Solving the Contraception “Crisis”
posted at 11:34 am on February 18, 2012 by Laura Curtis
There is no contraception crisis. Contraception is already easily and inexpensively accessible in the United States. But for the sake of argument, let’s pretend there is. Obama’s solution to this pseudo-problem is to try to force all employers, including religious employers, to have insurance policies which provide for birth control methods to be provided at no direct cost to the patient. This is a serious erosion of our right to free exercise of religion.
Were there any other possible solutions which provided contraception at no cost to the user but did not infringe on our religious liberty? Yes. Obama could have decreed that women could get contraception at no cost to themselves
- from a federal program:
Expand HHS or some other department to create a contraception-only insurance program that all women can enroll in. Pharmacies would dispense the medication and bill the government for reimbursement just as they would any insurer. If Obama is determined to create a new “right” to no-cost contraception, this is probably the least intrusive option. And from the statist point of view, this is an especially good option, because such a program could easily be expanded to increasingly cover women’s health services and push people further into a single payer system.
- from the doctor’s office:
Pharmaceutical companies already keep doctor’s offices stocked with free samples. Obama could have required pharmaceutical companies to extend that system, which is already in place, so that doctor’s offices can dispense all the hormonal contraception methods (oral contraceptives, the patch, shot/injection, vaginal ring, implantable rods) directly to their patients, the same way that Planned Parenthood does. The government could reimburse the pharmaceutical companies directly or give them a tax break. Doctor’s offices could also be reimbursed by the government for any expenses involved for dispensing medication or for non-hormonal methods like IUDs or sterilization. Pharmaceutical companies and doctors are already heavily regulated and micromanaged by the government, so while this plan adds to their burden, it at least doesn’t break new ground.
- from an expanded Medicaid program:
Expand Medicaid enrollment to cover contraceptive services for all women. This is essentially the same as the first option, but managed by the states instead of the federal government.
None of these solutions are perfect, but they don’t infringe our religious freedom at all. Given that there were other methods available for Obama to try to buy women’s votes with “free” contraception, it’s interesting that Obama chose the one which essentially declared war on churches.
He made his course clear back in 2008, when he said,
Any reconciliation between faith and democratic pluralism requires some sense of proportion. And this goes for both sides. Even those who claim the bible’s inerrancy make distinctions between scriptural edicts, sensing that some passages – the ten commandments, say, or the belief in Christ’s divinity – are central to the Christian faith, while others are more culturally specific and may be modified to accommodate modern life. And the American people intuitively understand this, which is why the majority of Catholics practice birth control, and some of those opposed to gay marriage nevertheless are opposed to a Constitutional amendment to ban it. Religious leadership needs to understand they don’t have to accept such wisdom in counseling their flocks but they should recognize this wisdom in their politics.
In other words, churches are free to have any doctrine they like, but they should not expect the government to permit them to act on their beliefs. He’s demanding that churches “dumb down” their doctrine to accommodate believers, rather than continue to present high standards for believers to live up to.
He also made his plans clear by appointing Chai Feldblum to head the EEOC. She admitted that when religious liberty and sexual liberty conflict, “I’m having a hard time coming up with any case in which religious liberty should win.”
It’s abundantly clear that this is no political miscalculation. It seems that forcing churches to either comply with liberal political goals or get out of the public square was always his plan. Rahm Emmanuel said that “You never want a serious crisis to go to waste. And what I mean by that is an opportunity to do things you think you could not do before.” Since there is no contraception crisis, Obama is creating one.