This is Viewpoints for Monday, July 7, 2014

July 7, 2014 

The rest of the story

Whoa there, Cathy Gill. Before you jump on your horse and ride into the sunset doing the feminist rant about women’s fertility rights, get on Google and read the 95-page court opinion. Hobby Lobby is not the anti-woman company you claim it is, nor did the Supreme Court “slam” women.

Twenty forms of “contraceptive methods” are approved by the FDA. Hobby Lobby offers coverage for 16 of those. The four methods Hobby Lobby objected to prevent an already fertilized egg from developing further. In the opinion, Justice Alito called these types of contraception “abortifacients.” The court majority saw the Hobby Lobby case as less about “birth control” and more about “abortion.”

The Affordable Care Act mandates coverage for the FDA approved contraceptives, but it does not mandate coverage for abortion. The ACA considers abortion coverage elective, for which a woman pays an additional premium. The premium goes into a separate fund, which pays for all types of abortions: medical, chemical and late term. Since the “fund” is made up of the insureds’ premiums, abortions are technically not paid for with federal taxpayer dollars, circumventing the federal law which prohibits taxpayer dollars to be used for abortions.

Across religious, social and political spectrums, heated debate continues about abortion rights and “when life begins.” The quick, non-medical “morning after pill” has made early “abortion” palatable to most, but even some ardent abortion supporters question the ethics and necessity of “late term” abortions. Gill was quite indignant about the “far reaching” decision, but the Supreme Court didn’t ban birth control or abortion. “When life begins” is in the eye of the beholder. A rape victim may want to take the “morning after pill,” but a woman desperate to conceive may celebrate when her egg is fertilized in a petrie dish. Some concede abortion can be a medical necessity, but most disagree with using it as a careless form of birth control. To avoid a firestorm, the federal government allows Medicaid coverage of abortion to be decided on a state by state basis, keeping federal taxpayers out of the equation.

Nonprofit religious organizations were already exempt from the contraceptive mandate, so the court was not breaking into uncharted territory. The court distinguished between publicly-held corporations and privately-held corporations, making it clear that this ruling applied to privately held corporations with strong religious beliefs regarding contraception. All other medical treatments mandated by ACA, like blood transfusions and inoculations, objectionable to some religions, must still be provided.

The court decision certainly does not take women back to the “alley abortion” or the “one baby a year” days.

Women are still able to get birth control and/or have abortions, they just might have to pay for some of it themselves. Meanwhile, the ethics debate over abortion, and who should pay for it, will rage on.

This July 4th we should all remember to appreciate that America offers the freedom of open heated debate, the freedom of religion and the freedom of a woman’s right to choose, but we must not forget “freedom” is not always “free.”

-- Kathy Hall

Macon

Stop funding Hamas

The recent horrific kidnappings and murders of three innocent Israeli teenagers drives home what all peace-loving supporters of Israel have known for years: the jihadist terrorist organization Hamas is not fit to participate in a legitimate government and Israel should not be compelled to negotiate with terrorists.

Despite this clear reality, the Obama administration is violating U.S. law in providing aid to the Palestinian Authority government in which Hamas is a thinly-veiled partner. Hamas provides funds for convicted terrorists in Israeli jails. Hamas is a U.S. State Department officially-designated Foreign Terrorist Organization. According to the Palestinian Anti-Terrorism Act of 2006 and the Omnibus Appropriations Act of 2014, the U.S. government is prohibited from providing foreign assistance to Hamas or any power-sharing government of which Hamas is a member. It is time for the Obama administration to abide by the law and cut off funding to the Jihadist terrorist government that threatens our ally Israel and its people. The murder of Israeli children is unacceptable and providing funding to the government that enables and facilitates such terror comes close to making the US a state sponsor of terrorism. We just can’t allow this.

-- Hill Kaplan

Macon

Congress needs to act

A humanitarian case is being made concerning our southern border being overrun by the illegal entry of “children.” The current administration has produced much demagoguery over Congress’ lack of legislation that would allow President Obama to address the problem and threatens to take executive action to solve it his own way. This is the same administration that unilaterally turned criminals out of prison by the thousands and is ordering taxpayer funded attorneys for the hordes in custody being housed and fed. Imagine that, the president circumventing Congress? How fresh.

The fact of the matter is that there has been legislation languishing for nearly 30 years that addressed this very issue. Legislation that granted amnesty to about 3 million illegals and closed our borders to ensure that such a broad measure would never again be required.

The Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 was to build a fence between the U.S. and Mexico to stem the human tide in exchange for rewarding illegal entrants already here with citizenship. The fence’s funding has come in fits and starts but has always been short of completion.

And here we are, overrun with unaccompanied 15-19 year-old “babies” dropped off at our collective doorstep. A spectacular freak coincidence that deserves its own letter. I, too, urge Congress to act by funding our fence. It should prove to be easier than spending the billions of dollars we are preparing to spend on the present catastrophe. It will also send the humanitarian message to not begin a futile trek to our border.

-- D. Fred Dismuke

Juliette

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