NOW's Dirty Little Sisters

Ah, sisterhood. Organizations like NOW love to proclaim it … except when it comes to actual Sisters. My Townhall colleague Christine Rousselle noticed yesterday that NOW listed the Little Sisters of the Poor among its “Dirty 100” organizations who have the temerity to object to being forced to provide free contraception for their employees, whether that violates their religious beliefs or not. “Nothing quite says a “force for women’s rights” like attacking a group of women, am I right?” Christine asked. Kevin Daley at the Washington Examiner plumbs the irony of the attack on the LSP, who provide hospice care for the poor:

The order of nuns NOW finds “dirty” are the Little Sisters of the Poor, a religious institute for women founded by St. Jeanne Jugan in 19th century France. They are dedicated to care of the elderly impoverished, and describe their spiritual charism as “grace of hospitality toward the aged poor.”

Today the Little Sisters operate 200 homes on five continents, and serve over 13,000 residents. In a promotional video for the order, Sister Camille Rose said “We celebrate the gift of life, the joy of living, and we care for the elderly poor. We try to make them happy in whatever way we can.” The nuns themselves live communally and take vows of poverty, chastity, obedience, and hospitality.

As I write in my column for The Week, I’m a big fan of absurdity in politics … but this goes beyond the limit:

As part of its rationale, NOW offers such non-sequiturs as the percentage of Catholic women who have used birth control, which has nothing to do with the doctrinal teachings of the Catholic Church or the beliefs of the Little Sisters of the Poor. NOW also highlights the supposed acceptance of birth control by the Mennonites, another non-sequitur that is supposed to be a response to the Mennonite owners of Conestoga Wood. The whole thing reads as a diatribe against the freedom of religious expression, which is all NOW has got besides the laughable argument that contraception is so inaccessible that nuns have to be forced to provide it to themselves.

Normally, one would expect an organization that considers itself the pre-eminent defender of women’s choices to, you know, defend the free choice of a group of women. Or NOW could have acknowledged the nuance of a group of Catholic nuns standing up for their choice to act according to their principles. That should especially be true since the Little Sisters of the Poor’s decision on how to structure their health insurance impacts no one but their own organization.

At the very least, one might have expected NOW to come up with a less pejorative name than “The Dirty 100” when applied to the Little Sisters of the Poor. In any other context, that sounds an awful lot like a “war on women.”

Noah wrote earlier about the strategy by Democrats to make this their legislative priority between now and the midterm elections. Good luck with that, because Democrats already look out of touch and rudderless on issues that Americans actually do care about, such as the economy, jobs, and the federal budget deficit. Contraception doesn’t even make the list, because there hasn’t been a crisis in access to contraception in the first place. Republicans should be emphasizing that last point especially with the CDC’s data, and show that this is nothing more than an attempt to demagogue and distract from the failures of this administration, especially ObamaCare, which is the paternalistic father of the paternalistic HHS contraception mandate.

That’s the dirty little secret behind the dirty little campaign of the Democrats and NOW.

Update: Katie Pavlich has a new book out today called  Assault and Flattery: The Truth About the Left and Their War on Women, in bookstores today. Katie skewers the whole “war on women” meme from Democrats and turns the table on them:

It’s time someone pointed out the hypocrisy and lies coming from the left about women. Democrats have run the conversation for too long and I’m out to debunk the sacred cows of the so-called Republican War on Women.

If liberals really believe women can protect themselves, then why do they oppose a woman’s right to carry a handgun for self defense? If Hillary Clinton is the ultimate female role model, then why has she built her political career on her husband’s philandering while silencing his many female whistleblowers? If Barack Obama is the most pro-woman president in history, then why does he seek to make women completely dependent on the government? If the right to an abortion gives women personal autonomy and sexual freedom, then why are its debilitating aftereffects overlooked? And finally, if Republicans are so insensitive to women, then why is the sexual lechery of politicians from Ted Kennedy to Bill Clinton defended, justified, covered up, or ignored?

Those on the left love to talk about women in one way, but in reality treat women in an entirely opposite, demeaning way full of broken promises and false hope. Through research, in-depth interviews and personal stories, I reveal the shocking truth about the Democratic Party’s anti-woman agenda on issues like gun control, healthcare, the economy, sexual assault and more.

Katie will join me on The Ed Morrissey Show today to discuss this at more length, so be sure to tune in at 4 ET!

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