Hailing Monday's Supreme Court ruling in the Hobby Lobby case as a victory for religious freedom, Republicans – looking to dominate the midterm elections – are using the decision to reinvigorate the assault on President Obama’s signature health care law.
"[I]t's another dent and crack in Obamacare's armor," a senior GOP strategist told Politico.
"If the discussion is about Obamacare, it helps Republicans more than Democrats. If it's about birth control, then it doesn't."
GOP pollster Chris Wilson, who has done surveys on the issue for the conservative Family Research Council, told The Hill
the decision "reignites the base."
"It chips away at Obamacare, and if there exists the idea with Republicans that Obamacare can be repealed that will ignite the base, get them excited again."
Monday's ruling lets privately held companies with religious objections opt out of Obamacare’s contraception coverage mandate.
"Today's decision is a victory for religious freedom and another defeat for an administration that has repeatedly crossed constitutional lines in pursuit of its Big Government objectives," House Speaker John Boehner
Noting Hobby Lobby's case was based on their claims on the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, he hailed the 1993 law as "a critical check on federal power and enjoys support across the ideological spectrum."
"The president's health care law remains an unworkable mess and a drag on our economy," Boehner said. "We must repeal it and enact better solutions that start with lowering Americans' health care costs."
Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus,
also saw the decision as a protection of "religious freedom," but noted it spoke to Americans' fear of Obamacare's intrusion into their private lives.
"The fact that Americans had to bring this case in the first place reveals once again just how intrusive Obamacare is," he said. "It's a misguided, one-size-fits-all policy that not only failed to fix our healthcare system but has trampled on our constitutional rights."
"Americans deserve a healthcare system that allows them to make the right choices for themselves, gives them more freedom, and comes nowhere close to encroaching on our First Amendment rights," he added.
And Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz called the ruling "a repudiation of the Obama administration's untenable position that people with sincerely held religious beliefs should be forced to comply with an unconstitutional mandate while a parade of waivers, exemptions, and delays are granted for purely commercial and political interests," the House Chronicle reported.
While Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell praised the high court for protecting corporations' religious rights, he slammed Obamacare as "the single worst piece of legislation to pass in the last 50 years, and I was glad to see the Supreme Court agree that this particular Obamacare mandate violates the Religious Freedom Restoration Act," The Hill reported.
Others stressed the importance of the ruling in the pro-life cause.
who served as deputy chief of staff to former President George W. Bush, told Fox News' "America's Newsroom" said the ruling would be welcomed "in parts of the country where traditional values are strong, and parts of the country where, for example, the Catholic Church is strong," adding that women, too, would support the ruling because "a substantial number" were "pro-life in their outlook."
"The country is becoming more pro-life," he said. "Should somebody be forced to violate their moral beliefs by having to pay for something that they believe causes an abortion? The vast majority of the American people, men and women, believe that should not be the case."
Even before the ruling, Utah Republican Sen. Mike Lee agreed with one commentator that women were using birth control to protect themselves from "recreational behavior," Think Progress reported.
In an appearance on subscription-only Sirius XM's The Wilkow Majority, host Andrew Wilkow framed the Hobby Lobby case as "whether or not a person who runs a business should be forced to provide something that is largely for recreational behavior, if it goes against their religious beliefs."
Lee responded, "Yeah, that's right, that's right," and then claimed "this administration is using the often coercive power of the federal government to force people into their way of being and their way of existing, their way of believing and thinking and acting."
Meanwhile, Democrats are taking the opposite tack, arguing the ruling validates a GOP war on women's reproductive rights, hoping that will pump up turnout for the midterms.
"It could play in almost all of the key Senate races," Democratic pollster Celinda Lake told The Hill.
"It'll be useful in terms of get-out-the-vote for unmarried women under 55 and also for younger women and women of color who have plummeting turnout rates in midterms."
Sens. Mark Begich (D-Alaska), Mark Udall (D-Colo.), Kay Hagan (D-N.C.) and John Walsh (D-Mont.) and Rep. Gary Peters (D-Mich.) have all previously made an issue out of their opponents' views on abortion or other related issues like support for a personhood amendment, The Hill noted.
"One of the things we were seeing with the war on women is people were getting a bit numb to it, and this shows it's really happening, it makes it really current, and it's a bright line, people can readily understand whether your insurance is covering contraception or not is a clear issue, and the war on women had shifted from healthcare to economic issues, and this hobby lobby case brackets both," Lake told The Hill.
Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, mulling a possible run for the White House in 2016, told The Washington Post
the high court decision was "deeply disturbing," and hoped it would spark a "real outcry" across the country.
"This is a really bad, slippery slope," she said. "We're always going to argue about abortion. It's a hard choice and it's controversial, and that's why I'm pro-choice, because I want people to make their own choices."
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi took to Twitter to slam the decision:
Texas Sen. Wendy Davis, who shot to national fame with a filibuster a year ago against a state anti-abortion measure — and is now the Democratic nominee for Texas governor in 2014 — returned to the message that energized her political career.
"Today's disappointing decision to restrict access to birth control puts employers between women and their doctor," she said in statement, the Dallas Morning News
reported. "We need to trust women to make their own health care decisions — not corporations, the Supreme Court, or Greg Abbott," her GOP gubernatorial opponent, who praised the decision.
"Today's Hobby Lobby decision is a grim reminder of how much is at stake in this election, Regan Page of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee said in a statement, Fox News reported.
"Nearly every Republican Senate candidate in the country supports radical measures that would block birth control and roll back women's health care rights even further than today's ruling."
The Senate's fourth-ranking Democrat, Washington Sen. Patty Murray, vowed to "work with my colleagues and the administration to protect this access, regardless of who signs your paycheck," Politico reported.
"Since the Supreme Court decided it will not protect women's access to health care, I will," she said, with Politico reporting they were promises echoed by other key Democratic senators, including Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Tom Harkin of Iowa, chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee.
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