Opinion

Obamacare Drug Mandate Loses, Women Win

Photo of Cathy Cleaver Ruse
Cathy Cleaver Ruse
Senior Fellow, Family Research Council
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      Cathy Cleaver Ruse

      Mrs. Ruse was Chief Counsel to the Constitution Subcommittee in the House of Representatives where she had oversight of civil rights and human rights issues, as well as religious freedom and free speech matters which came before the House. Mrs. Ruse received her law degree from Georgetown University and a certificate from the National Institute for trial advocacy during her work as a litigator in the District of Columbia. She holds an honorary doctoral degree from Franciscan University of Steubenville. Mrs. Ruse served for several years as the chief spokesperson on human life issues for the U.S. Catholic Bishops. She was co-host of the cable television program Legal Notebook, and has made national and international media appearances, including PBS' "Firing Line," CNN's "Crossfire," and Fox News' "The O'Reilly Factor," among many others. Her writing has been published in the Wall Street journal, USA Today,The Christian Science Monitor, the Washington Times, and other national and regional newspapers and publications. In 1997 Wired magazine called Mrs. Ruse "one of the most influential opinion shapers in the country." Mrs. Ruse served as legal director of Family Research Council in the mid-1990s and was legal counsel and program director for the National Law Center for Children and Families, a law firm devoted to strengthening and defending laws against pornography. In 2004 she and her husband, Austin Ruse, received the John Paul II Award for Advancing the Culture of Life from the Institute for the Psychological Sciences. In 2006 they received the Defender of Life Award from American Collegians for Life.

One of Obamacare’s most controversial provisions was just dealt a blow by the Supreme Court: the heavy-handed mandate that forces America’s job-creators to buy insurance coverage for a list of the White House’s favorite contraceptive drugs and devices, regardless of someone’s sincere conscientious objection.

Several cases filed by non-profit groups are still pending, and the win by Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood bodes well for them.

But isn’t it a bad day for women? The political left has used the Obamacare mandate as a cynical litmus test: Support it and you support women; oppose it and you are at war with them. And look: All the women on the Supreme Court voted in favor of it. That was easy to predict, given their political leanings, but it sure advances the narrative.

If we are going to play identity politics, a more thoughtful look at the “woman angle” tells quite a different story about the mandate.

Soundbites are cheap and easy. Going to court is neither. So a good question to ask is who has actually taken the time and trouble to go to court to stop the mandate? The answer is women.

Of the hundred cases filed against the mandate, many of the plaintiffs are women. There are women who run charities, like the Little Sisters of the Poor, but also women who run family businesses. Nearly one-third of the business plaintiffs in these cases are women. These businesswomen just won, big.

What do women on the bench think about the mandate? Most of them don’t like it. So far, women judges in the lower courts have voted to stop the mandate 24 times. In only 15 cases have they voted to let it proceed. Yesterday’s votes from the high court don’t change the equation.

Surprisingly, even after having been assaulted by the “war on women” rhetoric for two years, the average American woman still holds an unfavorable view of the contraceptive mandate. In poll after poll, more women oppose it than support it.

The mandate forces employers to provide coverage for 20 drugs and devices – four of which can destroy a human embryo. The administration’s own legal briefs concede this. Yet free embryo-killers are not the healthcare most American women long for.

In fact, of all the preventative medicine for women, the White House dictated a short list of drugs that must be 100 percent free, and on it are these controversial drugs and contraceptives. The strange priority of these over other drugs has never been fully reported.

Finally, there is the mandate’s little-reported incentive for employers to dump their employees’ health insurance altogether. Nothing good for women in that.