There’s been a lot of recent to-do about the recent birth control “mandate” President Obama passed down a few weeks ago. Many of the logical points have been covered: This is not the Catholic States of America; women have a right to choose their own individual morality; no one is forcing anyone to be sterilized, take birth control or wear a condom; churches don’t have to pay for contraception; other denominations have to pay for all kinds of things that violate their conscience, but no one ever complains about Quakers having to pay for wars; and on and on and on… This will not be a long post.
The we-hate-women side has been adamant that “This isn’t about contraception; it’s about religious liberty.” That’s great, because if it were about contraception, they’d lose the eventual vote. The population of the United States, overall, loves contraception and a sixty+ percent majority believes it should be covered by insurance, even by religious organizations.
However, they’ve done us all the favor, if only people would remember their history. The Supreme Court already decided, waaaaay back in 1982, that religious organizations don’t get to choose what their employees believe. In this court case, United States vs. Lee, an Amish employer failed to withhold Social Security monies from his non-Amish employees because he disagreed with Social Security as an institution. The Supreme Court ruled, in plain, simple English that:
“If for example, a religious adherent believes war is a sin, and if a certain percentage of the federal budget can be identified as devoted to war-related activities, such individuals would have a similarly valid claim to be exempt from paying that percentage of the income tax. The tax system could not function if denominations were allowed to challenge the tax system because tax payments were spent in a manner that violates their religious belief … because the broad public interest in maintaining a sound tax system is of such a high order, religious belief in conflict with the payment of taxes affords no basis for resisting the tax.”
Not only does this claim that all of the complaining the Extreme Right does about funding abortion is unconstitutional, it also settles the matter of religious liberty as it relates to birth control. The “broad public interested” is clearly on the side of free contraception.
In case that doesn’t convince the nay-sayers and those turned off by the idea that women might be able to control their bodies, the Court also said that:
“When followers of a particular sect enter into commercial activity as a matter of choice, the limits they accept on their own conduct as a matter of conscience and faith are not to be superimposed on the statutory schemes that are binding on others in that activity.”
So there we go. No person entering into a commercial activity (meaning “any business meant to turn a profit”) can play God to his or her employees. This shatters the Blunt Amendment (which states that any employer can deny coverage for any treatment for any reason) and also provides a decent precedent for telling the other non-church-but-religious organizations that are still protesting where to get off.
This was not meant to be a long post (and, compared to my typical diatribes, I think I did quite well on it). It was meant as a post that I hope many people read and a few pass on. In reality, it will be a post that is long forgotten as the War on Women rages on. No, I am not hyperbolizing. Yes, I do fear for my right to bodily autonomy. Call me a feminazi, call me an alarmist. I’m not sorry and I’m not wrong.