Violating Liberty by Raping the First Amendment

In a truly a truly outrageous decision, the California Supreme Court has ruled 6-1 that Catholic Charities must offer contraception to its employees.

How utterly shameful: If you want contraception as a part of your wages (i.e., in that part of the wage that takes the form of pre-paid health coverage, often erroneously called “insurance”), then don’t work for Catholic Charities. If you want your contraception expenses taken out of your wages (rather than being able to choose to spend your money wages on contraception, without having to fill out a lot of paperwork), find an employer who is willing to offer that as a non-taxed benefit.

According to CNN, “The American Civil Liberties Union applauded the ruling and called it ‘a great victory for California women and reproductive freedom.'” It is hardly possible to get it more wrong than that. It’s not liberty when it’s coerced; it’s not civil when it’s imposed; and it’s not American when it’s clearly a violation of religious conscience.

Such nonsense is not only immoral; it’s inefficient. As a gay man, why should I have to pay for pre-paid contraception, or maternity benefits? The explosion of mandated benefits is a significant reason for rising insurance costs. (Possibly the worst mandate is that for mental health coverage, which has caused university “insurance” policies to skyrocket; there’s nothing professors like more than to talk endlessly, and if “the insurance company” is paying, they can go on and on and on. Mandates on third-party payment systems result in highly inefficient and irrational misuses of scarce resources.)

Bravo to Justice Janice Rogers Brown for her lone dissent. (See p. 54 of the full document linked above.)

2 Responses to “Violating Liberty by Raping the First Amendment”

  1. The sad thing is that this move was applauded by the ACLU which continues to move farther away from the real defense of civil liberties and closer to God knows what ideal. Deroy Murdock has an interesting article on the ACLU which might tie into this.

  2. Prof. Glen Whitman has a prudent comment on this decision:

    “When the state starts meddling with the terms of contracts, as it does when it dictates the contents of health plans, entanglement with personal liberties, including freedom of religion, is sure to follow. The state can either (a) treat religious enterprises just like other enterprises, as the California high court has done, or (b) make a special exemption for religion, which puts the state in the position of deciding what a religion is and what its defining doctrines are.”

    He seems to agree with the point you’re making here, but points to general discomfort on having to advocate “exemption” protocol to such regulation, the regulatory burden being the problem in the first place. This is also the case with the Locke v. Davey case, when the state has to start delineating religions/exceptions.