Dems plan to capitalize on Hobby Lobby enthusiasm with birth control blitz

posted at 10:41 am on July 8, 2014 by Noah Rothman

Some core Democratic voters who were thus far chronically unresponsive to stimuli designed to get them enthused about the upcoming midterm elections, have been energized by the Supreme Court’s decision in Hobby Lobby. The left continues to wring their hands over last Monday’s Supreme Court decision; their reactions ranging from dismay over the establishment of an American theocracy to the decrying the outlawing of contraception altogether.

While there has been a lot of consternation and garment-rending on the left over the Court’s decision in Hobby Lobby, there has been comparatively little discussion of any legislative remedy the Congress might adopt in order to reverse this decision. That’s about to change.

According to a report in The Hill, at least three bills are being crafted which are aimed at amending the 1993 Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), upon which the Supreme Court based the Hobby Lobby decision.

“Democrats want to lure Republicans into a fight over birth control with legislation to reverse the Supreme Court’s decision that ObamaCare may not require certain businesses to include contraception in their employee health coverage,” The Hill’s Elise Viebeck reported.

Democrats are expected to introduce the measures prior to Congress’s August recess as part of an effort to recalibrate the party’s election-year messaging. Their hope is to turn out female voters by casting the court’s decision in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby as a strike against reproductive rights.

And that’s a fight conservatives may welcome. No matter how justified, no matter how righteous, no matter how wrong-headed their opposition may be; Republicans will be stepping into a trap of Democratic design if they allow themselves to be cast as the party opposed to all forms of family planning.

In a piece from last week, I argued that the Republicans will lose the so-called War on Women if they refuse to acknowledge that young, single women’s concerns about the GOP are legitimate. The Republicans are ceding critical territory by laughing off their misguided belief that the Republican Party is a fundamentalist religious institution. Theirs is an impression which must be countered, even if that is a distasteful prospect.

Republicans also have the short-term imperative of blunting Democratic momentum ahead of the fall midterms which represent the last, best opportunity for the GOP to retake the Senate. From the NBC News First Read team, often an informative window into Democratic thinking on political and strategic matters, reveals that the president’s party is relying on women voters to halt the GOP horde’s advance at the big, blue gates.

Turning from the White House and Congress to yesterday’s big Hobby Lobby decision at the Supreme Court, we observed that Democratic candidates seemed more excited to talk about the Hobby Lobby case than immigration. Of course, one of main reasons is that the Latino vote will only be a factor in one Senate contest THIS November: Colorado’s. But women — whether they live in Arkansas, Iowa, Michigan, or Oregon — are going to be the key voting bloc this year, and Democrats see the Hobby Lobby case and contraception in general as wedge issues with female voters. Indeed, back in our March 2014 NBC/WSJ poll, 48% of men said that employers should be able to be exempt from covering birth control on religious grounds, while 46% of them said they should NOT be exempt. By comparison, nearly six-in-10 women — 59% — said employers should NOT be exempt, versus 35% who said they should. Overall in that NBC/WSJ poll, 53% of all respondents said employers should not be exempt, and 41% said they should be exempt.

And if Republicans get into a rhetorical war with Democrats over access to or the morality of various forms of birth control — from common contraceptives to emergency pharmaceuticals — it will play directly into Democratic hands by motivating their formerly dispirited female constituency. Republicans are far better served by arguing against Democratic overreach, for the rule of law, and in favor of religious freedoms once maintained by such arch-conservatives as Bill Clinton.

So far, Republicans have done a good job of failing to provide Democrats with a sound bite or course of action which plays into the War on Women narrative, but the party in power is going to push Republicans to their breaking point. Congressional Republicans would be better served by offering women a positive rather than a negative agenda on birth control which is a medical necessity for many women. Or, failing that, Republicans should hold their tongues on the matter entirely. They will be in a more advantageous position in the 114th Congress if they keep their principles in check… for now.

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Comment pages: 1 2 3

Sex is not supposed to be recreation anyway. We started collapsing as a civilization when it became about that and not about procreation.

ConstantineXI on July 8, 2014 at 10:58 AM

I take it you haven’t read The Song of Solomon, lately.

