Nobody is restricting access to birth control
Within moments of the Supreme Court decision on the Hobby Lobby case, my Facebook page lit up with exclamations of glee, anger, victory and outrage. The rhetoric was so high from all corners, that I decided to delve a little deeper for my own discovery. I started with the definition of the word contraception. It’s origin goes back to the late 19th century from “contra” meaning “against” and “ception” which is a shortened form of conception, or “against conception.”
The Oxford Dictionary defines contraception as: the deliberate use of artificial methods or other techniques to prevent pregnancy.
Merriam-Webster uses a similar definition: deliberate prevention of conception or impregnation.
Hillary Clinton’s response to the ruling declared it “a setback for women’s health, denying women the right to contraceptives as a part of a health care plan.” She added, “It’s very troubling that a sales clerk…who needs contraception, which is pretty expensive, is not going to get that service through her employer’s health care plan because her employer doesn’t think she should be using contraception.”
The Supreme Court decision does not deny women access to contraceptives, as Hillary Clinton would lead us to believe.
There are 20 different contraceptive prescriptions, only four of which did Hobby Lobby object to. Those four include the “morning after pill” which is designed to prevent the implanting of a fertilized egg. The four are “abortion related drugs.” Drugs that terminate an already fertilized egg.
Hobby Lobby never objected to covering birth control. It only objected to paying for what it considers to be abortifacients, which don’t prevent a pregnancy, but terminate one.
This decision does not prevent women from accessing those four prescriptions, only that their employer can not be required to provide (pay for) those four. Hobby Lobby has willingly and will continue to provide the 16 or 80% of the 20 available forms of contraception. No woman is being denied access to any means of preventing conception, only a method or medicine that would in fact abort an existing fertilized egg.
I do not believe this is a Republican or Democratic issue. I do not see it as a War on Women. But I do see it as an example of government overreach, about protecting the First Amendment and religious freedom.
Charles Krauthammer said the real significance of the ruling is the court’s affirmation that, as the government expands, it is encroaching upon religious freedom. “Even when…[the government is] doing stuff unintentionally, has no intention of impinging on religious practice, it will inevitably.” He added, “Especially if you’re going to control a sixth of the economy in the most intimate interaction a citizen has, which is healthcare.”
Another interesting facet to this discussion is that there is no Obamacare contraception mandate. This issue was not covered in the Obamacare Law that was voted on by congress, but instead is a regulation added later by the Department of Health and Human Services. The 2009-10 Congress never debated the question of whether companies can be forced to provide such coverage. The HHS simply asserted they could impose such a requirement. Ramesh Ponnuru of the National Review said, “Several pro-life Democrats who provided the law’s narrow margin of victory in the House have said they would have voted against the law had it included the mandate.
I am in agreement with the Supreme Court decision, but I must admit, I do not feel it is time for celebration and rejoicing. I realize it was a narrow 5-4 ruling. That means that four members of the Supreme Court of the United States did not find this a First Amendment issue and for that I am gravely concerned. I also find it ironic that this ruling was based on the 1993 Religious Freedom Restoration Act signed into law by President Bill Clinton.
The pro-abortion-rights lobby argues that “abortion” and “birth control” are synonymous terms, but that doesn’t make it true.
To those who believe that life begins at the time of conception, it is a huge difference.
Lauren Briggs is the president of the Redlands Republican Women’s Club. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.