Executive Orders should not take place of legislation.
Nancy Pelosi, former Democratic Speaker of the House and current House minority leader, recently tweeted about President Trump’s decision to remove an Obama-era rule mandating that employers cover birth control in their employees’ health insurance plans. It fined employers large amounts if they tried to give their employees health insurance that did not include contraceptive coverage. Pelosi said, “If @POTUS cared so deeply about the Constitution, he wouldn’t have just trampled on a woman’s right to health care. #HandsOffMyBC” Let’s dissect this tweet from one of America’s top Democrats.
Pelosi proposes that Trump’s decision is contrary to the Constitution. As explained in Part 2 of this article, the best possible argument would be that Congress can regulate employment contracts concerning interstate commerce if it wishes. Nowhere does the Constitution say anything about healthcare, insurance, employment, or contracts (except that the government may not interfere with the fulfillment of contracts). The only part of the Constitution she could reasonably be referring to is the beginning of Article 1, Section 8 which reads, “The Congress shall have Power To… provide for the common Defense and general Welfare of the United States.” Is this a blanket approval for Congress to pass laws concerning anything as long as they are trying to provide for the general welfare? No. When the Constitution was being debated immediately after it was written, anti-Federalists feared that’s what the clause meant. James Madison (on multiple occasions) and Alexander Hamilton explicitly wrote that this phrase was a sort of preamble for the powers that followed, and in no way was a general power granted to the federal government. What the phrase actually means is that taxes collected must be spent for common interests, not special interests of particular groups.
Pelosi says that Trump is trampling on a woman’s right to health care. In reality, he is allowing employers to no longer have contraceptives covered in their employees’ insurance. Again, letting employers not do something is being construed as the president attacking women. Also, no one has a right to healthcare. Not men and not women. Health care is a good and a service. No human has an inherent right to a good or a service. Sometimes governments do grant positive rights to certain services like education and privileges like voting to its citizens, but there is clearly no right to healthcare under U.S. law. It is embarrassing, to say the least, for a Democratic leader to be making a statement like this that has no grain of truth in it. No part of Pelosi’s tweet makes any sense. It is entirely false and it is frightening that someone who has taken an oath to uphold the Constitution would say such things.
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