Kjeil on July 8, 2014 at 4:35 PM

No, the argument is that women should pull their big girl panties up, and pay for themselves. If you cannot pay $9 a month at target for BCP, then you can’t afford sex. If you can’t afford sex(or a baby) then the best thing to do is to forego sex. Despite all those teenage boys, NO ONE has died because they didn’t have sex.

melle1228 on July 8, 2014 at 4:17 PM

We used to have high behavioral expectations. No more, I guess.

Ricard on July 8, 2014 at 4:49 PM

Is childbirth covered 100%?

fight like a girl on July 8, 2014 at 5:18 PM

Long time lurker, first time poster… I actually signed up during one of the last open registrations, but never posted until now. :)

Last week, after the SCOTUS decision, an ex-sorta girlfriend (I guess you could call her that–we went out a few times) shared the “Not My Boss’s Business” post from Planned Parenthood. She claims to be a big Pro-Lifer. But lately she’s had quite a bit to say about how great it is that O’care now pays for her contraception. (She’s married to another guy now, but I really don’t care to hear about their bedroom activities.)

Normally I stay out of the political threads on social media, choosing to observe from afar with the occasional “Like.” But, since I knew she considers herself Pro-Life, I wanted to make sure she was aware which side she was aligning herself with on this issue. I, along with another friend, tried to explain that abortifacients, not contraceptives as a whole, were the issue in this case & that Hobby Lobby wasn’t at all trying to keep anyone from getting their contraceptives. But one of her lib friends came along behind us with the typical leftist extremism & hyperbole. (My favorite was, “Gluttony is a sin, so are they going to stop covering obese people?”) So I doubt that our efforts to explain the issue convinced her of anything.

As much as I would like to believe that the GOP could win more young women if we treated them as intelligent beings, I’m afraid that realistically, my friend is pretty representative of the millenial LIVs who are persuaded with the left’s fear-mongering. And it’s a shame–she should be an easy vote for our side.

But on a personal note, I’m sure glad we didn’t end up together. I’m looking for a woman who thinks with her mind, not her lady parts.

(FTR, there are a lot of reasons I’m glad we didn’t end up together. This was just the latest example.)

chargeradiodan on July 8, 2014 at 5:24 PM

So your argument is that despite the availability of safe and easy contraception people should forgo sex.
Tlaloc on July 8, 2014 at 2:47 PM

So your argument is that despite the availability of safe and easy (and cheap) contraception that someone else is already willing to cover in their corporate insurance plan, because there are 4 abortion drugs they don’t want to cover, all contraception is being banned for all women by the Republicans.

dentarthurdent on July 8, 2014 at 5:31 PM

TIALOC you’re a liar- no character.

CW on July 8, 2014 at 5:51 PM

Why do the Fascist-Democrats insist that others pay for your birth control? Condoms are a buck a pop.

Since they vote with their lady parts, that’s a dollar a vote. For some, that would be more than $50 per month.

**Just spend the $9 for birth control pills and STFU.

Hammie on July 8, 2014 at 6:37 PM

republicans still waging the war on women. why do republicans hate women? dont they have moms? sisters? daughters?

brushingmyhair on July 8, 2014 at 10:46 PM

You know who shops and works at Hobby Lobby?


Like me.

ON the day of the ruling I went to Hobby Lobby, and I asked some employees what they thought. They said they were all celebrating the victory of religious freedom! The employees saw it as a VICTORY for their rights!!! For ALL OF OUR RIGHTS!!!!

You know why?

People who want to work at Hobby Lobby want to work there because they share the values of the owners! There are religious signs all over the place. It is a very Christian place. Top to bottom.

I don’t share the Hobby Lobby owners religion, but I share their values, and they have good products, and a 40% off coupon everyday.

So Hobby Lobby is going to do just fine.

petunia on July 8, 2014 at 11:16 PM

Is childbirth covered 100%?

fight like a girl on July 8, 2014 at 5:18 PM

bio-identical progesterone and HCG are not, I tell you that much.

cptacek on July 9, 2014 at 12:50 AM

Shouldn’t we be sending abortificients to South and Central America?

Wouldn’t that be a bigger help?

Lonetown on July 9, 2014 at 6:45 AM

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