MoJo’s Nick Baumann again does us an invaluable service by pointing out the obvious fact that President Obama’s “unprecedented assault on America’s religious freedoms” by requiring church-related hospitals and universities to cover contraception at the federal level has actually been on the books for, oh, about 12 years now.
In December 2000, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ruled that companies that provided prescription drugs to their employees but didn’t provide birth control were in violation of Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, which prevents discrimination on the basis of sex. That opinion, which the George W. Bush administration did nothing to alter or withdraw when it took office the next month, is still in effect today—and because it relies on Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, it applies to all employers with 15 or more employees. Employers that don’t offer prescription coverage or don’t offer insurance at all are exempt, because they treat men and women equally—but under the EEOC’s interpretation of the law, you can’t offer other preventative care coverage without offering birth control coverage, too.
“It was, we thought at the time, a fairly straightforward application of Title VII principles,” a top former EEOC official who was involved in the decision told Mother Jones. “All of these plans covered Viagra immediately, without thinking, and they were still declining to cover prescription contraceptives. It’s a little bit jaw-dropping to see what is going on now…There was some press at the time but we issued guidances that were far, far more controversial.”
After the EEOC opinion was approved in 2000, reproductive rights groups and employees who wanted birth control access sued employers that refused to comply. The next year, in Erickson v. Bartell Drug Co., a federal court agreed with the EEOC’s reasoning. Reproductive rights groups and others used that decision as leverage to force other companies to settle lawsuits and agree to change their insurance plans to include birth control. Some subsequent court decisions echoed Erickson, and some went the other way, but the rule (absent a Supreme Court decision) remained, and over the following decade, the percentage of employer-based plans offering contraceptive coverage tripled to 90 percent.
This fight has been long settled based on Title VII law. Clinton put it on the books on the way out without controversy, and it was on the books for every single day of the Bush 43 administration without controversy. It was on the books for three years under the Obama administration, without controversy. Nine out of ten businesses in the country, including religiously affiliated hospitals, schools, and charities, provided contraception coverage. 27 states went on to put similar provisions on their books without incident.
It wasn’t an issue at all until an African-American Democrat in the White House decided during an election year that “Hey, this is a good idea, let’s put this on the books for all 50 states” just after getting yet another monthly unemployment report that showed that his policies were starting to bring the jobs numbers back around, and that his prospects for re-election were improving along with that uptick on what basically everyone agreed up until that millisecond was the most important issue of the day, the economy itself.
Then, the existing rules of the game for the last dozen years changed literally overnight to fit the theory that the President was “declaring war on Americans’ religious freedoms.” Then the rules immediately changed to create “a firestorm of controversy”. Then the rules changed so that people questioned why Catholics in the Obama administration, including the Vice-President and the Secretary of Defense, hadn’t resigned in protest yet.
It wasn’t an issue until the GOP started openly asking if they were going to lose big in November and Newt Gingrich had melted into babbling radioactive slag and Rick Santorum became the latest Anti-Romney, revealing the fatal weakness of “the frontrunner”.
Only now do the god-botherers and the institutional misogynists and the bigots and the pinheads and the weasels have an issue.
Only now. They are this desperate to defeat President Obama.
And wouldn’t it be nice if he called them this on this b.s and stood up for the people instead of offering compromises? Demand some respect from these weasels.
I linked to this in the last thread, but ABC is reporting that Obama will announce today “an attempt to accommodate these religious groups” that will “preserve the goal of women employees having their birth control fully covered by health insurance.”
I agree with Betty and I wish Biden and the other male Catholics had STFU on this. I called the White House yesterday and on behalf of myself and my two teenaged daughters–who are pre-contraception and pre-voting but not unaware–I told them I stand with the President and hope he continues to fight for women. I also sent them an email.
My husband suggests the following Ad campaign:
If you are only planning on buggering children, you probably don’t need contraception. But as for the rest of us–we do.
And the media is willing to help, specially, the catholic pundits and columnists. Rachel should drag E. J. Dionne and confront him with this. What a fuckwit. Bunch of old guys opining on issues vital to women without any sense of self reflection.
Is Vegas giving odds?
It is likely that with the proper advance work (and dare I say, “politic-ing”), this would have been an easier slog. The wingnuts and the bishops are pretty consistent in their awfulness. The key is to plan ahead and not give them a jump on defining the debate.
Being first to define the debate is so key and not one of this administrations strengths.
I think it’s part of the effort to kill ACA.
How can this Baumann guy be performing an “invaluable service” when the vast majority of the media itself is either too fucking stupid or lazy to find out or report the same information and too goddamned consumed with the “he said/she said” style of journalMALism to call out the liars?
