Magazine December 31, 2013, Issue

Is the Contraception Mandate Legal?

(AP Photo/Bruce Smith)
To answer, consult the Religious Freedom Restoration Act

People forget it now, but the Religious Freedom Restoration Act — the law that companies are using to fight the Obama administration’s requirement that almost all employers cover contraception, sterilization, and drugs that may cause abortion in their insurance plans — was controversial among conservatives in its first years. The old debate over it should remind us of two truths that, while compatible, are in tension with each other: The principle for which conservatives are fighting in today’s cases is important, and it is not absolute.

The story starts in the 1980s, when two drug counselors in Oregon were fired from …

Ramesh Ponnuru is a senior editor for National Review, a columnist for Bloomberg Opinion, a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and a senior fellow at the National Review Institute.

In This Issue

Articles

Features

Books, Arts & Manners

Politics & Policy

Built to Last

Has the Founders’ revival peaked? The big bios of the big names, now in big paperback editions, still sit on bookstore shelves, like Pleistocene megafauna, yet the subject stimulates feelings ...
Politics & Policy

Generation Gaps

A couple of times while writing this review I almost typed “Bill Clinton” instead of “Pat Conroy.” That’s not surprising. The former president and the bestselling novelist who wrote The ...
Politics & Policy

Broken Heartland

I was not entirely looking forward to Alexander Payne’s Nebraska, mostly because I worried that the movie, about an old man taking stock of his life on a Plains-state road ...

Sections

Politics & Policy

Letters

Appalachian Immigration Reading Kevin D. Williamson’s article (“Left Behind,” December 16) reminded me of my experience working with urbanized Appalachians in the Indianapolis neighborhood known as Stringtown back in the early ...
Politics & Policy

The Week

‐ Maybe Kim Jong Un’s uncle tried to talk to him about Obamacare over Thanksgiving. ‐ Supporters of Obamacare decided to start saying that the website is now basically working, never ...
Athwart

The New Inequality

For about 47 minutes the president successfully moved the conversation to income inequality, the very existence of which proves that the fundamental transformation of America into a grey smear of ...
Politics & Policy

Poetry

PICTURESQUE Rising ambitiously, they set a goal Of smoking out the red, reluctant sun, Which smolders like some just-embarrassed coal. Whatever looks to start has not begun, But still the clouds’ bombastic undersides – All glowing ...
Happy Warrior

Heading South

Whether or not Nelson Mandela was emblematic of the new South Africa, his memorial service certainly was. Thamsanqa Jantjie, the lovable laugh-a-minute sign-language fraud who stood alongside President Obama gesticulating ...

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