Compromise on insurance birth control mandate?

President Obama has announced a compromise he is willing to enact on his mandatory abortion pill and contraceptive mandate.  Employees of religious institutions that don’t believe in that sort of thing will have to ask the organization’s insurance company for the coverage, whereupon the insurance company will have to provide it free of charge without raising the institution’s rates.  Thus the insurance company, not the faith-based employer, will be paying for the morning after pills and contraceptives.  And the faith-based employer would not be directly providing for them.  Rather, the employee would get them off the books.

See White House compromise still guarantees contraceptive coverage for women – The Washington Post.

Does this really solve the problem?

Aren’t all of the expenses of an insurance company ultimately and necessarily passed on to the customers?

And isn’t the result exactly the same apart from the moral casuistry of trying to shuffle around the responsibility?

And the administration isn’t saying  how this would work with institutions, such as many non-profits, that are self-insured, in which employers collect premiums but then pay for employee health expenses themselves.

The Roman Catholic bishops note other problems:  The government’s apparent dispensations apply only to non-profit organizations.  A Catholic or other pro-life business owner would still have to directly provide free abortion pills and contraceptives, which would mean for the Catholic, being forced by law to be complicit in a grave sin.

Also church-related insurance companies (like Concordia Health Plan and its numerous Catholic equivalents) are not exempt from having to provide this kind of coverage.

Because of earlier H.H.S. machinations, the Morning After pill is now available over the counter.  What insurance plans cover non-prescription medication?  Your health insurance won’t pay for a bottle of aspirin or Nyquil.  And yet the Obama administration is insisting that this over-the-counter medication be covered free of charge, without even a deductible.  The agenda here is clearly that of pro-abortion fanaticism.

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • SKPeterson

    I have a problem with the government mandating the provision of free prescription drugs. Ostensibly, these drugs are crucial for “women’s health,” but we don’t see active campaigns to make breast cancer drugs free – yet. Never mind the provision of a service for free for a select group. Soon, other groups and constituencies will demand “free” prescription drugs for their “health.” Also, we don’t see prophylactics being subsidized, only pills. Can you say “sop” or “political payoff” or “angling for big donations in an election year” to/from Big Pharma and the Administration?

    By doing this HHS has effectively become the exact sort of planning agency described in Hayek. This smacks of corporatist collusion – a “conspiracy in restraint of trade” if there ever was one, and generally it takes a government to institute such a conspiracy and then perpetuate it.

  • SKPeterson

    I have a problem with the government mandating the provision of free prescription drugs. Ostensibly, these drugs are crucial for “women’s health,” but we don’t see active campaigns to make breast cancer drugs free – yet. Never mind the provision of a service for free for a select group. Soon, other groups and constituencies will demand “free” prescription drugs for their “health.” Also, we don’t see prophylactics being subsidized, only pills. Can you say “sop” or “political payoff” or “angling for big donations in an election year” to/from Big Pharma and the Administration?

    By doing this HHS has effectively become the exact sort of planning agency described in Hayek. This smacks of corporatist collusion – a “conspiracy in restraint of trade” if there ever was one, and generally it takes a government to institute such a conspiracy and then perpetuate it.

  • Michael B.

    This is so frustrating, because it shows that religion is the ultimate trump card. In America and in Western nations in general, criticizing religion is this huge taboo. The only reason why Catholics are getting these sort of exceptions is because of religion. None of their reasons such as “zygotes are really people” have convinced non-religious people. Yet, all bishops have to do is say “This is my religion, and you have to respect it”, and they win. Of course, they get frustrated when Muslims demand the same respect.

  • Michael B.

    This is so frustrating, because it shows that religion is the ultimate trump card. In America and in Western nations in general, criticizing religion is this huge taboo. The only reason why Catholics are getting these sort of exceptions is because of religion. None of their reasons such as “zygotes are really people” have convinced non-religious people. Yet, all bishops have to do is say “This is my religion, and you have to respect it”, and they win. Of course, they get frustrated when Muslims demand the same respect.

  • http://enterthevein.wordpress.com J. Dean

    Michael B @2,

    With all due respect, your statement sounds like something made by an atheist.

  • http://enterthevein.wordpress.com J. Dean

    Michael B @2,

    With all due respect, your statement sounds like something made by an atheist.

  • Dan Kempin

    Michael, #2,

    ” . . . all bishops have to do is say “This is my religion, and you have to respect it”, and they win.”

    Where do you see religion being respected or “winning” in any of this? They are having that which is abhorrent to them shoved down their throat with no concession whatever. I wonder if you would feel the same if HHS were to mandate that vegans eat meat. You know, for health and a balanced diet.

  • Dan Kempin

    Michael, #2,

    ” . . . all bishops have to do is say “This is my religion, and you have to respect it”, and they win.”

    Where do you see religion being respected or “winning” in any of this? They are having that which is abhorrent to them shoved down their throat with no concession whatever. I wonder if you would feel the same if HHS were to mandate that vegans eat meat. You know, for health and a balanced diet.

  • http://www.worldvieweverlasting.com SAL

    It seems to me that the compromise is more an accounting trick than a meaningful concession.

    I think what this sorry episode demonstrates is that as central power grows liberty inevitably shrinks. The healthcare law significantly increased centralized authority and decreased personal liberty. We only notice this episode because the law reduced freedom of religion which is a highly valued liberty.

    Religious freedom should be a highly valued liberty as in its absence a pluralistic society will fall. What particularly troubles me is that each time a partisan law butts up against an Article of the Bill of Rights, partisans (see #2) tend to devalue that right.

    As more partisan laws butt up against our freedoms I wonder if the day will come when most Americans turn their backs on the Bill of Rights as unwanted limitations on the power of their political party.

  • http://www.worldvieweverlasting.com SAL

    It seems to me that the compromise is more an accounting trick than a meaningful concession.

    I think what this sorry episode demonstrates is that as central power grows liberty inevitably shrinks. The healthcare law significantly increased centralized authority and decreased personal liberty. We only notice this episode because the law reduced freedom of religion which is a highly valued liberty.

    Religious freedom should be a highly valued liberty as in its absence a pluralistic society will fall. What particularly troubles me is that each time a partisan law butts up against an Article of the Bill of Rights, partisans (see #2) tend to devalue that right.

    As more partisan laws butt up against our freedoms I wonder if the day will come when most Americans turn their backs on the Bill of Rights as unwanted limitations on the power of their political party.

  • http://www.redeemedrambling.blogspot.com/ John

    I have a huge problem with the government telling anyone that they have to provide free anything for anybody. Where is the line, exactly? And why is birth-control so important as to get this waiver? Heck, condoms are $.50 at the gas station, why do insurance companies have to underwrite promiscuity?

