Until the good bishops of the Catholic church can figure out how to keep their priests from molesting young boys, I have no use for their histrionics over the Obama administration’s decision to mandate coverage of the cost of contraceptives in healthcare plans. None of the news producers for our star nightly newsreaders has the guts to run the story of the four day conference on pedophilia in Rome right after the one about this make believe fight over contraceptives. And I don’t seem to be hearing very much in the mainstream media about Colorado, Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, Ohio, Vermont, and Wisconsin, states which already have laws requiring insurers that cover prescription drugs also provide coverage for any Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved contraceptive, without any exemptions.
In 2007, the U.S. Supreme Court denied a petition for review in the case of Catholic Charities v. Dinallo, Case No. 06-1550. The case involved a 2002 New York statute entitled Women’s Health and Wellness Act which mandated that prescription drug coverage plans in health insurance policies must include coverage for contraceptives. A consortium of Catholic and Baptist charities sued claiming that the law violated their First Amendment religious freedoms.
After New York’s highest state court ruled against the charities, they filed a petition for review with the U.S. Supreme Court. This was in 2007, after Roberts had become Chief Justice in 2005 and after Alito had arrived on the bench in 2006. A denial to review by the U.S. Supreme Court effectually means that the court agrees with the lower court.
In fact, the vast majority of Catholic women have demonstrated, by their current rate of use of contraceptives, that on this particular issue, in these particular times, that their church leaders are a bunch of rusty dusty old men who don’t know what the hell they are talking about.
I’ve hauled all of this readily available information out mainly to show that contrary to the load of bull the public is being spoon fed by a news media who should know better, the Obama Administration did not start a war on religion. Religious liberty is not being debased anymore this year than it was last year. In my opinion, all religious exemptions should begin and end at the door to the sanctuary. When a church decides to step outside of the spiritual realm and operate businesses, universities, or hospitals, whether they are for profit or non-profit, the same free market rules should apply to them that apply to everyone else.
Republicans don’t seem to be very good learners. The only controversial policies the Obama administration has ever shown that it is likely to back are old GOP ideas that have been repackaged or policies that have clearly established legal precedents. If I were a Republican, I would think of this whole thing as a booby trap, designed to tie up time, money and energy that might otherwise be used against the president’s re-election campaign.
“We respect individuals’ moral agency to make decisions about their sexuality and reproductive health without governmental interference or legal restrictions. We do not believe that specific religious doctrine belongs in health care reform – as we value our nation’s commitment to church-state separation. We believe that women and men have the right to decide whether or not to apply the principles of their faith to family planning decisions, and to do so they must have access to services. The Administration was correct in requiring institutions that do not have purely sectarian goals to offer comprehensive preventive health care.”