Belafon (formerly anonevent)
@Betty: If I remember correctly, his compromise was “You have a year.” If you’re going to blame people, I don’t think he’s the one to blame.
But of course, even though it has been on the books for 12 years already, we definitely need to fight to the death over it. And if the administration elects to compromise we need to be very very disappointed.
The Bishops chose to make a fight. Whether they were nudged by Rove, et al…it would be wrong not to speculate. Thereby reaffirming to the Democratic base(women), who were already sore on the subject by being ridden over by Stupac, even more disgusted with craven Dem men.
It infuriates me that there are apparently still some people in the administration who are worried about this controversy and trying to come up with more ways to compromise. Since when is supporting birth control a political loser for a Democrat? Just tell the Catholic bishops etc to go to hell. The people who actually support Obama will have no problem with this.
@Anya: Rachel should invite all the MSNBC male pundits on her show and annihilate them.
c u n d gulag
Yeah, you don’t need contraceptives to bugger little boys, worrying that they’ll get pregnant if you don’t use them.
The little boy doesn’t need an IUD.
Or the pill.
And the Priest doesn’t need a condom.
But parents should want their Priests having access to getting condoms when they’re buggering their little boys, or the little boys to have access to IAD’s/IOD’s (use your imagination) – to prevent STD’s.
I don’t think the Obama campaign would have created a blog focused on women’s health and what the pill means for women, if they were going to “cave” at the end to the demands of these child rape apologists.
This is, quite frankly, bullshit. The media is built for controversy, and it doesn’t matter how much the administration tried to “be first,” screaming old white men will always find a megaphone, unless they’re protesting a war.
@Anya: Unfortunately, “cave” has come to be redefined to mean any accommodation even if it doesn’t impact women’s access to contraception one bit. So in that sense, he’ll cave.
@Mino: She should also invite tweedy’s wife and see where she stands.
@Baud: It’s becoming so tiresome and fucking predictable. The administration announces something, the usual suspects freak out, the media does its usual controversy bullshit, then our side yells, “HE’S GOING TO CAVE!!!!”
@c u n d gulag: Yeah, well Pope “hitler youth” Benedict has already ruled from on high that you can use a condom for gay sex. Being gay and ass fucking is still a mortal sin, but for health reason a condom is okay. So, the priests got that going for them. I suppose ass raping a little boy is a least a venal sin and worthy of a couple rosaries of penance after confession, but wearing the condom won’t draw any penalties in the box.
“Child rape apologists” … cannot be said too often. Don’t ever let it be forgotten.
child rape apologists
of course some of them are not only apologists buy actually little boy ass rapers as well. Wouldn’t want to leave that out
That would be impolite and our media never wants to be seen as impolite.
No one (excluding old white ignorant men)should have a problem with providing birth control to all women. The pill is not only used for birth control. It is used for other medical reasons as well. That has not been noted in anything I have read or heard yet.
Yes, I do agree Biden should have STFU. Appeasing these overly zealous religious idiots will never register in their scrambled minds.
Personal victory here at home -Rachel has won my Republican man over on many topics with her brilliance.
apologists, hell. They are child rape enablers and promoters. If they merely apologized for the child rapers they might be eligible for forgiveness once they proved worthy but for at least 80 yeas there is evidence that they hushed up child rapes, hid evidence, hid the rapists, moved the rapists around the world to provide new victims and cover their tracks. This is an on going criminal enterprise devoid of human conscious.
If this is correct, it is an epic fail on the part of the White House; did they not know that this was the law of the land for 12 years before letting the god botherers define the terms of the debate? And now the Administration are floating rumours of some sort of compromise! It beggars belief.
Yup. Concern trolls are concerned.
@montanareddog: They never asked Sebelius. I’ll bet she knew. Typical male –jump and then look to see what’s under your feet.
Oh, yes … of course. I was referring to the wingers who choose to forget the truth of what those monsters did.
ETA: responding to #24. Stupid phone.
The Catholic church, like all churches, is tax exempt, so I really don’t want to hear their wining about being attacked.
And like most others have pointed out, they enabled adults to rape children for years, and covered it up. EVERY DAMN TIME.
Catholic “leaders” need to STFU about this issue because they have no moral authority anymore.
And also…male Catholics need to STFU even quicker.
Wonder how much of the shitstorm here was kicked off as a reaction to the Komen/PP fight?
you didn’t get the CPAC memo that the President is, for all intents and purposes, the anti-Christ now, did you?
It’s going to a be trollfest day today, ain’t it ?
Egg, all presidents deal with a bullshit media that would rather report controversy. The trick is to out think the. It’s not that hard. Dumber presidents have done that.
@amk: Everyday is trollfest day at Balloon Juice.