  • http://www.redeemedrambling.blogspot.com/ John

    I have a huge problem with the government telling anyone that they have to provide free anything for anybody. Where is the line, exactly? And why is birth-control so important as to get this waiver? Heck, condoms are $.50 at the gas station, why do insurance companies have to underwrite promiscuity?

  • Steve Billingsley

    J.Dean @ 3

    No, I don’t have any idea of Michael B is an atheist, but it is a statement made by someone who is bitter against religion in general (and Christianity in particular). Bitterness blinds to reality.

    As has been stated over and over, this isn’t about contraception – it is about First Amendment free exercise of religion and rights of conscience that apply equally even to those who are non-religious. Today it is contraception, but what about tomorrow? Where is the line? The founders drew the line fairly clearly – no establishment of religion by the state, free exercise of religion by citizenry, freedom of speech and of the press and freedom of peaceable assembly. If this line can be crossed, then can another religion (or non-religion) be established by the state? Can the press be persecuted if it publishes a negative story about the government? What next?

  • Steve Billingsley

    J.Dean @ 3

    No, I don’t have any idea of Michael B is an atheist, but it is a statement made by someone who is bitter against religion in general (and Christianity in particular). Bitterness blinds to reality.

    As has been stated over and over, this isn’t about contraception – it is about First Amendment free exercise of religion and rights of conscience that apply equally even to those who are non-religious. Today it is contraception, but what about tomorrow? Where is the line? The founders drew the line fairly clearly – no establishment of religion by the state, free exercise of religion by citizenry, freedom of speech and of the press and freedom of peaceable assembly. If this line can be crossed, then can another religion (or non-religion) be established by the state? Can the press be persecuted if it publishes a negative story about the government? What next?

  • http://drhambrick.com drhambrick

    I think this is all about population control. Obama has already admitted to believing the federal government is just like God (remember the article from Politico the other day about Jesus taxing the rich? ), this is just another move in line with those beliefs.

  • http://drhambrick.com drhambrick

    I think this is all about population control. Obama has already admitted to believing the federal government is just like God (remember the article from Politico the other day about Jesus taxing the rich? ), this is just another move in line with those beliefs.

  • Booklover

    The fanatic attempt to drive down our population will hurt us severely in the end.

    This is not to mention the preposterous moral aspect of the whole thing.

    PREGNANCY IS NOT AN ILLNESS!!!!

  • Booklover

    The fanatic attempt to drive down our population will hurt us severely in the end.

    This is not to mention the preposterous moral aspect of the whole thing.

    PREGNANCY IS NOT AN ILLNESS!!!!

  • Tom Hering

    All big pharma has to do is give lots of money to Catholic projects, and the bishops will settle down. This already works at the local level, in all kinds of congregations, where church leadership has no problem with being selective about sin – with keeping quiet about the sins of a congregation’s biggest givers, and dropping any concerns about moral complicity. (The greed and dishonesty of local businessmen, anyone?)

    It was only a century ago that most churches (including Lutheran) were opposed to the very idea of insurance. What do you think happened to change theological objections in that case? Or, going back further, to change objections to usury?

    Abortion drugs are a whole different matter, it’s true. But we’ve proven we can be morally flexible when we want to be. So let’s be a bit humble about claiming to hold the high ground, over and against the Obama administration.

  • Tom Hering

    All big pharma has to do is give lots of money to Catholic projects, and the bishops will settle down. This already works at the local level, in all kinds of congregations, where church leadership has no problem with being selective about sin – with keeping quiet about the sins of a congregation’s biggest givers, and dropping any concerns about moral complicity. (The greed and dishonesty of local businessmen, anyone?)

    It was only a century ago that most churches (including Lutheran) were opposed to the very idea of insurance. What do you think happened to change theological objections in that case? Or, going back further, to change objections to usury?

    Abortion drugs are a whole different matter, it’s true. But we’ve proven we can be morally flexible when we want to be. So let’s be a bit humble about claiming to hold the high ground, over and against the Obama administration.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Tom – agreed.

    As to Michael’s point above: The fact of the matter is that the pro-abortion people do not believe that what is happening is murder, because they do not accept that the embryo / zygote is human. That is the first point that nees to be addressed, and he is quite correct in highlighting it.

    The second point he addresses is that of freedom, particularly religious freedom. The defence claimed by say Catholic Health Institutions is that they should be forced to do something against their belief – and rightly so. His point is that he feels that many of the same people who support this freedom for Catholics, deny it to people of other faiths, and this he calls hypocracy.

    Now, the question is essentially what is seen as a Right, connecting with our discussion on Friday. And which Right triumphs.

    As to abortion, healthcare and all that – there are 2 primary rights, and one secondary right involved:

    Primary:

    1. The right to life – but the argument here, as I said, is that there is disagreement between the parties when life starts. Connected to this on a secondary level is the “my body argument”.
    2. The Right to freedom of religion – the right to refuse to be involved with something that in this causes you to commit what you believe to be a sin.
    3. The secondary right, and there is contention here too, because this is a new concept and many disagree with it – the right to Healtcare.

    It would seem that the argument that (2) triumphs (3) in all cases is pretty strong – but how will that affect cases like JW’s refusing transfusions? Will that set precedents? Or can an argument be made that non-life threatening preceures only are subject to free choice, according to conscience? What is life threatening?

    Michael links what he believes to be hypocracy around (2). Namely that many here would seem to deny fundamental religious rights to say Islamic worshippers, while insisting on their own, and yet claim the US Constitution as their base for doing so, which clearly does not distinguish between religions. Is he barking up the wrong tree? Should he give examples?

    Just trying to lift the conversation from mud slinging and all that…..

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Tom – agreed.

    As to Michael’s point above: The fact of the matter is that the pro-abortion people do not believe that what is happening is murder, because they do not accept that the embryo / zygote is human. That is the first point that nees to be addressed, and he is quite correct in highlighting it.

    The second point he addresses is that of freedom, particularly religious freedom. The defence claimed by say Catholic Health Institutions is that they should be forced to do something against their belief – and rightly so. His point is that he feels that many of the same people who support this freedom for Catholics, deny it to people of other faiths, and this he calls hypocracy.

    Now, the question is essentially what is seen as a Right, connecting with our discussion on Friday. And which Right triumphs.

    As to abortion, healthcare and all that – there are 2 primary rights, and one secondary right involved:

    Primary:

    1. The right to life – but the argument here, as I said, is that there is disagreement between the parties when life starts. Connected to this on a secondary level is the “my body argument”.
    2. The Right to freedom of religion – the right to refuse to be involved with something that in this causes you to commit what you believe to be a sin.
    3. The secondary right, and there is contention here too, because this is a new concept and many disagree with it – the right to Healtcare.

    It would seem that the argument that (2) triumphs (3) in all cases is pretty strong – but how will that affect cases like JW’s refusing transfusions? Will that set precedents? Or can an argument be made that non-life threatening preceures only are subject to free choice, according to conscience? What is life threatening?

