New ObamaCare Rules Will Give Broad Exemptions to Religious Employers… but They’re Still Not Happy

Under ObamaCare, churches are already off the hook for covering things like contraception for their employees. They don’t have to do it.

But what about companies like Hobby Lobby, that are owned by religious people?

What about religious universities like Wheaton College? Do they have to cover birth control for their faculty members?

Yesterday, the Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius announced the final version of a compromise between non-profit religious groups and the government:

In short: Religious employers at non-profits (like religious colleges) would not have to pay for things like birth control which they (wrongly) think causes abortions. But their employees would still receive free access to contraception through a third-party insurance provider. So women wouldn’t have to suffer just because their employers want to push their religious views on everyone who works for them.

Sounds like, well, a compromise.

So why are religious groups so upset? The New York Times put it succinctly:

Under the rule, women are to have access to contraceptives without any premium, deductible, co-payment or other fees.

Some religious employers do not want their employees to have coverage of contraceptives, even if someone else pays for it.

Under this [compromise], a nonprofit religious employer must notify its insurer that it objects to contraceptive coverage. The insurer must then notify people in the health plan that it will arrange or pay for contraceptive services as long as they remain in the health plan.

That’s like a vegetarian boss getting mad because someone just offered everyone in the office gift certificates to the Olive Garden.

Anna Higgins of the Family Research Council thinks this new rule is a violation of her rights… somehow:

“Family Research Council strongly opposes the latest regulation that continues to mandate that life-ending drugs and contraceptive services be covered, with no copay, by health plans of businesses and organizations that have serious moral and religious objections. The accounting gimmick HHS continues to require fails to satisfy the religious freedom protections that exist in other current laws and in the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.”

So she’s upset because religious employers will still have to indirectly cover women’s health, because their insurers will let women know they still have access to contraception even if the employers won’t pay for it.

Meanwhile, the Secular Coalition for America is pissed off because this lets religious employers get off easy:

“This disappointing rule change sets a terrible precedent for religious interference in individual choice,” said Edwina Rogers, Executive Director of the Secular Coalition for America. “This exemption gives employers the ability to impose their particular religious beliefs on employees, infringing on the religious freedom of potentially millions of Americans.”

Hobby Lobby, not a non-profit and therefore not part of the new exemptions, is still suing to make sure their employees have no access to contraception whatsoever. While an Appeals Court has said they don’t have to pay a fine for the time being, I absolutely loved this line from one of the judges:

“Hobby Lobby and Mardel have drawn a line at providing coverage for drugs or devices they consider to induce abortions, and it is not for us to question whether the line is reasonable,” the judges wrote. “The question here is not whether the reasonable observer would consider the plaintiffs complicit in an immoral act, but rather how the plaintiffs themselves measure their degree of complicity.”

Paraphrased: These people believe things that make no sense at all… but their level of delusion isn’t on trial here.

At least the ACLU is supportive of the new rules:

“Today’s announcement is a win for civil liberties,” said Sarah Lipton-Lubet, American Civil Liberties Union policy counsel. “With this rule, the administration continues to stand by women and our families and refuses to let employers use religion to discriminate. As the fight over the contraception rule moves through the courts, the ACLU will continue to stand up for the right to make decisions about birth control based on our own beliefs, not our bosses’.”

Some religious employers won’t be satisfied until they have complete control over the sex lives of their employees. The Obama administration may have given religious groups more exemptions than they deserve, but they’re making sure women employed by religious fanatics in non-profits and hospitals and schools aren’t subject to archaic, harmful ideas of what health care should be limited to. We can celebrate that without giving them a pat on the back over how they achieved it.

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.

  • observer

    “You’ve confused a war on religion with not always getting everything you want.”
    ~ Jon Stewart

  • Lori F

    It really shouldn’t matter. If their employees are Christian they won’t want to have birth control. So some of these companies are collecting fines [Hobby Lobby] for no reason.

    • Gordon Duffy

      If only they were collecting fines, then their tantrum would be contributing to society.

    • niemzo

      Most Christians do use birth control. Even most Catholics do.

      • http://parkandbark.wordpress.com/ Houndentenor

        I was raised Southern Baptist and never once did I hear anyone denounce birth control from the pulpit. In fact my mom was on the pill once she’d had all the children she intended to have. Most Christians are not against birth control. Just Catholics and some of the more extremist fundamentalist sects.

        • JET

          My Catholic mother started using birth control after #7 came along only eleven months after #6.

        • Nicole

          I was raised Catholic and all of my family still considers themselves Catholic. Most of the Christian’s I know outside of my family are Catholic – I’ve never met a Catholic who was against birth control. The beliefs of your everyday Catholic (at least in the Liberal-land that is Massachusetts) are very different from those of the church.

          • Laura D

            Agreed. I was raised Catholic in a very Catholic area of the county. Almost every single person I know is in favor of birth control. The Catholic Church is against it, but most people who identify as Catholic are not.

    • Michael W Busch

      Do not fall into the No True Scotsman trap.

