Here’s the tell: Hyde and Stupak

Here’s the tell: Hyde and Stupak January 10, 2013

This is the tell — this is how we know that Hobby Lobby’s claims that “the government is forcing pro-life business owners to pay for chemical abortions” is a disingenuous, steaming pile of nonsense: Hyde and Stupak.

The Hyde Amendment is a longstanding federal law prohibiting federal funding for abortion. It has been in place since 1976, meaning that for more than three decades it has been illegal for the federal government to fund abortion services.

Here is President Barack Obama’s executive order stating that the Hyde Amendment applies to the Affordable Care Act and that Denny Burk and Hobby Lobby are talking out of their backsides.

Most people in the anti-abortion movement, including the rank-and-file and those only peripherally engaged, are familiar with the Hyde Amendment. It is not obscure. Southern Baptist bishop Denny Burk is aware of it. And so are most of the tens of thousands of evangelicals “liking” his column claiming that Obamacare somehow mandates what the Hyde Amendment prohibits.

This is something “pro-lifers” know. Since the Hyde Amendment is regularly renewed as a rider to annual appropriations bills, it has been a longstanding lucrative source of fundraising material for anti-abortion groups. Every year they send out fundraising letters warning that the Hyde Amendment is in peril. And every year their members receive those letters and send in their donations to “defend” the rule.

Executive Order 13535 is not as widely known, but most people in the anti-abortion movement should recall the battle over the Stupak Amendment, on which this executive order signed by President Barack Obama is based.

While the rank-and-file of the anti-abortion movement may not be familiar with this, the leaders of that movement surely are. The fight over the Stupak Amendment was only three years ago, and those leaders were actively engaged in it. They remember because they helped to produce the result of that battle — an executive order explicitly double-plus restating that the Hyde Amendment applies to the Affordable Care Act.

Hyde and Stupak mean, among other things, that it would be expressly illegal for the government to “force pro-life business owners to pay for chemical abortions.”

And now, today, Hobby Lobby is in court arguing against the contraception-coverage mandate of the ACA and claiming that it is really an “abortion mandate.” Evangelicals are being told they must support Hobby Lobby against this “abortion mandate.”

But Hobby Lobby is not arguing that this supposedly onerous mandate should be illegal under the Hyde Amendment or under the executive order that expressly forbids the ACA from anything like an “abortion mandate.” Instead, Hobby Lobby is arguing only that it should be granted a religious exception to the rules requiring gender equality in insurance coverage for employees.

That’s the tell. If their claims about contraception coverage were either true or sincerely held, then they would be arguing that what they call an “abortion mandate” is illegal. They’re not making that argument. That’s the tell.

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  • Lunch Meat

    Hobby Lobby is saying that they know the scientists say it’s not abortion, but they believe it is, and that should be enough to grant them an exemption.

  • Yes, but don’t they also believe that paying minimum wage or more is abortion and that should be enough to grant them an exemption?

  • And, more seriously, that slavery is endorsed by their religion as evidenced by how much it is in the Bible and therefore they should be exempt from the laws against that.

    I ask to my running mate.

  • Lunch Meat

    That’s the thing. If all you need for an exemption from federal law is the belief that following it is wrong, then why have any regulations at all?

    I believe that child labor laws are wrong because hard work is a virtue. I believe that workplace safety laws are wrong because suffering builds character. Etc. etc.

  • LL

    If you want to be kinda depressed (or amused at the stupid), read the comments on that first link. 

  • Lliira


    I could say I thought it was morally wrong for me not to have a Nintendo 3DS XL — pink — and therefore anyone trying to arrest me for stealing one was violating my rights.

  • Tricksterson

    “Ronald tests for the first and last time his theory that an oncoming freight train is more afraid of you than you are of it.”

  • P J Evans

     Somehow believing that the freight train will never win….

    (FWIW, it sounds like pieces of wood bouncing under a railroad car when the train runs over someone.)

  • I’ve been rather wondering if that were the whole point of this exercise, that if they can get a court to buy into their “argument” that contraception = abortion, then (many forms of) contraception would come under the Hyde amendment, and federal monies couldn’t be used for programs that cover such contraception.  I.e. it may be a feature, not a bug.

  • Random_Lurker

    “Doing homework is against my religion!”

    Who tried this, and how well did it go over? Yeah.

  • That reminds me of a book I read back when I was a teenager that had a friend of the main character “trying on” different religions, with the rather fortuitous coincidence that she also managed to get a lot more days off school than would be considered normally acceptable.

  • Andrew
  • Andrew
  • Good test of Xeno’s paradox, too, then! “I believe the train will get halfway to me, then…”

  • Ha! That was exactly it :D

  • Carstonio

    That’s a strong possibility. Another is that the issue isn’t about either contraception or abortion, but is simply more grandstanding using the abortion template to rally the horde. Mitch Albom was right to condemn GWB for trying to make the stem cell issue look, sound and feel like the abortion issue, and that tactic surfaced again with Terri Schiavo.

  • Trixie_Belden

    (FWIW, it sounds like pieces of wood bouncing under a railroad car when the train runs over someone.)

    Forgive me if the question I’m asking is connected to something traumatic, but, as long as you’ve brought this up – how on earth did you discover this bit of information?

  • I’m not sure I want to know (>_>)

  •  I don’t know the specifics of P J Evan’s experience, but I will note that at least as recently as a decade ago, jumping in front of a train was still a common enough form of suicide that some of the simulators used to train new engineers would include scenes with such jumpers just to make sure they could handle the experience.

  • I’m really scared by the fact that many of the people speaking up in support of Hobby Lobby’s court case are legally able to own guns.

  • AnonymousSam

    I’ve been uttering a variant of this for years. I think it originated with a particular scenario from my helpdesk job. Paraphrasing:

    Customer: I can’t find the button to send e-mail.
    Me: It’s in the upper-left corner, marked “Compose”.
    Customer: You mean “News”? It doesn’t work.
    Me: Sorry, the upper-left corner, the one marked “Compose.”
    Customer: I read all the news, but I can’t find the button.
    Me: Okay, make sure you’re on the page labeled “Inbox.” There’s a button for that in the upper-right corner of every page.
    Customer: I’m clicking My Account.
    Me: Okay…
    Customer: How do I find the e-mail?
    Me: Upper-right corner, “Inbox.”
    Customer: I’m looking at the news again. How do I send e-mail?
    Me: Here, click this. This takes you to e-mail: [link]
    Customer: Okay?
    Me: On that page, look in the upper-left for the button that says “Compose.” That’ll take you to the page where you can write and send e-mail.
    Customer: I’m on the news again. This is stupid. I don’t want to read the news! I’m clicking the button in the down-right like you said!

    The News button is in the lower-right corner at the bottom of every page.

    It was then I checked the customer’s account and discovered he was fourteen years old and I realized and said aloud for the first time, “One day not long from now, this kid is going to be allowed to vote.

    Variations since then have also included “own a car.” Either one is a terrifying prospect.

    (In actuality, the scenario was about something other than e-mail, but
    I’ve changed the subjects so as not to refer to my place of employment
    at the time. Computer illiteracy is not the explanation, unless it comes
    with a whole heaping handful of just plain illiteracy, too. I finally did get him to see what it was he was looking for — but only by taking a picture and painting an arrow on it.)

  • Trixie_Belden

    That is an interesting bit of info.  Thanks.

  • Jason Hatter

     I’m liking that just because of your name. :)

  • Trixie_Belden

    Maybe the info. will lead to an important clue!