    Michael links what he believes to be hypocracy around (2). Namely that many here would seem to deny fundamental religious rights to say Islamic worshippers, while insisting on their own, and yet claim the US Constitution as their base for doing so, which clearly does not distinguish between religions. Is he barking up the wrong tree? Should he give examples?

    Just trying to lift the conversation from mud slinging and all that…..

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Oh, and Veith, you probably missed it on Friday – but your comment re Canada later added in your “US Constitution Post’ – is a bit off: The Case was dismissed from two different Courts over 3 years ago. See here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_rights_complaints_against_Maclean's_magazine.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Oh, and Veith, you probably missed it on Friday – but your comment re Canada later added in your “US Constitution Post’ – is a bit off: The Case was dismissed from two different Courts over 3 years ago. See here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_rights_complaints_against_Maclean's_magazine.

  • Edward Bryant

    This furor has been over the loss of religious exemption by the church-related institutions like hospitals and charities. But really, this over-reaching government power is requiring any employer with scruples against abortifacients to provide them free of charge to his employees. Are individual citizens not permitted a conscience any more?

  • Edward Bryant

    This furor has been over the loss of religious exemption by the church-related institutions like hospitals and charities. But really, this over-reaching government power is requiring any employer with scruples against abortifacients to provide them free of charge to his employees. Are individual citizens not permitted a conscience any more?

  • Tom Hering

    Conservatives don’t have the greatest track record when it comes to respecting a war resister’s freedom of conscience. And war involves the death of innocents at least as much as abortion does.

  • Tom Hering

    Conservatives don’t have the greatest track record when it comes to respecting a war resister’s freedom of conscience. And war involves the death of innocents at least as much as abortion does.

  • #4 Kitty

    @Tom Hering #10
    This already works at the local level, in all kinds of congregations, where church leadership has no problem with being selective about sin – with keeping quiet about the sins of a congregation’s biggest givers, and dropping any concerns about moral complicity.

    True. For example picking up sticks on Saturday used to get you killed back in the old testament. Now, however, breaking the Sabbath is almost meaningless. Personally, I can’t wait until the Republican party drops the lunatic religious right in order to embrace gay marriage. I mean the whole idea that homosexuality is immoral just “because it says so in my magic book” is nonsensical to those who have not drank the Kool-Aid of religious fundamentalism.

  • #4 Kitty

    @Tom Hering #10
    This already works at the local level, in all kinds of congregations, where church leadership has no problem with being selective about sin – with keeping quiet about the sins of a congregation’s biggest givers, and dropping any concerns about moral complicity.

    True. For example picking up sticks on Saturday used to get you killed back in the old testament. Now, however, breaking the Sabbath is almost meaningless. Personally, I can’t wait until the Republican party drops the lunatic religious right in order to embrace gay marriage. I mean the whole idea that homosexuality is immoral just “because it says so in my magic book” is nonsensical to those who have not drank the Kool-Aid of religious fundamentalism.

  • SKPeterson

    True, Tom @ 14. That still does not make a valid excuse for the government’s actions here.

    Again, my opposition to this measure is as much from the notion that particular medical services should be provided for free. Why should prescription-strength birth control pills be available for free, while I need to practically submit to a full background check in order to purchase OTC cold medicine that actually works?

    My problem with the Romans on this has less to do with their conscience rights being violated in this particular instance, but with their persistent advocacy over time for implementing the very programs they are now decrying. Hoist upon their own petard.

    The old lesson rings true – never give to yourself the power, or advocate for your own narrow interests by appeal to that power, what powers and authorizations for interference you would never want to be used against you or your interests. If you object to this provision of free public healthcare because your feelings are hurt, then advocate for the complete dismissal of the entire debacle that is the provision of free (except to most taxpayers) public healthcare – not the piecemeal carving out of exemptions here and favors there so some other schmuck gets the shaft in your place.

  • SKPeterson

    True, Tom @ 14. That still does not make a valid excuse for the government’s actions here.

    Again, my opposition to this measure is as much from the notion that particular medical services should be provided for free. Why should prescription-strength birth control pills be available for free, while I need to practically submit to a full background check in order to purchase OTC cold medicine that actually works?

    My problem with the Romans on this has less to do with their conscience rights being violated in this particular instance, but with their persistent advocacy over time for implementing the very programs they are now decrying. Hoist upon their own petard.

    The old lesson rings true – never give to yourself the power, or advocate for your own narrow interests by appeal to that power, what powers and authorizations for interference you would never want to be used against you or your interests. If you object to this provision of free public healthcare because your feelings are hurt, then advocate for the complete dismissal of the entire debacle that is the provision of free (except to most taxpayers) public healthcare – not the piecemeal carving out of exemptions here and favors there so some other schmuck gets the shaft in your place.

  • rlewer

    Why is the government involved in deciding what health insurance we should have and shat should be in our policies anyway? This is about a broader issue than even religious freedom. It is about the power of the federal government to intrude into our lives.

    Obamacare is not about health care. It is about government control.

  • rlewer

    Why is the government involved in deciding what health insurance we should have and shat should be in our policies anyway? This is about a broader issue than even religious freedom. It is about the power of the federal government to intrude into our lives.

    Obamacare is not about health care. It is about government control.

  • mikeb

    A friend wrote me an email I just had to share:

    If you get into a discussion with someone who supports Obama’s decree that religious employers provide birth control and abortificients (such as the morning and week after pills), just ask, “Would you support the government forcing vegan organizations to pay for meat for the lunches of their employees?”

    Fundamentally, this is about the government forcing us to act against conscience. That’s what’s wrong with it.

  • mikeb

    A friend wrote me an email I just had to share:

    If you get into a discussion with someone who supports Obama’s decree that religious employers provide birth control and abortificients (such as the morning and week after pills), just ask, “Would you support the government forcing vegan organizations to pay for meat for the lunches of their employees?”

    Fundamentally, this is about the government forcing us to act against conscience. That’s what’s wrong with it.

  • Tom Hering

    SK @ 16, no excuse was intended.

  • Tom Hering

    SK @ 16, no excuse was intended.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    None of their reasons such as “zygotes are really people” have convinced non-religious people.

    Plenty of atheists and pretty much all doctors and scientists are convinced that an individual’s life begins at conception.

    http://secularprolife.org/

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    None of their reasons such as “zygotes are really people” have convinced non-religious people.

    Plenty of atheists and pretty much all doctors and scientists are convinced that an individual’s life begins at conception.

    http://secularprolife.org/

  • Truth Unites… and Divides

    Lutheran Culture Warrior Dr. Gene Veith: “The agenda here is clearly that of pro-abortion fanaticism.”

    Clearly.

  • Truth Unites… and Divides

    Lutheran Culture Warrior Dr. Gene Veith: “The agenda here is clearly that of pro-abortion fanaticism.”

    Clearly.

