The Hobby Lobby decision is either a blow to the Obama administration's constitutional overreach or another example of the war on women and their reproductive rights, depending on which party is talking. Democrats and Republicans have already figured out how the Supreme Court's ruling against Obamacare's contraceptive mandate plays into their midterm election platforms and what their next steps will be. Senate Democrats and the White House are looking at legislative options to subsidize the contraceptives rejected in the ruling and Republicans just need to not seem too happy about the ruling.
War on Women
A key part of Democrats' 2014 midterm strategy has been focusing on issues that will draw single women — a traditionally left-leaning demographic that doesn't reliably vote in midterms — to the polls. Women's and reproductive rights groups, along with Democratic strategists believe that contraceptive coverage will help inspire that base. “Access to affordable birth control is part of economic advancement for women ... and we’ll make sure women know where the candidates stand on it,” Dawn Leguens of the Planned Parenthood Action Fund told Politico.
Congressional Democrats are calling the ruling as reckless move that endangers women's health. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said the ruling “jeopardizes women’s access to essential health care," and Sen. Patty Murray said in a statement that "since the Supreme Court decided it will not protect women’s access to health care, I will," according to Roll Call.
The White House said Monday that the president will "work with Congress to make sure any women affected by this decision will still have the same coverage of vital services." As Sarah Kliff at Vox noted, the Court ruling suggested that the administration could find a way to provide contraceptive coverage without infringing on corporations' religious rights. The next step for Democrats will be to determine whether there is a regulatory solution to contraceptive coverage, or if a bill needs to be passed.
For Republicans, President Obama's supposed disregard for the law and constitutional oversteps have been a recurring theme, along with the failures of Obamacare. This kills two birds with one stone. The Hobby Lobby case is the biggest legal victory for Obamacare detractors to date, and as one Republican admaker told Politico, "anytime Obamacare is in the news, it’s a good thing for Republicans.”
Both Sen. Mitch McConnell and House Speaker John Boehner emphasized that this was a win for "religious freedom" and "another defeat for an administration that has repeatedly crossed constitutional lines in pursuit of its Big Government objectives,” as Boehner said in a statement. (Boehner is currently planning on suing the president for his use of executive orders.) Fifteen Senate and House Republicans, including McConnell, filed a friend of the court brief in support of the ruling, according to The Wall Street Journal.
The goal now is to not cheer too loudly over women losing their access to certain kinds of birth control. Several Republican candidates got in trouble for the way they discussed reproductive rights during the 2012 election. The GOP is hoping the same thing doesn't happen this time around.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.
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