June 30th, 2014
01:09 PM ET
6 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.

"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. Boomer in Mo

    Why do men have a problem understanding it's not so much as the cost of birth control, which can hundreds of dollars a year, but it is the cost of the required annual medical examination to get some forms of it that is hard to pay for? Maybe more men should be sterilized.

    June 30, 2014 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  2. Tommy G

    "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.

    What a lying sack of horse manure this woman is. This ruling IN NO WAY interferes with a woman's ability to make healthcare decisions. If women want to abort their babies, then THEY must pay to do it and not expect to be able to force others to pay for it. The American people must wake up and demand the Democrats STOP LYING to the American people like this.

    June 30, 2014 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  3. Dumbas[R]ocks

    Wow. Is it any wonder that the approval ratings for Congress and the Supreme Court are both so low at the same time? What do they have in common? .....
    ...You got it, a [R] majority, making stupifyingly BAD decisions.

    Its been since before the Civil War that the US Congress and Supreme Court have BOTH been simultaneously so dysfunctional. Glad the American people notice it.....the next step: remove [R]s from office and the bench, and get our country back.

    June 30, 2014 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  4. Rudy NYC

    This decision is not about womens' rights. It's about power gained through wealth, and the still simmering desire to overturn the Affordable Care Act. Hobby Lobby has paid for birth control in the past, and they continue to pay for some forms of birth control today without complaint. So, why would Hobby Lobby fight just one or two forms of birth control?

    Because this court fight was really not about birth control at all. Like so many other companies, Hobby Lobby does not want to come out and voice their true objections because they would sound politically incorrect. This is about Hobby Lobby having to provide, which means pay, for better medical plans for its' employees. So, they hide behind populist arguments in an effort to chip away at the edges of the law, hoping to eventually have it overturned or repealed.

    June 30, 2014 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  5. Dean

    Kids and blacks put Obama in office. Now we're going to have promicuous women who can't keep their legs together putting another liberal in the White House. And people wonder why this country is in decline.

    June 30, 2014 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  6. Lynda/Minnesota

    "But nobody forces anybody to work at a particular place. That is your choice too."

    And also too, tom: shouldn't people have the right to chose employment without regards to religion? Indeed, when faced with feeding their family, many are forced to accept jobs they might not otherwise accept. To add religion into the mix is not, in my humble opinion, smelling freedom in the air.

    It simply adds one more government induced stumbling block.

    June 30, 2014 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |

    "Today's wacky ruling will be the seed of tomorrow's legal change" RS

    June 30, 2014 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  8. Dumbas[R]ocks

    ....and the [R]s actually celebrate this SC decision? Really?!! Their HYPOCRISY cannot be more clear: THEY are the ones who screech the loudest about "activist" judges legislating from the bench. I cannot for the life of me think of ANYTHING more 'activist" than providing a corporation with individual rights.

    Birth control is health care, health care is legally mandated, health care is paid for by all employees. Getting a legal health service that you have legally paid for can now be compromised at will by the narrow and "personal" views of a corporate president? That anyone would "celebrate" this nonsense speaks of a severe intellectual disability that should be clinically diagnosable: celebrating [R]s should get to a mental health care clinic and themselves diagnosed, and hope to God that their employer does not find it to be against his/her "religion" to have the employee's health care pay for the visit.

    June 30, 2014 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  9. @Dumbas[R]ocks

    " US Congress and Supreme Court have BOTH been simultaneously so dysfunctional. "

    Like when SCOTUS struck down DOMA, approved ACA etc. Where did SCOTUS take away the right? It just said another person need not be forced to pay for your rights.

    June 30, 2014 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |

    @Tommy G, the "New" American people are awake. We are quite capable of discerning the truth from the lies your "old" crowd has been peddling since the civil rights era. Still we rise.

    June 30, 2014 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  11. Name JK. SFL. THE GOP HOWDEE GOWDEE SHOW with special guest ISSA the CLOWN

    I don't think it will be to difficult to motivate ANY democratic voters to turn out in 2014 to KICK OUT these GOP CLOWNS that have been predicting victory FOR THEMSELVES . There will be a LOT of CANTORS after Election Day

    June 30, 2014 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  12. smartyhadaparty

    This is just a vicious cycle.... cut out easy access to birth control=more unwanted pregancies=more abortions.
    Now whose pro-life.

    June 30, 2014 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  13. Anonymous

    If you are going to vote for a candidate based on whether or not they want your contraception paid for by others, you have no business voting.

    June 30, 2014 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  14. Finn McCoo

    The Supreme Court did two things. They made the religious right very happy, and turned 80% of the women out to vote for Democrats next election. By the way, since the federal government supplies health insurance for their own, if they decide no contraception coverage, does it mean the female senators, etc. will have to buy their own IUD's?

    June 30, 2014 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  15. carlos

    One step closer to the evangelical caliphate

    June 30, 2014 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  16. GonzoG

    My corporation now can have a religion.

    Well, it is a person, after all. When will it be able to vote? I wonder.

    If my corporation causes someone great harm, could it go to jail?

    If it goes bankrupt, does it die? Does it die and go to Heaven?

    June 30, 2014 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  17. tony

    OK. So now it's OK for a Muslim close corporation to impose Sharia Law on it's employees.

    Thanks be to Allah!.

    June 30, 2014 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  18. i'malib

    It's 2014 and women don't have the right to purchase birth control? We need a law that allows them to buy birth control.

    June 30, 2014 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  19. Lynda/Minnesota

    "Ninety-nine percent of women of women aged 15-44 have used birth control – this should not be controversial,"

    Not for women, it shouldn't. But for men ... yeah. There seems to be a huge gender gap. At least on the ticker. I suspect not all of them are arguing the "freedom of religion" talking points they pretend to be arguing.

    Oh, I could go on and on; but you know ... why bother.

    June 30, 2014 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  20. Seriously

    Seriously???? Since when is it the governments place or a company's place to pay for your birth control. It has never been any different, if hte company I worked for did not cover it than so be it. It is my decision (not my right) to have sexual relations, it is then my decision (not my right) use some form of contraceptive. Just because you want to have sexual relations and not get pregnant does not mean it should be paid for or subsidized by the government or a business. Grow up, get responsible and open your eyes, it is not the governments place to provide everything for free for you.

    June 30, 2014 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  21. Phred

    What happens when an employed woman has a child out of wedlock? Can the employer, based on religious views, refuse to pay for her health care, or worse yet terminate her employment? People came to this country, and formed it, on the belief of freedom of and from religion. The same people celebrating this decision where the first to board the boats 300+ years ago.

    June 30, 2014 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  22. Abbey

    Obama continues to lose these cases, and for good reason.

    June 30, 2014 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  23. king

    the repubs controls 2/3 of this government the supreme court and congress, and all their ruling seems to go to big business, i wonder if they can ever rule in the favor of regular Americans or are we dead to these folks. they know they can sway the american masses with fake scandals and lying on Obama as they choses, so the american people best interest means nothng to them. i wonder if the american people will ever awaken from their slumber, i know the world audience is chairing for it, but with the repubs mega media right wing blitz is too powerful and cunning so i doubt it.

    June 30, 2014 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  24. Ernie Dye

    This is exactly why we need to have the ability to do away with a SCOTUS judge. Scalia and Thomas would be gone and we wouldn't have all these Right Wing Nut Jobs deciding important issues like this. TERM LIMIT these judges now.

    June 30, 2014 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |

    Smartyhadaparty, you forgot the increased taxes that are needed to take care of the unwanted children that are more likely to end up in foster homes or prison.

    June 30, 2014 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
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