June 30th, 2014
01:09 PM ET
9 years ago

Do Democrats win by losing Obamacare decision?

Washington (CNN) - At first glance, Monday's Supreme Court ruling that closely held companies cannot be required to cover some types of contraceptives for their employees appears to be a defeat for the White House, Democrats and the health care reform measure they pushed into law.

Most Republicans were quick to celebrate the ruling.

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"This decision protects the religious freedom that is guaranteed to all Americans by the First Amendment, and we're grateful the Court ruled on the side of liberty," Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus said.

And most Democrats were equally fast in slamming the court's opinion.

"Today, the Supreme Court took an outrageous step against the rights of America’s women, setting a dangerous precedent that could permit for-profit corporations to pick and choose which laws to obey. This deeply misguided and destructive decision is a serious blow to Americans’ ability to make their own health decisions," declared House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi.

Latest CNN reporting on the ruling and the reaction

What the ruling means

But some Democrats say there may be a silver lining in the ruling: It could motivate younger women and unmarried women to show up at the polls come November.

Exit polls indicate that unmarried and younger women support Democrats over Republicans, but their numbers also traditionally drop from presidential elections to midterm contests.

"Young women have been a key component of the Democratic coalition since the administration of George W. Bush, with more than six in 10 of them voting Democratic in House races consistently since 2006," CNN Polling Director Keating Holland said. "But they don't turn out for midterm elections. In 2012, for example, young women represented 10% of all voters, but in 2010, only 5% of the electorate were young women."

Democrats have a 55-45 majority in the Senate - 53 Democrats and two independents who caucus with the party. But the party is defending 21 of the 36 seats up for grabs this year, with half of those Democratic-held seats in red or purple states.

And Emily's List, a powerful politically active outside group that supports female candidates and lawmakers that favor abortion rights, quick highlighted after the opinion's announcement how important the midterms are when it comes to women voters.

"Today's Supreme Court decision is a stark reminder of how important it is for Democrats to keep hold of the Senate. When the future of our judiciary branch and women's access to health care is at stake we need every woman to get out and vote in November," said EMILY's List President Stephanie Schriock.

And Ilyse Hogue, President of NARAL Pro-Choice America, said, "We will work tirelessly with our allies and member activists to make sure that the people who would stand between a woman and her doctor are held accountable."

The communications director for EMILY's List said the ruling will motivate women to cast ballots come November.

"Ninety-nine percent of women of women aged 15-44 have used birth control - this should not be controversial," Jess McIntosh told CNN. "But conservatives in every branch of government are determined to undermine our ability to make our medical decisions on our own – just like men do. Women have decided every election in recent memory. Women were watching today, and it will absolutely be a motivating factor in November."
Some conservative women rejected the notion that the ruling will motive female voters to support Democratic candidates come November.

Concerned Women for America, a socially conservative group, said that it preserved "religious liberty for everyone, including the women represented by the other side."

Alison Howard, the group's communications director, said the ruling would motivate women in a different way: "This is so affirming to those women who believe in freedom and that's bigger than those who believe that taxpayers should fund abortion inducing drugs and contraceptives."

And Alice Stewart, a GOP consultant and radio talk show host in Arkansas who was a senior adviser the past two presidential cycles to the Mike Huckabee, Rick Santorum and Michele Bachmann presidential campaigns, said, "Here we go again, liberals using the faux war on women argument to distract from the real issue; the real issue here is Obamacare's attempt to undermine our religious liberties.”

GOP strategist Ana Navarro sees a balance.

"The political spin seems bigger than the decision's bite. I think you can be a woman who uses birth control and still understand that there needs to be a balance that protects religious freedom. I think with this narrowly tailored decision, the court struck that balance," said Navarro, a CNN contributor.

Filed under: Abortion • Supreme Court
soundoff (89 Responses)
  1. Sniffit

    So, when will Hobby Lobby be christened and confirmed? Has the Pope given his ok for that yet?

    June 30, 2014 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  2. Lynda/Minnesota

    Hey, tom. I'm on my way out ... but, yeah. Money. It's about who has it, and who doesn't. Those that do, use it for their own power trip. Those that don't have it ... yeah, well. Those that don't become the stooges for the rich and powerful. Me?. I'm just a little old lady well past her childbearing years. With three daughters and two granddaughters to think of. I'd hate to see them lose access to birth control ... because, well ... someone in the business world made that decision for them and decided my daughters and granddaughters aren't "people too".

    Fact is, I actually think ALL women ought to be given free birth control. It'll save taxpayers in the long run.

    June 30, 2014 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  3. Sniffit

    "But bottom line, these are the disasters you invite when a government starts interfering in every aspect of our lives."

    But bottom line, these are the disasters you invite when employers starts interfering in every aspect of our lives.


    Enjoy the boycotts.

