The real Obama outrage [Op-Ed]

The Obama Administration's war on religion

By Cynthia Stead

The Obama Administration is waging war on religion by forcing religious institutions to cover contraception on the health plans of their employees.  This is a new and startling outrage.  It has also been the law since 2000.

Back in December of 2000, the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ruled that failure to provide such coverage violates the 1978 Pregnancy Discrimination Act, which is an amendment to Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, which outlaws, among other things, discrimination based on gender.  A suit filed by Catholic Charities in California and New York were both decided against them and the 2000 regulation was upheld.

The only thing that the Obama administration is doing is insisting that the employer – religious or not – cannot charge a co-pay from the employee, but in the Progressive Spirit must provide something for nothing.  That is where the issue begins.  Until now, employees of Catholic institutions simply paid a co-payment of 100%, allowing them to have access to the desired contraception while also not forcing the religious institution to subsidize something that violates their principles.

Why wasn’t there a hue and cry back in 2000?  Because Massachusetts employers didn’t have to cover contraception as a medication until 2002.  Women already had to pay that 100% co-pay anyway, so the change in regulation as it pertains to religious institutions slipped under the radar.  Massachusetts comes close to being the contraception-free state that Rick Santorum envisions.  Birth control was illegal here due to the legislative Catholic Democrat majority, and Bill Baird went to jail for giving away birth control in Boston. Historically, the champions of contraception in Massachusetts were the Republicans.  Even when contraception was partially legalized, it was still illegal for ‘unmarried women’ until 1974 – once abortion was legalized, the Democrats decided that maybe contraception wasn’t the end of the world, but they still didn’t want to make access easy and allowed employers to refuse coverage - although Viagara was mandatory as soon as it was invented.  When then-Speaker Tom Finneran was presented with a letter in 2002 signed by 81 legislators demanding that a vote be allowed to require contraception to be covered on health insurance plans, he capitulated and allowed the vote.  He did know how to count.

What IS an outrage is the Obama ‘solution’ to free contraception.  He proposes to make the insurance companies pay for the contraception instead.  By what right does the government require that a private concern (insurance companies) provide product for free to consumers?  Will GM be instructed to provide free cars, now that the government owns them?  If an insurance company decides it would rather not insure a Catholic employer because it doesn’t want to have to bear the cost of providing free medication, will they be penalized for Civil Rights discrimination?  If this precedent is allowed to stand, what other products and services can private industry be required to provide by government fiat?

Social conservatives are snapping at this ‘issue’ like a trout at a fly, not recognizing the real outrage here.  Whether they ‘win’ the religious exemption argument or not, we all should be on guard against this attack on property and freedom by the Obama Administration.

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