Matalin: Religious liberty is the issue at stake in the HHS mandate

posted at 3:31 pm on May 27, 2012 by Ed Morrissey

The Obama White House and its allies in the media continue to pretend that the controversy over the HHS mandate is all about keeping women from accessing birth control, a claim that’s absurd on its face.  For instance, Obama appeared in Iowa on Thursday and tossed out this bit of demagoguery:

We don’t need another political fight about ending a woman’s right to choose, or getting rid of Planned Parenthood — (applause) — or taking away affordable birth control.

No one is trying to take away “affordable birth control.”  For that matter, no one is attempting to “get rid” of Planned Parenthood either, although many of us would be happy to see it disappear on its own.  The only action taken against Planned Parenthood is to keep taxpayer dollars from flowing into a business that makes almost all of its profit on abortions, and which in at least a number of cases has been exposed as arguably acting outside the law, and certainly outside the bounds of normal ethics when it comes to protecting minors.  Taxpayers shouldn’t be subsidizing abortion mills.

In fact, no one is trying to take away anything — except for Barack Obama, Kathleen Sebelius, and the Department of Health and Human Services, which are attempting to strip Americans of one of our most cherished liberties: the freedom of religious expression.  For the first time in US history, an administration has arrogated to itself the option of defining religious expression in order to curtail it.  Mary Matalin writes about the true stakes in this fight for CNN this weekend:

For the first time in our nation’s history, the government has launched a full-fledged assault on our religious institutions to force them to pay for services that go against their religious convictions. The compromise offered by the administration allowing religious institutions a year to transition to the new system is no compromise. They are still forced to pay for services in direct conflict with their faith or incur severe penalties that could effectively drive them out of business.

This is the most despicable violation of religious liberty that this nation has ever seen. Cardinal Timothy Dolan, archbishop of New York and president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, outlined it best when he said, “In effect, the president is saying we have a year to figure out how to violate our consciences.” A year is a pitiful concession to make when they are essentially telling people that if they do not violate their conscience, the government will put them out of business.

Catholic institutions, however, are not taking this assault lying down. This week, 43 of them have filed lawsuits across the nation challenging the mandate’s intrusion on religious liberty.

This sentiment is felt not only among Catholics but also among Jewish, Protestant and other religious groups. Though these groups do not necessarily have a uniform religious teaching against some of the mandate’s provisions, they do have a uniform agreement that a coercive government does not have the right to say that these religious institutions must violate their consciences.

These religious leaders realize that if government can impose these mandates against conscience rights on Catholics, what other mandates will they impose them on next?

Whatever they can, especially by stoking hysteria over crises that don’t actually exist.  In February, I wrote about a study published in 2009 by the CDC which took a 20-year look at the issue.  The CDC found that there is no crisis in access to contraception, and in fact the CDC study never mentions access issues at all when finding that 99% of all sexually active women of reproductive age who wanted to use birth control had accessed it:

Employers still have to provide coverage — at no cost, not even copays — for contraception and abortifacients such as “ella” and Plan B, as well as IUDs. Here’s a question few are asking: Why? Obama and his administration insist that women need better access to contraception and abortifacients, but few women have problems accessing them. The CDC reported in 2009 that contraception use wasn’t exactly lacking: “Contraceptive use in the United States is virtually universal among women of reproductive age: 99 percent of all women who had ever had intercourse had used at least one contraceptive method in their lifetime.” Of all the reasons for non-use of contraception in cases of unwanted pregnancy, lack of access doesn’t even make the CDC’s list; almost half of women assumed they couldn’t get pregnant (44 percent), didn’t mind getting pregnant (23 percent), didn’t plan to have sex (14 percent), or worried about the side effects of birth control (16 percent). In fact, the word access appears only once in this study of contraceptive use, and only in the context of health insurance, not contraception.