  • Dr. Luther in the 21st Century

    Veith, you hit it pretty head on. This compromise is a compromise in name only. We will still have to pay for the abortifactants. The cost will simply be added into the premiums as with every other prescription.

    Also, it was my understanding that CHP was exempt by grandfathering. Or did I misread Pres. Harrison’s letter?

  • Dr. Luther in the 21st Century

    Veith, you hit it pretty head on. This compromise is a compromise in name only. We will still have to pay for the abortifactants. The cost will simply be added into the premiums as with every other prescription.

    Also, it was my understanding that CHP was exempt by grandfathering. Or did I misread Pres. Harrison’s letter?

  • Tom Hering

    Re: @ 21. Actually, the agenda here is anti-Obama fanaticism. Clearly. What else to make of the charge that the administration is fanatically pro-abortion, when they’re actually pro-pharma industry and pro-insurance industry, with the exception of a few anti-pharma and anti-insurance bones thrown to their base in an election year? :-D

  • Tom Hering

    Re: @ 21. Actually, the agenda here is anti-Obama fanaticism. Clearly. What else to make of the charge that the administration is fanatically pro-abortion, when they’re actually pro-pharma industry and pro-insurance industry, with the exception of a few anti-pharma and anti-insurance bones thrown to their base in an election year? :-D

  • Dan Kempin

    Tom, #23,

    I can’t speak for anyone else here, but this is something far bigger than any president’s administration or political party. I would happily (well, maybe not happily, but willingly) swallow socialist, communist, or any other “-ist” agenda if the trade off were that we stop killing babies.

    If absolutely everything about the current political situation were the same, but the platforms refersed so that the democrats were pro-life and the republicans pro-abortion, I would vote democrat. Every time.

  • Dan Kempin

    Tom, #23,

    I can’t speak for anyone else here, but this is something far bigger than any president’s administration or political party. I would happily (well, maybe not happily, but willingly) swallow socialist, communist, or any other “-ist” agenda if the trade off were that we stop killing babies.

    If absolutely everything about the current political situation were the same, but the platforms refersed so that the democrats were pro-life and the republicans pro-abortion, I would vote democrat. Every time.

  • Jon

    What could be healthier than having a baby? Why is birth control considered “health care”? We spend our best baby-making years trying to avoid having them at all cost, and then we spend again, fanatically on fertility when–surprise!–your body can no longer do so on its own. Because it’s all about you in the end, don’t you know.

    And poor Michael B bemoans that darn Constitution’s First Amendment, indeed! (“The only reason why Catholics are getting these sort of exceptions is because of religion. None of their reasons such as ‘zygotes are really people’ have convinced non-religious people.”) No, not because of their religion, but because of the Constitution. And if a pre-born human zygote isn’t a human being, then why not just wait nine months and find out what comes out to greet you?

  • Jon

    What could be healthier than having a baby? Why is birth control considered “health care”? We spend our best baby-making years trying to avoid having them at all cost, and then we spend again, fanatically on fertility when–surprise!–your body can no longer do so on its own. Because it’s all about you in the end, don’t you know.

    And poor Michael B bemoans that darn Constitution’s First Amendment, indeed! (“The only reason why Catholics are getting these sort of exceptions is because of religion. None of their reasons such as ‘zygotes are really people’ have convinced non-religious people.”) No, not because of their religion, but because of the Constitution. And if a pre-born human zygote isn’t a human being, then why not just wait nine months and find out what comes out to greet you?

  • Steve Billingsley

    Tom @ 23
    All you have to do to understand the Obama administration’s attitude toward abortion is to read about Obama’s actions in the Illinois Senate during the Born-Alive Protection Act debate. It is hard to get to the left of NARAL on this issue, but Obama managed to do that. This is abortion absolutism. This is not anti-Obama fanaticism – it is pro-First Amendment and anti coercion.

    I am not an Obama hater – there are things he has done that I agree with. I am not anti universal healthcare either – I think that our healthcare delivery system has serious problems and that universal coverage is an attainable goal without bankrupting the nation or trampling on religious liberties or conscience rights. But the HHS ruling is horrible (and apparently anti-Obama right-wing zealots such as E.J. Dionne, Michael Dean Winters, the Washington Post editorial page, the USA Today editorial page, Senators Bob Casey Jr., Joe Manchin, Ben Nelson, Bill Nelson and Joe Lieberman agree).

  • Steve Billingsley

    Tom @ 23
    All you have to do to understand the Obama administration’s attitude toward abortion is to read about Obama’s actions in the Illinois Senate during the Born-Alive Protection Act debate. It is hard to get to the left of NARAL on this issue, but Obama managed to do that. This is abortion absolutism. This is not anti-Obama fanaticism – it is pro-First Amendment and anti coercion.

    I am not an Obama hater – there are things he has done that I agree with. I am not anti universal healthcare either – I think that our healthcare delivery system has serious problems and that universal coverage is an attainable goal without bankrupting the nation or trampling on religious liberties or conscience rights. But the HHS ruling is horrible (and apparently anti-Obama right-wing zealots such as E.J. Dionne, Michael Dean Winters, the Washington Post editorial page, the USA Today editorial page, Senators Bob Casey Jr., Joe Manchin, Ben Nelson, Bill Nelson and Joe Lieberman agree).

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Tom is quite right. Because, since ’73, the republicans have been sooo busy dismantling abortion……

    Once again the piper play, and children of Hamlin come marching out, all the way to the booths!

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Tom is quite right. Because, since ’73, the republicans have been sooo busy dismantling abortion……

    Once again the piper play, and children of Hamlin come marching out, all the way to the booths!

  • DonS

    Just to put things in perspective, the original regulations are in published, final form. Regardless of the substance of Obama’s proposal, which as presented actually seems completely non-substantive from the point of view of actually addressing the concerns of people of faith about being forced to provide free abortifacients and contraceptives, he has not explained how he is going to effect this change. Is he going to withdraw the existing regulations. I doubt it. If anything, he will propose amendments to them, which need to be published, go through a comment period, and then be re-published as final amended regulations. Until you see the actual amended regulations, you’ve got nothing but hot air.

    There is absolutely no reason why these kinds of benefits have to be free, in any event. Putting the issues of faith aside, given our low birth rates, and the lack of young people to support all of the free benefits we have voted for ourselves in our old age, we should be providing free birth coverage, not free contraceptive and abortion pill coverage.

  • DonS

    Just to put things in perspective, the original regulations are in published, final form. Regardless of the substance of Obama’s proposal, which as presented actually seems completely non-substantive from the point of view of actually addressing the concerns of people of faith about being forced to provide free abortifacients and contraceptives, he has not explained how he is going to effect this change. Is he going to withdraw the existing regulations. I doubt it. If anything, he will propose amendments to them, which need to be published, go through a comment period, and then be re-published as final amended regulations. Until you see the actual amended regulations, you’ve got nothing but hot air.