  • Dorothy

    makes me proud and glad to be Canadian

  • Gordon Duffy

    For people who complain about other groups demanding “special rights” for their “lifestyle choices” the religious right sure loves a helping of special rights. And unlike the other groups the religious special rights are not just equal treatment.

  • Zugswang

    I guess I just don’t understand the desire to have such invasive control over other peoples’ lives. But then, I’ve never thought myself to be an avatar of the almighty.

    I’m glad that this will ensure that all women have equal access to sound medical care – so long as they stay the hell away from Catholic hospitals.

    • JET

      It’s always women’s lives. Where are the religious groups protesting against men being able to get vasectomies without some invasive, useless, demeaning procedure beforehand? Doesn’t the Bible have a lot to say about the sacredness of one’s seed?

      • Scott_In_OH

        The Catholic Church opposes vasectomies and doesn’t want health insurance to cover them for their employees (or employees of Catholic universities, hospitals, etc.). I like to point this out when someone spouts the nonsense that BC is cheap, so everyone should be able to pay for it themselves. Vasectomies (and tubal ligations) aren’t cheap. The Church simply opposes birth control of any kind.

  • Raising_Rlyeh

    “Hobby Lobby and Mardel have drawn a line at providing coverage for drugs or devices they consider to induce abortions, and it is not for us to question whether the line is reasonable,”

    Yes, we do have the right to question if the line is reasonable. We have a right to question if someone else’s idiotic, unscientific beliefs should be forced onto anyone else. I would ask the judge if it would be acceptable for a Jehovah witness ran business to say that they will not cover blood transfusions. Would it be ok to say that we cannot judge a company that does not want to pay for insurance that will cover accidents that occur on whatever they consider to be the sabbath?

    • Thisblogisfullofidiots

      You’re last hypothetical question doesn’t make sense yo. Do some research for a change.

      I think it’s interesting how atheists try to project old testament rules onto Christians. CLEARLY, if you knew ANYTHING about Judaism or Christianity, you would know that the OT rules are for the Jews and NOT for Christians.

      While the NT authors and characters take place in a Jewish setting, the converted believers are NOT JEWISH! Therefore, those OT rules DONT APPLY!

      Amazing how everyone shuns a religion that they are ignorant about and yet, you’re supposed to be the informed smart one.

      Good grief! I’m seeing a lot of poor attempts at analogy writing on this board lately, so I’ll make one up too:

      You bashing Christianity, is like me saying that I don’t like peanut butter, having never truly tasted it. I would be ignorant on the subject and yet I would be claiming that I have the correct opinion, based on some great, self-proclaimed knowledge that makes my opinion somehow better than yours (if you were a peanut butter lover).

      Your attempt at trying to project one religion’s beliefs onto another religion shows your true, uninformed colors. Try becoming informed on a subject before you denounce it. Wow.

      • fett101

        You realize that Jewish people can own businesses, right? The hypothetical situation given didn’t specify any religion otherwise they wouldn’t have used the phrase “whatever they consider to be the sabbath” .

        • Ewan

          “You bashing Christianity, is like me saying that I don’t like peanut butter, having never truly tasted it.”

          Many of the (particularly US based) posters here are recovering christians.

      • stop2wonder

        Christian Privilege at work here. Raising_Rlyeh make a general statement that can apply to more than one religion and this guy assumes it was directed only at Christians.

      • Em

        “CLEARLY, if you knew ANYTHING about Judaism or Christianity, you would
        know that the OT rules are for the Jews and NOT for Christians.”

        Aren’t the Ten Commandments in the Old Testament?

        • Jasper

          Technically, there is a point (I think in Matthew) where Jesus is asked which commandments to keep. Murder, theft and something else, if I recall, were the ones he specified

      • C.L. Honeycutt

        If you had actually read comments on this board before, or were even up on arguments on religion, you’d know that everything you wrote has already been well refuted. You’re a pretty bad liar. Yo.

  • DougI

    There’s no pleasing fundies. They think they are being persecuted by providing health care to their employees. It’s obvious employers like Hobby Lobby resent their employees if they protest having to provide them with health care.

    • http://parkandbark.wordpress.com/ Houndentenor

      For decades I argued against single-payer health insurance with my more liberal friends, but more and more it seems the only way to deal with these issues.

      • sk3ptik0n

        Yes, the best thing for everyone would be to take employers out of the equation. It’s a competitive burden on them, it creates discrimination and ultimately it doesn’t work. After an expensive surgery, I still was saddled with over $20K worth of bills. Once I started fighting them one by one we discovered 3 bills ($400, $2,000 and $4,000 each) that were already paid for by the insurance company but sent to collection anyway. The rest were also the fruit of mistakes and wrong billing and my actual out of pocket was little more than $2K.
        I almost declared bankruptcy before I decided to look into this.
        It’s not that under universal insurance billing errors would not happen, but there would be the assumption that someone is paying for it already, rather than the current assumption that the patient is responsible unless an insurance provider is involved.

        By the way, on at least two of those bills, the error was intentional and SOP for those health institutions. I could have sued them but at the time I didn’t have the energy. I can only imagine how many victims they ruined.

