Texas, Hobby Lobby, and Value Voters Wage War on Women

Hobby Lobby sues to deny employees their earned benefits, the Value Voters Summit wages/denies the war on women and Andrea Grimes explains how Texas is cutting women off from medical care.

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Links in this episode:

Michele Bachmann’s Value Voters speech

Lila Rose’s Value Voters speech

Star Parker’s Value Voters speech

Hobby Lobby lawsuit

Sam Brownback says if you don’t agree with your employer’s religious dogma, you can go work somewhere else

Another conservative lying about Sandra Fluke

On this episode of Reality Cast, I’ll review the annual and ever-hilariously weird Value Voters Summit. Hobby Lobby sues to take away their employees’ already paid-for insurance benefits, and Andrea Grimes will be on to talk about how Texas really can’t replace Planned Parenthood like they said they could.

Planned Parenthood posted this video of a toddler trying out her new words to show that teaching kids sex ed from a young age doesn’t have to be scary or horrible for either parents or children.

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It’s important to teach kids the proper names for their body parts. Pretending those parts just don’t exist isn’t just making it harder for you in the long run, it can make it easier for sexual predators to prey on them because they won’t have the words to describe what happened to them.


One of the strangest phenomenons of the 21st century is the continued attention and support given to the so-called Value Voters Summit, even though the summit is held by the Family Research Council, which has been rightfully designated a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center. The SPLC doesn’t hand out that designation lightly. You can’t get it simply by saying hateful things like pregnancy from rape is a blessing from God or that the Lord wants women to submit to their husband’s authority. The SPLC had a higher bar in this case, arguing that the FRC distributes false and slanderous claims about gay people disguised as “science” and “research” in order to drum up hate. This includes their constant conflation of homosexuality and pedophilia, which also means the FRC is deliberately denying the experiences of female victims of pedophiles. But the way that powerful politicians embrace them shouldn’t be a surprise; hate groups like the KKK enjoyed that kind of treatment in the 1920s.

Most of the summit this past weekend was aimed at drumming up hatred towards Muslims and peddling this McCarthy-style myth that a secret cabal of terrorists were infiltrating the government at the highest levels. But that doesn’t mean that speakers didn’t take routine cracks at women’s basic rights.

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Ironically, it does, as both are accurate and both are denied by right wingers in a way that has no reliance on facts but is just a bunch of assertion. But I suspect Michele Bachmann meant there is no war on women. And I suppose if you submit to male authority, don’t want equal rights, and don’t want control over your own body, they figure you’re good and won’t wage war on you. But since that kind of submission is rejected by 99% of women, I think “war on women” is a good enough phrase to describe what’s going on.

Denying the war on women was particularly amusing when so many of the most stalwart warriors were asked to speak. Like Lila Rose, who trotted out the silliest strawman ever.

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That’s about the highest bar you can set to claim that unless they’re actually killing women in the streets, we can’t say there’s a war on women. By that standard, women aren’t even oppressed under the Taliban. After all, the Taliban simply refuses to let them go about in public without a burqu, denies them education and medical care, and insists they basically have no rights at all. But they don’t round women up and throw them in concentration camps, so by Lila Rose’s measure, I guess we can’t care. Since the people that the Christian right intends to deny health care to are poor women, the relatively wealthy women in that room can simply ignore the realities. They have the money to pay for contraception, and if abortion is illegal, they’ll have the money to get one of those, too, discreetly. Not so much the rest of the country.

While most of the Value Voters Summit was about stoking hatred towards Muslims, some people there have found a nifty way to combine that with anti-abortion hysteria. Rachel Maddow reported on one speaker, named Kamal Saleem, who claims and is almost surely lying, that he was a former terrorist and now is converted by Christianity. He has some interesting theories.

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The summit naturally featured that ongoing right wing thing of pretending that there’s something astonishing about the fact that Sandra Fluke is permitted to go about her daily life and have a career even despite strong suspicions that she’s had sex while not being married. Star Parker’s speech was especially amazing in this realm.

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So, in order to prevent a nation of sexual rampaging, Parker believes health insurance should only cover care that happens after you get sick but no prevention. Okay. Guess that means the end of insulin and cholesterol medications for all those booing audience members, though they will get care should they slip into a diabetic coma or have a heart attack. Sure, it’s inhumane and needlessly expensive, but women are rampaging! I mean, look at all the damage Sandra Fluke has done on her world-recording-setting sexual rampage where she, uh, has a fiance and a law degree and seems very nice and boring. Clearly, any price to end such a devastating sexual rampage must be paid, and if that includes remaking our health insurance system so that it, like auto insurance, doesn’t cover any prevention, so be it. That’s how important it is to bring an end to this national nightmare of women having private sex lives that don’t actually involve outsiders at all or bring any actual harm to anyone.


insert interview


The lawsuits are piling up from anti-choice employers who want to deny their employees benefits the employees have already earned, because they disapprove of their private sex lives.  These are not hospitals and universities run by Catholic charities, who have already gotten an exception wherein the insurance must still cover the contraception but they won’t use the money provided in an employee’s contract to cover it. Already they, in other words, have cheated their employees out of earned benefits. No, these lawsuits are from secular employers, but the owners are claiming their faith gives them a right not to pay benefits to employees those employees have earned. And now Hobby Lobby is the biggest employer bringing forth a lawsuit.

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Their reasoning, as you can imagine, is that they believe emergency contraception is “abortion”. The reality, as I’m sure you’re aware, is that it’s not. It works by suppressing ovulation. But the belief that the only relevant act in making a baby is a man ejaculating will not be budged by silly things like facts or biological realities. Whatever lies they have to tell in order to justify trying to force someone to get pregnant because she up and had sex, they will tell.

Another, far more irritating news report, decided to center the religiosity of the owner, even though that’s completely irrelevant to the issues at hand.

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So, because they give up making money off weekend hobbyists in the name of Jesus, their employees should give up insurance benefits they’ve already paid for? Sorry, but that doesn’t follow. They could, for instance, claim that their religion teaches that women are worth less than men, and so they should be able to pay women less than the minimum wage. But if they actually tried to break federal law to pay women less based on religious grounds, they would be in serious trouble AND they would be violating those women’s religious rights. This is no different. Contraception coverage is part of the minimum requirements for compensation packages offered to employees as insurance. Docking those benefits is docking the women’s pay.

It’s worth noting that these challenges to basic compensation are coming during a time of high unemployment, when people who do have jobs don’t really feel like they can go out and get other jobs. Especially if they work in low wage sectors like the service economy. Which is why Kansas governor Sam Brownback’s response to all this was so upsetting.

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Go work somewhere else if you don’t like it. That there aren’t other jobs to take, oh well. Remember, that “go work somewhere else” argument could be applied to any other law an employer wants to break.  If your employer, for instance, wanted to require you to go to their church as a condition of your employment, Brownback could just as easily say “well go work somewhere else”. In both cases, it’s your employer imposing religious dogma on you. This isn’t a door we want to open.


And now for the Wisdom of Wingnuts, man, they really don’t want you to have your birth control coverage edition. Charles Krauthammer is the latest angry old white dude to flip out about the existence of Sandra Fluke.

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Of course, this is a total lie. Fluke did not demand that “Americans” pay her contraception. She supported insurance coverage women have paid for themselves cover their medical expenses. Additionally, she didn’t ask for herself, but used examples of students who were not drawing any income at all as people who, because they’ve paid for insurance, should have that insurance actually cover their medications.

It’s kind of amazing that our media has gotten to the point where this lie is told daily on the news, and pretty much no one who tells this lie gets corrected by the so-called journalists interviewing them.