Why is contraceptive coverage always depicted by our side as an issue that only benefits women? I’d be pissed if my girlfriend had hers taken away and not just because she’d be losing a benefit. She doesn’t make much money so I’d end up paying for her prescription every month. Or I’d have to start wearing a condom. Either way I’d be ready to choke a motherfucker. And as I was going on about yesterday, ED drug coverage is not just a men’s health issue for heterosexual couples. If my girlfriend and I stay together, one day she’s going to have an interest in my plan covering boner pills if I ever need them. And if you’re talking about gay male partnerships, the odds double that that couple is going to need them.
Jesus Christ, are you listening to the DC Bishop??? He’s on MJoe explaining contraception as equivalent to pornography. And that women’s healthcare, as expressed in the the health bill, makes pregnancy an illness. What an eye-opener as to their mindset. They really despise women.
@Mino: The Catholic hierarchy hates women with the same intensity and zeal as the Taliban. It wasn’t until quite late in Church history that women were even recognized as having souls. This type of rabid misogyny is a feature, not a bug, with the religion.
And yes, pregnancy is a medical condition, one that prior to the 20th century was the leading cause of death for women. Of course, the Catholic prelates certainly would consider high maternal mortality as a cause for rejoicing so the bishop’s attitude does not come as a surprise.
If anyone would like to understand the Church’s “moral” position regarding all things female, I suggest you read Elaine Pagel’s Adam, Even and the Serpent. It explains the origin’s of the Church’s women-hatred quite thoroughly.
@Schlemizel: I’m in moderation for trying to edit too many times. Stupid phone.
I’m sorry . . . you are, of course, exactly correct. I was referring to the wingers who choose to forget what those monsters did.
@beltane: i guess I thought they had evolved a little.
What is next? No anesthesia for you, momma-to-be?
More pictures of the Pope as Nosferatu, please.
He stands up for people just fine. He is going to accommodate which doesn’t mean cave in.
Obama gets things done by not getting offensive to the opposition.
I predict the upcoming “cave” by Obama will be something that will not have an effect on access to contraception, will be viewed as reasonable by a large majority of people (maybe up to 73%) and will be totally rejected by the bishops and the GOP
@Mino: I have known a few priests who were exceptionally open-minded, non-hateful people, including one who was on the board of the ACLU. However, these are not the men who rise up through the church ranks. The ones who do are invariably sociopaths of the highest order, a cadre of depraved, psychologically broken, power-hungry men.
Last night, I wrote a letter to Senator Casey to express concern about his letter of concern to the White House over employer consciences.
It turned out really easy to write, explaining disappointment over his taking the side of large employers rather than low-paid nursing aides and food servers, 1% versus 99%, etc.
So were the hospitals complying since 2000 or was the change that they would now have to comply. Is this over the no co-Pay? What exactly was decided and announced on Jan 20th? If nothing do I get permission to throw an egg at a bishop for aggravating me over this issue?
@Suffern ACE: Now we understand why Egging the Rectory used to be part of the traditional Halloween festivities among Catholic teenagers. I wonder if the kids still do this or if no one even cares enough to egg them anymore.
This. I saw a microcosm of this at my college’s Catholic Students Association. The hard right students were the ones who ran the place and went on into politics or something like that – the liberals, moderates and apolitical people were the ones who actually did stuff “in the field” (like soup kitchens, shelters and the like) and went on to thankless jobs like Teach for America, the Peace Corps and the like.
@‘Niques: You know, I’m going to dissent from the consensus and say that you can, in fact, bring up child rape too often. Sheesh.
@cintibud: Yep. This was a clever political move, because he brought all the cockroaches out from under the baseboard, culminating with Rubio’s idiotic bill to allow religious exemptions for all employers.
@Chris: It doesn’t help that John Paul II and his successor devoted considerable energy in purging liberals from the ranks. There was a conscious decision at the top to choose the fascist route over the Christian route and the fruits of this decision are now plain for all to see.
To be truthful, being impolite is okay as long as they’re bashing the black guy in the White House.
90% of employers providing coverage is not the same as 100%
of employers providing coverage. It would however be a nice additon to the topic to see specifically what organizations don’t provide coverage now that would be required to with the new law, in both waiver and non-waiver states.
A correction about this policy. The EEOC is an independent commission. It consists of five members, one of whom is the chairmperson, and another vice-chair. They serve 5-year terms and can be reappointed. Currently two commissioners were appointed by President Bush originally, but one of them was reappointed by President Obama and the other was appointed by President Bush after consulting with Harry Reid. Generally, 3 members of the Commission will belong to the President’s party and two to the opposition party. However, since they serve 5-year terms and can only be removed “for cause,” they make policy independent of the President. So the 2000 decision of the Commission, confirmed by the courts on the requirement to provide health care was done by the EEOC, not President Clinton, although I don’t doubt he had no objection.http://www.eeoc.gov/eeoc/commission.cfm
Do the bishops support insurance covering boner pills for single men? Or married men whose wives are past menopause? If so, why?