    There is absolutely no reason why these kinds of benefits have to be free, in any event. Putting the issues of faith aside, given our low birth rates, and the lack of young people to support all of the free benefits we have voted for ourselves in our old age, we should be providing free birth coverage, not free contraceptive and abortion pill coverage.

  • Rose

    “What insurance plans cover non-prescription medication?”
    None of course.
    Twenty years ago, insurance companies would not cover procedures that were “not medically necessary”. Then they slipped in ‘free’ abortion coverage unbeknownst to many employers like mine. It was cost effective to reduce dependents.
    When the QALY federal administrators start writing the coverage, many procedures that now are deemed medically necessary will probably be droppped. ‘Medically necessary’ is in the eye of the government. Krauthammer wrote a great article last week:
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/the-gospel-according-to-obama/2012/02/09/gIQAngvW2Q_story.html

  • Rose

    “What insurance plans cover non-prescription medication?”
    None of course.
    Twenty years ago, insurance companies would not cover procedures that were “not medically necessary”. Then they slipped in ‘free’ abortion coverage unbeknownst to many employers like mine. It was cost effective to reduce dependents.
    When the QALY federal administrators start writing the coverage, many procedures that now are deemed medically necessary will probably be droppped. ‘Medically necessary’ is in the eye of the government. Krauthammer wrote a great article last week:
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/the-gospel-according-to-obama/2012/02/09/gIQAngvW2Q_story.html

  • Rose

    Oops–I see you linked to the article in the next post.

  • Rose

    Oops–I see you linked to the article in the next post.

  • Tom Hering

    Klasie @ 27, you mean you, too, remember all the condemnations of the Bush administration’s compromises on abortion?

  • Tom Hering

    Klasie @ 27, you mean you, too, remember all the condemnations of the Bush administration’s compromises on abortion?

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Tom, yes, and the strong protests, and all the posts here, and… ;)

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Tom, yes, and the strong protests, and all the posts here, and… ;)

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    What could be healthier than having a baby? Why is birth control considered “health care”? We spend our best baby-making years trying to avoid having them at all cost, and then we spend again, fanatically on fertility when–surprise!–your body can no longer do so on its own.

    The sad thing is that our children are learning this creepy new “normal”. You really have to take time to teach your kids that this brave new world is not normal, natural, or healthy.

    Paul Krugman in the NYT actually caught on to the idea that working folks don’t have families because they can’t afford them. I would just add that employers can’t afford to raise wages because their insurance costs per employee have skyrocketed. I wish he had included a chart of wages and benefits instead of just wages. The payroll taxes are higher also.Employers are paying more per employee but employees are getting less in their check.

    http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/02/07/wages-and-values/

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    What could be healthier than having a baby? Why is birth control considered “health care”? We spend our best baby-making years trying to avoid having them at all cost, and then we spend again, fanatically on fertility when–surprise!–your body can no longer do so on its own.

    The sad thing is that our children are learning this creepy new “normal”. You really have to take time to teach your kids that this brave new world is not normal, natural, or healthy.

    Paul Krugman in the NYT actually caught on to the idea that working folks don’t have families because they can’t afford them. I would just add that employers can’t afford to raise wages because their insurance costs per employee have skyrocketed. I wish he had included a chart of wages and benefits instead of just wages. The payroll taxes are higher also.Employers are paying more per employee but employees are getting less in their check.

    http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/02/07/wages-and-values/

  • Tom Hering

    Klasie @ 32, and yet hopes continue to be pinned on the GOP’s platform and candidates’ promises. As if replacing Democrats with Republicans will result in any real changes in anything …

  • Tom Hering

    Klasie @ 32, and yet hopes continue to be pinned on the GOP’s platform and candidates’ promises. As if replacing Democrats with Republicans will result in any real changes in anything …

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    @34

    Vote Paul/Kucinich or Kucinich/Paul

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    @34

    Vote Paul/Kucinich or Kucinich/Paul

  • Truth Unites… and Divides

    Tom Hering, #23: “Actually, the agenda here is anti-Obama fanaticism. Clearly. What else to make of the charge that the administration is fanatically pro-abortion, when they’re actually pro-pharma industry and pro-insurance industry, with the exception of a few anti-pharma and anti-insurance bones thrown to their base in an election year?”

    Tom Hering, you really think Dr. Gene Veith’s agenda is to promote anti-Obama fanaticism?

  • Truth Unites… and Divides

    Tom Hering, #23: “Actually, the agenda here is anti-Obama fanaticism. Clearly. What else to make of the charge that the administration is fanatically pro-abortion, when they’re actually pro-pharma industry and pro-insurance industry, with the exception of a few anti-pharma and anti-insurance bones thrown to their base in an election year?”

    Tom Hering, you really think Dr. Gene Veith’s agenda is to promote anti-Obama fanaticism?

  • http://www.facebook.com/mesamike Mike Westfall

    I don’t think there ought be an exemption for religious organizations.
    Really, there ought to be no mandate at all. I don’t see how this can possibly pass Constitutional muster.

    The federal government has no business here.

  • http://www.facebook.com/mesamike Mike Westfall

    I don’t think there ought be an exemption for religious organizations.
    Really, there ought to be no mandate at all. I don’t see how this can possibly pass Constitutional muster.

    The federal government has no business here.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    sg – I have long had a lot of respect for Dennis Kucinich.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    sg – I have long had a lot of respect for Dennis Kucinich.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    The Obama administration seems to think that the Insurance company will gladly give out the contraceptives and abortificients because in the long run this lowers the cost to them. Yes, it is much cheaper to kill people than save them. and the health insurance companies have undoubtedly figured this out…. This is where it is leading, already off to a bad start.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    The Obama administration seems to think that the Insurance company will gladly give out the contraceptives and abortificients because in the long run this lowers the cost to them. Yes, it is much cheaper to kill people than save them. and the health insurance companies have undoubtedly figured this out…. This is where it is leading, already off to a bad start.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    And Tom,
    Staying out of a war, or refusing to fight in a war, just as often as not involves the killing of innocents too. so where as a conscript to the military, may inadvertently kill a few innocents, Something our military tries to avoid, it is just as equally true that staying out of the conflict is probably not going to save any innocents from being killed. In fact getting involved my just have the out come of saving them.
    However, offing abortatives, can have no other effect than killing innocents. No one is being saved in that scenario.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    And Tom,
    Staying out of a war, or refusing to fight in a war, just as often as not involves the killing of innocents too. so where as a conscript to the military, may inadvertently kill a few innocents, Something our military tries to avoid, it is just as equally true that staying out of the conflict is probably not going to save any innocents from being killed. In fact getting involved my just have the out come of saving them.
    However, offing abortatives, can have no other effect than killing innocents. No one is being saved in that scenario.

