Ayotte: ‘Hobby Lobby’ decision foes distort ‘narrow’ ruling

Republican New Hampshire Sen. Kelly Ayotte and Nebraska Sen. Deb Fischer contend opponents of the recent U.S. Supreme Court “Hobby Lobby” decision are distorting the ruling by falsely suggesting that under the ruling, employers can deny their employees access to birth control.

 

In a joint opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal on Wednesday (click here for the full piece), Ayotte and Fischer write, “That’s flat-out false. Nothing in the Hobby Lobby ruling stops a woman from getting or filling a prescription for any form of contraception.

“Those who distort the court’s decision insist that one cannot support religious liberty and also support access to safe, affordable birth control. But these are principles that we, and millions of others, support. Americans believe strongly that we should be able to practice our religion without undue interference from the government. It’s a fundamental conviction that goes to the very core of our character—and dates back to the founding of our nation. The Supreme Court’s decision in the Hobby Lobby case, which protects rights of conscience, reaffirmed our centuries-old tradition of religious liberty.”

 

The two senators write that the ruling applies only to businesses “whose owners have genuine religious convictions. In the Hobby Lobby case, the company’s owners — the Green family –offered health-care plans that provide coverage for 16 of the 20 FDA-approved contraceptive drugs and devices, including birth-control pills, required under the Affordable Care Act.

 

“The Greens only had moral objections to the remaining four methods, which they consider to be abortifacients. The family felt strongly that paying for insurance that includes these methods would compromise their deeply held religious belief that life begins at conception.”

 

The two senators note that the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993, on which the ruling was based, was introduced by the late Sen. Ted Kennedy and supported in the House by then-U.S. Rep. Chuck Schumer, both Democdrats.

 

They write that when Democratic President Bill Clinton signed the bill, he said, “What this law basically says is that the government should be held to a very high level of proof before it interferes with someone’s free exercise of religion.”

 

 

Author: John DiStaso

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  • gococksri

    Ms. Ayotte—go figure!—and Ms. Fischer falsely accuse Democrats of “distortion” per the Supreme Court ruling in Hobby Lobby. The position of the Democratic Party has never been that this decision enables corporations to “deny their employees access to birth control.” It has, instead, accurately described the decision as one which enables corporations to “limit” employee access to birth control.

    Ms. Ayotte—go figure!—and Ms. Fischer conveniently allow that fact to go unmentioned. In other words, in focusing on what the decision does not do, they think they can distract thinking people from understanding what the decision does do. In not bothering to discuss how the ruling will effect innumerable women, they are the only ones engaging in distortion.

    Access to any commodity—be it food, clothing, medicine, etc.—requires means. For innumerable women employed by Hobby Lobby, the means to access birth control was provided by their employer-provided health insurance. Apart from the means provided by their health insurance, they cannot access the prescribed contraception they utilize for birth control/reproductive health/general health.

    Hence, their “access to birth control,” while not denied to them, has, because they have limited means, become more limited. And many are of such limited means that their actual, real-time “access to birth control” has been effectively denied.

    Ms. Ayotte—go figure!—and Ms. Fischer try to separate two issues that cannot be separated; i.e., “access” and “means.” The former, without the latter, is moot. And the Hobby Lobby decision has taken the latter away from thousands of women, making the issue of “access” irrelevant.

    Memo to Ayotte & Fischer: You participate in the continuing GOP “War on Women” when you imply that women aren’t smart enough to understand the difference between “access” and “means.” And you insult the intelligence of all of us.