It’s good to see other religious leaders uniting in this fight.  However, are Catholic bishops themselves united?  Donald Cardinal Wuerl of Washington DC and Archbishop William Lori of Baltimore discussed on EWTN reports of division among Catholic bishops, calling them an artifact of wishful thinking in the media.  The only debate at the USCCB was on timing and strategy, not on opposition to the mandate and its overreach.  The bishop that supposedly dissented, according to media reports, was the same one who wrote the USCCB statement against the HHS mandate:

So no, there is no division among the Catholic bishops, either.  Unless the White House backs down from the mandate or the Supreme Court throws out the entire ObamaCare law next month, they don’t appear willing to soft-pedal their opposition to it, either, as the coordinated lawsuits that Catholic institutions filed this week demonstrated.


Related Posts:

Breaking on Hot Air

Blowback

Note from Hot Air management: This section is for comments from Hot Air's community of registered readers. Please don't assume that Hot Air management agrees with or otherwise endorses any particular comment just because we let it stand. A reminder: Anyone who fails to comply with our terms of use may lose their posting privilege.

Trackbacks/Pings

Trackback URL

Comments

Comment pages: 1 2

mark81150 on May 27, 2012 at 6:15 PM

Mark, are you using Firefox as your browser? If so, dod you install adBlock Plus as an addon?

OmahaConservative on May 27, 2012 at 8:57 PM

Where is the QOTD?

OmahaConservative on May 27, 2012 at 8:58 PM

Gotta go now.. no school tomorrow but I have to chase the kids to bed.. they only have three days left till summer vacation and the bouncy bouncy energy level could fuel a Carrier Battle Group.

mark81150 on May 27, 2012 at 9:00 PM

Religious liberty is the issue at stake in the HHS mandate

No kidding.

Unless the White House backs down from the mandate or the Supreme Court throws out the entire ObamaCare law next month, they don’t appear willing to soft-pedal their opposition to it, either, as the coordinated lawsuits that Catholic institutions filed this week demonstrated.

IMO this was the final gift of Pope John Paul II to American Christians. His choices for those who would rise in the church gave the American franchise a backbone that it didn’t have in the 1980s.

Happy Nomad on May 27, 2012 at 9:03 PM

mark81150 on May 27, 2012 at 6:15 PM

Mark, are you using Firefox as your browser? If so, dod you install adBlock Plus as an addon?

OmahaConservative on May 27, 2012 at 8:57 PM

yes on Firefox.. I don’t know actually about adblock.. have to check. My wife usually handles the tech stuff.

I’ll check back when I can..

mark81150 on May 27, 2012 at 9:03 PM

mark81150 on May 27, 2012 at 8:53 PM

Well, thanks for your kind words, Mark. [blush] I sometimes think that after 25+ years, my hubby is still not used to my style (LOL). He’s better acquainted with his mom’s (sharp as a tack at 88), which is just as strong willed, but much more subtle.

You sound like you have a very capable comrade-in-arms in your wife and that you strengthen each other.

I love what you said there … don’t either of you check fire either. I’m glad to know you both are fighting with us.

PatriotGal2257 on May 27, 2012 at 9:08 PM

mark81150 on May 27, 2012 at 9:03 PM

If you are getting ads while using Fiefox you don’t have adBlock plus. If you don’t have ads you are…
https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/adblock-plus/

OmahaConservative on May 27, 2012 at 9:08 PM

mark81150 on May 27, 2012 at 9:00 PM

Have a great evening, Mark, and once again, thank you for your service to our great country. It’s been a pleasure talking with you here.

PatriotGal2257 on May 27, 2012 at 9:09 PM

OmahaConservative on May 27, 2012 at 9:08 PM

I copied your link. Does this stop videos from autoplaying also?

PatriotGal2257 on May 27, 2012 at 9:14 PM

I copied your link. Does this stop videos from autoplaying also?

PatriotGal2257 on May 27, 2012 at 9:14 PM

I think so, haven’t had an auto-play in ages…

OmahaConservative on May 27, 2012 at 9:21 PM

OmahaConservative on May 27, 2012 at 9:21 PM

Thanks! I’ll download it now. I have the pop-up blocker engaged on FF, so I’m not bothered by those, but nothing annoys me more than autoplay ads.

PatriotGal2257 on May 27, 2012 at 9:34 PM

While I am not Catholic, as a Christian American Conservative, I applaud the stand made by these People of Faith.

For those of you who, like the president, do not understand, the phrase is “Freedom of Religion”.

Not “Freedom from Religion”.

kingsjester on May 27, 2012 at 4:12 PM

…D I T T O!

