Religious liberty expands to include all employers, and all women, and all contraceptive coverage

Religious liberty is expanding very quickly. I don’t even know if I can keep up.

We’ve gone from religious-affiliated entities (yesterday) to all businesses (today):

That means removing the provision from the health care law altogether, he said, not simply changing it for Catholic employers and their insurers. He cited the problem that would create for “good Catholic business people who can’t in good conscience cooperate with this.”
“If I quit this job and opened a Taco Bell, I’d be covered by the mandate,” Picarello said.

Now we’re just stripping out contraceptives completely, co-pay or no co-pay:

A new bill introduced by Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), a rising conservative star and leading contender for the Republican vice-presidential nomination in 2012, could cut off birth control coverage for millions of women who receive it through their health plans.
Rubio has sold his proposal—introduced Jan. 31 as the “Religious Freedom Restoration Act,” or S. 2043—as a way to counter President Barack Obama’s controversial rule requiring even religiously affiliated schools and universities to offer copay-free birth control to their employees. But health care experts say that its implications could be far broader.
If passed, the bill would allow any institution or corporation to cut off birth control coverage simply by citing religious grounds. It has 26 cosponsors in the Senate; a similar proposal sponsored by Rep. Jeff Fortenberry (R-Neb.) has 148 cosponsors in the House. On Wednesday, Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-Ohio) vowed to repeal Obama’s rule, and Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.)pointed to Rubio’s bill as a potential model for doing so.
In English, this means that no entity has to cover birth control in a health plan if it can point to a religious reason for not doing so. And the entity itself is not required to have any religious affiliation. It could just be a plain old corporation. That means that if the middle-aged white guy who runs your company is religiously opposed to birth control, he can have it stripped out of your insurance plan—even if his Viagra is still covered. You could wake up the next morning and find you’re paying full price for drugs that you once got for free or at much-reduced prices.
“This could be huge,” says Judy Waxman, the vice president for health and reproductive rights at the National Women’s Law Center. “It’s clearly more than a million women who’d be affected if it were just hospitals and universities [that were affected], but under the Rubio bill it could be any employer. It could be millions.”

I don’t even know what to say. Obama is busy standardizing health insurance coverage for all, and conservatives are busy taking coverage from the women who have health insurance, or might ever have health insurance, sometime, in the distant future:

Obama’s health care bill included a massive expansion of Medicaid, but Rubio’s bill could allow governors who are opposed to birth control to deny it to Medicaid patients who were added to the program under Obama’s bill. All state Medicaid plans currently cover family planning, although the state is allowed to decide what that means. The Rubio bill would override that.

For years, liberals have been claiming that conservatives were ultimately targeting birth control, and conservatives always denied it. Marco Rubio has now all but announced that they are, in fact, targeting birth control.

Some enterprising journalist really, really needs to look into how this “firestorm” started, and what it’s really about, because it’s spreading very quickly.








Guns Don’t Kill People

Abortions do:

Well, here’s an interesting weapon!

The Susan G. Komen Foundation, which collects and distributes money for Breast Cancer research and prevention is in the news for withdrawing its (relatively small) grant from Planned Parenthood.

So the Komen Foundation doesn’t want to be associated with the nation’s largest abortion-provider. But they don’t mind partnering up with a handgun maker.

Komen took off the mask, and people don’t like what they see. Right wing lunatics.








Always Look On the Bright Side of Rape

Just “WOW” is all I can really muster.








Required Reading, MLK Day edition

I’m ashamed to say that until Charlie Pierce in his own, powerful essay on MLK day pointed me to it, I had never actually read Lyndon B. Johnson’s speech to Congress urging — almost ordering — the legislators before him to pass the Voting Rghts Act.

Here’s a sample:

But even if we pass this bill, the battle will not be over. What happened in Selma is part of a far larger movement which reaches into every section and State of America. It is the effort of American Negroes to secure for themselves the full blessings of American life.

Their cause must be our cause too. Because it is not just Negroes, but really it is all of us, who must overcome the crippling legacy of bigotry and injustice.

And we shall overcome.

As a man whose roots go deeply into Southern soil I know how agonizing racial feelings are. I know how difficult it is to reshape the attitudes and the structure of our society.

But a century has passed, more than a hundred years, since the Negro was freed. And he is not fully free tonight.

It was more than a hundred years ago that Abraham Lincoln, a great President of another party, signed the Emancipation Proclamation, but emancipation is a proclamation and not a fact.