        • http://parkandbark.wordpress.com/ Houndentenor

          Planet Money did a story on this recently. Based on several studies and reports, your story is the rule, not the exception. What we have now is insanity. This isn’t a system. Systems work. This is a nightmare of inefficiency, corruption and fraud. Was it really a mistake that you were billed for something your insurance company already paid for? I’m not willing to give any medical biller the benefit of the doubt since more than once I’ve had a bill turned over the collections before they even put the bill in the mail. I’ve been told to schedule a “free” physical that cost over $200. fortunately I haven’t been seriously ill but I dread the fights with the insurance company and health care providers more than the illness itself. It shouldn’t be this way.

      • http://rolltodisbelieve.wordpress.com/ Captain Cassidy

        That’s where I am too. I’d lived in Japan and Canada and hadn’t been all that impressed with their systems, but looking at the medical landscape in the US now, I know now that those countries were right all along. We’re in the middle of a national nightmare. I can’t see how the ACA will help–it’s nice, but ultimately it’s just adding another insurer to the mix. We need a single-payer system and we need it now. I wonder how long we’ll muddle along with this system till the real solution becomes obvious even to the GOP.

    • http://www.agnostic-library.com/ma/ PsiCop

      Re: “There’s no pleasing fundies.”

      If I may point out, that’s not entirely true. It’s possible to please them. It’s VERY possible. You do it by totally capitulating to all their demands, and by converting on-the-spot. Just keep saying “I accept Jesus as My Personal Lord and Savior” over and over again, punctuated by a few “Praise Gods!”, not to mention the occasional recitation of John 3:16.

      It’s not something I recommend anyone do, but it IS possible.

      • C.L. Honeycutt

        I want to upvote this, but it’s skeeving me out too much just thinking about it.

        • http://www.agnostic-library.com/ma/ PsiCop

          Sorry to have ruined your day. I’ll try better next time! ;)

  • Miss_Beara

    Religious freedom does not mean forcing your religion on others, especially when it comes to health care. If it were Muslims demanding changes, Christians would be irate. I am so tired of this shit. They don’t care that many women take it for health reasons, they are under the delusion that it causes abortions. It is 2013 for fuck’s sake. This country oftentimes disgusts me.

    • WallofSleep

      Indeed, I grow weary of this nonsense myself. I say we find another habitable planet, and quickly.

  • MG

    PLEASE stop calling PPACA “ObamaCare”! The term is rightwing shorthand meant to show contempt for the president and the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. (That said, I personally am against 100% cost-free contraception. If I have copays for my actual and immediate life-saving drugs, why not moderate copays for birth control?)

    • niemzo

      Because it makes economic sense for the state to prevent any unwanted conceptions?

    • Artor

      I am not a wingnut, but I do have contempt for the ACA, and will continue to call it ObamaCare, unless I use the more accurate RomneyCare. I had been hoping for something useful, like universal, single-payer health care, or at least the gov’t option. I was tremendously disappointed when the much-needed reform got watered down to what is essentially a love letter to the insurance industry.

    • http://rolltodisbelieve.wordpress.com/ Captain Cassidy

      Because free contraception dramatically lowers the number of unwanted pregnancies and thereby the number of both abortions and births, and thereby the number of children you, personally, MG, end up supporting through welfare. Ever hear the saying “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”? This isn’t the Dark Ages. Texas discovered to its detriment a year or so ago that removing contraception help from its welfare net resulted in hundreds of thousands of dollars in child welfare payments shortly thereafter.

      Free contraception helps you, personally, MG, a lot more than it hurts you.

    • baal

      “why not moderate copays for birth control?”
      Because it’s good public policy to have rational family planning. Not only does it reduce the cost to the State, it’s humane to the citizens. Almost any burden including even a modest copay reduces the use of contraception. If I were king, we’d have free condom distribution at every gas station and fast food store.

    • C.L. Honeycutt

      Completely agreed on the PPACA, but not on the copays, for the reason that baal describes: free contraception actually costs everyone less than births do.

      As to copays for necessary medicine, from a humane standpoint, those should be easier to get. I have no idea if the contraception and social cost argument works there also, though.

  • Savoy47

    This is an opportunity for a secular business to file an equal protection suit. We need to fight against religious privilege by demanding secular inclusion. These situations give us a chance to present a well reasoned argument against religious privilege to the public at large. Right now the discussion in the media is about contraception, health insurance, religious liberty and the employer / employee relationship. Secular organizations should at a minimum be pumping out press releases about the religious privilege issue too.

    When reason is on stage next to unreason the contrast amplifies both positions. We look more reasonable and they look more unreasonable. Every time an opportunity like this presents itself someone from our side needs to climb up on that stage. Look at what happened when one person said, “I’m actually an atheist” on the news. People say that a lot on TV but it was contrasting that with, “You got to thank the lord, right” that made the difference this time.

  • Ton_Chrysoprase

    This garbage has been going on un-checked for way to long! I resent both the infantile use of language and the total absence of a coherent argument.
    On the former, life-ending drugs is either a moronic euphemism or arguably include antibiotics, which end the lives of billions of bacteria.
    On the latter, paying for health insurance that includes the option of accessing contraceptives is morally 100% equivalent to paying a salary that can be used to buy OTC contraceptives.

