The theoretical basis for Donald Trump’s presidency is that the opposite of whatever the black man before him did is what he should do. Donald Trump was elected by a wave of white (male) grievance, and the few policies that his presidency has enacted are all geared towards this group. ICE is following children to school in order to deport their parents, Jeff Sessions has trained the sights of the most powerful legal office in the country squarely on minorities and now, Trump is going after women. Per the New York Times:
More than 55 million women have access to birth control without co-payments because of the contraceptive coverage mandate, according to a study commissioned by the Obama administration. Under the new regulations, hundreds of thousands of women could lose birth control benefits they now receive at no cost under the Affordable Care Act.
One new rule offers an exemption to any employer or insurer that objects to covering contraceptive services “based on its sincerely held religious beliefs.”
Another regulation offers a new exemption to employers that have “moral convictions” against covering contraceptives.
Let’s just call this what it is: a blank check for any employer to restrict healthcare access for their female employees. “Moral convictions” is a loophole large enough to drive an aircraft carrier through, and these rules will certainly enable any employer to object on “moral” grounds. The implicit message behind this provision is that being against female contraception is a moral stance, therefore anyone in favor of it is taking an immoral position.
If Trump just left it at religious beliefs, he’d have a leg to stand on. It’s still a specious argument that gets more contradictory the more you dig in to what else employers will cover and how those may contradict scripture, but at the very least, there is a nugget of truth underwriting religious opposition to stuff like this. Claiming a moral stance requires absolutely no demonstration of morality the way that a religious one necessitates proof of religiosity. Morality is subjective, and it’s impossible to prove what is and isn’t moral in a legal setting. There will undoubtedly be a wave of lawsuits opposing this decision, and we can only hope that our judicial system will at least shut down the bullshit “moral” clause that seems like it could lay the groundwork for some truly horrifying laws based on the “morality” of immoral creatures.
Jacob Weindling is a staff writer for Paste politics. Follow him on Twitter at @Jakeweindling.