American Elephants


The Left Once Again Gets All Excited Over Nothing. by The Elephant's Child

The Left has once again gone nuts. The Supreme Court issued its ruling in the Hobby Lobby case this morning. The issue was whether closely held companies such as Hobby Lobby could be forced by the government to provide abortifacient coverage to its employees, in defiance of its owners’ deeply held religious beliefs.

In a 5-4 ruling written by Justice Samuel Alito, the Supreme Court ruled that Hobby Lobby and other closely held companies do not have to provide contraceptive coverage that conflicts with the religious beliefs of the owners of the companies.

The government must provide religious accommodations to for-profit companies. The court ruled that the accommodations provided to non-profit religious organizations by the Religious Freedom Restoration Act also apply to for-profit companies.

All sorts of ideas here that are anathema to the Left: “for profit companies” — the Left really doesn’t believe in profit, and often believes that companies should not make a profit. They don’t get “deeply held religious beliefs.” And any hint that corporations are people takes them right back to Citizens United which brings on red-faced rage.

The decision applies only to “closely-held” companies not all corporations. It does not recognize a carte blanche right for all corporations. A publicly held corporation that trades on the stock market would not get the same protections.  Hobby Lobby has had no objection to providing insurance for contraceptives, 16 different kinds, but objects to providing abortifacient coverage, or the “morning after pill.”

In oral arguments, Justices Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor offered the argument that religious owners of a company could just drop coverage entirely. There would be a huge tax, but that’s just too bad, sometimes you have to pay hefty taxes. Hobby Lobby owners believe that they are compelled by their religious beliefs to provide health insurance to their employees, so that argument was no solution at all.

This is not an attack on women’s rights, nor an attack on women. I don’t see why insurance should be covering contraceptives at all. It only costs about $10 a month. If you want or need the “morning after pill” why should you not pay for it yourself? You can always refrain from unprotected sex.

The Left will try valiantly to make this a campaign issue. “Women’s health,” or “women’s reproductive health.” They will refine the language to make it more compelling.



When Obama Says Everybody Has to Play by The Same Rules; He Means You Have to Play by His Rules. by The Elephant's Child

The Obama administration has lighted a firestorm over their requirement that religious organizations offer free contraception, sterilization and abortifacients to all employees or students. We have been told that this was Obama’s own decision, which is unsurprising in view of his continuing disregard for the Constitution. But the uproar is growing.The Bill of Rights guarantee of freedom of religion is not taken lightly, and a very large percentage of Americans consider themselves religious.

There is a long history of Catholic hospitals in the United States. By 1872, there were already 75 such hospitals in operation.  Now there are about 615, and 499 Long Term Care facilities.  The hospitals are among the finest in the country. There are around 6,900 Catholic K-12 schools. Around 23-25% of Americans are Catholic.

Dr. Richard Land, one of the most influential evangelical leaders is president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission. He said “we will not comply” with the HHS mandate.  And other religious leaders are speaking out. Protestants also care about religious liberty, and about the Constitution.

The flap over the Komen Foundation dropping their support for Planned Parenthood aroused indignant shrieks from the abortion on demand crowd — how dare a foundation dedicated to finding a cure for breast cancer stop giving free gifts to the nation’s largest provider of abortions for their work in providing mammograms when it turns out that they don’t provide mammograms at all? That’s the voice of the secular left.

When Catholic bishops said they would have to close their hospitals, the medical establishment collectively gasped, and said there was no way they could absorb that many patients. Catholic hospitals treat about 5.5 million overnight patients a year. The Catholic church is the single largest provider of not-for-profit health care in our country. Did Obama not grasp what he was taking on, or did he just not care?

The main sources of trouble for Catholic hospitals have come from the institutions that oversee the flow of financial resources, both public and private. In many cases, they want to impose a homogenous, secularist vision on all health care service regulation. James Capretta remarked in an article in The New Atlantis:

But there is also an intangible element to the enduring appeal of these institutions. Patients, especially when they are very sick and vulnerable, would prefer—all else being equal—to be cared for in settings that bring to mind compassion and human concern as well as professionalism. Hospitals named Providence and Holy Cross and St. Vincent’s communicate through their very names and histories a sense that they understand human beings as more than human bodies, and that inherent dignity is not dependent on physical health.

The same principles and ideals that move Catholic hospitals to care for the weakest and neediest also move them to oppose abortion, sterilization, and other practices at the juncture of medicine and morality. And at that juncture, Catholic hospitals are running into an increasingly hostile public health establishment with very different values. It is simply incomprehensible to many people in positions of power in both the public and private sectors that the same vision that inspires widely-respected compassionate care would also compel closure or sale of a facility to avoid complicity in providing abortions—yet that is just the difficult choice some Catholic health facilities have faced.

Do not be confused about this battle. It isn’t about birth control.  It is about freedom of conscience and religious liberty. It is about the raw political grab for power that lurks at the very core of ObamaCare. Politics will determine who gets what care, and government will use its force to dictate the outcomes they want, whether it’s to control costs — which means less care for those who might be expensive, or to promote their political values according to what seems expedient for their reelection.

Here is a roundup of editorial opinion and commentary. There have already been three lawsuits filed against HHS, with more to come. Take this struggle very seriously, your life may someday depend on it.

ADDENDUM: Congressional Democrats (female) rushed out to shriek to the press about ‘freedom’ and ‘choice’ — if their employers aren’t required by law to pay for their birth control pills. Why don’t you pay for your own, they’re not that expensive?




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