June 30, 2014

On the Contraception Mandate: Don’t Forget the Drug Lobby

By In Blogs, C.Jay Engel

Everybody has already heard the good news that “the Supreme Court has ruled employers with religious objections can refuse to pay for contraception.”  That is, Hobby Lobby has won their case.

The online world is already casting their narrative, and it is not “liberty vs. authoritarianism.”  Sadly, the narrative is “religion vs. women.”  Which shows that the media and opinion molders have no clue what is at stake.

But beyond the visible battle of Hobby Lobby vs. the State, there exists the powerful drug lobby which seeks to utilize the strong arm of the State to force corporations to subsidize the use of its products.  Not only did Hobby Lobby and other conscientious objectors win, but the drug lobby lost.  Tim Carney wrote this morning:

If you could get friendly bureaucrats to make your product a mandatory form of compensation, wouldn’t you?

So it’s no surprise the manufacturers and sellers of sterilization and contraception have lobbied on the Obama administration’s contraception mandate, backed the Obamacare law Obama uses to justify the mandate, and fought for Obama’s election and re-election.

The pharmaceutical industry has kept a low profile in this fight, but here are some of the drug lobbyists and executives with their fingerprints on the mandate:

Mimi Mager & Karin Bolte, Conceptus. Conceptus, a company that sells a sterilization procedure, retained revolving-door Democratic lobbyists Mimi Mager and Karin Bolte to lobby the Department of Health and Human Services and the Senate on “Implementation of the preventive services provisions of the Affordable Care Act.”

HHS issued the contraception mandate under the preventive services provisions, and this mandate covers Conceptus. It’s nice if you can get someone else besides your customer to pay for what you’re selling.

The media masquerades the issue as a “women’s rights” problem, but “rights” don’t exist which force others against their will to provide a given good or service.  The media masquerades the issue as a “women’s rights” problem because no one wants to admit that this is a debate over “drug lobby rights.”  Does the drug lobby have the right to use the State to force companies to provide their product?  The (God-given) “natural law” position is no.  And today, the Supreme Court agreed with natural law (of course, the SCOTUS mostly disagrees with natural law, but wins can still be appreciated).

And don’t forget, as Gregory Morris observed, that “the fact that a country of 350 million citizens ‘conceived in liberty’ is hanging breathlessly on the word of nine unelected lawyers like civil law is some kind of spectator sport means we’ve all become less free, regardless of today’s rulings.”  This is a good point. The issue should have never come this far. Rights should not be handed down from the High Courts.

Written by C.Jay Engel

Editor and creator of The Reformed Libertarian. Living in Northern California with his wife, he writes on everything from politics to theology and from culture to economic theory. You can send an email to reformedlibertarian@gmail.com