, and it was a similar story). But anyone can go to the local GE grocery store and get a free three-month supply of a certain generic brand. I am sure other places offer something similar.

    And I don't fault a company for not wanting to cover someone's abortion, either. Again, going back to my husband's employer, they have crappy insurance. We had to pay about $900 for a trip to the ER and two staples in my kid's head. I think they should have covered it/more, but they did not. What could I do? At my last job, the company paid for our health insurance entirely. So whatever this private company chose to pay for, who am I to argue with it?

    As someone on FB said, there's a world of difference between the employer refusing to pay for something and the employer blocking access to it. That makes a lot of sense to me. Even though I think it is a great thing now that many companies are paying for BCPs and I fully understand that some people cannot afford to pay for them, if a company chooses not to, particularly for a religious reason, I don't fault them for it. I certainly would not have expected the church to pay for my BCPs if they had hired me FT to teach.

    So I guess I just need you to explain how this sets women back, because no one is telling a woman what she can do with her body; they are just saying what they are willing to pay for. And, for the record, if these same companies are paying for something like viagra, then that is completely wrong and sexist.

    So can you please help me understand this? I am sure I am missing something. :-)

    1. I'll try to address your concerns as best I can...

      People are upset about this set-aside because the ACA was meant to provide access to a minimum standard of health care for everyone. One of the most important aspects of health care, especially women's health care, is the ability to determine when to have a baby. Unwanted babies, especially from low-income families cost the country millions in tax dollars to subsidize food, day care, medical treatment, and all too frequently, incarceration. So carving out a section of the population who will not get this intended benefit, for the sole reason that the owner/boss doesn't believe in it, is a legitimate reason for concern and protest. The owner is making his employees dance to the rules of his religion, regardless of what there's is.

      Yes, they can buy BC on their own. But many women who are working hourly jobs can't afford that $90 or $200 per quarter. Sometimes it's a choice between paying for groceries or birth control.

      Paying for abortion isn't really a part of this controversy, except in the misinformation regarding Morning After pills and IUDs. Social conservatives believe that those two forms of birth control constitute abortion. Scientists say otherwise.

      It's my feeling that unless we're talking about a religious institution or a company doing religious things, that the owner's religion is irrelevant. A retail chain selling cheap Chinese arts and crafts supplies is not special. Federal workplace and insurance laws are supposed to cover everyone. Once we start carving out exceptions, the whole system collapses.

      And yes, viagra is usually covered by insurance, which is totally wrong and sexist. ALSO, Hobby Lobby has been heavily investing their employee retirement funds in pharmaceutical companies, who manufacture the drugs and devices being refused coverage. So apparently the owner's conscience is only affected when the money is going out, not the money coming in.

  7. I do get the $ point of view, and I know people who have skipped BC because they could not afford it. One could argue that paying for that would have been cheaper than their now paying for a child, but people don't see it that way (and I am not necessarily saying I see it that way). But I still have trouble feeling sympathetic towards a woman making close to six figures who is complaining that her BC would not be not covered if she worked for HL (I called it HB, but I am sure you knew what I meant) or even a religious institution (and that describes some of the people who have ranted). If they are ranting for the poor, then I get it.

    I did read about HL's investments. Someone should have been aware of what they were investing in. I have no clue what any of my 401ks or 403bs are invested in, but I am not the one running a company or trying to play a religious card, so I cut myself some slack. IMO HL doesn't get any (assuming someone really did not know, and I am not willing to assume that).

    And I also, more or less, understand the (and your) point about the irrelevance of a the owner of a company's religion. I still contend that a private employer should have every right to pay for what s/he wants to, regardless of religion, but I also get your point about the ACA providing minimum care, and the SC decision does hinder that.

    Thanks, this helped. :-)

    1. I would say the woman making 6 figures is engaged in true activism... campaigning for something that will benefit someone else. Hell, I'm doing the same... I don't have a personal stake in this issue. But I'm speaking out on behalf of those who can't, and adding my voice to the chorus of those who can. We all have a stake in creating the kind of society we want to live in.

      It's just unfortunate that we'll never all agree on what that is. There are too many forces working overtime to make sure we're divided.

      Anyway, I'm glad that we can talk about it in a civilized manner.


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