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Free Minds & Free Markets

Does Reproductive Freedom Mean Forcing People to Sin?

Defenders of Obamacare’s contraceptive mandate give short shrift to religious liberty.

Last Friday the Trump administration unveiled regulations that let a wider range of employers claim a religious exemption from the Obamacare mandate requiring health plans to cover birth control. Rep. Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.) responded by invoking The Handmaid's Tale, the Margaret Atwood novel, now a Hulu series, set in a patriarchal dystopia where the government controls women's bodies and forbids them to read, write, or work outside the home.

Lowey is not the only critic of the new regulations who conflates freedom from coercion with a right to forcibly extracted subsidies. Such overwrought reactions obscure the real issue raised by religious exceptions to the contraceptive mandate: When does respect for religious freedom require relieving some people of the obligation to obey rules that everyone else has to follow?

Never, according to the Supreme Court, which in 1990 ruled against Alfred Smith and Galen Black, who were denied unemployment benefits after being fired from their jobs as drug rehabilitation counselors because they used peyote in Native American Church ceremonies. Writing for the majority, Justice Antonin Scalia said letting the First Amendment's guarantee of religious freedom trump a "neutral, generally applicable law" such as Oregon's peyote ban would create "a system in which each conscience is a law unto itself."

That decision rejected the approach that the Court had taken in earlier cases, which required the government to justify substantial burdens on religious freedom by showing that they were the least restrictive means of serving a compelling state interest. The peyote ruling provoked strong criticism from across the political spectrum and inspired the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), which Congress passed nearly unanimously in 1993.

RFRA restored the compelling-interest test that the Supreme Court used until 1990. Although the Court ruled in 1997 that RFRA cannot be constitutionally applied to state and local laws, it is still binding on the federal government, and it was the main basis for legal challenges to the contraceptive mandate.

The American Civil Liberties Union, which immediately filed a lawsuit against the new, broader religious exemption, supported RFRA. Later the ACLU, whose Oregon chapter helped represent Smith and Black, successfully argued that RFRA required religious exceptions to the federal ban on the psychedelic dimethyltryptamine and the U.S. Army's dress and grooming rules.

More recently, however, the ACLU has soured on RFRA, which it describes as "a sword to discriminate against women, gay and transgender people, and others." The organization's birth control lawsuit, which argues that the new rules "give employers license to discriminate against women," does not even mention RFRA. When it comes to religious liberty, it seems, the ACLU draws the line at beliefs that offend progressive sensibilities.

The ACLU claims the new birth control regulations let businesses, nonprofit organizations, and universities "impose their religious beliefs on their employees and students." New York Times columnist Gail Collins likewise thinks beneficiaries of the exemption "are trying to impose their own personal theology on Americans who don't share it."

Contrary to these formulations, employers who do not want to be complicit in what they believe to be sin are not trying to impose anything on anyone. They are trying to avoid the government's imposition of a legal obligation that violates their religious beliefs.

It is hard to see how that imposition can be justified as the least restrictive means of serving a compelling state interest, as RFRA requires. In fact, the Supreme Court already has ruled that it can't, at least with respect to "closely held" private businesses.

Still, Scalia had a point: The government cannot and should not accommodate every religious belief. A sincere belief in the religious necessity of human sacrifice, to use a hoary example, does not require an exception to the definition of murder.

Beyond such easy cases, the justifiable limits to religious freedom are hazier. Pretending that a six-year-old regulation created a fundamental, irrevocable right to free birth control does not get us any closer to figuring them out.

© Copyright 2017 by Creators Syndicate Inc.

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  • Stephen54321||

    The government cannot and should not accommodate every religious belief. A sincere belief in the religious necessity of human sacrifice, to use a hoary example, does not require an exception to the definition of murder.

    How about a more realistic example: Suppose your religion allows for polygamy (e.g. Mormons, Muslims). Does that mean then laws in the US which prohibit polygamy are unconstitutional?