    June 30, 2014 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  4. Quackman

    Hmmmmm......ruling makes no sense, lets just go down the slippery slope and I don't even have to hire you if you don't believe what I believe, why should I pay wages to a "sinner" even if they sin on their own time. So if I work for a Jewish firm am I limited to eating Kosher? Do I have to pass a religious test in order to eat at Chick-Filet? All I know is that the Republican party claims they are all for keeping the government off our backs, I've come to the conclusion its because they reserve that to themselves. I use to vote Republican but never again, nothing but a bunch of "do nothings" except when it comes to butting in to my personal life.

    June 30, 2014 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  5. The Real Tom Paine

    The Right really does not give a damn about religious freedom, its really about companies ( which now have been granted personhood rights) being able to decide who and how they can control people, and the fact that the government has been rendered powerless under the guise of a right Conservatives really don't care about. Its all about preserving the freedom of the conservative management of companies to control the behavior of their employees. What's next, a case upholding the right of shunning and/or stoning people in public?

    June 30, 2014 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  6. texasnotea

    republicans are spreading lies again,Viagra is NOT covered,never has been

    June 30, 2014 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  7. Rick McDaniel

    In my view, it simply illustrates to women, that Dems are overreaching, and attempting to give away things they don't have the right to give away, just to buy the female vote.

    The real question, is whether women want to sell their souls to the devil (Democrats), in order to get petty freebies, or do they want to exercise real freedom, and real responsibility, for their own needs?

    As long as women seek to be "kept" whether by men or by government, they can NEVER become truly equal. They need to ponder the truth of that.

    June 30, 2014 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  8. jboh

    Keep it up TEA/GOP. Your court just keeps motivating real Americans to throw all of you out on your ears. Don't let the door hit you on the way out.

    June 30, 2014 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  9. texasnotea

    Snobby Lobby is a person? Really? Unimaginable.

    June 30, 2014 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  10. Sniffit

    "When will the GOP quit being the party of opt-out and start to embrace our responsibility we all have to our society? '

    When they are promised a white-controlled Christian theocracy from now until forevermore and that they will be the white Christian people in control of it. Unless and until they get that guaranteed, then they want nothing to do with making the USA a functional government or society. It's all about the spite. ALL. OF. IT. The country is too d-mn brown and secular as far as they're concerned and if they can't have it then nobody can.

    June 30, 2014 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  11. Jules

    Sorry, Tommy G, but deciding that a companies rights on the owners religion trumps individual rights is not a leftist commune move – it is exactly the opposite.

    June 30, 2014 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  12. Democrats - The State Dictates, You CONFORM

    GOP = Greed Over People
    Thou shalt pay for ED meds to impregnate your woman, and she shall serve as a full term incubator!
    The cons 11th Commandment.

    more accurately....

    Thou shalt go forth and spread thy legs wide open and lest ye get pregnant, fear not, as your neighbors to be required to pay for thine abortion!

    The leftists 1st Commandment.

    June 30, 2014 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  13. Rudy NYC

    tom l posted:

    I love how Rudy thinks he knows the motivations behind other people's actions – especially the people that he knows nothing about yet he can tell all of us what is behind Hobby Lobby's lawsuit. So, if it's all about greed, Rudy, then tell me why Hobby Lobby closes its doors on the busiest shopping day of the week (Sunday) and tell me why they pay their employees double minimum wage. Please give us all the insight into why they would do that.

    On another note, why do you feel it's the employer's responsibility to provide health insurance to its workers? Why must they do this? I remember when they were called "benefits" but now you have decided that it's not "benefits" any more. You want to call them "mandates". I'm just trying to figure out why the guy that pays me is also required to make sure I have health insurance. Makes no sense.
    Nothing that is sensible makes sense to you, tom. Like I said earlier, Hobby Lobby never had a problem with prescription birth control until the ACA was passed. Hobby Lobby pays for some forms of birth control, so birth control isn't the central issue, not at all. Greed drives everything, tom. Hobby Lobby had a less than stellar record on providing health benefits for their employees. No doubt the ACA represented a significant cost change for them.

    Why should the employer provide health benefits? Why should an employer provide sick days, vacation days, life insurance, pension plans, or even a desk for that matter? One advantage that employees gained by purchasing health insurance through an employer is that lower price that they could get over buying insurance on the open market. You know how it works, cheaper by the dozen.

    Why should an employer be required to provide insurance? Not all employers are required to provide health insurance. Small-business employers do not have to provide it, and large employers can "opt out" by setting up a plan with a third party that their employees can purchase as a collective group. Many employers realize the moral boost that it gives employees with benefits are provided. Like I posted earlier, not paying your people living wages and denying benefits makes for bitter employees, not better employees.

    June 30, 2014 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  14. "Breath and Release"

    Deej, All I can say is . . . . "Well Put!"
    Thank you.

    June 30, 2014 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
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