Correcting misperceptions on Hobby Lobby decision

Recently, the Santa Fe Reporter ran an article decrying the US Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby decision from a highly-typical left-wing viewpoint that can be summarized from a line in the article: “Whether it’s restricting access to abortion or restricting access to birth control, women’s autonomy as individual human beings capable of making decisions is apparently not valued by the majority of those sitting on our nation’s highest court.”

While the left loves to pin blame on sexism or some other nefarious plot, the real issue is the absurd US health care laws (laws that long-predated ObamaCare) that strongly incentivize employers to purchase health care for their workers. You can read my letter to the editor which was published in response (and another letter supporting the decision! here).

Faulty Framework
As with so many liberal critiques of the Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby decision, Hunter Riley fails to address the central issues in the case. Instead, she prefers to play up the “War on Women” meme and rail against the court’s supposedly sexist views.

The central issue in Hobby Lobby is the federal tax preference for employer health care purchases relative to those made by individuals. Absent this provision, which was literally an accident of history dating back to World War II wage and price controls, employers would have literally no say in their workers’ health care decisions.

Unfortunately, the Obamacare health “reforms” failed to address this simple, misguided provision, which created a number of harmful consequences, most notably the dominance of insurance companies in American health care.

The court simply decided that certain businesses had an interest in not purchasing for their employees certain forms of birth control that they believed to cause an abortion. Sixteen of 20 approved forms of birth control remain covered, and there is nothing stopping workers from purchasing these products on their own.

Ultimately, the reproductive rights community should get over their misguided obsession with “free” health care and work with libertarians to end misguided policies that place employers and government bureaucrats in control of our most intimate medical decisions.

Paul J Gessing
President Rio Grande Foundation

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