    There are laws in all 50 states which outlaw polygamy. Moreover, (according to Wikipedia's article on "Polygamy in North America":

    [T]he U.S. government won't recognize bigamous marriages for immigration purposes (that is, would not allow one of the spouses to petition for immigration benefits for the other), even if they are legal in the country where bigamous marriage was celebrated. Any immigrant who is coming to the United States to practice polygamy is inadmissible


    Are such policies unconstitutional?

  • SQRLSY One||

    "Are such policies unconstitutional?"

    Yes! If all men are brothers, and all women are sisters, then obviously all of their parents are universally inter-married, and so just about everyone is married to just about everyone, planet-wide! That (planet-wide universal polygamy) means (when combined with marriage to an USA citizen conveying citizenship to the spouse) that Libertopia-at-the-wide-border is at hand, at last!

    I'm going to go dance in the streets now... After that, I'll be in my bunk, waiting, now that it is understood that I am married to everyone...

  • SQRLSY One||

    Libertopia-at-the-wide-OPEN-border is at hand, excuse me... WHY can't spell-check find my omissions?!?!?

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  • Hank Phillips||

    Same reason that keeps you from reading the platform maybe?

  • Netizen_James||

    If we're all in the same 'siblinghood of humanity', then that implies that all marriages are incestuous, not that all marriages are polyamorous.

  • SQRLSY One||

    OK, I stand corrected!

    I'll STILL be in my bunk, though! And that's no bunk! You can take it to the bunk, punk!

  • Leo Kovalensky||

    The real argument is so trite that I hardly want to mention it here, but it is, IMO the correct libertarian position: Government has no role in marriage, other than to uphold any contracts between the two individuals, period.

  • Jen G.||

    Enforcing contracts is too narrow a scope for government's real interest in marriage - which is to ensure that when the economic entity known as a 'family' dissolves that each individual involved in that entity comes out of it with sufficient resources to prevent them requiring public assistance.

    Basically, government should only care about marriage when a couple divorces

  • I am the 0.000000013%||

    I can think of another way to prevent them from requiring public assistance.

    And no, it doesn't involve becoming a lawyer and then promoting civil marriage.

  • Hank Phillips||

    In Howell's primer for Christian Communism, A Traveler from Altruria opens the gate and sets the wedge by asking about eugenics laws: "Then why do you say that you have not legislated personal virtue in America?" he asked. You have laws, I believe, against theft and murder, and slander and incest, and perjury and drunkenness?" Ergo, People's Party, 16th and 18th Amendments, Bernie for prez...

  • C. S. P. Schofield||

    Possibly not. OTOH, they ARE none of the State's goddamned business. Marriage has been entangled in the toils of Government for hundreds, if not thousands, of years, but that doesn't mean that's right. Get government the hell out of the marriage license business, grant tax exemptions only for 'households with minor children', and f*cking move on.

    Or, even better, reduce all taxes (and spending) to the point that it doesn't freaking matter.

    I know; dream on.

  • NoVaNick||

    I have no doubt that we will see anti-polygamy laws successfully challenged if it involves same-sex polygamy.

  • C. S. P. Schofield||

    I'm by no means sure I care. With divorce laws in their current state, polygamy seems a near certain route to economic suicide. Oh, a few optimists or agitators may opt for polygamy, should it become legal, but it ain't gonna be a popular option.

  • EscherEnigma||

    The real use of polygamy would be among the rich 1% that use it to avoid taxes, wills, inheritance and so-on.

  • Netizen_James||

    It is currently the case that the 'real use' of polygamy is to defraud the State out of welfare dollars to support the non-primary wives and children that the 'husband' can't actually afford.

  • Migrant Log Chipper||

    You aren't really this stupid, are you.....never mind that's a stupid question. Yo, Tony, help me out here.

  • Hank Phillips||

    There's one for a Robert Rimmer novel!

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    A sincere belief in the religious necessity of human sacrifice, to use a hoary example, does not require an exception to the definition of murder.

    What if the person volunteers?

  • SQRLSY One||

    No, that won't fly, because your life belongs to The State, AKA The Emperor, The Donald Trump! All must Serve the State! All Hail!

  • vek||

    First thing that popped into my head! What's fucking insane is that some dumb cult could probably find people who would too...

