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The Supreme Court and the Phony War on Women
(Editor's Note: This column was posted just a few hours after the Supreme Court decision was handed down in the Hobby Lobby case. But because of a technical glitch we were unable to send out our regular newsletter alert informing you the column was on the site. If it feels a tad behind the curve, that's why. Apologies.)
Another shot in what liberals like to call the War on Women has just been fired. It came in the form of the U.S. Supreme Court decision that family-owned companies don’t have to pay for contraception coverage under the Affordable Care Act if it violates the family’s religious beliefs.
As liberals see it, this is a clear-cut case of Republican misogyny toward women. And they don’t plan to let a decision they don’t like go to waste.
The case was brought by Hobby Lobby, a chain of crafts stores, and Conestoga Wood Specialties, which makes wood cabinets. Both companies are owned by Christian families that faced fines in the millions if they refused coverage.
The Affordable Care Act, better known as ObamaCare requires employers to provide female workers with the kind of coverage that pays for a variety of birth control methods. The companies objected to some of the methods saying they amount to abortion, since they may prevent embryos from implanting in the womb. If they provided coverage for those types of contraception, the companies said, they would be complicit in something that violates their religious values.
The ruling was 5-4. All five Justices in the majority were appointed by Republican presidents while the four voting in the minority were appointed by Democrats.
So the battle lines are drawn: for conservatives the decision came down to upholding a federal law that protected Americans against undue intrusion by the government in matters of religion. For liberals, it was about what they see as women’s rights.
Democrats are already using the Court’s decision to rev up the party’s base in advance of the mid-term elections four months away. They knew they were going to have a voter turnout problem in November, given President Obama’s fading popularity. Now they’re hoping the Supreme Court, while handing down a ruling they don’t like, also handed them a gift.
Even though the court's ruling applies to very few women, that didn't stop Nancy Pelosi from calling the decision "an outrageous step against the rights of America's women." Senator Patty Murray said it is "a dangerous precent and takes us closer to a time in history when women had no choice and no voice." Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, who heads up the Democratic National Committee said, “It is no surprise that Republicans have sided against women on this issue as they have consistently opposed a woman’s right to make her own health care decisions.” And Hillary Clinton said, "It’s very troubling that a salesclerk at Hobby Lobby 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.”
This from a woman who wants to be president! It's an unserious remark that earned her two Pinocchios from the Washington Post. But it's not only Ms. Clinton. It's all nonsense, of course, understandable only because Democrats are desperate. It matters, they're saying, who gets appointed to the Supreme Court. It matters what party runs the Senate and gets to vote on those appointments. Too much is at stake for women, so don’t sit home in November, is the message. In other words, the liberal battle plan is: Scare women to the polls.
The problem for Democrats is that while single women make up one of the fastest growing voter demographics in the United States, comprising about 25 percent of the electorate, young women are less likely to vote in midterm elections – just like everyone else.
As a piece in the National Journal pointed out: “A Supreme Court case doesn't necessarily change that: Getting young female voters fired up about a decision is one thing; getting them to vote is another.”
Despite the noise surrounding the High Court's decision, women, of course, can still use contraceptives. (See picture at the top of this column.) They can go out and buy them, using their own money. They have no constitutional right to free contraception. But none of that will stop liberal politicians, rightfully worried about the midterms, from continuing to portray the court's decision as a declaration of war against women.
Liberals understandably were hoping for a different decision from the Supreme Court, one that put what they see as women’s rights over religious rights. The question now before a different court -- the court of public opinion -- is whether a decision they don’t like will turn out to be good news for them come November.