from the New York Times, with my commentary.
The Freedom to Choose Birth Control
Published: February 10, 2012
In response to a phony crisis over “religious liberty” engendered by the right,
The whole point of the first two clauses of the First Amendment is to remove sneer quotes from religious liberty.
President Obama seems to have stood his ground on an essential principle — free access to birth control for any woman.
All men and women have legal access to contraception. Mostly free or damn cheap. New York City a year ago (on Valentines' Day!) announced
the world's first Condom App for your smartphone, which will provide walking directions to the nearest 5 of the 3000 venues that give out free rubbers-- so "it's unlikely that a person would ever be very far from a gratis prophylactic." Now that's affordable healthcare! If you have a cardiac arrest on Second Avenue, odds are against a nearby defibrillator, but they can put a free condom on you while they're waiting for EMS.
That access, along with the ability to receive family planning and preventive health services, was at the foundation of health care reform.
Birth control access was "the foundation of health care reform"? Are they kidding? Birth control isn't even health care. Pregnancy isn't a disease.
The ostensible foundation of health care reform was to provide affordable health care to all. The actual foundation of health care reform was to expand government power, as this power grab makes clear.
Mr. Obama’s new rule on birth control coverage lets institutions affiliated with a religion shift the cost of coverage to their insurance companies,
Oh. So it's not free.
but Mr. Obama assured Americans it would not result in other women, or the rest of the country, subsidizing that shift.
The whole health care boondoggle is about making people subsidize people.
By refusing to back down on Friday,Mr. Obama took an action that will help reduce the number of unwanted pregnancies, abortions and medical complications from pregnancy.
What about chastity? Always works. It's actually free.
Nonetheless, it was dismaying to see the president lend any credence to the misbegotten notion that providing access to contraceptives violated the freedom of any religious institution.
"Free exercise" doesn't mean just free talk. Exercise
means living in accordance with your religious beliefs.
Churches are given complete freedom by the Constitution to preach that birth control is immoral, but they have not been given the right to laws that would deprive their followers or employees of the right to disagree with that teaching.
What a stupid assertion. Vile really.
People have the Constitutional right to live in accordance with their religious beliefs-- free exercise. That right is corporate as well-- it applies to Churches as well as to parishioners. It applies as well to people who have irreligious beliefs and practices.
The is no right to force anyone to pay
for the beliefs or practices of another. If people who believe in contraception want to use it, they are free to buy it. They have no right to use government to force the Catholic Church to buy it for them, directly or indirectly.
If a religious body does not like a public policy that affects its members, it is free to try to change it, but it cannot simply opt out of society or claim a special exemption from the law.
The law is unconstitutional, so of course "a religious body" can opt out.
Note the liberal hypocrisy: a voluntary prayer in a school is a Constitutional crisis, requiring immediate federal court injunction to protect some atheist who claims harm from merely seeing
But liberals claim that the federal government can force the Catholic Church to violate the basic precepts of its faith.
Besides, contraceptive access is already in place in 28 states, and has been the law in New York for a decade, without inflicting the slightest blow to the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church, which has complied.
Liberal jurisprudence: 'a series of unconstitutional state laws makes an unconstitutional federal law constitutional.'
Mr. Obama had already gone too far out of his way to exempt churches and their religious employees from the preventative care mandate. It was not necessary to carve out a further exception for their nonreligious arms, like Catholic hospitals and universities, which employ thousands of people of other faiths.
An obvious purpose of the contraception mandate is to drive the Catholic church out of healthcare.
But Republican candidates and lawmakers know a good wedge issue, and they used this one to portray Mr. Obama as anti-religion and pro-government oppression.
It was also a good excuse to take another whack at the health care reform law. The White House’s failure to foresee this mischief produced several days of stammering.
The Obama White House understood exactly what they were doing. They didn't capture the presidency by being stupid.
If the president had simply made today’s announcement two weeks ago — explaining that the savings from expanded birth control access means no additional cost to any employer — he might have avoided the political grief.
Playing a shell game with cost won't make the issue go away. The Bishops have made that clear.
The Catholic Health Association of the United States, which represents Catholic hospitals, said it was “very pleased” with the announcement, while the bishops conference said it was still studying the new rule.
The CHA is a tool. They have shamelessly sold themselves to the left.
The president’s solution, however, demonstrates that those still angry about the mandate aren’t really concerned about religious freedom; they simply don’t like birth control and want to reduce access to it.
I am very much concerned about religious freedom. And I don't like birth control and I want to reduce it.
Senator Marco Rubio, a Republican of Florida, has introduced a bill that would allow any employer to refuse to cover birth control by claiming to have a religious objection. The House speaker, John Boehner, also supports the concept.
Let's pray the bill passes.
Rick Santorum said Friday that no insurance policy should cover it, apparently unaware that many doctors prescribe birth control pills for medical reasons other than contraception.
Santorum knows that. He also knows that many perscriptions for "non-birth-control" birth control are for birth control.
The White House promise that free birth control pays for itself will still have to be tested.
If it "pays for itself" it isn't free. Revenue-neutral isn't free. The moral issue depends not at all on revenue neutrality.
The rule announced Friday would be objectionable if it turns out that nonreligious employers are subsidizing the exemption of religious employers, in effect paying more for their insurance because they have to cover birth control.
That's how insurance works. You pay more for coverage you want.
For women, and for society at large, the principle of keeping open access to birth control is a major step forward.
If women (and men) want contraception, they are free to pay for it. Contraception isn't healthcare, and forcing people to pay for other people's lifestyle is wrong.
Forcing religious institutions to pay for contraception is unconstitutional and immoral, and is a major new salient in the left's war on Christianity.