  • Mickey Rat||

    Many moons ago there was a case cannibalism in Germany with a willing victim. The writer for Reason (Julian Sanchez?) covering the case kind of made the argument that this should not have been a crime.

  • SQRLSY One||

    Yes, I was just going to post on that...

    Names were Meiwes and Brandes... Legal consent was all drawn up. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Armin_Meiwes and https://www.theguardian.com/world/ .... (delete me and eat me here) ... 2003/dec/04/germany.lukeharding , "Victim of cannibal agreed to be eaten"... That eats me up pretty badly!

  • SQRLSY One||

    I can NOT find an old reason.com article on this! Can anyone help?

    One web hit that talks about being a Libertarian w/respect to getting all eaten up about this issue, is http://www.telegraph.co.uk/comment/personal-view/ .... (delete me and eat me here) ... 3599907/No-matter-how-you-cut-it-up- .... (delete me and eat me here) ... eating-people-is-simply-wrong.html = = "No matter how you cut it up, eating people is simply wrong" ...

  • SQRLSY One||

    In case anyone might give a hoot about what I think about such things...

    Ever been embarrassed to be seen in public with a crazy relative, girlfriend, boyfriend, etc.? I recall a short-term "true love" of mine yelling at the help at McDonald's, for no good reason, and wanting to crawl under the tables, for example... I did not want to be associated with such behavior...

    When my fellow Libertarians argue for the "freedom" to act as Meiwes did, in total disregard for other values besides individual freedom, I want to crawl behind the furniture, again!

    If you need some tidy legal reasoning to back up your moral instincts in such a case, then... Agreeing to be killed is agreeing to suicide-by-proxy. Suicidal impulses are a form of mental illness, and the consent of the insane is NOT admissible in court. Case closed!

  • SQRLSY One||

    Now that I have had some more time to think about it...

    The MAJOR conclusion is, I ***MUST*** start being WAAAAY more careful about off-hand telling people to "eat me"!!!

  • Eman||

    But since wanting to kill yourself is insane, is the potential eatee competent to consent to that?

  • Hank Phillips||

    The Monty Python lifeboat skit? This has what relevance to mystical bigots using "the coercive exercise" of superstition to again ban condoms and diaphragms and convert the 14th Amendment into Islamic Sharia law? See "The Reluctant Cannibal" (also British) which deals with meatier issues.

  • Hank Phillips||

    So do you want to pay for men with guns to stop them? Would you prefer to be one of the men with guns meddling with their bargain? Some dumb contracts The State can best discourage by neutral non-enforcement. If People's Temple Christians worship cyanide, Scalia worshippers could join them in that Eucharist without upsetting me.

  • Netizen_James||

    Your right to life is inalienable. It is not possible for you to waive it. Even if you want to. Because Big Daddy Church says that suicide is a sin, because 'every sperm is sacred', donchaknow.

  • Migrant Log Chipper||

    Welcome, new prog moron. Troll score 1.2 on the Tony scale, pretty weak effort.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Denying a woman her reproductive rights is pride, which is a cardinal sin. I don't know, it might be envy or wrath. Any of those. Being cheap is a greed, another cardinal sin. You're already behind in the count, sinners. Just pay for their birth control and buy your way into heaven.

  • SQRLSY One||

    "Just pay for their birth control and buy your way into heaven."

    You're implying that he who pays, gets to play, right? "Pay for play", shall we say? If so, I want to pay for the birth control, ONLY of the young, restless, horny, and babe-alicious!

  • loveconstitution1789||

    There is no heaven.

    In the end, people are only playing with themselves.

  • ||

    Government zealots at its teet are some of the most voracious consumers and most vicious in the protection of this teet to mouth connection.
    Peddling government dependency is the real sin. Feminism is just one of the pitches.

  • Leo Kovalensky||

    The really dangerous precedent in all of this nonsense is conflating a person's rights with another person's obligations to pay or provide services to. Nobody is arguing that these women don't have the right to use birth control*. The argument should be whether or not you can compel a private company to provide coverage. That one, at least for a Libertarian, is a no-brainer.