  • Hat Stealer

    This is just so insane. The extent to which these employers want to invade and control their worker’s lives is insane. The fact that they don’t realize this is insanely unconstitutional is insane. This is no different than if a Muslim employer demanded that his workers not eat pork.

    • http://parkandbark.wordpress.com/ Houndentenor

      Imagine if a business owned by a Jehovah’s Witness refused to offer insurance that covered blood transfusions!

      • JET

        Or faith healing!

        • http://parkandbark.wordpress.com/ Houndentenor

          Imagine your employer practices Christian Science and forbids the taking of any medications on the premises.

          • Laura D

            Or won’t send you to a hospital for a on-the-job injury because God will heal you?

    • Rob

      Stop forcing the employer to pay for health-care and the whole problem will go away on its own. Give the choice back to the individual.

      I remember going to the doctor (without insurance) and getting a broken arm fixed for $30. Paid the doctor directly. Insurance companies have really screwed things up for us.

  • http://parkandbark.wordpress.com/ Houndentenor

    Let’s break this down. They aren’t getting a bill for an abortion, which is what they make it sound like. The requirement is that the insurance they offer have family planning as a component. And while we’re at it, what percentage of the insurance is Hobby Lobby actually providing? We shouldn’t have to ask our employers in the job interview about their religious beliefs? Why should their religion affect my health insurance?

  • indorri

    Of course it’s the FRC. Theocrats, the lot of them.

  • eric

    Ironically for these religious protestors, the compromise they’ve forced moves us closer to socialized medicine, because it puts in place a direct requirement for health insurance companies to go beyond what their contract with the employer requires.

    As to the comments about how they want control over their employees lives, how is this at all surprising? Ambrose Bierce pointed this out in the 1800s: “CHRISTIAN, n. One who believes that the New Testament is a divinely
    inspired book admirably suited to the spiritual needs of his neighbor”

    • WallofSleep

      Ah, The Devil’s Dictionary is a truly inspired body of work.

      http://www.thedevilsdictionary.com/

    • Rob

      I don’t think it really has anything to do with “control over their employees lives”. It’s all about what their money (the money the business pays directly to the insurance company) is going to support. I don’t think they really care what their employees do or don’t do. But to that end, we could never pay taxes knowing that the money is used for killing people with drones, secret service trips to strip clubs, and the government collecting all our communications to use against us sometime in the future (etc).

  • rwlawoffice

    What atheists call religious privilege is really freedom of religion that is expressly protected among first protections in the first amendment to the constitution. If you don’t like that amend the constitution to get it removed. Until then, it is a right that deserves protection. Forcing a company or an individual to do something that goes against their religious beliefs is unconstitutional unless the government can meet the standard to show that the intrusion is warranted.

    So it really doesn’t matter what you think about birth control, if you think that birth control causes abortions or doesn’t. It really doesn’t matte if you think that belief is silly. The fundamental premise here is that people hold those sincerely held religious beliefs and their right to do so cannot be infringed upon lightly or without the government meeting its standard of proof.

    • Michael W Busch

      Freedom of religion applies to individuals, not companies, and in any case does not include denying necessary healthcare to other people (and contraception is very much necessary healthcare). There is your standard of proof. Cut the nonsense.

    • http://stevebowen58.blogspot.co.uk/ Steve Bowen

      Individuals who have a religious objection to bith control have the right not to use birth control. They do not have the right to tell other people how to use their health insurance. Companies do not have freedom of religion rights.

      • WallofSleep

        “Corporations are people, my friend.”

        • http://stevebowen58.blogspot.co.uk/ Steve Bowen

          So was lassie :)

          • blah

            No, lassie was a dog last a checked. Not a person.

            • http://stevebowen58.blogspot.co.uk/ Steve Bowen

              To you maybe…to you.

            • C.L. Honeycutt

              She* was more of a person than those blastocysts that RW keeps claiming are being murdered in between his defenses of Ugandans who want to murder gays and bigots who want to monopolize services and deny them to minorities.

              *Actually “he”, but hey.

    • sk3ptik0n

      You know that game where you have to place your hands and feet on colored dots? You know how funny people look when they play it?
      That’s what your argument looks like.
      We are not forcing people to use birth control. We are not saying “EVERYONE ON THE PILL. NOW!”
      We are saying that every worker is equal in the eyes of the law and they have an expectation to receive the same benefits regardless of where they work.
      I am against Churches being able to skip this requirement in the case of their accountants, janitors and the rest. They are not clergy. If they found work at the warehouse down the street they would be entitled to those services from their PRIVATE insurance company. But that employees of a non religious company are to be subjected to the same restrictions is unthinkable.
      It’s a dangerous slippery slope that with the US becoming more and more integrated can only spell trouble.

      What if one of those “Pray the illness away” morons owned a business and decided that they refused to pay for health insurance at all and instead send their employees to prayer sessions?
      Is that allowable? And don’t think those people wouldn’t if given half a chance. After all they impose prayer on their children, some of whom are sent to an early trip to meet their maker. They, as adult have every right to use any method they want to cure themselves, but they don’t have the right to impose it on their children. It’s what we call child abuse.