KOOLAID2 on May 27, 2012 at 9:34 PM

PatriotGal2257 on May 27, 2012 at 9:34 PM

You are welcome, darlin’
It speeds up Hot Air on FF…

OmahaConservative on May 27, 2012 at 9:37 PM

In case anyone hasn’t heard : In towns across the country there will be rallies for religious freedom at noon on Friday, June 8. We all need to make time to go , and keep going, to these. Look up “Stand Up For Religious Freedom” to find the rally nearest you.

ansonia on May 27, 2012 at 10:22 PM

Oh, you are WELS? I was raised in the WELS & became LCMS while I lived in San Diego…

OmahaConservative on May 27, 2012 at 5:28 PM

Funny, I was raised LCMS and joined WELS when I moved to Texas after college.

AZfederalist on May 27, 2012 at 10:40 PM

I still think people are really missing the point of this HHS mandate and of Obama’s continuing demagoguery about access to birth contriol. Once all contraception costs are covered by insurance, Planned Parenthood will start getting reimbursed by insurance companies for contraceptives that it now gives out free at its clinics. (snip)
Planned Parenthood will reap millions of dollars from this mandate. Some of which will be directly recycled into Democratic campaigns for Congress and president in the future.
rockmom on May 27, 2012 at 6:58 PM

I forgot to add that it was no coincidence that the “expert panel” that advised HHS on what should be covered as “preventive medicine” under Obamacare was stacked with current and former Planned Parenthood workers and board members. This was the reason why PP advocated so strongly for the Obamacare bill in the first place. It meant big, big dollars for them.
rockmom on May 27, 2012 at 7:01 PM

This is the first mention I have seen of this angle.
Always follow the money.

AesopFan on May 27, 2012 at 10:43 PM

Written in October 2008.

See if this doesn’t describe the drive the Catholics out of healthcare and leave the Government to pick up the pieces efforts by the Administration and fellow Progressive Communist Democrats.

http://www.nationalreview.com/articles/225959/coming-obama-thugocracy/michael-barone

The Coming Obama Thugocracy

‘I need you to go out and talk to your friends and talk to your neighbors,” Barack Obama told a crowd in Elko, Nev. “I want you to talk to them whether they are independent or whether they are Republican. I want you to argue with them and get in their face.” Actually, Obama supporters are doing a lot more than getting into people’s faces. They seem determined to shut people up.

That’s what Obama supporters, alerted by campaign emails, did when conservative Stanley Kurtz appeared on Milt Rosenberg’s WGN radio program in Chicago. Kurtz had been researching Obama’s relationship with unrepentant Weather Underground terrorist William Ayers in Chicago Annenberg Challenge papers in the Richard J. Daley Library in Chicago — papers that were closed off to him for some days, apparently at the behest of Obama supporters.

Obama fans jammed WGN’s phone lines and sent in hundreds of protest emails. The message was clear to anyone who would follow Rosenberg’s example. We will make trouble for you if you let anyone make the case against The One.

Other Obama supporters have threatened critics with criminal prosecution. In September, St. Louis County Circuit Attorney Bob McCulloch and St. Louis City Circuit Attorney Jennifer Joyce warned citizens that they would bring criminal libel prosecutions against anyone who made statements against Obama that were “false.” I had been under the impression that the Alien and Sedition Acts had gone out of existence in 1801-02. Not so, apparently, in metropolitan St. Louis. Similarly, the Obama campaign called for a criminal investigation of the American Issues Project when it ran ads highlighting Obama’s ties to Ayers.

These attempts to shut down political speech have become routine for liberals. Congressional Democrats sought to reimpose the “fairness doctrine” on broadcasters, which until it was repealed in the 1980s required equal time for different points of view. The motive was plain: to shut down the one conservative-leaning communications medium, talk radio. Liberal talk-show hosts have mostly failed to draw audiences, and many liberals can’t abide having citizens hear contrary views.

To their credit, some liberal old-timers — like House Appropriations Chairman David Obey — voted against the “fairness doctrine,” in line with their longstanding support of free speech. But you can expect the “fairness doctrine” to get another vote if Barack Obama wins and Democrats increase their congressional majorities.