  • Steve Billingsley

    Tom and Klasie
    That’s a cop-out attitude. Saying the GOP hasn’t done much on abortion (not exactly true, but even if it was…) is not an excuse for a horrible policy by the current administration.
    Either the HHS mandate is a good idea or it isn’t. Which one is it? I have made my point of view pretty clear. Bagging on the Catholic church for supposed hypocrisy or a double-standard fits into the same box.

  • Steve Billingsley

    Tom and Klasie
    That’s a cop-out attitude. Saying the GOP hasn’t done much on abortion (not exactly true, but even if it was…) is not an excuse for a horrible policy by the current administration.
    Either the HHS mandate is a good idea or it isn’t. Which one is it? I have made my point of view pretty clear. Bagging on the Catholic church for supposed hypocrisy or a double-standard fits into the same box.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Steve – but then locate the blame where the blame is due (if it is wrong). I think Tom already did that. The GOP did bring in the partial-birth abortion ban in 2003. But other than that, I’m not aware of anything on the Federal level.

    But it is entirely tragic to watch that once every 4 years, the GOP spin doctors ring the abortion bells, and like Pavlov’s puppies certain kind of voters come poring into the polls. Then the bells get put away, and till the next election…..

    Of course, to be completely honest, Obama was using the same bell to jolt his own lacklustre supporters into action – because he has let the left and radical left down to a large degree so far.

    While it is of course good to be debating the legislation, one should never forget the big picture. And one should also never, ever react like an automaton at the dropping of keyphrases by a politician or their spin machines. That means one has quite literally taken leave of one’s senses, giving control of one’s rational facilities over to another.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Steve – but then locate the blame where the blame is due (if it is wrong). I think Tom already did that. The GOP did bring in the partial-birth abortion ban in 2003. But other than that, I’m not aware of anything on the Federal level.

    But it is entirely tragic to watch that once every 4 years, the GOP spin doctors ring the abortion bells, and like Pavlov’s puppies certain kind of voters come poring into the polls. Then the bells get put away, and till the next election…..

    Of course, to be completely honest, Obama was using the same bell to jolt his own lacklustre supporters into action – because he has let the left and radical left down to a large degree so far.

    While it is of course good to be debating the legislation, one should never forget the big picture. And one should also never, ever react like an automaton at the dropping of keyphrases by a politician or their spin machines. That means one has quite literally taken leave of one’s senses, giving control of one’s rational facilities over to another.

  • Steve Billingsley

    Klasie @ 42
    Politicians being cynical and manipulative – sure, I get that. But the issue here is not merely a bad policy or political gamesmanship. The HHS ruling touches on an issue that is more important than an election cycle or even a healthcare bill. When an administration (any administration, whatever the partisan affiliation) wanders into the area of First Amendment jurisprudence – whether it be establishment of religion or free exercise, free speech, free press or assembly – it touches some of the most basic issues of what the American experiment is about. It is not unprecedented (past administrations have spotty records on this as well), but it is important.
    As to locating the blame where it belongs, I believe I am. The Obama administration had no reason to do this. Elements within the administration (including former chief of staff Bill Daley and Vice-President Biden) advised against this. It is unnecessary from a cost or health coverage perspective (some of these drugs are already available over the counter and over $300M in Title X funds are already available to cover this for women who want these drugs but cannot afford them).
    The biggest picture here is not this election cycle. It is what the limits of government are in prohibiting the free exercise of religion and in compelling organizations to act against their conscience. That is much bigger than an election or a political party. And whether it is a Republican or a Democratic administration oversteps their bounds, they should be opposed.

  • Steve Billingsley

    Klasie @ 42
    Politicians being cynical and manipulative – sure, I get that. But the issue here is not merely a bad policy or political gamesmanship. The HHS ruling touches on an issue that is more important than an election cycle or even a healthcare bill. When an administration (any administration, whatever the partisan affiliation) wanders into the area of First Amendment jurisprudence – whether it be establishment of religion or free exercise, free speech, free press or assembly – it touches some of the most basic issues of what the American experiment is about. It is not unprecedented (past administrations have spotty records on this as well), but it is important.
    As to locating the blame where it belongs, I believe I am. The Obama administration had no reason to do this. Elements within the administration (including former chief of staff Bill Daley and Vice-President Biden) advised against this. It is unnecessary from a cost or health coverage perspective (some of these drugs are already available over the counter and over $300M in Title X funds are already available to cover this for women who want these drugs but cannot afford them).
    The biggest picture here is not this election cycle. It is what the limits of government are in prohibiting the free exercise of religion and in compelling organizations to act against their conscience. That is much bigger than an election or a political party. And whether it is a Republican or a Democratic administration oversteps their bounds, they should be opposed.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Steve – I do understand the argument. But answer this question – was there such a furore in the 28 states where this is already on the books?

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Steve – I do understand the argument. But answer this question – was there such a furore in the 28 states where this is already on the books?

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “The GOP did bring in the partial-birth abortion ban in 2003. But other than that, I’m not aware of anything on the Federal level.”

    They also passed the Born Alive Act.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “The GOP did bring in the partial-birth abortion ban in 2003. But other than that, I’m not aware of anything on the Federal level.”

    They also passed the Born Alive Act.

  • mikeb

    Mike Westfall @ 37

    +1

    Except I would remove ‘federal’ from your last sentence. State, county, city government have no business either. Nor the library district. Or the ambulance district. Or the road and bridge district. Or the local board of education, et. al.

  • mikeb

    Mike Westfall @ 37

    +1

    Except I would remove ‘federal’ from your last sentence. State, county, city government have no business either. Nor the library district. Or the ambulance district. Or the road and bridge district. Or the local board of education, et. al.

  • Cincinnatus

    KK and Tom:

    Not to mention the Mexico City Policy under Bush.

    While I’m essentially anti-G.O.P. at this point, the notion that Republicans haven’t done anything meaningful to prevent or prohibit abortion is a false, but oft-repeated, canard. At the federal level, we’ve already listed the non-trivial, concrete policies that have been taken. And, really, that’s about all that Congressional and Presidential Republicans can do.

    But the mechanics of abortion regulation have always remained at the state level, and here Republicans have had tremendous success. In a great number of states, it is much harder to obtain an abortion than it was two decades ago, and Republicans are in part directly responsible for this trend. Credit where credit is due.

    Anyway, you’re missing the point. Yes, I agree that typical insurance shouldn’t cover routine and optional drugs. But the point isn’t abortion or abortifacients, and it’s certainly not about which party has done the most to prevent either. The point is religious liberty. You don’t have to sympathize with the RCC’s position, nor does it help to point out that most Catholic women don’t follow the Church’s teaching on this point anyway. The point is that this Administration is unilaterally forcing a prominent religion to broach one of its fundamental tenets. This is a big deal. What’s next? The possibilities are endless. Maybe it no longer makes sense to allow the Amish to waive participation in federal insurance programs. Maybe the whole 501c thing is a burden on what are supposed to be generalized laws. You get the idea.