      So no. It’s not “freedom of religion”. It’s freedom to impose your religion and as such illegal, immoral and perverted.

    • Gordon Duffy

      Freedom for your boss to impose their religion on you. How is that freedom of religion for employees?

    • http://parkandbark.wordpress.com/ Houndentenor

      What about the rights of the employees. Are we now going to have to ask every potential employer about their religious views and how they might impact our lives? Will they be required to provide a list of things we won’t be able to do so as not to violate their rights? Will I have to pay out of pocket for a blood transfusion because my boss is Jehovah’s Witness? Can a Christian Scientist Employer refuse to allow any medications to be taken within working hours? What is the limit of this so-called right for employers to force employees to abide by their religious beliefs?

    • WallofSleep

      Some women actually need birth control pills to help regulate horrible hormonal fluctuations that can cause severe health problems. I’ve dated one such woman for a while. At any rate, your argument is crap.

    • eric

      An employer’s religious freedom lets them decide what their plan covers. It does not include the right to dictate what some other corporation (like, say, a health insurance agency) offers to your employees independently of your plan.
      What you want is a form of corporate slavery, where the employer controls the (completely independent) purchase choices of its employees.

    • WoodyTanaka

      No, the question of whether and how the First Amendment applies to this case has not been decided. If this is a corporation, I don’t see how it applies at all, because corporations, being non-human “persons” have no religious beliefs. If any particular officer is unhappy with the mandate, he can resign his position with the corporation and do something else.

      Further, I don’t see how the business owner’s religion is implicated at all, because he is not acting, in that context, as a religious believer, but as a wholly and completely secular employer. If his religious belief does not permit him to act in such separate capacities, he is entitled to not hire anyone. The only question is whether the state would enforce a business owner’s demand that the employees follow the employer’s religious beliefs.

    • http://rolltodisbelieve.wordpress.com/ Captain Cassidy

      How does a guy whose name hints at the legal profession know so little about the issue he’s blathering about?

      • C.L. Honeycutt

        He’s one of those lawyers who is a professional liar, twisting word meanings to get what he thinks is a winning argument. He just isn’t competent enough to realize that courtrooms and debate chambers aren’t the same thing, even when it’s explained that he isn’t fooling people and should try using actual arguments.

    • baal

      Companies are not people, my friend. That your religion demands that folks who do not follow your religion suffer is not a good thing. The entire concept of governance is that ‘we the people’ can and should stop other ‘we the people’ from hurting us.

  • WallofSleep

    “Some religious employers do not want their employees to have coverage of contraceptives, even if someone else pays for it.”

    So it’s not about them not wanting to participate in or sanction an act they consider ‘sinful’, it’s really about them wanting to control women? Gosh, who knew?

    • Billy Bob

      Everyone who actually gave this issue even the smallest amount of thought.

  • Doy Bowers

    It’s really a shame the amount of B.S. these clowns get away with in the name of some kind of “Religious Mythology”. They don’t have to pay taxes and now they are exempt from the new healthcare laws.

  • Katydid80

    I am still waiting for a Jehovah’s Witness (even someone “newly converted”) who sues because he/she doesn’t want to cover blood transfusions. Seriously – can’t someone do that, just for the fun of watching the religious nutjobs try to circumvent their own reasoning?

    • http://rolltodisbelieve.wordpress.com/ Captain Cassidy

      I’m wondering why these “conscience exceptions” only ever apply to abortion. You *never* see someone using these exceptions to refuse to offer Viagra, condoms, or transfusion/transplant assistance. It’s always abortion. I’m really hoping that as their delusions become more publicized and people begin to realize just how these exceptions get abused to try to eliminate women’s right to abortion, that this fight backfires bigtime for the zealots.

      • Rob

        The other issues you mention don’t involve killing someone. Abortion is seen as ending a life (murder) and many people want no part of it. There’s a huge difference. I think that’s the bottom line.

        • http://rolltodisbelieve.wordpress.com/ Captain Cassidy

          Ugh, I’m sorry, responded to the wrong thing. The other issues I mention are still really important to the religions that insist upon them. If someone feels that abortion is “murder,” that person is welcome not to get an abortion, but it’s the legal law of the land for the rest of us.

          • Rob

            True, it’s legal. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t an obvious crime against humanity. A lot of horrific things are done “legally” in this world, that doesn’t mean it’s okay.

            • http://rolltodisbelieve.wordpress.com/ Captain Cassidy

              You’re still missing the point–that to a lot of religions, a lot of medical things are horrific and done legally. (Why the scare quotes? It’s not “legal.” It’s LEGAL.) But exception clauses are *ONLY* done to prevent women from accessing the full range of health care available to them. That’s it. No other reason. Nobody ever uses them to deny a lifesaving transfusion to someone, or to deny a man the use of erectile dysfunction drugs, or to deny a couple fertility. Yet those things are each things that some religions regard as horrific and nobody seems to have “conscience” problems with it (scare quotes because frankly, I don’t think conscience is involved at all; it’s about forcing one’s morality onto others and trying to control their actions and especially to express displeasure with them).