Corporate liberals have done their share in shutting down anti-liberal speech, too. Saturday Night Live ran a spoof of the financial crisis that skewered Democrats like House Financial Services Chairman Barney Frank and liberal contributors Herbert and Marion Sandler, who sold toxic-waste-filled Golden West to Wachovia Bank for $24 billion. Kind of surprising, but not for long. The tape of the broadcast disappeared from NBC’s Website and was replaced with another that omitted the references to Frank and the Sandlers. Evidently NBC and its parent, General Electric, don’t want people to hear speech that attacks liberals.

Then there’s the Democrats’ “card check” legislation, which would abolish secret ballot elections in determining whether employees are represented by unions. The unions’ strategy is obvious: Send a few thugs over to employees’ homes — we know where you live — and get them to sign cards that will trigger a union victory without giving employers a chance to be heard.

Once upon a time, liberals prided themselves, with considerable reason, as the staunchest defenders of free speech. Union organizers in the 1930s and 1940s made the case that they should have access to employees to speak freely to them, and union leaders like George Meany and Walter Reuther were ardent defenders of the First Amendment.

Today’s liberals seem to be taking their marching orders from other quarters. Specifically, from the college and university campuses where administrators, armed with speech codes, have for years been disciplining and subjecting to sensitivity training any students who dare to utter thoughts that liberals find offensive. The campuses that used to pride themselves as zones of free expression are now the least free part of our society.

Obama supporters who found the campuses congenial and Obama himself, who has chosen to live all his adult life in university communities, seem to find it entirely natural to suppress speech that they don’t like and seem utterly oblivious to claims that this violates the letter and spirit of the First Amendment. In this campaign, we have seen the coming of the Obama thugocracy, suppressing free speech, and we may see its flourishing in the four or eight years ahead.

THIS is why folks like Brett Kimberlin and others on the left think they can get away with this stuff.

November 6th, 2012, V-A Day.

The Beginning of the restoration of a FREE AMERICA.

PappyD61 on May 27, 2012 at 11:03 PM

OmahaConservative on May 27, 2012 at 9:37 PM

Thanks again. It’s working fabulously.

PatriotGal2257 on May 27, 2012 at 11:13 PM

Concentrated CONTEMPT for the Sacrifices Made By Loving Humans:

http://newsbusters.org/blogs/mark-finkelstein/2012/05/27/chris-hayes-im-uncomfortable-calling-fallen-military-heroes#ixzz1w6mBDLvo

williamg on May 27, 2012 at 11:15 PM

Thanks again. It’s working fabulously.

PatriotGal2257 on May 27, 2012 at 11:13 PM

Anything for my HA babes, darlin’
Give your lucky and blessed DH my regards…

OmahaConservative on May 27, 2012 at 11:34 PM

Funny, I was raised LCMS and joined WELS when I moved to Texas after college.

AZfederalist on May 27, 2012 at 10:40 PM

Authentic and confessional Lutheranism depends on parishes these days and not synods. I am so pleased Presidents Schroeder & Harrison are in place these days. God is really good…

OmahaConservative on May 27, 2012 at 11:47 PM

Concern trolls, attack! Use lots of stupid made up names and !!!!!11!1! and bold text.

Just remember, we are all laughing at you.

ray on May 27, 2012 at 11:58 PM

Authentic and confessional Lutheranism depends on parishes these days and not synods. I am so pleased Presidents Schroeder & Harrison are in place these days. God is really good…

OmahaConservative on May 27, 2012 at 11:47 PM

That is certainly true of LCMS and why I joined WELS. The congregations in Texas where I had moved were not confessional, thus the reason I changed. My parents and siblings followed a few years later. Glad to hear that things are changing for the better.

AZfederalist on May 28, 2012 at 12:08 AM

In a perfect world, churches wouldn’t be tax exempt. That can’t happen soon enough.

SnarkVader on May 27, 2012 at 3:44 PM

Okay, let’s just tax their income. Oh wait, they don’t turn a profit!

What you want to do is to tax the donations people make to the churches out of the money they’ve already paid taxes on.

Lots of non-profit institutions are tax-exempt. Why do you want to single out churches?

