Justice Thomas Writes Opinion For Rolling Back Gay Marriage, Contraceptive Sales, But Did Not Mention Loving v. Virginia

There is plenty of reason to feel ashamed of the Supreme Court today for its purely partisan and doctrinaire ruling which overturned Roe. v. Wade. With no regard for the social realities of the early 21st century, a majority of the males on the court tossed aside precedent and dived into the idealogic depths. They view women as birthing chambers, as the powerfully worded dissent correctly stated, “from the very moment of fertilization, a woman has no rights to speak of.”

While the abortion ruling was one the nation knew was coming for a couple months, the gravity of the ruling and the explosion of emotions and political consequences which will follow surely will be quite unlike anything we have witnessed before in the nation. At a time the political divides are already severe, and the anger among citizens is at an intense level, the court opted for a highly partisan and purely ideological ruling rather than a measured and competent address of the issue at hand.

As if the ruling itself was not jarring and threatening enough to the nation, Justice Clarence Thomas in his cold and calculating conservative concurring opinion called for overturning the constitutional rights the court had affirmed for access to contraceptives and LGBTQ rights. This, too, was not totally a surprise as many, including this blog, have argued since the leak of today’s ruling, that they were the next steps of the conservatives in the judiciary. Some commented on this site that I was basically exaggerating.

But those registering concern about the undermining and stripping away of other rulings were not just blowing smoke.

Reading the separate opinion today by Thomas allowed us to understand his initial view that the decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization did not directly affect any rights besides abortion. But then in his customary angry nature that is often seen while sitting petulantly in silence during oral arguments, or his 19th-century views when writing, he argued that the constitution’s Due Process Clause does not secure a right to an abortion or any other substantive rights, and he urged the court to apply that reasoning to other landmark cases.

Thomas stunningly wrote, “In future cases, we should reconsider all of this Court’s substantive due process precedents, including Griswold, Lawrence, and Obergefell.”

Oddly, Thomas left out the famed Loving v. Virginia, the landmark civil rights decision that ruled that laws banning interracial marriage violated the Equal Protection and Due Process Clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. His marriage seemed not to need judicial review.

As we know from years of following the Court and also following legal scholars and noted writers the reckless action today that produced a tingling thrill for conservatives when overturning the landmark decades-old abortion decision, now leaves other precedents vulnerable.

I fully understand that the typical person in Topeka or Green Bay is not pondering the long-term consequences of today’s ruling. But those who follow the cases at the Supreme Court and the politics of moving certain cases forward, and the means by which they make such a journey, do pay attention.

That is why it was sophomoric and utterly ridiculous for anyone to claim two months ago that gay people in our nation had nothing to worry about regarding our marriage rights. What we warned was a possibility was put into writing today by a Supreme Court Justice.

A black man who was able to marry a white woman because of a Supreme court ruling.

Irony is very much alive.

Courts Stop Trump, This Time Over Contraceptives

Good news this afternoon for health care and people who use contraceptives.

A second ruling on ACA birth-control coverage mandate pauses an effort by Donald Trump to roll it back.  As such this means the requirement is allowed to continue nationwide.

A Pennsylvania district court judge blocked a rule nationwide that would have allowed employers with religious or moral objections to opt out of the health law’s no-cost coverage requirement. That and a more limited injunction Sunday by a California judge, who blocked the rule in 13 states and the District of Columbia, came just as it was to take effect. Both judges agreed to pause the rule while legal challenges are argued.

The dispute centers on the issue of “religious liberty” — specifically, the extent to which the government should carve out exceptions for churches, religious group and even non-religious employers that object to birth control coverage based on their beliefs. The Obama administration had narrow exceptions and a system of “accommodations” – a work-around to religious objections – in which a third-party insurer would cover birth control even if the employer did not.

But Trump widened the circumstances under which employers could claim exemptions in an effort to accommodate social conservatives.

The back-to-back court rulings represent the second time the same judges have issued preliminary injunctions, halting Trump administration rules while lawsuits against the revised policies play out.

Checks and balances keeping nation safe from the absurdity of Trump and his three-thumb crowd.

Mary Burke Needs To Ramp Up Campaign For Women Voters

For a couple of months I have stated to friends that Wisconsin Democratic gubernatorial candidate Mary Burke needed to start asserting her case as to why a women governor will be more responsible to the needs of female voters than her Republican opponent, Scott Walker.   I have urged more of a thrust aimed at electing our first female governor.  Over and over I was told by others that Burke needed to come across to voters as a candidate who had skills and ideas who also happened to be a women.  Play down the gender idea, I was told.

The latest Marquette Law school Poll results show that among likely voters–the grouping that most counts when looking for relevant data–the race seems to be titling in a direction that should concern all concerned voters.. Therefore it might be time to again make a determined push as to why the female vote in Wisconsin needs to be courted far more aggressively by the Burke campaign.

It also found Walker holds a significant lead among male voters, 62 percent to 34 percent, which poll director Charles Franklin called “astonishing.” He didn’t say why men were disproportionately siding with Walker. Burke leads women 54 to 40 percent.

There is no lack of evidence as to why Burke would be a better steward of women’s issues than Walker has been.  Cutting our education funding is a concern front and center for every mom.  Since women still balance the books around the kitchen table they know full well the impact of cuts to the prescription drug assistance programs.  No one knows the needs of women’s health issues better than another women so eliminating funding for Planned Parenthood should be the red flag that get hoisted high, and often on the campaign trial.

Without doubt some of the nation’s most regressive and might I add radical anti-choice bills were signed into law by Governor Walker.  Those included mandatory ultrasounds, a statewide, 19-week ban on abortions, and new restrictions that reduce the number of Wisconsin clinics providing any abortions in our state.

There is no doubt that women have a right to be mighty determined to get to the polls.  They have every right to want a candidate to proclaim the importance their issues have in the frothy election cycle this year.  If business interests can be touted at every stop along the way by Walker why can’t the actual needs of women voters be expressed more boldly by Burke?

As I have followed the races across the nation as we move towards Election Day I am reminded of what is taking place in North Carolina where the senate campaign of Kay Hagan has placed greater emphasis on women’s issues than any other and it is playing well with the voters.  Nationally as we break down the polling data from women at large to single women we see even greater gaps between the two parties.

If used aggressively women voters can be a fire-break in this gubernatorial  campaign that is close and in need of some energy and a new headline by Burke.    The past days have not been the best–rightly or wrongly–for the Burke forces.  Let us change the topic and regain the momentum by taking the campaign fight to the center of women’s health issues.  There is a vital center to this matter that must be tapped into with more tenacity by Burke that will then produce a better outcome Election Night.

Willy Street Co-op Is Correct For Standing Up For Birth Control Coverage Issue

Though it took longer to announce than I would have preferred there is no doubt a great deal of pleasure over the news from Willy Street Co-op that they will not be selling nine Eden Foods products due to the food producer’s restriction of birth control coverage for employees.  Simply put, the war on women over contraception must come to an end.

This issue regarding contraception can be solved with more political spine from elected officials, and also with more grass-roots boycotts.

Not placing of Eden Foods on the shelves for sale is a just boycott, and the effort will be applauded.  Following the June ruling by the Supreme Court that companies can use religious reasons for not covering birth control for employee health insurance plans means that it is up to the folks such as you and I to step in and make companies pay heed to the real concerns of women.

This is 2014 and yet one might think from the way the contraception issue is handled by some that we are not so far removed from arranged marriages for women.  There is no doubt that women and their doctors are best suited to make the personal medical decisions, and companies who only desire a fat bottom line must stay out of that process.

Since some companies seem overjoyed getting between a woman and her personal decisions it is then vital that consumers step up and demonstrate that we find it most objectionable to have women placed at such a disadvantage.

Though I am not a member of the C0-op, though I once was, I am heartened that so many gave voice for women over the contraceptive matter.  It demonstrates to me that at the grassroots level we still have the power it make change happen.

Pictures: Hobby Lobby Protest In Madison-Area Following War on Women Court Ruling

Today a protest rally that numbered 200 people was held at the Madison- area Hobby Lobby. The conversations that I overheard where ones that seemed far less partisan than I had thought would be the norm, and instead where ones that dealt with the constitution, and the past legal battles over contraceptive use and health care.  This tone was really uplifting to me as it is this higher elevation of ideas that will carry us further in this fight than mere name-calling of those who fail to understand why this is so important.

But as was stated so often in so many different ways it seems impossible that we are fighting this issue, again.

Before I post some pictures of today’s events let us recall why this protest is important, and why people need to be deeply concerned and troubled with the ruling that was handed down from the Supreme Court this week.  In her strong dissent Justice Ginsburg made it clear what is at stake for women and concerned people in this nation.

“In a decision of startling breadth, the Court holds that commercial enterprises, including corporations, along with partnerships and sole proprietorships, can opt out of any law (saving only tax laws) they judge incompatible with their sincerely held religious beliefs.”

“The exemption sought by Hobby Lobby and Conestoga would…deny legions of women who do not hold their employers’ beliefs access to contraceptive coverage.”

“Any decision to use contraceptives made by a woman covered under Hobby Lobby’s or Conestoga’s plan will not be propelled by the Government, it will be the woman’s autonomous choice, informed by the physician she consults.”

“Religious organizations exist to foster the interests of persons subscribing to the same religious faith. Not so of for-profit corporations. … The distinction between a community made up of believers in the same religion and one embracing persons of diverse beliefs, clear as it is, constantly escapes the Court’s attention. One can only wonder why the Court shuts this key difference from sight.”

Now to the protest photos from this morning.

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More Unplanned Pregnancies Coming To A Family Near You If Supreme Court Strikes Down Health Care Law

Conservatives hate abortion, right?

So conservatives should then try to promote cost-effective alternatives to getting pregnant, right?

(All right–all right–stop your laughing….)

Those few Americans who like having sex just for the pleasure of it (wherever you are) will be in for a surprise if Antonin Scalia and his buddies ax the Affordable Care Act. There was a recent firestorm of controversy over the ACA’s mandate that insurance plans provide free birth control, but Obama offered up a compromise shifting the burden away from religiously affiliated employers. The end result was that starting Aug. 1 the pill will be free to all American women who are insured.
 Without the law, many women—including those without a huge amount of disposable income—would be forced to pay for birth control out-of-pocket. Organizations like Planned Parenthood argue this would lead to far less consistent use of the pill—and more unplanned pregnancies.

Senator Ron Johnson’s Idea For Women Who Need Contraceptives

Hat Tip to James

Does anyone else hate the fact that all of Wisconsin gets smeared because of the lunacy that comes from one of our U.S. senators, Ron Johnson?

The latest embarrassment is all too typical of what we have come to expect from Johnson.

I’ve long been concerned about whether Ron Johnson, elected to the Senate in 2010, is really up to the job. After all, the Wisconsin Republican has argued that snow in Greenland is evidence of global cooling; he thinks “sunspot activity” is responsible for global warming; and at the height of the BP oil spill disaster, he said he’d sell his BP stock, just as soon as it was more profitable for him to do so.

This week, however, Johnson broke new ground, sharing his unique perspective on contraception access. Scott Keyes asked the far-right senator about the issue, and posted this startling clip.

Why Are Republicans Acting Like Troglodytes And Warring Against Women’s Health Care?

There are so many questions I have about the reasons the Republican Party–coast to coast–are being needlessly repugnant when it comes to women and health issues.  Yes, I am aware that there has alway been a slim sub-set of conservatives who are anti-contraception, and have little appreciation for the health care needs of society.  But having said that I am shocked and dismayed that so many creepy-type GOPers are coming out of the dark places to raise objections to something I thought was settled in the 1960’s!

The latest incident comes from Arizona.

There seems to be no regard by some Republicans, who are making a push against contraceptives, about the reason they are used, and why they should be covered under insurance plans.   There seems little recognition that the vast majority of this nation is taken aback by the out-dated way of thinking when it comes to demonizing contraceptives.  That there is going to be a political price to pay when women cast ballots against the Republican Party this fall seems not to register with the anti-contraception crowd.

Why these troglodytes are allowed so much lee-way in the Republican Party at this time must be a mystery to the establishment GOP crowd who well understand the crushing they will take at the hands of women voters this fall.

Women in Arizona trying to get reimbursed for birth control drugs through their employer-provided health plan could be required to prove that they are taking it for a medical reason such as acne, rather than to prevent pregnancy.

A bill nearing passage in the Republican-led Legislature allows all employers, not just religious institutions, to opt out of providing contraceptive coverage when doing so would violate their religious or moral beliefs.

When a female worker uses birth control pills, which can be used to treat a number of medical conditions, the bill would allow an employer who opted out to require her to reveal what she was taking it for in order to get reimbursed.

The bill thrusts the state into a raging national debate about religious freedom and birth control, sparked after the Obama administration required that employers must provide contraception coverage under the federal health care overhaul.

After objections from religious groups, the administration changed course, ordering that insurers, not employers, would have to pay for the coverage. Republicans, social conservatives and some religious groups believe the new order still violates their beliefs.

“We don’t live in the Soviet Union,” said the Arizona bill’s sponsor, Republican Rep. Debbie Lesko. “And so government shouldn’t be telling employers, Catholic organizations and mom and pop (businesses) to do something that’s against their moral beliefs.”

Critics say the bill allows employers to violate their worker’s privacy.