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Opinion

March 29, 2014

Letters to the Editor: March 29, 2014

Federal mandate

TO THE EDITOR: As a woman who speaks for herself, I am delighted that oral argument day for the Health and Human Services mandate has finally arrived, giving the Supreme Court the opportunity to respond to the federal government’s increasingly extreme arguments against the exercise of religious freedom.

Since the inception of the mandate, the federal government has struggled to paint its position as the only legitimate pro-woman stance and to paint religious Americans as irrational and anti-women.

The 41,000-strong grassroots network of women, Women Speak for Themselves (WSFT), has continually demonstrated that the government is wrong on both counts, by working in local communities and states, to educate politicians, the media and public about women’s support for religious freedom and their opposition to the HHS mandate.

In the United States, women practice religion more often then men, and women oppose the mandate in greater numbers than men. Women business owners and charitable service providers are among the leading plaintiffs in lawsuits challenging the mandate. 

WSFT amicus brief in the Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood cases demonstrates that the government in a pluralistic society has no important interest in forcing all businesses to bow to the mandate.

It also shows that the government’s claimed “pro-woman” rationale — that women are more likely to achieve social and economic equality with men if they enter the public square childless — is a simplistic and demeaning calculation.

Instead, the federal government should support equal and even favorable opportunities for mothers.

NANCY BELIZE

Willsboro

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