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Thom Tillis 2As was explained at some length in this post earlier this year, there are several reasons that the support voiced during the 2014 campaign by Senator-elect Thom Tillis and other conservative candidates for access to “over-the-counter” contraceptives was a disingenuous batch of baloney cooked up by GOP campaign consultants.

…the trick lies in the conservative politicians’ deceptive use of a term (“over the counter contraceptives”) that really has no practical meaning.

Currently, the main and most effective contraceptives available to women are not available without a prescription (i.e. “over the counter”). Moreover, as Planned Parenthood Vice President and occasional N.C. Policy Watch contributor Melissa Reed pointed out in a statement last week,

“…while leading women’s health experts agree that some forms of birth control should be made available OTC, there is not a single manufacturer that has submitted an application to the FDA to do so.”

In other words, to be “for” OTC contraceptives without providing any genuine specifics about how and when the government would go about effecting such a momentous change is meaningless and a downright deceptive and empty gesture.

Nonetheless, one might have thought that the GOP would at least pay lip service to the idea after the election in order to cover their tracks for a while. As this article featuring Thom Tillis  (in yesterday’s Washington Times, of all places) makes clear, however, that ain’t gonna’ happen. The article says that expanding OTC access in the upcoming session of Congress is (surprise!!) “markedly absent” from the plans of GOP leaders.

And somewhere, Karl Rove is smiling.

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The Supreme Court agreed today to hear a challenge to the Affordable Care Act’s contraception mandate in two cases, Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood Specialties v. Sebelius.

Salon summarized the dispute at the heart of both cases:

The owners of Hobby Lobby, a chain of crafts stores that plays religious music for shoppers, provides employees free “spiritual counseling” and closes down every Sunday, have been fighting tooth and nail to avoid providing their employees with the comprehensive reproductive healthcare required under the Obama Administration’s healthcare reforms because, they argue, allowing women to determine if and and what kind of birth control to use is a violation of its religious beliefs.

Certainly the case raises questions about the limits of religious freedom. But the extent to which the Court ultimately rules against the mandate may also determine just how far the “corporation as person” analysis can go.

Caroline Fredrickson, the president of the American Constitution Society, said that the case should be a “huge concern for every American, not just progressives.”  She added:

 The corporation is understood to be a separate legal entity from the people who own it. It’s always been understood as such. If the Court concludes that that Hobby Lobby is merely an extension of its owners and has the same religious liberty rights they do, then there is arguably no limit to a for-profit business owner’s power to flout any law he or she finds religiously objectionable.