    * Interestingly enough, birth control is a prescription drug (at least in many cases, maybe every case? I honestly don't know.) So... in reality the government is the only one imposing any restrictions on a woman's ability to obtain birth control. Why aren't the feminists marching on Washington in this case?

  • vek||

    That's the thing the left never talks about. Almost no bible thumper nowadays will actually say they think birth control should be illegal... It's just that they don't want to be FORCED against their will to pay for it.

    Those are two VERY different situations. Every time a lefty journalist tries to interview someone on this subject they should say "I don't have a problem with them having birth control, I just don't want to force somebody against their will to pay for it." And that is ALL they should say. If they ask a follow up question, repeat it again. Say literally nothing other than that exactly. Maybe it would sink it after a couple dozen times.

  • NoVaNick||

    The progs don't want birth control to be available over the counter-why, you ask? Because, according to them, poor women won't get medical treatment if they don't have to go to the doctor to get birth control. That's right! Kind of the same argument they use for opposing criminal justice reform when they found out the Koch bros support it-keeping people locked up provides them with three meals a day and a bed to sleep in...

  • Michael Ejercito||

    By opposing criminal justice reform, that means more black men will go to prison.

    When did they stop their concern about the incarceration rates of young black males?

  • NoVaNick||

    There actually was someone at Vox or another one of those prog outlets a couple of years ago who basically wrote that incarceration is a good thing because it helps people who can't help themselves, or something similarly asinine. I don't know if it was meant to be satire or not.

  • Rich||

    letting the First Amendment's guarantee of religious freedom trump a "neutral, generally applicable law" ... would create "a system in which each conscience is a law unto itself."

    Hey! Throw "deeply-held belief" and "compelling government interest" into that mix, too!

  • Rich||

    Oh, and "reasonable"!

  • Qsl||

    The argument should be whether or not you can compel a private company to provide...

    And the answer to that is a tepid yes, whether it be from the Civil Rights Act, resolutely hetero bakeries, or whatever oppressed class appears on the horizon. I don't think there is a way of putting that genie back in the bottle.

    So now you are left with the ramifications, and honestly I think the religious exemption is perhaps the weakest- it is in clear violation of the Equal Protection Clause, and also puts the state in the dubious position of recognizing religions as a protected class. It might be better to scuttle it altogether.

    I would hope however that future mandates might keep this in mind and not make demands of the religious (or anyone else for that matter).

  • Migrant Log Chipper||

    ^^^Exactly this but an emphatic yes. Who gives retards like Tony or the new troll the right to make anyone pay for their free shit. Shouldn't need religion as a reason to tell the idiots to FOAD.

  • Leo Kovalensky||

    Writing for the majority, Justice Antonin Scalia said letting the First Amendment's guarantee of religious freedom trump a "neutral, generally applicable law" such as Oregon's peyote ban would create "a system in which each conscience is a law unto itself."

    I wonder what Scalia's view, as a Catholic, was on children receiving communion?

    I guess it's perfectly fine, smart, and noble to believe that wine transforms into some dead guy's blood, drink up kids!

    Darn those heathens and their foolish belief that using peyote is somehow a religious experience.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Rep. Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.) responded by invoking The Handmaid's Tale, the Margaret Atwood novel, now a Hulu series, set in a patriarchal dystopia where the government controls women's bodies and forbids them to read, write, or work outside the home.
    Because government not forcing insurance companies to pay for women's birth control is the same as having a kept woman, to lefties.

    So glad more Americans are saying enough to lefty bullshit.

  • ||

    Why do lefties have to ruin good shows all the time? Like not giving out free birth control is the same as forcing women to just be around to breed with.

    After the election I read 1984 again because I had not read it since high school, and chances are I just used sparknotes and read the wikipedia page to get by and did not actually think about what Orwell was warning about. Chelsea Clinton claimed how it was important because it warns how someone like Trump is an authoritarian, but holy smokes, it describes a world not too different than where the postmodernist/marxist of the left are taking us. Substitute the Inner Party, Outer Party and the Proles with the victim hierarchy of intersectionality, and it is clear that Orwell's warning about what Marxism will lead to is applicable to the postmodernist ideology. The useful idiots are no longer the proles, but the minorities being promised a better life but the left, despite no evidence the left will help them at all, e.g. see Baltimore, Detroit, deportations under Obama, feminism, LGBTQAUDGEJHDT rights and all of it. And the Doublethink required to keep the whole ideology afloat is astonishing.

