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New Bill to Fix Hobby Lobby Decision is Introduced, But is it a Political Stunt?

New Bill to Fix Hobby Lobby Decision is Introduced, But is it a Political Stunt?

Senate Democrats want to be very, very sure that when it comes to the new ruling that an employer can decide whether or not to cover your birth control in the company insurance plan, the country knows that this is totally the GOP’s fault. Now, to ensure that everyone is aware that it is the Republicans standing in the way of no co-pay contraception, they are introducing an emergency bill to, in essence, overrule the Supreme Court.

Too bad it will never actually become law.

The new bill, which is being drafted in the senate by Democratic Senators Patty Murphy of Washington and Mark Udall of Colorado will require all for-profit companies to provide birth control and sterilization services as required under the Affordable Care Act, regardless of the religious beliefs of the businesses owners.

Majority Leader Harry Reid has agreed to get the bill onto the floor for a vote as soon as possible, calling it a top priority. “The one thing we’re going to do during this work period, sooner rather than later, is to ensure that women’s lives are not determined by virtue of five white men,” said Reid, according to the New York Times.”This Hobby Lobby decision is outrageous, and we’re going to do something about it. People are going to have to walk down here and vote, and if they vote with the five men on the Supreme Court, I think they’re going to be treated unfavorably come November with the elections.”

While it is possible the Senate could pass such a bill, the House, on the other hand, is about as likely to get similar legislation passed as Plan B is likely to cause an abortion (which is not going to happen, just in case you’ve found yourself sucked into “pro-life science” lately). Not only does the House have a significant Republican majority that has spent years blocking anything backed by the Obama administration, the entirety of the House is up for reelection in less than 120 days, making any conservatives that might want to break with the party line even less likely to out of fear of voter retribution at the polls.

While the new legislation will never become law, what it does do is drastically increase the possibility that the Republicans will fail to flip the senate on Election Day. Seats that were looking more likely than ever to turn or stay in the GOP column could be back on the table once Republican senators and candidates are forced to announce publicly whether they believe bosses should get to veto birth control coverage simply because they don’t like the idea of sex without the possibility of pregnancy being involved.

While Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has publicly vowed that he would do everything in his power to restrict abortion if he’s reelected and becomes Majority Leader, he’s been remarkably mum about whether he also believes women should have their birth control access gatekeepered by their or their family members’ employers, and there’s little doubt that this is a conversation that his Democratic challenger Alison Grimes would love to take head on.

In addition, for Iowa and Michigan there are Susan B. Anthony List-endorsed candidates that likely have their own issues with birth control, if anyone asks them about it directly, and that issue could be enough to sway those races, too. While both female candidates, by virtue of their gender, have been able to buffer the standard accusations that the GOP is anti-women, demanding answers about their own beliefs when it comes to birth control being accessible or, even worse, whether they believe hormonal birth control is in fact akin to abortion and if they would ban it outright, may show they don’t stray far from the traditional party line at all.

The Hobby Lobby response bill may be more about political theater and an attempt to boost results during the midterms than actually getting companies to adhere to the mandates of the ACA. Still, it’s a response and, frankly, that’s more than women have been seeing recently from either party.  Hopefully, then, this is a sign of a change in momentum, rather than just a signal that an election is a few months away.

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Photo credit: Thinkstock

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97 comments

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1:39PM PDT on Jul 21, 2014

political showmanship, this wont go anywhere and why do you people act like Hobby Lobby is taking all birth control away, The two iuds are bad news, 1 has a multi million dollar law suit filed by thousands of women for damage and the other already has ruptured one women's insides and the 2 pills were marketed as abortifacts

10:00AM PDT on Jul 17, 2014

jan b, it's actually a war against science.

4:25PM PDT on Jul 16, 2014

I predict the New bill won't pass. It's a victory in the war against women.

5:05PM PDT on Jul 15, 2014

Thanks for the article

7:01PM PDT on Jul 14, 2014

Roberta G This is one time you will have to do without access to someone's personal info, which wouldn't have given you any real info.. I didn't get your name wrong - I have a tendency to produce typos.

10:04AM PDT on Jul 14, 2014

Eric

You might want to reconsider your stance on this.

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation examined the health insurance marketplaces in eight cities, which represented a cross-section of different types of local insurance markets. They found that market competition led to relatively low monthly health insurance premiums in 2014 compared to the cost of similar plans before the Affordable Care Act. They expect the same to be true in 2015.

Competition in the marketplace kept driving costs up prior to the ACA. Not to mention the number of people it was denying coverage to. The market place isn't always fair or successful. The invisible hand Mankiw and other idiot economists claim didn't show up to make things fair and just. I wish you could step away more often from your ideology.

8:36AM PDT on Jul 14, 2014

Thank you.

12:47PM PDT on Jul 13, 2014

Karen, so you think the government has a right to force you to buy something because you can refuse to use it? Wouldn't you rather have that compensation in cash so you can choose how to spend your earnings?

Clearly we do not have a free market for individual healthcare hence it is expensive. That is why health insurance needs to be separated from employment and opened up to competition. Do you not understand who markets work and how competition drives prices down?

"Obamacare is pretty much the same as Mitt introduced in Massachusetts, but people ignore that fact."
What does that matter, it certainly does not validate the legality or effectiveness of Obamacare?

12:03PM PDT on Jul 12, 2014

Party lines, voter retribution, political cost, blah blah blah....who are these 50% of the women who are still voting for themselves, and other women, to be enslaved in such fashion. Who runs out and votes "Oh goody goody! No choice for me!! Yes, that's how I'll vote! And I don't even care---NAY---I Want to have a say over other women I may not even know, and whose circumstances I am totally unaware of...Yes...that's the vote."

Who ARE these women? The ones who won't just mind their own business and raise their own families? Oh yes---they are the ones that then complain when a family in hard times has to apply for food aid and other social programs...they are the ones, along with their husbands, who bemoan those who have had all kinds of kids because of the wonderful benefits and standard of living it affords...They are possibly the most religiously intolerant and self righteous...Give birth, give birth, give birth.(as a prior topic stated, relating the Iranian experience)

11:43AM PDT on Jul 12, 2014

I use pewter charms in my jewelry-making. I once bought from Hobby Lobby. Now, aside from HL’s views on women and LGBT, I don’t. Charms made in China probably contain lead, so I purchase pewter charms from companies in the U.S. that certify that their charms contain no lead.
Even if HL does business with “newly emerged private corporations” as David F contends, can they prove that these private corporations use no lead in their manufacturing process and treat employees humanely? Are the corporations doing anything about China’s forced abortions? If companies like HL refused to purchase from them, would they speak up? Does HL say word one about forced abortions, or does HL only shout when Americans are involved?
Eric L, just because the government “forces birth control to be part of the compensation package” doesn’t mean a person has to use it. I have the right to refuse any medical treatment, whether my insurance pays for it or not. Buying insurance “on an open and free market” would make it too damn expensive. Guess you’re one of the rich ones who can afford the high premiums. Obamacare is pretty much the same as Mitt introduced in Massachusetts, but people ignore that fact.

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