  • Cincinnatus

    KK and Tom:

    Not to mention the Mexico City Policy under Bush.

    While I’m essentially anti-G.O.P. at this point, the notion that Republicans haven’t done anything meaningful to prevent or prohibit abortion is a false, but oft-repeated, canard. At the federal level, we’ve already listed the non-trivial, concrete policies that have been taken. And, really, that’s about all that Congressional and Presidential Republicans can do.

    But the mechanics of abortion regulation have always remained at the state level, and here Republicans have had tremendous success. In a great number of states, it is much harder to obtain an abortion than it was two decades ago, and Republicans are in part directly responsible for this trend. Credit where credit is due.

    Anyway, you’re missing the point. Yes, I agree that typical insurance shouldn’t cover routine and optional drugs. But the point isn’t abortion or abortifacients, and it’s certainly not about which party has done the most to prevent either. The point is religious liberty. You don’t have to sympathize with the RCC’s position, nor does it help to point out that most Catholic women don’t follow the Church’s teaching on this point anyway. The point is that this Administration is unilaterally forcing a prominent religion to broach one of its fundamental tenets. This is a big deal. What’s next? The possibilities are endless. Maybe it no longer makes sense to allow the Amish to waive participation in federal insurance programs. Maybe the whole 501c thing is a burden on what are supposed to be generalized laws. You get the idea.

  • https://profiles.google.com/114761676313688657626#114761676313688657626/about P.C.

    Tom @14 “Conservatives don’t have the greatest track record when it comes to respecting a war resister’s freedom of conscience. And war involves the death of innocents at least as much as abortion does.”

    Bold statements with little meaning. Can we have some proof concerning conservatives not respecting a war resister’s freedom of conscience? How about some stats, Tom. Here’s one for you: 53 million abortions since 1973 and increasing every day. By the way, the death of innocents includes those children whom are killed in the womb by abortion. It’s a war out there alright.

  • https://profiles.google.com/114761676313688657626#114761676313688657626/about P.C.

    Tom @14 “Conservatives don’t have the greatest track record when it comes to respecting a war resister’s freedom of conscience. And war involves the death of innocents at least as much as abortion does.”

    Bold statements with little meaning. Can we have some proof concerning conservatives not respecting a war resister’s freedom of conscience? How about some stats, Tom. Here’s one for you: 53 million abortions since 1973 and increasing every day. By the way, the death of innocents includes those children whom are killed in the womb by abortion. It’s a war out there alright.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Cincinnatus – again, nobody is answering my question: What happened in the 28 states where a variation of this law is already in place? Because either those laws do not look anything like this law, and everybody out there is just lying about it (?), or people are upset because it is now the Feds, and more particularly Obama doing it, and not their own States? Barns doors and horses? I really do not follow! And I’m not being sarcastic here.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Cincinnatus – again, nobody is answering my question: What happened in the 28 states where a variation of this law is already in place? Because either those laws do not look anything like this law, and everybody out there is just lying about it (?), or people are upset because it is now the Feds, and more particularly Obama doing it, and not their own States? Barns doors and horses? I really do not follow! And I’m not being sarcastic here.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “nor does it help to point out that most Catholic women don’t follow the Church’s teaching on this point anyway.”

    It hasn’t really been established that Catholic women who attend Mass weekly are not following church teaching. The polls are for self identified Catholics, not Mass attending Catholics.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “nor does it help to point out that most Catholic women don’t follow the Church’s teaching on this point anyway.”

    It hasn’t really been established that Catholic women who attend Mass weekly are not following church teaching. The polls are for self identified Catholics, not Mass attending Catholics.

  • Cincinnatus

    Actually, KK@49, by my understanding, that’s a gigantic falsehood that’s being propagated. As it happens, out of those 28 states that allegedly have similar mandates in place, almost all of them have gigantic religious exemptions. Yes, 28 states have prescription coverage mandates that can include contraception (not all of them do, explicitly, as I understand), but almost all of them include the precise sort of religious exemption that Obama’s policy does not. Again, the media seem to be playing a bit loosely with the facts these days. It’s true that the idea of a mandate is not new, but the transgression of religious liberty sure is.

    I’m perfectly willing to be proven wrong here, but in the meantime, this seems like another valuable lesson teaching us not to regard rubes like Rachel Maddow (one of the original sources of that little canard, I think) as reliable sources for factual news coverage.

  • Cincinnatus

    Actually, KK@49, by my understanding, that’s a gigantic falsehood that’s being propagated. As it happens, out of those 28 states that allegedly have similar mandates in place, almost all of them have gigantic religious exemptions. Yes, 28 states have prescription coverage mandates that can include contraception (not all of them do, explicitly, as I understand), but almost all of them include the precise sort of religious exemption that Obama’s policy does not. Again, the media seem to be playing a bit loosely with the facts these days. It’s true that the idea of a mandate is not new, but the transgression of religious liberty sure is.

    I’m perfectly willing to be proven wrong here, but in the meantime, this seems like another valuable lesson teaching us not to regard rubes like Rachel Maddow (one of the original sources of that little canard, I think) as reliable sources for factual news coverage.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Cincinnatus@51 – point taken. But with the religious exemption announced last week, what according to you are still problematic issues?

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Cincinnatus@51 – point taken. But with the religious exemption announced last week, what according to you are still problematic issues?

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    ” But answer this question – was there such a furore in the 28 states where this is already on the books?”

    If the residents of a state are going to impose that on themselves, then why would they also complain of it? I will just guess that it is worded that there are the usual exemptions, and employers don’t also have a mandate from the state to offer insurance. So, it seems like it is pretty well different from the situation brought about by the new Health Care Act that both mandates coverage and its provisions. As it has worked out, the states in the United States are actually pretty different and it works out better if they just do their own thing on many issues. It is nice because folks who don’t like Texas or California or Mississippi or New York can move easily and not have to leave their country to follow their dreams, etc.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    ” But answer this question – was there such a furore in the 28 states where this is already on the books?”

    If the residents of a state are going to impose that on themselves, then why would they also complain of it? I will just guess that it is worded that there are the usual exemptions, and employers don’t also have a mandate from the state to offer insurance. So, it seems like it is pretty well different from the situation brought about by the new Health Care Act that both mandates coverage and its provisions. As it has worked out, the states in the United States are actually pretty different and it works out better if they just do their own thing on many issues. It is nice because folks who don’t like Texas or California or Mississippi or New York can move easily and not have to leave their country to follow their dreams, etc.

  • Cincinnatus

    KK@52: Because it’s a semantic shell-game. Telling someone they’re not paying for contraception when they actually are doesn’t make it so. I’m not even sure this new policy is better than the previous proposal, simply because it’s such an assault on our intelligence. Nay, it’s outright deception. At least the violation was explicit before.

