When reading that Hobby Lobby and other like-in-cause corporations won their Supreme Court challenge to forgo covering birth control for their employees due to religious objections, I wondered why are they so against birth control? Then when I was doing further reading in the NYT I found two great pieces in which the first poses, and then the second answers.
The owners of Hobby Lobby told the Court that they were willing to cover some forms of contraception but believed that the so-called morning-after pills and two kinds of IUDs can cause what they believe to be a type of abortion, by preventing a fertilized egg from implanting in the uterine wall or causing an already implanted egg to fail to thrive.
As colleagues have noted, the scientific consensus is against this idea…Even without contraception, fertilized eggs often fail to implant naturally.
Carroll goes on to explain, with linked citations to medical journal articles, that neither IUD’s nor morning-after (Plan-B) pills cause abortions under this definition. He states:
Moreover, the fact that both of these forms of contraception can fail, and allow pregnancies to occur, provides evidence that if a fertilization occurs, it can move on to implant and grow.
So Carroll’s answer to my question proves one thing: the owners/founders of Hobby Lobby and their fellow plaintiffs are misinformed. In the Carroll piece, he goes into how IUD’s work stating that not much is known about their form and explicit function, hence a probable load of PR against them. These corporation owners need to step away from religious, right-wing, Pro-Life propaganda and get informed by the science.
A couple of articles in the NYT that cover all of the angles regarding the arguments the Supreme Court is hearing regarding the ACA’s requirement that employer-funded insurance programs cover contraception costs for their employees.
Despite being a leftist (a far leftist), I have never seen something so below the Presidential office than the new interview spoof with Pres. Obama by actor/comedian Zach Galifianakis since Clinton’s Lewinsky affair; even if it is to plug the Affordable Care Act. I am not being sarcastic.
According to this article in The Guardian about Pres. Obama apologizing for the way the new ACA was badly launched, and how some people’s current insurance plans were cancelled on them after being told they would not in a national pledge, is being followed up by a quick fix which is going to try to stop those cancellations. But check out this paragraph in the report here:
It remains unclear whether insurers or state regulators – who will receive a letter informing them of the so-called “enforcement discretion” – will actually act in ways that stop the cancellations. Officials conceded they had received no such guarantees from either states or insurers, many of whom were hoping to use the new law as a way to move customers onto higher-cost policies.
We need real answers on the ACA implementation’s problems or Obama is in real trouble.
A must-read article in the NYT about how “Navigators” or “Assisters” in Kentucky (volunteers and insurance salesmen working to sign-up people for the Affordable Care Act) operating with a State-ran ACA program (Kynect) with good success all told through their human stories.
Kentucky is explored in this article because of the relative success the State has had which should be a model for the federal program once all of the “obstacles” in signing up for benefits are cleared.
After watching HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius testify before congress today I realized that the whole Affordable Care Act is hurting both Republicans and Democrats, and this is why.
First and foremost, the GOP is so against an “Obamacare” success that they will do anything to attack and derail the plan even though it is already law. They grilled Sebelius today over and over again with mostly anecdotal evidence in an attempt to frighten American’s with myths of “Big Government.” And these scare tactics turn-off the political independents even though it appeals to the blood-thirsty GOP faithful.
Secondly, the Democrats and Obama need to admit what a “debacle” this whole enrollment process and plan cancellation has been. They need to tell what they knew, when they knew, and who knew it. And, especially, Obama, Carney, and Sebelius need to ask for political forgiveness for stating that anyone who wanted to keep their current insurance coverage plan could.
And lastly, watching this hearing today showed me how dysfunctional the Capitol is at the moment. The two sides are far to involved with sniping and playing a win/lose game. The hearing was inconsequential at times because the same issues were covered over and over again by congress members, from both sides of the aisle, in an effort to score points on the record. Hardly anything was accomplished. Also, after watching the news coverage afterwards, on CNN. the supposedly-great-and-impartial Wolf Blitzer was just replaying soundbite after soundbite of emotional exchanges instead of reporting the real meat of the subject.
Just make sure you watch the PBS News Hour tonight for some decent media coverage of the hearing
To the shock of no one actually paying attention to the 2012 election, President Obama won his reelection bid along with the popular vote. This was not surprising to anyone following the polls showing the lead he had in the electoral college vote. But there was a series of even bigger victories worth noting for progressive ideology and a positive (albeit incremental) move for the country as a whole to the political left.
Taking a look at the highlighted ballot measures for individual states reveals how successful progressive beliefs were in this election and how far and fast the country has moved, particularly on the issue of gay rights. The most eye-catching measures may have been the legalization of marijuana in Washington and Colorado. This change in drug policy is long overdue in America and these victories bring the country one step closer to alleviating the problem and cost of incarcerating people for this non-violent crime, not to mention hurting the wallets of the violent drug cartels in Mexico. There is still work to do here since it is illegal on the federal level but there is little doubt now where the U.S. is heading on this issue. The prohibition of pot is coming to an end and it is only a matter of time before changes on the national level are made.
The state of Florida delivered two victories for the left on ballot measures. Voters decided blocking women from obtaining abortions using public funding was the wrong way to go and this highly controversial issue is put to rest for now but certainly hasn’t seen its final challenge. The other issue voted down was the limiting of the Affordable Care Act, particularly voiding the individual mandate for the state. This went down in Florida but was successfully passed in three other heavily conservative states. These measures are just for show, of course, as they are likely to be challenged in the courts and struck down as federal precedent will override intrusive state laws. Three victories for the right, in some respect, but only short-lived ones at best.
But the biggest progressive victory of the night was, without a doubt, gay rights. Minnesota voters turned down the chance to put a ban on gay marriage in their state constitution, the first defeat in the country of this type of measure. What’s important here is the fact most of the previous measures of this kind were passed with 60% or more of the vote. This will likely be the first of many defeats to come for these state constitution amendments. Three states also took the further step of legalizing gay marriage. This group of victories was capped by the election of the first gay Senator in U.S. history, Tammy Baldwin. It should be noted Baldwin’s election comes in the state of Wisconsin where conservatives were recently celebrating victory in Governor Scott Walker’s recall election. The tide turned quickly in Wisconsin and has clearly turned on the issue of gay rights in the United States.
There was one curious loss for the left on election night and it came in a state believed to be one of the most progressive in the country: California. A ballot measure to ban the death penalty appears to be headed for defeat by a comfortable margin, a victory for those on the right who believe every life is precious and only God can judge when someone lives and dies. Now they can properly kill people just as God intended. I think that’s what was intended. Seemingly intended. Wait a sec, I’m choking on the confusion of the right’s rhetoric compared to their policy positions. Regardless, the state of California has decided to continue shouldering the enormous economic cost of keeping prisoners on death row instead of the cheaper and more moral route of life sentences. The likelihood of this conservative position lasting over time is still slim despite this outcome.
Overall, election night was good for the Democratic Party and great for the progressive minded. The United States took a small but significant step in the right direction politically and will assuredly continue this progression in the foreseeable future.
A great article in the NYT on True the Vote, a national group focused on voter fraud, and their actions in many minority voting districts in swing states. It also covers how True the Vote and similar groups have no proof of the massive voter fraud they claim is rampant across the nation. They are just their to prevent and intimidate the minority vote.
A good article here from the Post by Richard Cohen on how at the RNC & DNC, politicians and their wives tried to identify with “common people” by reminiscing about their supposed days of poverty. Cohen, though, points out how they all had some advantage with which to escape a life of being poor that most of impoverished people do not have the luxury of possessing.