There Goes The Neighborhood on May 28, 2012 at 12:12 AM

I cannot agree that the Catholic Church’s silly superstition about birth control should be paid any mind by government. I decided yesterday that my religion objects to red lights. It would as silly for me to able to require the government make all new traffic light orange, yellow, and green.

thuja on May 27, 2012 at 6:42 PM

I don’t agree with the Catholic position on birth control. There are lots of other Catholic doctrines I think are completely wrong-headed.

Regardless, it is a religious conviction. It would be wrong to try to force them to practice birth control, and therefore it’s wrong to expect them to pay for birth control. Saying, “We’ll just make th insurance company pay for it” is as dishonest as it gets. The insurance company gets its money from premiums paid by the Catholic institutions, so all the money spent by the insurance company comes from the institutions anyway.

I believe the Obama administration is trying to be clever by isolating the Catholic church on an issue — contraceptives — that only they really care about. But the rest of us can still object on the grounds of religious freedom, and do.

For non-Catholics, this is very much an issue of religious freedom.

There Goes The Neighborhood on May 28, 2012 at 12:20 AM

Remember that prayer is supposed to do wonders for stress and relief.

So, HHS should mandate that every doctor’s office have a prayer room and someone to teach ways to pray well.

Atheists would have to pay for this even as they disagree with it and never used it.

That IS the HHS logic, after all, put to a different group.

Religious liberty extends to all of us and provides diversity to our views which are rooted in something other than the here and now. When government tells you what you must pay for in the here and now, and it violates your religious beliefs or doctrines, then you have your liberty infringed upon and you are no longer able to practice it freely as dictated by your conscience.

The freedom of the press and freedom of religion both require that YOU be free in your MIND to be able to have thoughts and that they be unregulated by any government, ever. You are the moral force in your life, not government, as you get to decide what is and is not proper to do by governing yourself and controlling your actions. That does not start at a health clinic, on a blog or in church, and these things merely help to inform you about your view of YOURSELF as an individual. When government starts to want to filter that it isn’t about just religious freedom: it is about thought control.

And I will resist that to my last breath no matter who tries it.

Civil discussion is one thing.

Government power another.

ajacksonian on May 28, 2012 at 6:49 AM

While I am not Catholic, as a Christian American Conservative, I applaud the stand made by these People of Faith.

For those of you who, like the president, do not understand, the phrase is “Freedom of Religion”.

Not “Freedom from Religion”.

kingsjester on May 27, 2012 at 4:12 PM

Ditto, except from a pagan quarter. Took the Catholics long enough to wake up, but so long as they’re working towards the right ends (Freedom), I sure as hell wouldn’t turn away their help.

Asurea on May 28, 2012 at 8:15 AM

Matalin: Religious liberty is the issue at stake in the HHS mandate

LIBERTY is the issue at stake!! It is across the board “boots on the throats” of almost all segments of American society and is the underling cause of the oppressive, stifling, effect of the Communist regime in D.C.!!Obama wants to destroy Americans’ freedoms and
replace them with his Pothead, Puff-the-magic-Dragon, bizarre, ideas of redistribution of wealth and power!!Remember in November and replace this nutjob with freedom loving representatives!!

Marco on May 28, 2012 at 10:49 AM

NOMITTNOBAMA 2012

Pragmatic on May 28, 2012 at 11:01 AM

“If you love wealth greater than liberty, the tranquility of servitude greater than the animating contest for freedom, go home from us in peace. We seek not your counsel, nor your arms. Crouch down and lick the hand that feeds you; May your chains set lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that you were our countrymen.”
― Samuel Adams

Marco on May 28, 2012 at 12:34 PM

OmahaConservative on May 27, 2012 at 11:34 PM

Thanks again, and thanks for the kind words [blush].

PatriotGal2257 on May 28, 2012 at 1:24 PM

For that matter, no one is attempting to “get rid” of Planned Parenthood either, although many of us would be happy to see it disappear on its own.

I beg to differ.

fossten on May 28, 2012 at 5:28 PM

PatriotGal2257 on May 27, 2012 at 5:38 PM

It’s no good if nobody covers it…

affenhauer on May 28, 2012 at 7:14 PM

Comment pages: 1 2