  • mpercy||

    "the government controls women's bodies and forbids them to read, write, or work outside the home."

    Sounds like Saudi Arabia or other Middle Eastern country steeped in Islamic tradition. Oh, and no homosexuals there either BECAUSE THEY KILL THEM.

    Yep. The US is a horrible place because some prog-chick is gonna have to pay for her own birth control pills.

  • Stalwart Sam||

    Hazy, indeed. While I am still ambivalent to Trump, I do appreciate this change.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    I find it hilarious that when women get upset about this change and then I mention, "well, male birth control was not being paid for by taxpayers and you women wanted equality", they have a look of rage.

    Some women realizing that they are brainwashed tools- priceless.

  • Stalwart Sam||

    Heh, I can only imagine how they looked after exposing that bit of hypocrisy.

  • FreeRadical||

    It would be so cool! I could sign up with a new company and they would be forced to fix damage on my car from an accident 2 years ago.

  • Stalwart Sam||

    You're being obtuse, and I care not for the sarcasm. Feel free to make your actual point or carry on.

  • EscherEnigma||

    What you talking about? All through college I got my condoms for free.

    That said, when the "make birth control pill" finally hits the market (five to ten years or so), do you have much doubt it'll be covered?

  • Migrant Log Chipper||

    This new Escher sock is not nearly as clever as the old version. Podesta needs to vet his new trolls better.

  • FreeRadical||

    This controversy happens because health insurance is no longer insurance in the classical sense. It used to be statistically-based protection against unforeseen future calamities.

    It has been hijacked to deliver "health care" and welfare.

  • Michael Ejercito||

    If auto insurance were like health insurance....

  • WoodChipperBob||

    If auto insurance were like health insurance, you could pick up a hubcap from the side of the road, buy an insurance policy and they'd have to fix your car. If you were really lucky, the hubcap you found was from a new BMW.

  • Dan S.||

    I can't help but wonder if, had the job those two people were fired from back in 1990 had been anything other than "drug rehabilitation counselors", the court would have stuck with its "least restrictive means" test. They were basically working at propagating the "drugs are evil" storyline, so of course they couldn't continue to do so while acting in a way that falsifies it. But the Court couldn't come out and say that.

  • Hank Phillips||

    Show me a graph of the human population and I'll show you a Malthusian disaster accelerating toward the fan. Isaac Asimov argued that mystical bigots should leave same-sex couples alone WAY before Roe v. Wade stopped coathanger mutilation of girls, on the ground that overpopulation, is a health hazard with serious neighborhood effects. A Black Plague epidemic is not a farfetched comparison. In a world in which girl-mutilating religious terrorists have just recently deployed biological weapons (albeit against expendable Congressmen), I have no problem with government subsidies of pandemic vaccines or birth control. I see both as providing for the common defense, which I value way more than all superstitious cults bundled together.

  • Mickey Rat||

    If you have religious freedom as a principle, you can either invalidate entirely a law that violates it or you can carve out an exception to the law. What you cannot do is is carve out an exception to religious freedom (or any other sort) and still have that freedom.

  • Mickey Rat||

    Nina Lowey: "Not forcing companies giving health insurance benefits to include free contraceptives is akin to being made a breeding slave!"

    Do Progressive women have some strange kinks they are protesting too much about?

  • Lily Bulero||

    I'd love to see the political breakdown on purchasers of 50 Shades of Gray (Grey?)

  • Lily Bulero||

    "When does respect for religious freedom require relieving some people of the obligation to obey rules that everyone else has to follow?"

    There's always the 9th and 10th Amendments to protect "everyone else" - freedom of association, limits on federal power.

