- Islamic State orders female genital mutilation for Mosul girls, U.N. says
- Israeli fire hits U.N. facility in Gaza, killing 15
- Obama encourages ICE to stand down, say former border agents
- Pro-Palestinian protesters attack Israeli soccer team in Austria match
- Virginia police: 2 dead after storm at campground
- Ukrainian prime minister announces resignation
- House members question $17 billion VA request
- N.Y. Gov. Cuomo launches statewide task force to collect LGBT data
- Obama’s motorcade prevents woman in labor from crossing street to hospital
- Grijalva: Anti-trafficking law ‘line in the sand for many of us’
Democrats use ‘Hobby Lobby’ ruling to rally base
Question of the Day
Conservatives are playing defense on birth control even though the Supreme Court handed them a win in its “Hobby Lobby” ruling last month, as liberal foes highlight what the fallout could mean for women who want free contraception under Obamacare.
Democrats, desperate for an issue to rally their base ahead of November’s elections, are fundraising and campaigning enthusiastically against the ruling, arguing that it limits women’s access to contraception. They’ve already set up a test-vote Wednesday on a bill to overturn last month’s ruling and make for-profit employers have to cover employees’ contraception without any copayment.
Republicans have been slower to settle on a strategy to handle the ruling and defend against Democrats’ attacks, which have included false charges that the employers can prevent people from getting birth control.
On Tuesday, Republican senators announced they’ll try to pass a bill that would study whether certain contraceptives could be sold over the counter and would explicitly state that no employer may bar any employee from getting contraception.
“When people distort the facts, I think it’s important for us to tell the American people the truth,” said Sen. Kelly Ayotte, New Hampshire Republican.
The court, in a 5-4 ruling, said closely held corporations do not have to insure contraceptives if the owners object to doing so on religious grounds, carving out an exception to a Health and Human Services mandate to cover the drugs and procedures under Obamacare.
In the days after the ruling some Republicans shied away from taking a stand on it.
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, the normally blunt-spoken Republican and contender the 2016 presidential nomination, seemed to struggle with the justices’ decision when he told CNBC this month, “Why should I give an opinion as to whether they were right or wrong? At the end of the day, they did what they did.”
And on the campaign trail, the Democratic National Committee this week singled out Charlie Baker, a Republican candidate for Massachusetts governor, for reportedly saying the ruling “doesn’t matter” in his state. The Baker campaign says the quote was taken out of context and ignores his plan to have the state pay for birth control that is not insured by employers who object to the federal contraception mandate.
Democratic operatives say the Hobby Lobby fallout works to their advantage because it dovetails with the party’s push to improve women’s health and economic equality. Analysts said they may have found a lifeline.
“This is a base election. Democrats are at a disadvantage because a vast majority of drop off voters tend to be Democrats,” said Jennifer Duffy, a senior editor at The Cook Political Report. “Hobby Lobby gives them a big message to use to drive women voters to the polls.”
The political fight is playing out in races around the country, including in Colorado, where Sen. Mark Udall, in a tough re-election bid, is co-sponsoring Senate Democrats’ bill to overturn the decision.
Mr. Udall’s Republican opponent, Rep. Cory Gardner, has argued that contraception should be sold over-the-counter. The Udall campaign said that would only work if the government could find a way to make sure women don’t have to pay for it, too.
For their part, GOP operatives say the contraception hubbub is just the latest in a string of Democratic missteps on health care.
“Democratic candidates are flailing, unsure whether to embrace Obamacare or run as far from it as possible, which explains why they mislead and constantly try to scare women,” said Brook Hougesen, a spokeswoman for the National Republican Senatorial Committee.
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Tom Howell Jr. covers politics for The Washington Times. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Contrasting judgments on Obama's health care hours apart; appeals court calls subsidies unlawful
- Insurers cough up refunds to subscribers under Obamacare ‘80-20 rule’
- New Democratic caucus will pressure GOP governors to expand Medicaid
- GOP outraged Obamacare investigators able to get coverage with fake IDs
- D.C. appeals panel deals big blow to Obamacare subsidies
Latest Blog Entries
TWT Video Picks
The subsidies are a hit with patients who don't exist
- Hamas rejects Kerry's call for cease-fire; Fears grow others could join fight against Israel
- Obama's empty tough-talk: Gun prosecutions plummet on his watch
- Algerian plane diverted due to storms, second aircraft: 116 missing
- Whistleblowers flood VA with lawsuits despite apology
- 'We're coming for you, Barack Obama': Top U.S. official discloses threat from ISIL terrorists
- Obama says public not familiar enough with issues
- Obama dispatches researchers to border to check on National Guard
- NAPOLITANO: What if our democracy is a fraud?
- Astronaut shares 'saddest photo' from space: Bombs bursting over Israel, Gaza
- Conservative groups decry Democrats' 'war on women' tactic
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors
20 gadgets that changed the world
Fighting in Iraq