If I was Obama, I’d offer a compromise where people could choose a Federal Government plan instead of an employment-based plan that can limit reproductive health choices.
We’re getting details about the “cave” from Jake Tapper.
There’s no reason why this policy as described so far couldn’t apply to formerly exempt church groups as well.
Of course, getting a separate mailing from your insurance company in a plain brown wrapper for what should be basic healthcare coverage is still incredible stupid. I don’t know whether that would be a rider option or actual solicitations for transfer of insurance from employer to an exchange-purchased option. Details come later today.
Angry Black Man
And the Catholic church needs to STFU on morality period. When you corner the market on pedophiles, you need to sit your a$$ in the corner and be quiet. The line to hell for them already extends around the block.
Judas Escargot, Your Postmodern Neighbor
It’s a shame that there’s no way for the admin to establish some sort of program, where things not covered by the employer-provided insurance (contraception, abortion, etc) were made available to the employee using some sort of… non-private option… Wonder what we’d call that?
Seriously, in all this noise and haste, no one in the media dares to mention what the real problem is: Why is your employer involved in your health care at all?
I wish someone with clout would ask those bishops to their faces why they don’t support public health care. It’s not only more Xian, but would also render all these “conscience” issues moot.
But, again, the bishop’s real issue is control. If health care because just another public infrastructure issue, then they’d lose control over their employees.
ETA: jon beat me to it. In fewer words, even.
@Joseph Nobles: We keep getting told that somehow, it’s different if the mandate is on the insurance company instead of the employer, even though the end result is the same fucking thing. So fine, do it that way, whatever.
I gotta say, I respect the right of the Catholic Church to believe whatever it wants to believe, but calling this “material cooperation with evil” is really defining evil down. They’re talking about buying insurance for your employees that includes contraceptive coverage as though it’s the same thing as helping Nazis shovel Jews into the ovens. Small wonder no one takes them seriously on this stuff, including the vast majority of Catholics. Way to look backwards.
I think the church will decide not to accept the solution. They want to refuse contraception to their employees entirely. I’m going to go pray to the Big Kahuna that all of their female employees get pregnant at the same time and give them a headache trying to staff their hospitals when they all give birth.
but apparently buggering little boys is okay!
Ding, ding, ding! I believe we have a winner.
@Rome Again: Love ya, but please see my comment #47.
You sound like a Catholic bishop.
Did you actually read the Baumann article or his linked pieces? This was from a Weekly Standard article he cited:
“Just two years ago, the Eighth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in St. Louis, apparently the only federal appellate court to take up these questions directly, answered the employment discrimination question with a no. “While contraception may certainly affect the causal chain that leads to pregnancy, we have specifically rejected the argument that a causal connection, by itself, results in a medical condition ‘related to’ pregnancy for PDA purposes,” Judge Raymond Gruender wrote for a 2-1 majority in Standridge v. Union Pacific Railroad Co. Gruender pointed out that the Eighth Circuit had earlier ruled that an employer’s refusal to pay for (even more expensive) infertility treatments for female employees did not constitute sex discrimination under the PDA.
While the Standridge decision is legally binding only in the handful of Midwestern states that make up the Eighth Circuit, the case was considered so important nationally that -Senate majority leader Harry Reid and 29 other federal lawmakers signed an amicus curiae brief urging the Eighth Circuit to make contraceptive coverage mandatory under Title VII. ”
And this private employer was not even raising any First Amendment religious freedom issues.
So basically, a lame-duck EEOC adopted a rule that Evil BushCo ignored and one Federal appeals court struck down. My guess is that it went sideways from there since ObamaCare was going to render the EEOC rule moot. But do people really wonder which way the Roberts Court, with eleven Catholics on it, would rule on this?
And this is someone’s idea of settled law? Wow.
I have a whole bunch of Catholics (both conservative and liberal) and evangelical Protestants (all conservative) in my circle of family and friends, and I keep seeing this pop up on my FB newsfeed — along with some propaganda blog claiming that the pill causes liver cancer among other horrible things. Of course pregnancy is defined as a ‘medical condition.’ There are a metric fuck-ton of things that can go wrong during pregnancy and impact the health of both mother and child. It is a serious medical condition, not some fairy dust miracle. It really boggles me.
I see what you did there.
amk – February 10, 2012 | 8:22 am · Link
It’s going to a be trollfest day today, ain’t it ?
I don’t know. Is calling ever member of a billion member religion a “buggerer” and “child ass rapist” trolling? If so, yes.