    Unfortunately, the 9th and 10th Amendments are shades of their former selves - until "everyone else" can get their rights back, religious people are entitled to insist that at least the 1st Amendment will be respected.

  • mortiscrum||

    The religious freedom argument rings entirely false to me. "Birth control" is not a line item on a healthcare plan. It's just one thing, among many things, that are covered by the plan. There's very little daylight - male that no daylight - between this and an employer telling their employees that they can't spend wages on birth control because the employer "doesn't want to be complicit" in the purchase of birth control.

  • mortiscrum||

    *make

  • Michael Ejercito||

    It is the employer's money, so that means they should have the freedom to decide what to spend it on.

  • mortiscrum||

    No. I just don't agree with that. An employee doesn't become property of the employer just because the latter pays the wages of the former. If the employer is going to buy health insurance for their employees, they can't single out reproductive drugs as something they won't buy - they either purchase health insurance or they don't.

  • Michael Ejercito||

    They absolutely should be able to, just as the employee should be absolutely able to find another employer.

  • mortiscrum||

    Where does that logic end for you? Should an employer be allowed to monitor your sleep habits? Entitled to see a copy of your bank and credit statements so they can check for objectionable purchases?

    If legally allowed to, I simply don't trust the "wisdom of the market" to be wise enough to prevent this from happening. People are not widgets. Companies don't own the workers.

  • WoodChipperBob||

    The logic ends at where people will say "Fuck off slaver" to an employer who says, "Employees will wear sleep monitors, and download their sleep monitor when they clock in in the morning." Employers which make excessive demands will either have to pay more money, or only be able to find the absolute dregs to hire.

  • Dan S.||

    Actually, sleep monitoring of certain employees has been in the news recently. Specifically, employees who have sleep apnea and who operate passenger trains. In that limited situation, it may make sense. I don't operate trains, but I do have sleep apnea, and have a CPAP machine to deal with it. I was recently informed by my insurance company that I need to allow monitoring of its use in order for them to continue paying for it and associated supplies. I didn't feel too good about that.

  • p3orion||

    Here's the job. Here's the pay I am willing to give you, and here is ther health coverage I will buy for you (which includes these items but not those.) If you agree, the job is yours; if not, have a nice day, I'll hire the next applicant.

  • Lester224||

    Nobody who has any sort of religions objection is "forced to pay" for birth control, or more accurately is "forced to offer an insurance plan which covers birth control". All these organizations who object have to do is to fill out a form saying why they don't want to offer such an insurance plan. Then, per Obamacare rules and the Hobby Lobby suggestion, Obamacare takes care of the birth-control portion of the plan. The organizations just don't like it that *anyone* associated with their organization gets coverage for BC.

    If you want to force the federal government to never use your tax dollars for something you don't like then good luck. Billions in bloated defense spending? Can't redirect it.

  • Lester224||

    Hobby Lobby decision, not suggestion. We need an edit button.

  • mpercy||

    My hypothetical is that Congress decides that the bacon cheeseburger is such an iconic Americanism that it passes a law requiring all restaurants, food trucks, delis, etc.--any business selling prepared food--must include bacon cheeseburger on the menu and prepare and serve it when it is ordered. Doesn't matter if it's a halal eatery, a jewish deli, a vegan coffee shop, or a vegetarian Indian restaurant. Gotta make the bacon cheeseburger.

    I expect, especially for the progressives so infatuated with not being anti-Islamic, they find religious exemptions are just the thing needed!

  • Michael Ejercito||

    I wonder why so many progressives have a love affair with militant Islamism.

  • Finrod||

    They're both highly authoritarian.

  • Lester224||

    No co-pay does not equal "free".

    Nun's are not compelled to pay in any way for insurance policies that have birth control covered with no co-pay.

    "The government automatically exempts churches and other places of worship from obligations to provide contraceptive coverage (as well as "closely-held" corporations with religious owners, since the Hobby Lobby case). Non-profit religious organizations can also opt out, but have to fill in a form — the petitioners say that's not good enough, and essentially makes them complicit in providing contraception."

