Like many of you when you read this post, I was shocked– SHOCKED– to find that the St. Louis Post-Dispatch is a leftist rag devoid of sense (redundancy check!) when I read today’s editorial. The subject matter is the unconstitutional, freedom-crushing power grab of the federal government otherwise known as the “contraception” mandate in the HHS regulations on Obamacare.
Not surprisingly, the Post’s editors are in favor of this most anti-Catholic of diktats, and their anti-Catholic bigotry vies with their absolute lack of logical thought for the position of primary lesson from the editorial. I reprint it below with my own comments in green:
Editorial: Obama administration must clarify contraception rules
In an ideal world, reforming America’s broken health care system would have produced a single-payer system — a Medicare-like program for people of all ages. Yes, a communist-model health plan would evince an Utopian, “ideal world”. You already see the basic worldview here. And what exactly is considered “the opiate of the masses” in a communist worldview?
In the real world, however, the political and financial forces opposed to a single-payer system were too strong. (Forces? Ooooh, those evil capitalists and their willing bourgeoisie allies!) What emerged, instead, was the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010, a major advance (read “Great Leap Forward”) over the current system, but dauntingly complex and vulnerable to attack every time a new provision kicks in. The point of this sentence is to reinforce the notion that the proletariat is too stupid to understand the intricacies of this wonderful program that benefits him so much. Leave the thinking to the vanguard.
The Obama administration now finds itself under assault (that is what the Post labels disagreement), for example, over provisions requiring insurance companies to broaden coverage of women’s preventive health services — with no co-pay or deductible charges — starting in August. Among services that insurers will have to cover are contraception methods and procedures. Let us be clear at the outset. Included in the phrase “contraception methods and procedures” are sterilizations, pills that cause chemically-induced abortions like the “morning after” pill and ordinary “contraceptive” pills, and “emergency contraception” that entails abortion under a different name. Oh yeah, and also non-abortifacient contraception like condoms. I assume that more classic methods, like not having sex in the first place, are also free under this plan.
But the use of birth control pills, IUDs, tubal ligations, implants and condoms runs counter to Roman Catholic teaching that forbids artificial means of birth control. It also runs counter to Natural Law and Divine Revelation, and is profoundly and fundamentally anti-human. The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and some religious orders officially have condemned the new insurance requirement. So have secular conservative groups and, not surprisingly, the Republicans competing for their party’s presidential nomination. Not surprisingly, the baby-killing industry and their paid clientele on the left–not to mention professional victims lobbies– love it.
From the perspectives of women’s health and public policy, the administration is on sound footing. Because it is scientifically proven that giving cancer-inducing chemicals to women really gets them healthy, and killing off entire generations of new citizens leads to a strong and vibrant country. You know, like the Netherlands! Can’t argue with that reasoning… The new requirements make sense, and White House officials said the president intends to stand by them, as he should. The Post, rightly, needs to reiterate that despite common sense and logic, the new requirements actually do “make sense.” Remember, the Party thinks for you!
But President Barack Obama must directly address genuine concerns that the requirements seem to (ah, thank goodness, they only seem to) infringe on the First Amendment’s freedom of religion guarantee. It doesn’t matter that some of that concern has been stoked by misinformation spread by political opponents and conservative media. Oh, well then… It doesn’t matter that American Catholics essentially disregard church teaching on contraception — like all American women, 83 percent of Catholic women at risk of unintended pregnancy currently use the pill, IUDs, sterilization procedures or condoms to prevent unplanned pregnancies. While the Post is wrong that it “doesn’t matter”, the first true thing in this editorial is the statement that self-identified Catholic women use contraception, in violation of their Faith’s teachings. A sizable majority do. And though it isn’t the point of this post, I can’t help wondering, “Just whose fault is that?” The answer on the most basic level is that it is their own. But as for causation, blame the post-Vatican II Church hierarchy and the clergy, who left the flock unguided and unguarded. But that is another matter entirely. The scandal of Catholics using contraception at nearly the rate of non-Catholics does harm the ability of the Bishops to prevail on this issue. Not because it is logically relevant to the teaching of the faith, but rather because politicians may bank on there being little real backlash for defying the Church. Oh, and as an aside– does the Post really mean that Catholic women “use” condoms? How does that work?
That fact is that Americans don’t want the government interfering with religion, and the administration has done a terrible job of explaining that it’s not. That may be, of course, because people are drawing the obvious and correct conclusion that it is interfering with religion. The insured women themselves make the decision to use or not to use contraception. And there is no law that prevents them from using it whenever they like, if they pay for it themselves or convince some insurer whose premiums they pay to do so. So, get off your high horse, P-D.
For example, the new requirements exclude any religious organization whose principal activity is conveying religious values to people of the same faith and whose employees also are members of that faith. In other words, churches, synagogues, mosques and other institutions of worship are exempt, as are schools of religious instruction. Sort of, as this only applies to the Churches themselves, and not their charitable (and if it makes you feel better over at St. Cronan’s you can say social justice) institutions. The Church would still have to pay for baby-killing drugs and procedures for these employees. Why the exemption for one and not the other?
Health officials also need to categorically refute false claims that the new rules cover medications that cause abortions. The rules explicitly exclude abortifacients. BLATANT. LIE. This is the trick of the Amendment 2 campaign on human cloning. Simply define “abortifacients” to exclude abortifacients. There is a link in the editorial at this point that directs to an HHS-written page that seems to support this. But if you continue to follow the links there you find that the Church will indeed have to cover “FDA-approved” contraceptive pills such as “the” pill (abortifacient) and the “plan B” pill (abortifacient). This one sentence in the editorial is just execrable, plain and simple.
Moreover, group or individual health insurance plans that were operating prior to March 2010 are exempt; the new requirements do not apply to them. This, too, is misleading, as the health plan is written to make it nearly impossible to continue to have a “grandfathered” plan. Any change to the plan an employer has, even a minor one, will cause that plan to be no longer grandfathered. So, at best, a company or Church would be forced to refrain from getting the cheapest plan available for the same coverage–even a different plan from the same insurer. Besides, no business, religious or not, will be required under the law to offer health insurance to its employees. No health insurance, no requirements. And here is where the Obamacare plan accomplishes what it said it was not– universal, government-run, socialized medicine. It prices or “consciences” out all other plans and forces all proles to sign up for the government plan until there is only one plan: the one you and I and the Church must pay for because the Party is all.
The tricky (because it is hard to hide and thus hard to explain the logic for) part of this dispute involves religiously aligned or sponsored organizations that may employ people of all faiths and provide services to people of all faiths. They include social service groups, charities, hospitals and universities offering broad educational curricula. Love the framing process here…
These organizations offer employment and services to all in our shared community (stifling vomit reflex). They function side by side with other groups and businesses in a secular context. If they choose to compete for employees by offering a health insurance benefit, as comparable organizations do, then fairness requires that the law treat the groups equally, even if one has arisen from a religious tradition. Ignoring the facile and misleading phrasing of the question, forget what “fairness” requires– as defined by the Post, or the administration, or whomever– and instead focus on what the Constitution requires. Because no law in our system can violate it. And if the Constitution protects freedom of religion, then no regulation or legislation can contradict it, even if it is “fair”. Isn’t that the whole point of Constitutionally-protected rights?
The administration must make that clear. Because, you see, you only think you are being violated. Long live the revolution!