Barbara Boxer has taken to the pages of the Huffington Post to explain why the administration’s mandate that all insurers provide birth control, including drugs that induce abortion, advances rather than restricts, religious freedom. If you like Orwell’s Newspeak, Boxer’s writing is a thing of beauty and will certainly be a joy forever as a model of obfuscation and deceit. I think it deserves a nice fisking, I really do:
When President Obama announced that because of health care reform, birth control would soon be available for free in new insurance plans, you would have expected universal approval.
[Why in the world would there be universal approval for a policy that requires people to underwrite birth control for everyone, including the 1%? It's not as if birth control was unavailable before ObamaCare. Nor is birth control expensive. Condoms will not break anyone's bank and the pill is one of the cheapest products around. So remind me again why I'm celebrating being forced to pay for other people's personal birth control choices?]
After all, virtually all women, including 98 percent of Catholic women, have used birth control at some point in their lives and 71 percent of American voters, including 77 percent of Catholic women voters, support this policy.
[See above. It's not about who uses birth control, Catholic women included. It's about who pays for birth control. Welcome to Boxer's first piece of Orwellian sleight of hand.]
That is why I was stunned to read E.J. Dionne’s column in the Washington Post today denouncing a decision that should instead be lauded, especially by those of us who care about religious freedom, women’s health, and economic fairness.
[Now we get to it: the policy advances "religious freedom . . . and economic fairness." I'm completely unclear what's economically fair about a working class Mom or a small business having to fund a policy that will help Paris Hilton get her birth control for free. But let's get to the real meat. Let's find out how, in Obama/Orwell land, forcing everyone to pay for birth control and abortion pills advancing religious freedom.]
The truth is, the president’s decision respects the diverse religious views of the American people, who deserve the right to follow their own conscience and choose whether to obtain contraceptives, regardless of where they work. [Uh, Babs -- nobody is banning them from getting contraceptives now. Last I looked, I could walk into any pharmacy and, for a very affordable price, get myriad over-the-counter contraceptives. And I can go to my doctor and get a prescription for other affordable contraceptives. This isn't about access; it's about funding.] And that is what this policy guarantees — with one carefully drawn exception. This decision respects the deeply-held views of religious institutions. If their mission is primarily religious and the majority of their employees and clients share that faith, religious institutions do not have to provide contraceptive coverage to their employees. [Here's where the real double-speak lies, since it overlooks the fact that the only entirely religious institutions are convents and monasteries. Whether we're talking a vast Catholic educational institution, a soup kitchen, or the local parish, outside of ministering positions, the Catholic Church is required by law to hire people of different religions. In any event, my understanding is that, again outside of the core religious functionaries, the Church freely hires those who are willing to accommodate its vision and goals. In other words, the so-called "exception" probably covers six convents and a monastery.]
So, despite what his critics claim, the president’s policy does in fact respect religious freedom. [No, it doesn't, because it aims to prevent any Catholic institutions from competing in the employment marketplace, by intentionally creating a situation in which Catholic institutions can no longer give their employees insurance coverage.] In addition, opponents of this policy shockingly ignore the facts: that it will reduce the number of unintended pregnancies and abortions in our country — a goal I thought we all shared. [Non sequitur. We're not talking about reducing unintended pregnancies. We're talking about a government policy that forces a religious organization to fund a practice that is doctrinally abhorrent.]
The president followed the advice of the Institute of Medicine and other independent medical experts who recommended that health plans cover preventive services that women cannot afford to miss, including annual exams, HIV screening and, yes, contraception. These experts know the truth: The best way to prevent unintended pregnancies and reduce the number of abortions is to make birth control more accessible to women and men. Period. Without birth control, a couple has an 85 percent chance of having an unintended pregnancy within a year.
[See my last comment, above. This is mixing Marxist apples with religious oranges. We have a free country in which women already have access to birth control, sterilization, and abortion. It's just that, until today, the government hasn't forced religious organizations to sponsor these practices. It also ignores the fact that the Church believes that the best way to protect women is to teach them to treat sex as a sacred obligation within the bounds of marriage. In other words, the Church's birth control is to take a stand against a promiscuous, hook-up culture.]
Finally, this decision will help working families by giving them access to free birth control. The cost of birth control can be prohibitive for many women, particularly in these difficult economic times. In fact, 34 percent of women voters report having struggled with the cost of prescription birth control. Surprisingly, Dionne glosses over the crucial issue of cost by recommending that the President simply require plans that won’t cover birth control to tell their employees where else they can buy it. He dismisses it as a “modest cost.” Well, tell that to the woman making minimum wage and struggling to buy groceries for her children — paying an extra $600 a year for birth control pills is a major expense for her, not a “modest cost.”
[Another red herring. I have a suggestion, Babs. Rather than making the Church pay for this "modest cost," why don't you tell the President to authorize the Keystone Pipeline? That will create thousands of jobs and substantially drop the cost of oil. This latter cost drives up the price of everything. But it's clear that the President would rather attack the Catholic's core doctrines, than the Gaia worshippers' core doctrines.]
Improving access to affordable birth control is not a controversial issue for the American people, the vast majority of whom support family planning. The president’s decision should bring all sides together because it will help millions of women and their families. Certainly, that is a policy worthy of our praise.
[Doublespeak, doublespeak, doublespeak. We have complete access in this country to birth control. We have women who might be struggling to meet the cost because Obama's policies, including the stimulus and the refusal to exploit our energy resources, have made many things more expensive for many people. Forcing religious institutions to fund practices that are morally abhorrent is not the way to balance out Obama's economic failings.]
Okay, enough with wandering around the cesspool that is Boxer’s brain and moral decency. If you really want to know what’s going on, I recommend Elizabeth Scalia’s article on the opening salvo in Obama’s war against the Catholic Church (and, of course, other religious organizations).
UPDATE: Welcome, David Hogberg readers!