Executive Director, Family Policy Institute
Joseph Backholm was born and raised in Aberdeen, WA. He’s one sharp cookie. – Ed.
Late last week, Gov. Jay Inslee and a group of Washington State Senators held a press conference near a soon-to-be-opened Hobby Lobby store in North Seattle to assure voters they will do whatever they can to force businesses in Washington State to violate their conscience.
For the last two years, the Washington State Senate has been controlled by a Majority Coalition of Republicans and two Democrats. As a result, the Governor’s most radical proposals have failed to reach his desk.
In attempt to solve this problem, Gov. Inslee is pulling out all the stops.
Once again, he recruited his friend, billionaire Tom Steyer from California, to spend at least $1 million on Washington State legislative races.
Now, he’s hoping to persuade votes of the need to force businesses like Hobby Lobby to violate their convictions about abortion.
By way of review, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) mandated that every company provide 20 specific kinds of contraceptives in their health plans. Hobby Lobby was willing to pay for 16 forms of birth control but objected to four. The Supreme Court agreed with Hobby Lobby that federal law protects the rights of people not to violate their conscience even if they become employers.
The fact that you have a right to something, does not mean you have the right to make someone else buy it for you.
These lawmakers, however, believe Washington’s non-discrimination laws allow them to force businesses to buy abortion drugs in violation of their conscience.
Senator Karen Keiser believes Hobby Lobby’s freedom to choose is a real problem. “This has real effect on tens of thousands of Washington employees who are now at risk of losing access to their choice of birth control.”
Of course that’s just stuff you say at an election year press conference. No one actually thinks women are about to lose their birth control.
The Center for Disease Control’s own health statistics from 2013 show that 99% of women between the ages of 15-44 have used birth control. This was all before the ACA mandate. If 99% of the people are using it before anyone thought they could force their boss to buy it for them, there isn’t a crisis of access.
In the most ironic statement of the day, Sen. Kevin Ranker said that, “This partisan politics around women’s reproductive rights and core values is unacceptable.” Actually, that’s something we can agree on, but probably not for the reasons he’s thinking.
Sadly, efforts to force people to pay for abortion against their will is kind of an old story. For three years in a row, the Washington State legislature, led by Sen. Steve Hobbs in the Senate, has pushed a bill that would make it illegal to purchase an insurance policy that doesn’t cover abortion.
Fortunately, sanity has prevailed and – for now – women in Washington still have the choice of what kind of health insurance they want to purchase.
Still, the fact that our state’s leadership is mounting another assault to force people to violate their conscience and participate in abortion shows a disturbing lack of empathy.
Someone should propose legislation forcing them to idle their car for no reason at all, cut down a tree, or throw an aluminum can into the waste bin rather than the recycle container.
If you care about the freedom to run your business according to your beliefs, your freedom is on the ballot this November. At least they warned us.
So make sure you know which candidates on your ballot support conscience rights, religious freedom, and the autonomy of people to choose for themselves whether they will participate in controversial activities.
If we all make sure just 10 other people who share our perspective vote, the close elections will be decided in favor of people who value your freedom as much as you do. Or, you can do nothing, be frustrated, and watch Gov. Inslee and his billionaire friend toast to how much more control over your life and business they now have.
Joseph Backholm has served as the director of the Family Policy Institute of Washington since December 2007. Prior to joining FPIW, he worked as staff counsel in the Washington State Senate where he learned just why so many people want to work for the government. His job is to train leaders to be more effective public policy advocates, promote marriage, life, religious freedom, and parental rights in the state legislature, and help the public hold elected officials accountable for decisions they make. When he is not community organizing, Joseph enjoys playing recreational sports, watching football, having dance parties with his kids in the living room, and day-dreaming about places where its sunny 300 days a year. Joseph received his Bachelors from the University of Washington and his law degree from Seattle University. Born and raised in Aberdeen, Washington, Joseph and his wife Brook (also born and raised in Aberdeen) live with their three daughters and one son in Brier, Wa.
The Family Policy Institute of Washington is a non-profit, non-partisan organization dedicated to promoting public policy that recognizes the significance and sanctity of the family in Washington State.