Megyn Kelly's one sided promotion of the US Catholic Bishops position against the Obama administration's birth control mandate, including the lie that it includes abortion drugs, has probably earned Kelly, a Catholic, some time off from Purgatory. But her recent distortion about the Obama DOJ could land her back in the celestial green room. On Tuesday, she did a segment about the recent court decision which provided injunctive relief against a Catholic employer who opposes the birth control mandate on religious grounds. The injunction is temporary until the court hears the case but it's considered quite the victory for those who oppose women's reproductive health care. But Kelly provided a full platform for the employer and his attorney with minimal rebuttal. And her opening statement reflected what is going around the right wing blogosphere - i.e. the twisting of the Department of Justice's statement, in a court filing related to the case. But hey, in smearing the Obama administration, who needs facts? Apparently, not Megyn Kelly who, btw, did continue the lie about the HHS mandate covering abortion drugs!
Kelly opened, dramatically, by referencing "a new loss for the administration." She made the claim that has become part of the right wing narrative. While the chyron read "Catholic Family Claims DOJ Forces Them To Either Give Up Religion Or Their Business," Kelly reported on the back story about these "faithful Catholics" who asked for a waiver from the law because of the contraception requirements. Kelly provided the spin: "The Justice Department basically said too bad, if you don't like the rules, you can always abandon the business." Kelly asserted that she doesn't think she's overstated the case because she looked at the Justice Department briefs "and they came out pretty clearly in their position papers saying look, you don't have to be in the HVAC business." She cited the passage in which the DOJ says that Hercules Industries has "made no showing of religious belief which requires that it engage in the HVAC business and any burden that you face is caused by your choice to enter into that business."
The quote from the DOJ response to the lawsuit, which is being used on right wing websites to promote the meme that the Catholic family "give up their religion or their business," was clearly used in the context of the argument that Hercules Industries does not meet the definition of the type of religious employer (churches and church schools) who would be exempt from the law's birth control requirement - as explained further in the footnote: "Because the company is a for-profit, secular employer, the First Amended Complaint’s allegation that “[p]laintiffs’ sincerely held religious beliefs prohibit them from providing coverage for” contraceptive services, First Am. Compl. ¶ 114, cannot be attributed to the company itself. An employer like Hercules Industries stands in a fundamentally different position from a church or a religiously-affiliated non-profit organization. Cf. Corp. of the Presiding Bishop of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints v. Amos..." There is nothing in the text to suggest that the DOJ wants Hercules to give up either their religion or their business which would be ludicrous given that the law states that if business don't want to comply with the law, the will face fines. But like the many right wing sites that discussed this issue, Kelly framed it as an ultimatum.
After the Catholic employer, Paul Newland, spoke about religious liberty, Kelly did more framing in discussing how Obama said he was going to respect religious liberty but then went into court and "argued that Paul, the balance here, means Paul can either get out of the HVAC business or provide free contraception." Naturally, Paul agreed. In summing up the lawyer's presentation, she said that he went into court to say that the government can't force businesses to violate their conscience by providing birth control and abortion aids. (One more time abortion drugs aren't covered.) Kelly did ask about the issue of women who claim that the religious views of an employer shouldn't prevent their access to birth control. Newland said that it's really all about freedom and that "Obamacare" says that you can "either abandon your faith" or pay fines. (Right, no ultimatum about getting out of the business.)
Kelly didn't mention that a Nebraska judge already threw out a number of Catholic lawsuits against the mandate. But she did allow the argument to be spun with a bias that seems to have no basis in reality. She lied about abortion drugs being covered. But being a "fair & balanced" news show, one expects that she will interview Nancy Keenan of NARAL or Sarah Lipton-Lubet, policy counsel for the ACLU Washington Legislative Office who says "It is unacceptable for employers – especially for-profit companies - to use their personal beliefs as an excuse to deny critical health coverage to the people who work for them.” I'm just kidding. But yeah, Megyn, it is a scary time to be a woman and this segment shows just why. Not only do militant Catholics want special privileges to discriminate against women, but Fox has their back.