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In the course of a not-entirely-unfair piece by Time magazine that makes it clear that the Obama administration has decided to play partisan politics with the Hobby Lobby decision*, the magazine article noted something interesting. At issue is the centerpiece of the ruling – that companies are not actually required to violate their owners’ religious principles by paying for abortifacients – and the funny thing here is that the government never really had to seek a ruling in the first place:
Legal observers say it would not be difficult for the Obama Administration to resolve the situation unilaterally. The Department of Health and Human Services has already taken unilateral executive action to ensure that women employed by religious nonprofits get contraception coverage in cases where the employer declines to pay. “There was nothing in the statute that specifically allowed them to create the exemption for non-profit organizations so I don’t see why they couldn’t extend that to for-profit corporations,” said Timothy Jost, a law professor at Washington and Lee University and an expert on the Affordable Care Act’s regulations. “I don’t know why they couldn’t do it themselves.”
Two answers to that: first, then the Democrats couldn’t fundraise on the issue. Second, if the administration decided to fund procedures that an extremely large swath of the population considers to be abortifacients then they’d be in for several more exquisitely painful months in the public disapproval barrel. Better by far to send it to Congress, let it die there, then blame it all on the Republicans. And, of course, fundraise on the issue.
Would it work? Depends on what you mean by ‘work.’ It won’t move the needle in the upcoming Congressional elections. It might have, in 2009, but as the Time magazine article itself implicitly notes the administration doesn’t have guaranteed friendly media coverage anymore, and it kind of shows. But it might shore up wavering liberals and progressives, a little. Nothing like a good Two-Minute Hate to keep turnout up, you know what I mean? – And, sure, that assumes that the Democratic base is dumb enough to buy that there’s a great national outcry for state-mandated coverage of IUDs and morning-after pills. Safe assumption, though: after all, the same base bought that the Hobby Lobby case was about Christianists** refusing working women access to the Pill.
(It’s going around the Internet, but H/T Hot Air Headlines, pretty much)
Moe Lane (crosspost)
*Which is remarkable, in its way.
**Excuse me: ‘Xianists.’ Because there are certain religious groups which are considered acceptable to slur in public, apparently.