Opinion: Columnists

The Hobby Lobby decision has made America more free

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Opinion,Star Parker,Columnists,Senate,Supreme Court,Abortion,First Amendment,Contraception,Hobby Lobby,House Democrats

Senate and House Democrats are outraged by the Supreme Court's decision in favor of Hobby Lobby in the firm's lawsuit seeking exemption from the Obamacare mandate that employers provide, free of charge, contraceptives to employees.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid called the decision “outrageous” and Democrats have introduced bills in the Senate and the House to overturn it.

Why exactly is it that Democrats find it so outrageous that in America religious freedom is respected? That we have law – the Religious Freedom Restoration Act under which the owners of Hobby Lobby sued the federal government – that assures that no federal law will substantially burden individuals in the practice of their religion. Paying for contraception would violate the Christian principles of Hobby Lobby’s owners.

According to California Democrat Sen. Barbara Boxer, "the Supreme Court decided in the Hobby Lobby case that bosses have total power to deny critical medical care to their employees.”

It has long been a sad irony that liberals, who claim to carry the banner of openness and tolerance, stand for exactly the opposite. The liberal idea of tolerance is “my way or the highway.”

Even if we accept the claim that contraceptive use is not about promiscuity but about family planning, and that this should be provided free, a critical question is whether the only way to accomplish this is for the federal government to force employers to pay for it. And whether forcing employers to pay for contraceptives justifies violating the religious convictions of Christian employers such as Hobby Lobby.

The Supreme Court ruled, correctly, it does not. Particularly when there are many alternative ways to accomplish the same objective. The court, in its decision, noted that the federal government could directly foot the bill for these contraceptives or have insurance companies directly pay for them.

Even if you believe, as I do, that none of this should be about government or business, and that we should have free markets to deliver to private citizens whatever kind of insurance most appropriately fits their needs, there are still private solutions for delivering free contraceptives for those that feel this is needed.

It is called philanthropy. Americans contributed $335 billion to charities in 2013.

If Boxer or the National Organization for Women really think it is “critical” that a woman get free contraceptives, so how about, instead of using the power of government to violate religious convictions of other private citizens, starting your own charity to raise money and do it?

But speaking about religious convictions, free choice and private initiative seems to violate the religious convictions of liberals. They see only one solution to every dilemma – government force.

New York Democratic Rep. Carolyn Maloney, writing in USA Today, wants to makes this about poor women. She notes, citing Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg's dissenting opinion in the Hobby Lobby case, that “the cost of an IUD is nearly the equivalent of a month's full-time pay for workers earning minimum wage. Similarly the cost of 'Plan-B' [the morning after pill] is realistically out of reach for millions of low income women.”

Only liberals would suggest that the big issue that low-income women need to contend with is getting others to pay for their contraceptives. The crisis that these women need to contend with is being able to get their children into a decent school and finding a man who is willing to marry them, work, and build a family and future together.

The very welfare state policies that these liberals love are exactly what has created the conditions that make achieving these two things so inaccessible to low income women and perpetuate poverty in these communities generation after generation.

The Supreme Court's decision in favor of Hobby Lobby has made America a little more free. Something to celebrate, unless you are a liberal.

STAR PARKER, a Washington Examiner columnist, is an author and president of CURE, Center for Urban Renewal and Education. She can be reached at www.urbancure.org
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