              And abortion’s not horrific. It’s a medical procedure that ends a pregnancy when a woman does not wish to have a baby. It’s legal, it’s way safer than having an actual baby, and it’s rather telling that you seem fine with the idea that someone is exercising their “conscience” at the end of the process when those same people’s “conscience” is just fine with perpetuating the social ills and dysfunctions that cause women to abort babies in the first place. To paraphrase something Rachel Maddow recently said – anti-abortion laws will not make women’s lives better at all or improve the dysfunctions that cause unwanted pregnancies. Those problems are still there, and it’s weird that people don’t seem to have consciences long before a woman turns up at a clinic needing a drug to help her.

              • Rob

                I, like almost everyone, are all for women having all the rights they possibly can. In fact I’m sure if we sat down and talked about it, I would actually promote more freedom and rights for women then even you would (just a overreaching presumption, I know). But the issue which is ALWAYS brushed aside is the rights of the baby who is being killed. It takes two to make a baby, three to make an abortion. The mother’s comfort, threat of lifestyle change, or presumed future hardship doesn’t justify killing another person. The mother is NOT the only person involved.

                Nearly 3500 people are killed daily through legal abortion. That’s a 9-11 tragedy every single day under the pretense of Women’s Rights.

                “Abortion’s not horrific” – by that I’m assuming you haven’t seen one done. You wouldn’t say that if you had any first-hand experience whatsoever. You’re in denial, or blissful ignorance like the bulk of the population.

                • http://rolltodisbelieve.wordpress.com/ Captain Cassidy

                  If that fetus’ (not baby’s, sorry, medical inaccuracy there) putative rights depend upon it utilizing another human being’s body, then that human being gets the right of consent to that use just like she gets the right to consent or not consent to sexual uses of her physical body. Do you advocate forced organ donation, too? I mean, if I refuse to give a kidney to someone, that person might die–do my rights end whenever someone else would benefit from harvesting me? How about forced blood donation? People die from not getting enough blood, too. Every time you miss a blood donation appointment, you could be condemning someone to die. Do you think the law should demand we goose-march people down to the clinics to give blood every 6 weeks without fail? I mean, it’d save lives, and it’s a lot less invasive than a human being crawling up your ass for 9 months and using your very own organs, tissues, and bone to build itself a new body. And you are into saving lives. Right? So why aren’t you advocating forced organ and blood donation, but you’re totally comfortable with advocating something way more invasive, painful, expensive, and cruel?

                  You are negating the hundreds of physical risks and outrageous financial burdens that you’re blithely forcing upon a woman in the name of your medical inaccuracy. It’s not “comfort”. “Comfort” would be a pair of Crocs versus heels. That’s a dog-whistle word used by forced-birthers who regard gestation as sacred and want to minimize the woman’s very real sacrifices in bearing that pregnancy. You are minimizing my body and I don’t appreciate it. Way more realistically, pregnancy is a risk of death and dozens of life-changing, life-altering physical dangers. Do you regard not wanting to assume those risks as desiring “comfort”? Do you regard the desire to avoid a possible bankruptcy (most of them are due to medical issues, and a pregnancy can be super-expensive), loss of one’s job, loss of one’s primary relationship, and more to be “comfort”? Wow. That’s inhuman.

                  Why don’t you advocate measures that actually *DO* lower abortion? Those pills you’re so unhappy about prevent conception. Unwanted pregnancy causes elective abortion. So you should be looking at how to prevent unwanted pregnancy. Sex education, adequate access to contraception, de-stigmatizing of sex, and giving women more tools to control their fertility. That’s what does it. You know what doesn’t? Criminalization and public censure (those “conscience” exceptions you like). That doesn’t work at all. But you’re not really trying to lower abortion rates, are you? Otherwise you’d be desperate to try what really works.

                  And why don’t you keep making assumptions about my past and what I’ve seen? Does it make you happy? Would it shock you to learn I was once a forced-birther too, and that I was all the way up until I saw a “Crisis Pregnancy Center” training manual and realized just how filled with lies and manipulations (like your use of “baby” rather than “fetus” and your minimization of a woman’s body and risks) it was, and realized that the real goal of forced-birthers is NOT lowering of abortion rates, but controlling women? Is that really the camp you want to put yourself in?

                • Rob

                  I’m sorry you’ve had a hard past. I really am. (That’s not sarcastic, but truthful). Perhaps “hard” doesn’t even do it justice.

                  And also, for women who have had abortions in their past, I truly have no ill will and sincerely hope they can get help with the tremendous emotional and physical stress that almost always follows the decision to carry this out. But I simply can’t see how a greedy billion dollar industry like this, who’s only purpose is to brutally dismember, torture, and kill unsuspecting humans, should be allowed to do these atrocity to the women of our society. We’re smarter than this, aren’t we? Isn’t this 2013?

                  Strangely, we’ll go to bat to protect every living thing on the planet. “Seals can’t protect themselves”, “No more testing on animals”, “burn the fur factories”, “chickens need to be free-range, it’s inhuman”. But for our own defenseless offspring, we don’t mind doing things that would literally make us puke – as long as we don’t have to watch.

