Next week, probably the most egregious regulatory measure under this administration gets its time in the Supreme Court: The HHS abortifacient/contraception/sterilization mandate.
As most people know, the mandate was initiated on January 20, 2012, and sparked an immediate backlash. Many people were bothered morally because of the anti-life components of the mandate, while organizations across the country were disturbed at how it failed to offer an appropriately broad religious exemption from the mandate.
Despite several “compromises,”most of which were largely accounting gimmicks, there have been dozens of lawsuits by non-profit and for-profit organizations. According to the Alliance Defense Freedom (ADF), which represents clients in several of those lawsuits, 54 of 61 rulings have gone against the mandate. One injunction was granted by Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, an Obama nominee, though the significance of that decision is debatable.
Even former Representative Bart Stupak (D-MI) is hopping on board the anti-mandate bandwagon, declaring he was bamboozled by President Obama’s Executive Order allegedly preventing elective abortions under the Affordable Care Act.
Supporters of the mandate like to claim, of course, that the mandate itself gives women freedom, and thus opposing it denies freedom. This ignores how the discussion is not about women negotiating over coverage with employers, but is instead about a government requirement for private organizations and individual citizens to insure what they morally oppose. Others like to claim there is no abortion drug coverage in the mandate, but American Thinker Deputy Editor and Live Action Communications Director Drew Belsky and I nailed that to the wall in a recent fact-check, pointing out that at least one form of “contraception” covered by the mandate — intrauterine devices — unquestionably causes an abortion.
At CPAC, Ed and I chatted about the mandate in an interview I conducted for LifeSiteNews.com (see the full interview at the link or below). He said the threat is more substantial than many realize:
With regards to the mandate, Morrissey says the implications are enormous. “You have to understand that there isn’t a contraception crisis in the United States. The CDC [Centers for Disease Control] has a study that shows 99 percent of women who are sexually active and wanted to avoid pregnancy accessed contraception,” in part because of federal funding.
“It is not up to schools and employers to supply [contraception] for free for their employees. And forcing government into those positions is exactly how we’re going to see religious sensibilities, religious expression, curtailed.”
“It’s about more than just the contraception,” according to Morrissey. “It’s about more than just the religious freedom, even though that’s a really big deal. It’s about the fact that government is forcing us to participate in economic transactions against our will. And that is, I think, a huge problem, in terms of personal liberty – whether it’s personal liberty in terms of speech, in terms of religious expression, freedom of assembly.”
“The HHS mandate is really just one big symptom of what the overall problem is.”
To most Hot Air readers, I’m sure this seems like an open-and-shut case of government overreach, and the Court should join the majority of lower courts in backing religious expression, religious freedom, and economic liberty. However, it was only two years ago the Court backed the individual mandate as a “tax,” which I noted at the time significantly curtailed individual freedom:
First, if the individual mandate is a tax, Americans can now be forced to buy anything….
To me, the Court’s decision essentially supports a complete violation of the free will contract history of America. If someone puts a gun to my head and forces me to sign over all of my assets to him or her, that contract used to be null and void. With the allowance of the federal government to put what I’ll call a “tax gun” to my head and force me to buy insurance from a private entity, free will contracts have essentially been declared null and void, at least for the federal government.
A former co-worker who graduated from Harvard Law last year pointed out this morning that government has coerced private, non-free will actions in the past, such as by implementing minimum wage laws. However, we both agreed that a free will contract of employment has to be entered into before the minimum wage aspect of employment is implemented.
We won’t find out for some time whether the Court stands with the statists or the American people and the Constitution. As long as Roberts doesn’t try to repeat the judicial activism he imposed during the individual mandate decision, though, I suspect the Court will go the right way.