The various organizations that have sued the Obama Administration, claiming that the birth control benefit in the Affordability Care Act violates the First Amendment and the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, are touting arguments about religious liberty that are intellectually dishonest as well as wholly lacking in common sense.
These arguments prioritize the “religious freedom” to deny healthcare benefits to women over the right of women to access such healthcare benefits. These arguments also dismiss out-of-hand the compelling interest in ensuring that women have access to affordable contraception, and are callous and dismissive of women’s health concerns and needs. (Whether or not ensuring access to contraception is a “compelling interest” is crucial to any legal inquiry, as I explained in my post about the ruling in the Hercules case.)
A review of the standard intellectually-bereft religious liberty arguments set forth by organizations protesting the birth control benefit, as well as by right-wing pundits and policy analysts, illustrates the dismissiveness with which women’s health rights are viewed.
Writing for the National Center for Public Policy Research in an article entitled “The Birth Control Mandate is Unconstitutional,” Horace Cooper exemplifies the intellectual dishonesty that drives the religious conservative efforts to convince the public that the birth control benefit is horribly unconstitutional and unlike any violation of religious freedom perpetrated against God-fearing folk since the dawn of time: