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“Right to Work” Rears Its Ugly Head Again

It must be Groundhog Day. There’s another Supreme Court case that could “deal a major blow to labor unions.”

Yes, the National Right to Work Foundation is getting another chance to impose “Right to Work” on the entire nation through Supreme Court fiat.

Nevermind how voters may feel about it. After Maine lawmakers passed “Right to Work” in 1947, voters repealed the law by a two-to-one majority. In 1958, California and Colorado voters refused “Right to Work” by three-to-two margins; Ohio voters turned it down two-to-one; and voters in the state of Washington said “no” by a margin of nine-to-five. Ohio lawmakers ignored the 1958 ballot results and passed “Right to Work” in 2011; and voters repealed the law by an overwhelming margin. Missouri lawmakers passed “Right to Work” last year; but the law is now on hold, and voters will have the final say in a referendum this fall.

Nevermind the state legislatures that have had second thoughts about “Right to Work.” In both New Hampshire and Delaware, state legislatures adopted “Right to Work” in 1947 – and then repealed it in 1949. Louisiana’s legislature passed “Right to Work” in 1954 and repealed it in 1956 (and then passed it again in 1976). Indiana passed “Right to Work” in 1957 and repealed it in 1965 (and then passed it again in 2012).

Nevermind that conservatives are supposed to be opposed to judicial activism. The National Right to Work Foundation wants the Supreme Court to make “Right to Work” the law of the land. The Foundation has been using court cases to chip away at labor unions since 1968 – and they’re proud of it. You can read a list of the court cases they’ve brought against unions here.

If they succeed, what happens next? All the press coverage has been about the potential damage to labor unions. But what about

Government contracting? The National Right to Work Foundation wants the Supreme Court to rule that government contracting is an “inherently political” process. That may sound good to the Foundation, in the context of union-busting, but what about the rest of government contracting? At last report, the federal government negotiated more than 3.8 million contracts a year, totaling about $440 billion in spending – and about 2% of the federal workforce was made up of “contract professionals” (who are not union members). What happens if the Supreme Court adds “politics” to the list of reasons a procurement decision can be challenged? Will taxpayers or business competitors be able to challenge contract decisions on the basis of politics? (For instance, the $24 million refrigerator upgrade to Air Force One – was that decision tainted by the $16.7 million in lobbying that Boeing paid for, last year? The more than $1 million its PAC has “invested” in this year’s federal campaigns? The more than $2 million it spent on the 2016 campaigns?)

Employers’ rights? The National Right to Work Foundation wants the Supreme Court to rule that an employee’s “right” to not associate with the union takes precedence over his employer’s right to determine conditions of employment. That may sound good to the Foundation, in the context of union-busting, but what about the rest of employer-employee relations? What happens when an employer requires a security clearance, but the employee wants to associate with terrorist organizations? When an employer wants to maintain a mainstream “brand” but the employee wants to use Facebook and Twitter to advertise his association with the American Nazi Party?

States’ rights to decide the terms and conditions of their workers’ employment?

40 years’ worth of judicial precedents, not just in labor law, but also First Amendment interpretation? (If workers’ First Amendment rights trump their public employers’ interests, won’t that open the floodgates for “leaks” to the press?)

What about all the other potential ramifications of this case?

Yep, it’s Groundhog Day. Another opportunity for the Supreme Court to overlook long-term consequences, in a case brought by political insiders.

Remember Citizens United? Citizens United President David Bossie is on the GOP’s National Committee and a “veteran conservative operative.” The Supreme Court used his court case to overturn campaign finance laws. Now Congress is openly doing what their donors (not voters) want. Read the Brennan Center’s How Citizens United Changed Politics and Shaped the Tax Bill.  Read Politico’s Big donors ready to reward Republicans for tax cuts. Is this really what the Supreme Court had in mind, when it ruled in Citizens United?

Remember Hobby Lobby? Salon describes how Hobby Lobby is “quietly funding a vast right-wing movement.” The Supreme Court used its case to give religious rights to for-profit corporations, and now we’re beginning to see the consequences. Cardozo Law Review explored how employers could use the Hobby Lobby decision to sidestep employment-discrimination laws. And at least one federal court has already allowed a corporation to fire an employee for “religious” reasons, notwithstanding the 1964 Civil Rights Act.

Notice how “Right to Work” is being pushed by special-interest organizations? The Koch-connected American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). The Koch-funded Americans for Prosperity. The Koch-affiliated US Chamber of Commerce. And, of course, the Koch-funded National Right to Work groups. Notice how it’s not being pushed by actual businesses? Not in New Hampshire. Not in Ohio. But the ripple effect of this court case could be huge.

Groundhog Day. Janus v. AFSCME. Another chance for the Supreme Court to reinforce the impression that it’s an extension of the Republican Party. After all the headlines about Merrick Garland and Neil Gorsuch, what are citizens supposed to think? Both President Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell claim Justice Gorsuch as “an accomplishment.” The RNC based a fundraising campaign on his confirmation. The Court just blocked a lower court’s order that North Carolina redraw its election maps, because the old maps were unconstitutional partisan gerrymandering that favored the GOP. (And now Pennsylvania’s GOP legislators want the Court to block a similar ruling in their state.)

Groundhog Day. Another attack by the special interests that have been transforming our government into an oligarchy. (“Oligarchy” – government by the few, especially despotic power exercised by a small and privileged group for corrupt or selfish purposes)

Voters’ view, last election day: 72 percent agree “the American economy is rigged to advantage the rich and powerful.” 75 percent agree that “America needs a strong leader to take the country back from the rich and powerful.”

Granite Staters’ view, now: only 14% think voters have more influence than special interests.

Groundhog Day, the movie, reminds us that we can be doomed to repeat the same thing over and over until we “get it right.” (How fitting that the movie is now back in theaters for its 25th anniversary.)

It’s supposed to be our government. When are we going to get this right?

Failed CEO Walt Havenstein Falsely Claims Hobby Lobby ‘Would Never Apply’ in New Hampshire

In Temple Adath Yeshurun Debate, Havenstein Demonstrates His Cluelessness on New Hampshire State Law, the Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby Decision, and Workers’ Rights

MANCHESTER—Failed CEO Walt Havenstein doubled down on his support for the Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby decision that allows an employer to deny a woman health insurance that covers contraception. Havenstein also demonstrated his cluelessness on New Hampshire state law by falsely claiming the Hobby Lobby decision would “never apply to begin with” in New Hampshire.

“Walt Havenstein is either intentionally misleading voters, or he simply doesn’t understand New Hampshire’s laws,” said State Representative Candace Bouchard, who chairs the House Reproductive Rights Caucus. “Contrary to Havenstein’s false statements, the anti-choice Hobby Lobby decision does apply in New Hampshire and it means that certain employers here can deny women contraception coverage.”

At the Temple Adath Yeshurun debate, Havenstein reiterated his support for the Hobby Lobby decision. Adding, “In New Hampshire, because of our laws, [the Hobby Lobby decision] would never apply to begin with.” Havenstein’s Communications Director Henry Goodwin stated on Twitter that “No one would lose access” to contraception in New Hampshire under Hobby Lobby because the state’s “insurance mandates mean it can’t happen.”

Both Havenstein’s and Goodwin’s comments inaccurately describe New Hampshire’s laws, the Hobby Lobby decision, and the decision’s impact on New Hampshire women. The state mandate requiring health insurers to provide contraception coverage excludes employers that self-insure. The Hobby Lobby decision allows these self-insured New Hampshire employers to deny employees contraception coverage. Many large companies choose to self-insure, including Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc., which has a location in Manchester and no longer has to provide contraception coverage to its employees there under the Supreme Court’s decision.

“Not only did Havenstein double down on his support for the misguided Hobby Lobby decision, but he’s also said that the radical anti-woman NHGOP platform – which would outlaw some types of contraception and in vetro fertilization – would be his ‘guideline’ for decision-making. If one thing is clear, it’s that Walt Havenstein can’t be trusted on women’s health care,” added Representative Bouchard.

Click here for the full video of Havenstein’s false claims about the Hobby Lobby decision.

BACKGROUND:

Havenstein: “I can use that platform as the guideline for me for making decisions.”

“’I can use that platform as the guideline for me for making decisions.’ The platform is not binding, Havenstein added, but it forms as a “guideline” for decision-making. As the Republican gubernatorial nominee, Havenstein also said he has an ‘obligation’ to support the party toward victory.” [Concord Monitor, October 12, 2014]

New Hampshire GOP Adopts Fetal ‘Personhood’ Into Platform

“Fetal personhood measures, which have been defeated in several states, would grant legal rights to zygotes from the moment of fertilization. The measures are extremely controversial because they would criminalize abortion without exceptions and could ban some forms of contraception and in vitro fertilization.” [Huffington Post, September 22, 2014]

Havenstein Supports Limiting Access to “Life-Saving Aspect of Women’s Health Care”

“Contraceptive services are a fundamental and at times life-saving aspect of women’s health care. By ruling the way it did, the Supreme Court has opened the door for religion and politics to control access to those services. Despite their protestations to the contrary, that is exactly what Brown and Havenstein are championing.” [Concord Monitor Editorial, 7/2/14]

Havenstein Praises Supreme Court’s Decision on the Massachusetts Buffer Zone Law

“Havenstein praised the court’s decision and condemned the New Hampshire law Gov. Maggie Hassan signed that takes effect on July 10.” [Nashua Telegraph, 6/30/14]

Havenstein Unwilling To Comment On Anti-Choice Bills Before The Legislature

The Union Leader also reported that Walt Havenstein’s campaign would not answer a series of questions regarding Havenstein’s stance on various anti-choice bills before the legislature. [Union Leader, 4/21/14]

Havenstein Signed the Koch Brothers’ Pledge to Block Affordable Care Act and Medicaid Expansion

Havenstein signed the Koch Brothers-backed Americans for Prosperity New Hampshire pledge, which commits that he’d work to repeal Medicaid expansion and block measures that help women access affordable health services. [WMUR, 7/30/14]

Kuster Helps Introduce Bill in Response to Hobby Lobby Decision

Legislation would protect Granite State women’s right to make their own health care decisions

WASHINGTON, DC – In response to the recent Supreme Court Hobby Lobby decision to restrict women’s access to employer-covered contraceptive health coverage, Congresswoman Annie Kuster (NH-02) today helped introduce the Protect Women’s Health from Corporate Interference Act of 2014. This legislation would explicitly prohibit for-profit employers from using religious beliefs to deny employees coverage of contraception or any other vital health services required by federal law.

“Women’s personal health care choices can and should only be decided by each individual woman for herself, not dictated by her employer,” said Congresswoman Annie Kuster. “I was very disappointed by the Hobby Lobby decision, which strips away the right of working Granite State women to access comprehensive health care coverage. I’m proud to help introduce legislation that will take medical decisions out of the hands of the Supreme Court, politicians, and corporate bosses, and put them back where they belong – in the hands of the patient and her doctor.”

The Protect Women’s Health from Corporate Interference Act of 2014 would protect employees’ rights to all federally mandated health services, including contraception. The bill exempts federally mandated health services from the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, while keeping in place the existing exemption for religious employers (e.g. houses of worship) and accommodation of religious non-profits who do not wish to provide contraceptives. A companion bill is being introduced in the Senate by Senators Jeanne Shaheen (NH), Patty Murray (WA), and Mark Udall (CO).

Shea-Porter Cosponsors Legislation to Fix SCOTUS Hobby Lobby Decision

WASHINGTON, DC – Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter (NH-01) will help introduce legislation in response to the Supreme Court’s Burwell v. Hobby Lobby decision to restrict women’s access to health care. The bill would ensure that women’s health care decisions are not at the mercy of their bosses’ religious beliefs.

“In the 21st century, for-profit corporations should not be allowed to block employees’ access to critical preventive health services like birth control,” Shea-Porter said. “I’m pleased that this legislation extends proper protection to religious employers and non-profit institutions, and I urge Congress to act now to avert the negative consequences of the Supreme Court’s disturbing decision and make clear that women and their doctors, not their bosses or politicians, have control over personal health care decisions.”

The Protect Women’s Health from Corporate Interference Act of 2014 would explicitly prohibit for-profit employers that maintain a group health plan for its employees from using their personal religious beliefs as a justification to deny employees coverage of contraception or any other vital health service required by federal law. The bill exempts federally mandated health services from the Religious Freedom Restoration Act while keeping in place the existing exemption for religious employers (e.g., houses of worship) and accommodation of religious non-profits that do not wish to offer direct coverage for contraceptives.

The legislation will be introduced by Reps. Louise M. Slaughter (D-NY), Diana DeGette (D-CO), and Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) in the House, where Rep. Shea-Porter is an original cosponsor.  Senators Patty Murray (D-WA) and Mark Udall (D-CO) are introducing companion legislation in the Senate.

Almost 100 percent of American women use birth control at some point in their lives. The Centers for Disease Control declared it one of the Ten Great Public Health Achievements of the 20th Century. For millions of Americans, contraception coverage is a vital economic and health benefit, allowing women and families to avoid unplanned pregnancies and treat other health conditions.

After the Hobby Lobby decision, Shea-Porter called the court’s all-male majority opinion “incredibly disappointing,” and noted that “this decision will only make some women’s lives even more difficult, and leaves me wondering what’s next from this activist Supreme Court.”

UPDATED: Senator Shaheen Backs Legislation To Protect Women’s Health After Hobby Lobby Decision, Gov. Hassan Applauds Senators

Legislation would keep health care options between women and their doctors, not women and their employers

(Washington, DC) – In response to last week’s Supreme Court Hobby Lobby ruling, U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) will be joining a coalition of Senators today to introduce legislation that would protect women’s health care from employer interference. The legislation, the Protect Women’s Health from Corporate Interference Act of 2014, would help ensure that no employer who provides group health insurance coverage to its employees can deny any specific health benefits, including contraception coverage, to employees or their dependents.

“Women, not their employers, should be in charge of decisions about their own health care,” Shaheen said. “We need to act now to make sure employers aren’t selectively denying health care to their employees. Women must have the access to the health coverage and benefits, including contraception coverage, they have been guaranteed under federal law.”

The Protect Women’s Health from Corporate Interference Act of 2014, introduced by U.S. Senators Patty Murray (D-WA) and Mark Udall (D-CO) and co-sponsored by Shaheen, would amend the Public Health Service Act to prevent employers from denying their employees or their employees’ dependents health coverage that is guaranteed to them under existing law. Under the legislation, employers, regardless of religious affiliation would not be allowed to deny their employees contraceptive coverage or any other specific health care item or service. The law also maintains the existing exemption for houses of worship and religious non-profits.

*       *        *

UPDATED 11:30

Governor Hassan Statement on the Protect Women’s Health from Corporate Interference Act

CONCORD – Governor Maggie Hassan today issued the following statement on the introduction of the Protect Women’s Health from Corporate Interference Act in the United States Senate by Senators Patty Murray and Mark Udall and cosponsored by Senator Jeanne Shaheen:

“When women and their families can make their own health care and family planning choices, they do better economically, and the economy of our entire state and nation does better. With its Hobby Lobby decision, the Supreme Court allowed businesses, based on the religious beliefs of their officers, to discriminate against female employees.

“Company-provided health insurance is part of a worker’s compensation, not a gift. When women are denied health insurance coverage that covers their basic health care needs, but their male colleagues receive full coverage for their basic health care, then women are – unfairly – being compensated less than their co-workers. Contraception costs are one of the biggest health care expenses for women and their families. Affordable access to this basic health care coverage is critical to the economic security of women and families.

“The Protect Women’s Health from Corporate Interference Act ensures that women are free from interference when they make decisions about contraception and other health care and it ensures that they are free from discrimination in employment because they will receive equal compensation for equal work. This bill protects women’s access to critical health services while also protecting women’s religious freedom. I applaud Senator Shaheen and Senator Murray for their leadership on this issue, and I urge Congress to pass the Protect Women’s Health from Corporate Interference Act as quickly as possible in order to reinforce our commitment to building an even stronger country in which women are treated as true equals.”

Guest Editorial — Susan Bruce: Big Daddy Hobby Lobby Knows Best

Susan Bruce

By Susan Bruce

I was 18 in 1974, the year that Roe v. Wade was enacted. I was pregnant. My doctor sat me down to explain my options to me. All of them. She was very thorough. I decided I was having a baby. She thought I was nuts. There I was, a high school dropout with a substance abuse problem, no money, no skills, and no family support, deciding to have a baby.

Did you notice the key word in that last sentence? I DECIDED. It was my CHOICE.

That has made all the difference. I was not forced to be an involuntary incubator. It was my body. It was my choice.

It’s been painful to watch most of women’s hard won freedoms begin to erode. None has been more painful than the renewal of the war on choice. It’s pretty simple. Either we are equal human beings who have a right to medical privacy and bodily autonomy or we are not.

The Hobby Lobby decision puts employers between women and their doctors. That they imagine that they have some right to be in that position is hubris on steroids. If they were refusing to pay for insurance coverage for Viagra, penis pumps, or penile implants, you’d see what real hysteria looks like. That, of course, would never happen, because it is only women whose bodies are up for discussion and debate. Men own us from a distance, as they rule our ovaries from state houses and Congress. They won’t overturn Roe v. Wade. That would lead to national outrage and action. Instead, they’ll continue to make it increasingly difficult to access abortions state by state.

During my sophomore year in high school, one of my friends got pregnant. She wasn’t from an affluent family. She was from a rare (in the early 70’s) single parent family, and there wasn’t money to send her off for an illegal abortion or even to stay with an “aunt” for six months. She was stuck being pregnant in high school at a time where that just didn’t happen. People were so awful to her. She was so brave. She stuck it out. She put the baby up for adoption, and came back to school and toughed it out. I didn’t have the understanding or the vocabulary back then to tell her how brave she was.

She didn’t have a choice. Poor women never do.

Hobby Lobby is not a church. It’s a craft store. It’s a for-profit enterprise, one that employs people from all over the country. Unless they discriminate as employers and hire only like-minded religious folk, then they hire people of many faiths, from many backgrounds. For them to claim some sort of religious privilege here is offensive. They’re telling their female employees (in the most paternalistic way possible) that they will happily make money from their labor, but they will not trust those same female employees to make their own medical decisions. “We’ll let you help build our empire, girls, but step away from that IUD. Big Daddy Hobby Lobby knows best.”

Of course now, they don’t need to discriminate when they hire. Their health plan does it for them.

The clock is spinning back to the days of back alley abortions, of women trying to abort themselves with knitting needles and coat hangers. I did not expect to see this happen in my lifetime. I thought we’d won this fight. It’s clear that it’s going to have to be fought all over again.

Constant vigilance is the price we pay for any gains made by women.

Susan Bruce is a local progressive advocate in New Hampshire.  She writes a bi-weekly column for the Conway Daily Sun newspaper in N. Conway, NH and blogs at “Susan The Bruce.” She is a producer and co-hosts a local radio program “The Attitude with Arnie Arnesen.”  You can follow her on twitter at @SusanThe 

UPDATED: NH’s Congressional Delegation Is Outraged Over The Hobby Lobby Decision (Well Most Of It Anyway)

In a very unsurprising decision, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled in favor of Hobby Lobby.  The case was to determine if Hobby Lobby could be forced to have an insurance plan that would cover contraceptives that the Green family – the evangelical owners and operators of Hobby Lobby – say they disagree with on religious grounds.

In a 5-4 decision, the Court ruled that because Hobby Lobby was a privately owned corporation that is run by a small group of people who have the same religious beliefs that forcing their insurance plans to cover certain types of birth control infringed on their closely held religious beliefs.

“Americans shouldn’t be forced to comply with government mandates that violate core principles of their faith,” said Senator Kelly Ayotte. “This case is fundamentally a matter of religious freedom, and this ruling affirms Americans’ religious liberties as protected under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.”

This ruling means that the religious rights of the employer are more important than the personal rights of the employees.

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg lashed out in an epic dissent:

“The exemption sought by Hobby Lobby and Conestoga would…deny legions of women who do not hold their employers’ beliefs access to contraceptive coverage.”  She continued by stating, “The court, I fear, has ventured into a minefield.”

This case is also chalk full of hypocrisy.

I guess “God’s will” only matters when it affects a woman’s right to choose, and not when it affects a man’s inability to perform.

“The Supreme Court’s decision today is incredibly disappointing,” stated Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter. “The debate over birth control was seemingly settled decades ago, and most companies and institutions had been offering birth control coverage as part of a health care package without controversy. This decision will only make some women’s lives even more difficult, and leaves me wondering what’s next from this activist Supreme Court.”

“Women should be making decisions about their health care with their doctors, not their employers,” said Senator Jeanne Shaheen. “Today’s Supreme Court decision unfortunately jeopardizes basic health care coverage and access to contraception for a countless number of women and I’m very disappointed by the ruling. Blocking access to contraception will have economic and public health consequences that our country cannot afford.”

“The Supreme Court’s decision on the Hobby Lobby case is a step backwards for New Hampshire women and their families,” said Congresswoman Annie Kuster. “Not only will this decision limit access to health care coverage for Granite State women, it will allow some employers to dictate a woman’s health care choices – something that can and should only be decided by each individual woman for herself. We must ensure that all women have access to comprehensive health coverage, and that they have the freedom to make choices about their own individual health care needs.”

The Affordable Care Act pushed insurance companies to fully cover preventative care for women – including contraception, when prescribed by a medical provider.  It also prohibits insurance companies from charging higher premiums for women than for men.  Before Obamacare, insurance companies could – and did – discriminate against women.  Charging women $1 billion more than men each year – and then giving them less coverage – was unfair and discriminatory.

One of the birth control options that Hobby Lobby disagreed with is the Internal Uterine Device (IUD). An IUD prevents a woman’s egg from implanting on the uterine wall, which prevents pregnancy.  Hobby Lobby makes the claim that this is abortion, because “life begins at conception.” But conception does not occur until after the egg is implanted.  So if an IUD prevents implantation, it prevents conception – and that means it’s contraception, just like the pill and condoms.

An IUD is extremely effective and has very low risk for women who choose to use it, although it can be expensive.

“It bears note in this regard that the cost of an IUD is nearly equivalent to a month’s full-time pay for workers earning the minimum wage,” wrote Justice Bader Ginsberg in her dissent.

“Access to family planning services is critical for the health and economic security of women and families, as contraception costs are one of the biggest health care expenses for women and their families,” said Governor Maggie Hassan. “While today’s Supreme Court decision is disappointing, I’m optimistic that employers will continue providing coverage for family planning services because it’s the right thing to do for workers, it will help businesses attract high-quality employees, and it will strengthen the economic security of working families.”

This attack on women’s reproductive rights is nothing new.  Conservatives have been trying to limit a women’s right to choose since the Supreme Court ruled on Roe v Wade over 50 years ago.  When Republicans took control of the New Hampshire House in 2011, a new firestorm of attacks on women’s right was initiated.

“In 2011, the Executive Council took the radical step of eliminating funding for Planned Parenthood, blocking access to health services for thousands of Granite State women,” stated Executive Counselor Chris Pappas. “That was the wrong decision for New Hampshire families then just as the Supreme Court’s decision in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby is wrong now.  Access to contraception and basic family planning services is critical for women’s health and economic security.  As an employer and owner of a family-run business, I know first-hand that important health decisions must be left up to women and their physicians.” (Emphasis added)

It continues to show that this Supreme Court and their conservative majority are out of touch with real working families, and are basing their rulings on their ideological positions.

More and more, it seems that the majority of the Supreme Court better represents the interests of the Chamber of Commerce than it does the values and aspirations of working Americans. Workers’ rights should not depend on whether their employer—while buying and selling to everyone regardless of religion—wants to limit their reproductive rights based on privately held religious beliefs,” said Randi Weingarten, President of the American Federation of Teachers. “That this decision, which disproportionately affects women, coincides with the Harris v. Quinn decision, which limits rights of home healthcare workers in Illinois—the vast majority of whom are women—is a throwback to another age. Working families, especially working women, have lost here.”

There is no doubt our national healthcare system was broken.  The Affordable Care Act was a step in the right direction, fixing some of the major wrongs.  An insurance company can no longer deny coverage if you get sick; they can no longer deny coverage because of a pre-existing condition; their profits are limited by the 80/20 rule; and many more.

In my opinion the problem is that we are still relying on private insurance companies for health care.  For-profit institutions are making decisions about what our healthcare should be.  The problem is only compounded by our reliance on employer-supplied healthcare.

In Justice Alito’s decision, he implied that if the government truly wants to find a way to cover all of these contraceptives then the government is going to have to find a way to pay for it themselves.

To me, the solution is simple: Medicare for all.  If everyone were on Medicare, or any other version of a single payer system, the opinions of an employer would be moot.  An employer would never be able to restrict coverage for its women employees (or its men employees, for that matter).

Arnie Arnesen, a local radio personality summed it all up perfectly, “If Medicare is good enough for a 65 year old man, then why is it not good enough for a 6 year old girl?”

Shaheen Campaign Launches Online Petition to Let New Hampshire Know Where Scott Brown Stands

Brown’s Dishonest Statement on Supreme Court Decision Can’t Reverse Brown’s Record

Co-sponsored Blunt Amendment to Allow Employers to Deny Women Health Care Coverage

Concord – In the wake of a Supreme Court decision allowing employers to deny their female employees coverage for birth control, the Shaheen campaign today is launching an online petition, asking Granite Staters to spread the word on Scott Brown’s support for the Blunt amendment.  The amendment would allow employers to deny women coverage not only for birth control but also any health care service, even mammograms.

Brown’s response to the Supreme Court decision that he “supported access to contraception,” directly contradicts his record and efforts to pass the Blunt amendment – co-sponsoring the measure and pushing for its passage.  The Blunt amendment would allow restrictions even more extreme than those the court allowed in yesterday’s Burwell v. Hobby Lobby decision.

“Scott Brown’s dishonesty is an insult to women all across New Hampshire, and it wont change his support for the Blunt amendment.  His record is clear.  Scott Brown fought for and voted to allow employers to deny women access not just to birth control but also to other health care services, like mammograms.  He pushed for a law that would double down on the supreme court decision and allow employers even more control over women’s health care,”  said Senator Sylvia Larsen of Concord, a co-sponsor of New Hampshire’s contraception law passed in 1999.  “Today, the Shaheen campaign is launching this petition because New Hampshire women deserve the truth and we can’t afford to have a U.S Senator working to strip away basic health services for Granite State women.”

As Massachusetts’ U.S. Senator, Brown took a “strong stand” in favor of the Blunt Amendment, which would have gone even further than the Supreme Court in limiting access to basic contraceptive health coverage.  Even his fellow Senate Republicans thought Brown was in the wrong.  Republican U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski called Brown’s amendment “an attack on women.”

For more than two decades, Jeanne Shaheen has been fighting to expand affordable access to health services for New Hampshire women.  As New Hampshire’s Governor, she signed into law bipartisan legislation requiring insurance coverage for contraceptive services.  In the Senate, she has been an outspoken advocate for women’s reproductive rights. New Hampshire women need a Senator they can trust.

The petition can be found here.

Does Your Employer Have The Right To Tell You What Medications You Can Take?

HobbyLobbyStowOhio

Within weeks we will have a decision on a Supreme Court case that could destroy the entire employer provided healthcare system we have created. I am not opposed to destroying the current system if we are finally going to accept that we should adopt a national single payer system. Since many politicians are too afraid to talk about a single payer system, we will have to live within the system we have.

What would you do if your boss told you that your son’s immunization shot was no longer covered by the company health insurance policy?

You would probably say, “That is outrageous that would never happen!”

It has not happened, yet, that does not mean it will not happen.

What if your employer told you that the company healthcare policy no longer covered your ortho-tri-cyclen, otherwise known as birth control?

Suddenly these examples seem factual. Hobby Lobby took their case all the way to the Supreme Court of the United States arguing that because the owner of the corporation is an ultra-religious evangelical — who is adamant against any form of birth control– arguing they should not have to comply with the Affordable Care Act mandate for employer based insurance plans to fully cover birth control.

This is a continuation that “corporations are people”, now corporations can have religions too!

Churches have already been excluded from this mandate based on religious beliefs, though I disagree with that ruling too. The church is not giving the people birth control, or any other medications. They are paying a market-based fee to cover the medical costs of their employee. They are not paying for individual services, and therefore should not be allowed to dictate what is covered by the policy.

The same applies to Hobby Lobby. They are not paying for specific services, and should not be allowed to dictate what is covered.

There are also the obvious arguments that just because you work for Hobby Lobby does not mean you support the same evangelical beliefs as the owners. Does your employer’s religion dictate what you believe too?

The real question is would we be truly having this argument if the owners of Hobby Lobby were Satanists, or Wiccan?

If the Supreme Court rules in favor of Hobby Lobby, then your employer could say they will not pay for a doctor, unless you are seen by a wiccan medicine man first.

The fact is that a corporation does not have a religion. Only people can choose to have religion. You, as my employer, have no right to force your religious beliefs on me that is my “freedom of religion.”

The Supreme Court ruling will come down to who has more freedom, the corporation that has no soul and is made legal documents, or the employee who has the free will to choose what or if they want to be religious in any way.

We should know more by the end of the week.   Stay tuned!

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