This will be the next front in the Obamacare war against liberty of conscience: “The next big Obamacare question of whether religious schools can duck the birth control mandate got another federal appeals court hearing on Tuesday.” The more or less short version: some religious institutions have strong objections to providing coverage for certain forms of birth control that are currently mandated by Obamacare. The Obama administration has created an alternative method to cover such things, in case of sincere religious objection by schools, religious institutions, and or other nonprofits: and the Obama administration obviously feels that this is sufficient.
The problem, of course, is that religious groups usually have religious reasons for rejecting any particular drug or procedure. They also usually have strong rules against aiding and abetting behaviors that the religious group consider sinful; and so they’re refusing to play along with the Obama administration. And, thanks to the Hobby Lobby case and the federal RFRA, religious groups’ arguments have a bit more bite to them.
Stories like these are kind of fascinating to me, largely because they demonstrate in full the full let’s-step-on-this-rake mentality that the Democrats have traditionally brought to implementing Obamacare. The above lawsuit involves two Baptist colleges from Texas, and it is only one of several making their way through the courts. There are others: Notre Dame, for example. The Supreme Court ruled that the Hobby Lobby case requires that a previous court decision to require the college to pay for birth control be vacated.
And then there’s the Little Sisters of the Poor case… and let’s just stop there, OK? When you are the government, you do not win court cases against charitable groups that have names like ‘Little Sisters of the Poor.’ Even when you do win court cases, you do not win those court cases. The results never work out the way that you’d like. If the administration had been more sensible about this then they would have come up with a good, plausible reason for making an exception and avoiding the PR hit. And there has been a PR hit over this. One of the reasons why Obamacare remains stubbornly unpopular is because most Americans don’t like to think of themselves as being the sort of people who would punch nuns.
And yet, here we are. And the Supreme Court is even now giving strong hints to the lower courts that they expect Burwell v. Hobby Lobby to be taken seriously. Which seriously leaves a person wondering why the Obama administration decided to just scream, and leap…
Moe Lane (crosspost)