You may have heard that the White House sidestepped the whining of the wingnut portion of the GOP and some Catholic organizations this week by allowing the health plans offered by religious organizations to omit coverage for birth control — while still requiring the insurers to provide contraception free of charge. The insurers are on board (birth control is way cheaper than pregnancy), and if the GOP was really concerned about “requiring employers to pay for something they find immoral,” this should’ve shut down the debate.
That would’ve been nice. But that wasn’t all the position does: It also means that, if the GOP continues to bitch and moan and whine and say “but this isn’t enough!”, then they’re basically making it clear that what they REALLY want to to reduce access to contraception. Make no mistake: the pivot by the White House was a clever and pragmatic compromise, but also a very clever trap.
Not satisfied with President Obama’s new religious accommodation, Republicans will move forward with legislation by Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO) that permits any employer to deny birth control coverage in their health insurance plans, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said Sunday.
What’s hilarious here is the angle he takes:
“The fact that the White House thinks this is about contraception is the whole problem. This is about freedom of religion, it’s right there in the First Amendment. You can’t miss it — right there in the very first amendment to our Constitution,” McConnell said. “What the overall view on the issue of contraception is has nothing to do with an issue about religious freedom.”
McConnell went on to embellish the argument, claiming Obama is being “rigid in his view that he gets to decide what somebody else’s religion is.” He said that “this issue will not go away until the administration simply backs down.”
House GOP leaders also said Friday they will move forward with legislation to repeal the birth control rule in its entirety. Republicans from both chambers are aligning themselves with the Catholic Bishops who say the new policy remains unacceptable.
Religious freedom isn’t about imposing your will on others. It’s allowing others to worship, or not, on their own. If your employees are getting birth control for free from the insurer, you ought not care. If you still do, you’re trying to control them, and that’s not “religious liberty” anymore. Check out what Fred Clark has to say about this version of religious liberty.
What’s even funnier is that a majority of both Americans and Catholics are in favor of the White House compromise, so the GOP’s rant here is going to become a giant poison pill. It’s a whole bunch of old white men insisting that birth control access be curtailed. Nobody is going to miss that message, I assure you.
Fred has another great rundown of some additional analysis on this that’s also worth your time.