By Gary Wamsley
Republicans have seized on the insurance provided contraception provision of the Affordable Health Care Act to attack President Obama as being at war with religion.
Of course Romney, Santorium and Gingrich immediately piled on the hay wagon for what they think is a free ride to increased popularity with their political base. The Catholic Biships, not satisfied with the president’s compromise want nothing less that having their religious dogma forced upon the rest of America and enlisted Senator Blunt to bring the issue to congress.
The ridiculousness of this argument was noted by Andrew Sullivan in Newsweek magazine. His article, “Politics of Sex,” points out that this provision has been in place throughout the country for more than a decade.
“This kind of rhetoric is not about protecting religious freedom. It is about imposing a particular religious doctrine on those who don’t share it as a condition for general employment utterly unrelated to religion at all. …
To make the Republican rhetoric even more absurd, the precompromise version of the Obama insurance rule is already the law in two of the biggest states, New York and California, as Linda Greenhouse has noted in The New York Times. Moreover, as Nick Baumann has documented in Mother Jones, contraception has already been legally required in all health-insurance plans since the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ruled in 2000 that omitting it was unconstitutional sex discrimination. (The Bush administration did nothing to oppose the ruling.) And yet Pastor Rick Warren said last week that he would be prepared to go to jail over the Obama rule (making one wonder why, as a resident of California, he isn’t sitting in a cell already). So with this new compromise, Obama has actually increased religious freedom, not restricted it. All of which makes one wonder exactly how genuine the current outrage is—or whether it is part and parcel of a political campaign against Obama rather than a defense of religious freedom.”
Read the rest of the article, along with a slide show of the history of contraception, HERE
There you have it. The issue has nothing to do with religious freedom and everything to do with election year politics.
It is also a war on women. This war on women has been a hot topic. Here are a few examples from the blogosphere.:
By Katrina vaqnden Heuvel
The Komen turnaround and the White House’s “miraculous” accommodation on contraception both had the feel of movement victories for women—proof that the Republicans’ War on Women has sparked a potent outrage with political muscle.
On the heels of the Komen win, President Obama announced that insurance companies would have to pay for contraception coverage when a religious employer objects to providing it. As Nation columnist Katha Pollitt writes, it’s as if the administration “finally noticed that women out-number bishops.”
But as my inimitable colleague Pollitt also observes, “Women’s health is never just about women’s health, the well-being of the 52 percent of the population that spends around thirty years trying not to get pregnant.”
Almost on cue, Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell announced that the GOP will pursue legislation permitting any employer to deny contraception in their health insurance plans. He said, “The fact that the White House thinks this is about contraception is the whole problem. This is about freedom of religion.”
Thank goodness Mitch is there to let women know when we are mistaking religious freedom for contraception. … READ MORE
By George Zornik
This morning, the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee is holding a hearing titled “Lines Crossed: Separation of Church and State. Has the Obama Administration Trampled on Freedom of Religion and Freedom of Conscience?” The topic, as you might guess, is the recent administration decision to mandate birth control coverage.
As you might not guess, the first panel of witnesses doesn’t include a single woman. The five-person, all-male panel consists of a Roman Catholic Bishop, a Lutheran Reverend, a rabbi and two professors.
Democrats on the panel were told they were allowed only one witness. They selected a young female Georgetown student, Sandra Fluke, who was going to discuss the repercussions of losing contraceptive coverage. But Representative Darrell Issa, the chairman, rejected her as “not qualified.” … READ MORE
EMILY’s list sent out the following email blast to its subscribers saying:
Where are the Women?
This morning, an all-male panel of religious leaders testified in front of a Congressional committee about birth control coverage. That’s right, only men — who are not doctors, by the way — were allowed to testify by the GOP leadership about critical women’s health coverage. No women. It’s absolutely outrageous. The all-male GOP leadership is calling on all-male religious leaders to decide whether birth control should be fully covered by insurance plans. We cannot let this happen. We cannot stand by while Far Right Republicans once again try to send us back to the Dark Ages. Stand with EMILY’s List now and tell the GOP that women’s health decisions should be made by women — not by anti-choice, anti-woman men.
After pleading with the committee chairman to hear from a female witness, the Democratic women on the committee — all of them EMILY’s List women — literally stood up for us and walked out. These are the women who will always have our backs, but we desperately need more of them — and that’s what we’re working to do every day at EMILY’s List. It’s time to stand up — right now — and say that you will not watch quietly while anti-choice, anti-woman legislators and religious leaders work to dismantle everything we’ve achieved. Add your voice now! Tell the GOP that women should be the only ones in charge of women’s health. We have to fight. Right now. Let’s do it.
The Washington Times posted this video of the procedings:
Perhaps the Republicans don’t realize that women have been able to vote since 1920 and represent approximately half the electorate. Mick, Rick and Newt may want to jump off that hay wagon before it goes over the cliff.