    They don't want to fill out the form, though. The form explains why they don't want to pay in any way for birth control, and it allows them not to pay in any way for any birth control. The form then allows government funds (Obamacare funds) to pay for coverage including any birth control their employees use. They think that makes them "complicit". These non-church non-profits want to control the behavior of their non-religions employees (or else they want to save money - lots of women use birth control pills for non-contraceptive reasons like controlling fibroids).

  • Michael Ejercito||

    That is beside the point.

    there should be no mandates at all.

  • Migrant Log Chipper||

    "fill out the form", ahaaaahaaaahaaaa...you think Lester is a mid level HHS flunkycrat, Mike?

  • Netizen_James||

    Figures you libtardarians would be supporting the theocractic Trump administration forcing their religious prohibitions down everyone's throats through the force of government.

    Wait.....
    What?
    Really? You people are FOR this nonsensical theocratic intrusion into the lives of the American Citizen?
    We license a product called 'health insurance'. Just as there are reasonable regulations which ensure that a product labeled 'bread' is not comprised of 88% sawdust, it is similarly reasonable to regulate the product called 'health insurance' to require such products to include the sensible, pragmatic, and actuarially recommended coverage for birth control. The ONLY reason to be against birth control is an archaic belief in a mythological desert deity. That's it. Nothing else. Does anyone have a 'right' to food which is Halal or Kosher? Does that right give anyone the authority to prohibit the manufacture of pork products for human consumption? Does a business owner have some sort of 'right' to prohibit their employees from using their wages to buy pork products? Can an employer fire an employee for legally consuming pork products on the employees own time in the employee's own home? Of course not. Same thing.

    Stop kow-towing to the religious 'authorities' Jacob. We have separation of church and state here for a REASON. We can not, and should not, allow ecclesiastical (aka 'mythical') considerations to affect our regulations and civil laws.

  • WoodChipperBob||

    So, by your way of thinking, "separation of church and state" also includes "separation of church and corporations" and "separation of church and sole proprietors"?

    "Can an employer fire an employee for legally consuming pork products on the employees own time in the employee's own home?" That is (or should be) a simple matter of contract law - and if you think there's no precedent, you should take a look at some of the requirements the NFL imposes on what its employees (the players) do on their own time.

  • cc2||

    They believe that refusing to pay for something for their employees (like birth control) is the same as preventing the employees from having birth control. Please note that before Obamacare, many employers did not even offer health insurance, so this is nonsense. As a second order of nonsense, the most common birth control, the condom, is very cheap.

  • Siegzon||

    Many of these examples would be avoided if government authority was curtailed. If instead of defining healthcare, they stimulated the healthcare industry without trying to determine what it is. Busybodies all.

  • rmodiz||

    "a system in which each conscience is a law unto itself"

    So long as one doesn't violate the fundamental rights of another, that's the only valid system there is.

  • mjerryfuerst||

    The title of this article is nonsense. Any form of insurance represents a subsidy between people.

  • Eman||

    "a system in which each conscience is a law unto itself."

    That kinda sounds like the point. People forget just how all-encompassing religion was for most of human history. We don't need an amendment to protect people's right to choose how to spend their Sunday mornings or what creation story to believe in. These conflicts between law and religion only exist because of how narrowly we define religion at our present state of enlightenment. The drug war, for instance. Traditionally it was religious, not civic law that told you what was or wasn't acceptable to put into your body; these dumb court battles over whether your desire to eat shrooms is legitimately religious are overreach from the get-go.

  • Eman||

    Also, I'm fucking sick of hearing about the handmaid's tale.

  • Sanjuro Tsubaki||

    Only if I have to pay for it. How many paragraphs did that take?

  • Hank Phillips||

    It was a Republican congress that prohibited peyote in flagrant violation of the First Amendment. This was closely followed by the Jones Five and Ten law making light beer a felony narcotic with a 5-year prison term and a $10k fine worth 15 pounds of gold bullion at 1928 prices. This second Jones Law passed about three days before Bert Hoover put his hand on the government bible to proclaim "We are steadily building a new race"

  • swampwiz||

    The ridiculous thing that undergirds everything is that employers provide health insurance to begin with.

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