A century has passed, more than a hundred years, since equality was promised. And yet the Negro is not equal.

A century has passed since the day of promise. And the promise is unkept.

The time of justice has now come. I tell you that I believe sincerely that no force can hold it back. It is right in the eyes of man and God that it should come. And when it does, I think that day will brighten the lives of every American.

For Negroes are not the only victims. How many white children have gone uneducated, how many white families have lived in stark poverty, how many white lives have been scarred by fear, because we have wasted our energy and our substance to maintain the barriers of hatred and terror?

So I say to all of you here, and to all in the Nation tonight, that those who appeal to you to hold on to the past do so at the cost of denying you your future.

This great, rich, restless country can offer opportunity and education and hope to all: black and white, North and South, sharecropper and city dweller. These are the enemies: poverty, ignorance, disease. They are the enemies and not our fellow man, not our neighbor. And these enemies too, poverty, disease and ignorance, we shall overcome.

Pierce calls this “the greatest speech an American president has delivered in my lifetime.”

Mine too.

Read it.

One last thought: One strand I draw from Johnson’s speech is that it is possible to have a politics that transcends the mere purchase and sale of interest; one in which words have both power and integrity.

I want that politics back.

Update: Boss Bitch points us to newly recovered audio of an MLK speech to an Ohio High School in 1967.

Image:  Lyndon Baines Johnson with Martin Luther King on August 6, 1965, at the signing of the Voting Rights Act.

 








Some Things Must Be Posted…

…because there is no way I want to miss the Balloon Juice snarkasaurus masticating this:

<div align=”center”><table style=’font:11px arial; color:#333; background-color:#f5f5f5′ cellpadding=’0′ cellspacing=’0′ width=’512′ height=’340′><tbody><tr style=’background-color:#e5e5e5′ valign=’middle’><td style=’padding:2px 1px 0px 5px;’><a target=’_blank’ style=’color:#333; text-decoration:none; font-weight:bold;’ href=’http://www.colbertnation.com’>The Colbert Report</a></td><td style=’padding:2px 5px 0px 5px; text-align:right; font-weight:bold;’>Mon – Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c</td></tr><tr style=’height:14px;’ valign=’middle’><td style=’padding:2px 1px 0px 5px;’ colspan=’2′><a target=’_blank’ style=’color:#333; text-decoration:none; font-weight:bold;’ href=’http://www.colbertnation.com/the-colbert-report-videos/405930/january-15-2012/colbert-super-pac-ad—attack-in-b-minor-for-strings’>Colbert Super PAC Ad – Attack In B Minor For Strings</a></td></tr><tr style=’height:14px; background-color:#353535′ valign=’middle’><td colspan=’2′ style=’padding:2px 5px 0px 5px; width:512px; overflow:hidden; text-align:right’><a target=’_blank’ style=’color:#96deff; text-decoration:none; font-weight:bold;’ href=’http://www.colbertnation.com/’>www.colbertnation.com</a></td></tr><tr valign=’middle’><td style=’padding:0px;’ colspan=’2′><embed style=’display:block’ src=’http://media.mtvnservices.com/mgid:cms:item:comedycentral.com:405930′ width=’512′ height=’288′ type=’application/x-shockwave-flash’ wmode=’window’ allowFullscreen=’true’ flashvars=’autoPlay=false’ allowscriptaccess=’always’ allownetworking=’all’ bgcolor=’#000000′></embed></td></tr><tr style=’height:18px;’ valign=’middle’><td style=’padding:0px;’ colspan=’2′><table style=’margin:0px; text-align:center’ cellpadding=’0′ cellspacing=’0′ width=’100%’ height=’100%’><tr valign=’middle’><td style=’padding:3px; width:33%;’><a target=’_blank’ style=’font:10px arial; color:#333; text-decoration:none;’ href=’http://www.colbertnation.com/full-episodes/’>Colbert Report Full Episodes</a></td><td style=’padding:3px; width:33%;’><a target=’_blank’ style=’font:10px arial; color:#333; text-decoration:none;’ href=’http://www.indecisionforever.com/’>Political Humor & Satire Blog</a></td><td style=’padding:3px; width:33%;’><a target=’_blank’ style=’font:10px arial; color:#333; text-decoration:none;’ href=’http://www.colbertnation.com/video’>Video Archive</a></td></tr></table></td></tr></tbody></table></div>

Have at it folks — and don’t worry, there’s plenty for everyone.