Sunday, February 3, 2013

Massive Number of Lawsuits Seek to Impose Religious Beliefs of Employers on Employees

For Them, Freedom of Religion Means Freedom to Restrict Behavior of Others

As the ACA starts to be implemented the “should-not-be-but-is-controversial" provision that requires employers to include family planning services in employee health care has reared its ugly and divisive head in a multitude of lawsuits.  Employers of all types are trying to avoid offering employees contraception coverage in the rather strange belief that this somehow violates the employer’s freedom of religion.

In recent months, federal courts have seen dozens of lawsuits brought not only by religious institutions like Catholic dioceses but also by private employers ranging from a pizza mogul to produce transporters who say the government is forcing them to violate core tenets of their faith.

Although this Forum has absolutely zero understanding of how using contraception has anything to do with any religion, certainly everyone who believes that such usage is wrong has the right to refrain from doing so.  But that is not what this fight is about.  It is about preventing other who do not share their beliefs from doing so.

“Ninety-nine percent of women use contraceptives at some time in their lives,” said Judy Waxman, a vice president of the National Women’s Law Center, which filed a brief supporting the government in one of the cases. “There is a strong and legitimate government interest because it affects the health of women and babies.”

She added, referring to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “Contraception was declared by the C.D.C. to be one of the 10 greatest public health achievements of the 20th century.”

And while we doubt the 99% number, there is no controversy over the fact that contraception is an important part of women’s health should they use to avail themselves of it.

As for Conservative attitudes, well here is what a prominent supporter of Rick Santorum said during the recently concluded campaign.

Friess also emerged as a prominent traveling surrogate for Santorum and became one of the faces of a new breed of big-money politics in which a single donor can essentially float a presidential campaign with unlimited contributions in outside groups, including super PACs.

But Friess also tripped up Santorum during the height of the primary with a television interview in which he was asked about whether the candidate’s conservative stances on contraception and other cultural issues could pose problems with general election voters.

“I get such a chuckle when these things come out,” he told MSNBC host Andrea Mitchell. “And this contraceptive thing, my gosh, it’s such inexpensive. Back in my day, they used Bayer aspirin for contraceptives. The gals put it between their knees and it wasn’t that costly,” he said in a comment that dominated the news, forcing Santorum to disavow it and Friess to apologize.

And about that so-called apology.

On Friday, Friess said he had no regrets and planned to support Santorum if he ran again and to also support congressional candidates in 2014.

Yes, the issue will go to the Supreme Court, and yes the Court is likely to have its conservative members side with the religious intolerant.  Why?  Because the conservatives consistently impose their own political, moral and personal beliefs on the populace through their decisions.  That’s what Scalia and Company do.  Hadn’t you noticed?

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