                  Just because we can’t hear them scream, doesn’t mean they aren’t. I don’t know how you can, in good conscience, defend this barbaric industry for one second knowing what it is doing to our country’s women and girls.

                • http://rolltodisbelieve.wordpress.com/ Captain Cassidy

                  Uh, abortion regret syndrome is a LIE. Even in the late 80s as the forced-birthers were trying their best to force that through, no study has shown that women regret having abortions. Considering 1 in 3 has had an abortion, that’d be a lot of regret, wouldn’t it? It must make you crazy to think that most of us don’t regret our decision. We made the right one for the situation we were in. Save the fake sympathy. I don’t really care if are or aren’t sorry for my “hard past.” (And who says it was hard? Assuming again, are we? Does it make you happy to imagine I had a “hard past”? What if I didn’t?)

                  You are eagerly misstating what abortions are and grossly misstating fetal development (you do realize that most abortions are done before a fetus is even technically a fetus, right? Before 9 weeks), and you are still missing the point. My body is at stake. MY BODY. My right to consent to each and every invasion of my body is what you are talking about. My right to decide if I will be harvested, utilized, and tortured against my will. My right to self-determination is at stake here. You are making a lot of noise and moving a lot of goalposts here to equate MY BODILY INTEGRITY with seals and chickens. It’s okay to enslave me to another being if that being is small and cute and might cry if I refuse. It’s okay to override my consent over my body if it’ll benefit someone else. And that is such bullshit. Would you be so blithe if you were the one about to get an organ ripped out against your will to save someone’s life? Would you be so eager to impose your will upon women if a 9-month-long rape were legalized for men and you had to submit to it upon demand as an occasional accidental consequence of, say, driving your car? Hell no, you wouldn’t put up with that. But you’re quick to demand women be forced to do that.

                  And you still don’t get it, do you? There are measures that actually work to reduce the number of abortions. You are not advocating a single one of those. You’re advocating things that will only hurt your cause and cause abortion rates to remain high, because deep down, women know they own their bodies and nothing you can say erases that fact. You want abortion lowered? Then advocate what works. But you don’t. You just want sex to be scary. You want to control women’s bodies and you can’t. You use scary totally wrong rhetoric, misuse words, misstate situations, make wild assumptions, and NONE OF IT MATTERS BECAUSE YOU ARE STILL WRONG. You want abortion criminalized and us poor widdle sluts to get therapy for all our poor widdle emotional distwess cuz we just don’t know what we’re doing, poor widdle sluts that we are. Fuck that. I’m a person, and I get to consent to each and every use of my body. If I decide to allow another being to put me at huge physical risk for 9 months, awesome. If I don’t, I have the right to refuse the use of my body by another for any reason or no reason at all. Doesn’t matter if that person is a big grown man with a penis wanting to sex me up, or if that person is a little bitty fertilized egg the size of the dot over an “i” in my post. What are you not understanding about that? You get that right as a matter of course, so why are you not allowing women that right?

                  I wish you could understand how inhuman and cruel your viewpoint is, how dehumanizing it is of actual real live women, and how controlling that attitude is. But I do hope you’ll stop deluding yourself into thinking you’re some paragon of women’s rights advocacy, because if you don’t give us the most basic right there is, the right of consent, you’re the same as all the other misogynists who want us chained to our biologies and locked away in a kitchen.

                • Rob

                  Wow, talk about assumptions. I don’t know where to even start with this thread. With posts like these you must get paid by the word or something.??

                  I’ll leave you with this. I am an advocate for women’s rights – more than you’ll ever know. I just happen to think that ALL women need the same rights, not just the big ones.

                  Peace.

                • http://rolltodisbelieve.wordpress.com/ Captain Cassidy

                  Oh, okay, so you’re totally selective about what rights you’re willing to give people. Some women get more rights than others. Obviously unwillingly pregnant women might as well be zombies, just ambulatory incubators, for the months they are being violated against their wills. That is so disgusting. You really weren’t listening at all. Do you realize I am in fact a woman whose personal freedom is at stake here, while you are a man whose bodily consent will never, ever be questioned? Do you realize that you have so far absolutely refused to even *try* to imagine what it’s like for someone else to try to force you to endure a bodily violation against your will? That’s what evil is, the dogged refusal to even attempt to find empathy. I am a real flesh and blood woman. I have rights. You can’t override those without making yourself a monster. You could not rape me, for example. You cannot force me to donate my blood or organs to you. And you are a real person. A fetus, which cannot even exist without building itself out of a woman’s own body, which cannot even function without impinging on my hospitality and all but destroying my life, certainly has even fewer rights than you do. Why don’t you wrap your head around that? If your life depended upon using my body, it’s my call whether or not you get to use it. Period.

                  But no, to you, if the person at risk is small and cuddly and cute, then my human rights go out the window, superseded by the small, cute, and cuddly person’s rights. That is sick.

