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Hobby Lobby1. The unconstitutional application of religious liberty: The original purpose of religious liberty is defined as the separation of church and state, ensuring the protection of both through mutual autonomy. Health care coverage is an entity of the state. By permitting Hobby Lobby the refusal to cover certain forms of birth control on religious grounds in its female employees’ health care plans, the Supreme Court is essentially giving the same blessing of religious liberty to a corporate entity that the law permits for private faith. Based on such reasoning, a company run by Jehovah’s Witnesses could write blood transfusions out of their health care plans and companies run by fundamentalist Christians could write vaccines out of theirs.

2. Blatant hypocrisy: Hobby Lobby’s excuse to refuse coverage for certain forms of women’s birth control was framed as religious opposition to what they falsely named “abortion”–specific contraceptives and devices that prevent a zygote from being implanted in the uterine wall. However, as noted by Mother Jones in a recent investigation, Hobby Lobby has financial ties not only to the manufacturing of said forms of birth control but even to drugs used for inducing abortions. Hobby Lobby has stock holdings in companies that manufacture these products. This is blatant hypocrisy and reveals that the true motive wasn’t religious conviction at all but corporate greed.

3. It’s counterproductive: As noted by pro-life progressive and faith activist Brian McLaren in a recent article, the Hobby Lobby decision–while being hailed as a victory against abortion by many in conservative Christian faith communities–is actually counterproductive to such a cause in that it does nothing to reduce or prevent real abortions. In fact, by making it more financially difficult for female employees to acquire birth control that, scientifically, does not constitute abortion, Hobby Lobby is eliminating assistance that would actually reduce abortions. Hence, the decision is not in any way a victory against abortion. To the contrary, it deceives Hobby Lobby’s religious supporters into making abortion a more viable option through the withdrawal of financial support for significant forms of birth control such as emergency contraception.

Femcare clinic

(Photo by Jon Elliston, Carolina Public Press)

If you haven’t already done so, be sure to check out this excellent new story by Carolina Public Press reporter Jon Elliston: “Documents disclose political, PR pressures surrounding Asheville abortion clinic’s suspension.” Elliston, who combed through reams of McCrory administration documents and emails obtained through public records requests, paints a rather dark and fascinating picture of what went on behind the scenes last year as lawmakers passed new abortion clinic restrictions and communicated with HHS officials about past and prospective clinic inspections.

This is from the story:

“While the documents stop short of pinpointing who or what prompted the mid-July inspection of the Asheville-based clinic — Femcare’s first comprehensive review in almost seven years — they do show: Read More

NARAL Pro-Choice NC Director Suzanne Buckley agrees with House Speaker Thom Tillis about one very important matter — there were a lot of losers in North Carolina as a result of the 2013 legislative session. Check out the latest statement from her group:

“Last week, House Speaker Thom Tillis disregarded North Carolinians opposed to his extreme agenda at the NC General Assembly as ‘whining coming from losers’ in an interview with Politico.

‘Speaker Tillis’ comments are the latest in a series of disparaging and disrespectful remarks about North Carolinians from extreme leaders in Raleigh,’ said Suzanne Buckley, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice North Carolina. From Governor McCrory’s ‘I don’t care’ response to Cookiegate in July to NC Senator Rucho’s Twitter rant, NC GOP leaders have a lot to get off their chests these days.

‘At least Tillis was right about one thing—the unemployed, teachers, military families, young people, immigrants, workers, and women are the losers under Tillis’ leadership,’ she added. Thousands of North Carolinians, especially women, suffered significant losses in the Tillis-led 2013 legislative session. Under Tillis’ leadership, the NCGA: Read More

CookiesUnless you read all the way to the bottom of Sarah Ovaska’s remarkable post below, you may have missed this amazing nugget Ovaska culled from the Guv’s interview with WFAE in Charlotte yesterday:

“When asked by [interviewer] Collins about whether, his July delivery of a plate of cookies to abortion rights protestors outside the Governor’s Mansion was a good idea in hindsight, McCrory remarked he didn’t care.

‘I don’t care, I felt like doing it,’ he said. ‘Who cares?’”

Good lord, is this man really serious?

Look, reasonable people can have differeing positions on the important and emotionally-charged matter of abortion and reproductive rights generally, but when the elected leader of nine-million people engages in such patently juvenile behavior and then doubles down on it with such a dismissive and downright lunkheadedly disrespectful statement as this, all a body can do is slap one’s forehead and get ready for the next round of jokes at our once-respected state’s expense.

It seems like every time I debate a conservative talking head on TV or radio and warn about North Carolina’s ongoing slide to the bottom (and mention that we seem bent on becoming the new Mississippi) the response goes something like this: “No, our model is Texas. That’s where they know how to grow the economy and shrink government.”

Of course, even at a glance, it’s obvious to most intelligent people why Texas is no model worth copying.  Lest you have any doubts, however, Andrea Flynn of the Roosevelt Institute explains some very important reasons why life in Texas is increasingly third-world-like for a huge chunk of the population: Read More