                  You tried to silence me, minimize me, dehumanize me, and belittle me. You flat out lied to me about “regret.” You misstated what most abortions involve. You ignored that your slut-shaming tactics and desire to criminalize abortion DOES NOT WORK TO REDUCE THE RATE OF ABORTIONS, which proves to me that you’re not in this thing to save babies at all but to hurt and punish women for having sex. You used manipulative, oversimplistic, occasionally erroneous and obviously loaded language to try to shame me and strong-arm me into denying my own rights.

                  And none of it worked. I still own my body, and you do not. A fetus does not own my body either. I still get to consent to each and every use of my own body, and withdraw consent any time I want for any reason.

                  No, not peace. Not yet. Soon. But not yet. Peace will only come when misogynists get the holy HELL out of my body and let me handle my own intimate personal decisions. When they realize I own me, not them, then we’ll have peace. That they have no right whatsoever to tell me what medical procedures *I* wlll undertake. That they have no right to enslave me so *they* will feel better. Till then, by giving me that “peace” benediction at the end, you’re asking me to ignore your domineering, lies, and manipulations. And I will, if it makes you happier, but I want you to know that you have so many things wrong it’s painful to see someone even trying these tired old arguments. At least you’re brave enough to put your lies and misogyny on display. Most forced-birthers aren’t quite so up-front about it; they know how easily their arguments are demolished.

                • http://rolltodisbelieve.wordpress.com/ Captain Cassidy

                  I’ll add this. If you don’t recognize my autonomy and sovereignty over my own body, then no, you are NOT “are all for women having all the rights they possibly can. In fact I’m
                  sure if we sat down and talked about it, I would actually promote more
                  freedom and rights for women then even you would”. That is a delusion you are feeding yourself to feel better about denying me one of the most basic rights there is: bodily autonomy and sovereignty. If I don’t have that, then I don’t have shit. If I can’t control what goes into my body and out of it, if I don’t have the right to consent to each and every use of my body by whoever, then it doesn’t matter what else you think you’re generously “giving” me.

                  I bet you’ve never once considered how horrifying it’d be to be raped. Well, think about it. And then think what if that rape lasted 9 months and might kill you and destroy your life. Then think about what it’d be like if society told you that because you’d done something to “deserve” it, that you no longer had the right to consent or not consent to that violation of your body and had to just take it. That is what an unwanted pregnancy is like: being locked in a cage and tortured for 9 months. And you’re totally happy to do that to women, because hey, slavery and bodily violation is okay sometimes. And it’s not like it’d ever, ever, ever happen to you, is it?

                • baal

                  “by that I’m assuming you haven’t seen one done.” Have you watched a spinal fusion surgery? I had one done and gave up on watching the video as too awful.

                • Rob

                  Yeah, I bet. It sounds awful. I don’t know if I could watch either. The obvious follow-up point on that though is that you likely had anesthesia of some sort and couldn’t feel it. Also, I’m assuming you were a consenting patient. Obviously neither of these are true in abortion cases. But yeah, I get ya.

  • Rob

    Let’s solve the whole issue by lifting the restriction that employers provide health care in the first place. Give the employee the money and let them get (choose) their own health care that covers what they want. Why is the personal health of an employee the responsibility of any business/organization (or the gov) anyway? Seem like a very backwards and inefficient way to do it.

    • http://rolltodisbelieve.wordpress.com/ Captain Cassidy

      I wish that we could do that. A one-payer system or an insurance system entirely divorced from employers would be nice. I realize we disagreed recently but this is one thing we can agree on–that what an employee chooses for healthcare should be entirely out of an employer’s hands or influence. It’s pathetic that we’re having to kowtow to religious nuts and humor their delusions while the healthcare of millions of women is at stake.

      • Rob

        Well, you had me completely on your side till that last sentence. :)

        • http://rolltodisbelieve.wordpress.com/ Captain Cassidy

          If you want employers out of healthcare, you don’t get to go “well, except if it’s ladybusiness. Then let’s get right in there.”

          • Rob

            I agree. I simply meant, that last sentence was unnecessary, intentionally inflammatory, and your statement was substantially more credible without it. That’s all.

            • http://rolltodisbelieve.wordpress.com/ Captain Cassidy

              I’m glad you do agree, thanks. I’m infuriated by the whole story. It’s a pathetic, sickening situation, and these employers and churches are flat-out evil for doing this to their employees. I’m sick of sugar-coating it. They think that the things they’re being asked to allow cause abortions, and none of them actually do. Meanwhile, their employees are being denied contraception, which is one of the factors that categorically and without question lowers the rate of abortion, which should be the goal of all forced-birthers. These people are kooks, they believe delusions, and if their stated goal is to save babies’ lives, they’re failing dramatically at it with these tactics. Of course, that assumes that their stated goal is actually the goal. Their tactics make a lot more sense when one considers that what they’re really trying to do is roll back women’s rights; contraception is after all the linchpin of women’s rights, and quite a few right-wingers really don’t like that it negates the “consequences” (read: punishment) that women face for having sex. So you might not like my last statement, but it is the logical outgrowth of what we were talking about, and it fits with the OP’s actual thrust. So I see no reason to retract it. Please tone troll someone else.

  • DrawALine

    I go to a private Catholic University and have Aetna health insurance through them and they will not cover my birth control. Ughhhhh


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