    Literally nothing has changed. The only difference is that Catholic organizations get to say that they don’t cover contraception. But they actually have to cover it anyway, because they’re paying for policies that provide it upon request.

    I think there are many possible analogies that would be more problematic. What if, for instance, an Administration decided that the Amish should no longer be permitted to exempt themselves from Social Security? Obviously, the Amish protest this gross violation of their religious liberty. In response, said Administration offers to maintain the exemption, but to raise Amish FICA taxes by the exact amount they would owe in Social Security withholdings. Oh, and individual Amish could choose to receive Social Security benefits if they wanted them. In my opinion, that’s what’s happening here, and I don’t like it.

  • Cincinnatus

    KK@52: Because it’s a semantic shell-game. Telling someone they’re not paying for contraception when they actually are doesn’t make it so. I’m not even sure this new policy is better than the previous proposal, simply because it’s such an assault on our intelligence. Nay, it’s outright deception. At least the violation was explicit before.

    Literally nothing has changed. The only difference is that Catholic organizations get to say that they don’t cover contraception. But they actually have to cover it anyway, because they’re paying for policies that provide it upon request.

    I think there are many possible analogies that would be more problematic. What if, for instance, an Administration decided that the Amish should no longer be permitted to exempt themselves from Social Security? Obviously, the Amish protest this gross violation of their religious liberty. In response, said Administration offers to maintain the exemption, but to raise Amish FICA taxes by the exact amount they would owe in Social Security withholdings. Oh, and individual Amish could choose to receive Social Security benefits if they wanted them. In my opinion, that’s what’s happening here, and I don’t like it.

  • rlewer

    Strangely, the committee that Obama appointed to study what should be included in free “preventive care” consisted of a majority of people from Planned Parenthood and Obama cited this committee in justifying his decision.

    Typical Chicago politics and Obama messing with the truth.

  • rlewer

    Strangely, the committee that Obama appointed to study what should be included in free “preventive care” consisted of a majority of people from Planned Parenthood and Obama cited this committee in justifying his decision.

    Typical Chicago politics and Obama messing with the truth.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    A question for DonS. I think you are in California. In my limited knowledge, I have found it strange that Californians come up with and pass ballot initiatives that are fairly conservative. Yet their legislature is way left. So, I wonder whether the districts out there are drawn so that a democratic district is 55% democrat and a republican district is 90% republican. Basically, they dilute the strength of the opposition. Is this the case or am I way off?

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    A question for DonS. I think you are in California. In my limited knowledge, I have found it strange that Californians come up with and pass ballot initiatives that are fairly conservative. Yet their legislature is way left. So, I wonder whether the districts out there are drawn so that a democratic district is 55% democrat and a republican district is 90% republican. Basically, they dilute the strength of the opposition. Is this the case or am I way off?

  • Tom Hering

    Bror @ 39, a creepy thought, to be sure.

    Bror @ 40, the major, decade-long war we just ended was entirely a war of our own making. And it resulted in the deaths of 100,000+ innocents. And we were all required to fund those deaths.

    Steve @ 41, both Klasie and I have stated in the past we think the HHS mandate is wrong. My concern is that we Christians make our case with a bit less screeching. We like to think of ourselves as the group that holds the moral high ground in this world, but the world doesn’t see us that way. We have some history, you know? Certainly the Roman branch of Christianity does.

    Cincinnatus @ 47, sure, some Republicans can lay claim to pro-life accomplishments. So can some Democrats. But how is compromise on abortion (Republicans in general) morally superior to open support of abortion as a legal choice (Democrats in general)? I don’t get it.

    P.C. @ 48, stats shmats. Are you saying conservatives have a long history of supporting the choice resisters make when there’s a war on? Am I living in an alternate universe? (Leaving myself wide open there. :-D )

  • Tom Hering

    Bror @ 39, a creepy thought, to be sure.

    Bror @ 40, the major, decade-long war we just ended was entirely a war of our own making. And it resulted in the deaths of 100,000+ innocents. And we were all required to fund those deaths.

    Steve @ 41, both Klasie and I have stated in the past we think the HHS mandate is wrong. My concern is that we Christians make our case with a bit less screeching. We like to think of ourselves as the group that holds the moral high ground in this world, but the world doesn’t see us that way. We have some history, you know? Certainly the Roman branch of Christianity does.

    Cincinnatus @ 47, sure, some Republicans can lay claim to pro-life accomplishments. So can some Democrats. But how is compromise on abortion (Republicans in general) morally superior to open support of abortion as a legal choice (Democrats in general)? I don’t get it.

    P.C. @ 48, stats shmats. Are you saying conservatives have a long history of supporting the choice resisters make when there’s a war on? Am I living in an alternate universe? (Leaving myself wide open there. :-D )

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Now you’ve done it Tom. Beware – some might already be collecting the wood for the stake.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Now you’ve done it Tom. Beware – some might already be collecting the wood for the stake.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    Tom,
    I’m not sure to which war you are referring.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    Tom,
    I’m not sure to which war you are referring.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Bror – I think he was referring to Iraq.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Bror – I think he was referring to Iraq.

  • Cincinnatus

    Tom@57:

    My, my. I have to say, Tom, that I generally love your reflections on topics of more spiritual or theological interest, even if I don’t always agree. But your political provocations are often disappointing, today being no exception. It seems you are a rather defensive Democrat: disappointed with your own party, but determined to prove that Republicans are certainly no better on any question.

    First, I’d be interested in what pro-life accomplishments to which any Democrats can legitimately lay claim. I’m not saying that none exist–though I can’t think of any–but, since Roe v. Wade was accepted as valid law (mid to late 1970s), the Democratic party has been careful to ensure that it is, without doubt or question, the pro-abortion party. Period. No exceptions. Abortion has been a litmus test for the Democratic party in a way that it has never been for Republicans (except, perhaps for a brief period during the height of the “culture wars”). This, of course, is why I am so baffled by the large number of Roman Catholics and other groups who claim to prioritize “life issues” adamantly support the Democratic Party. It’s been truly amusing to watch E. J. Dionne and other liberal organs dare to critique Obama, truly shocked, SHOCKED that the Democratic Party has taken an action that violates Catholic moral sensibilities. Meanwhile, I can think of lots of concrete Republican accomplishments in this domain: mandatory ultrasounds, partial-birth abortion bans, parental-consent requirements, stringent clinic requirements, etc.

    Think about the question you’re asking vis-a-vis compromise vs. open support. Consider first that all politics involves compromise. Thus, what you’re really asking is this: “How is incremental progress on pro-life issues [Republicans in general] morally superior to open support of abortion as a legal choice [Democrats in general]?” Do you really still fail to “get it”? Look, I’m not a Republican cheerleader, and I’m not arguing that they’re “better” than the Democrats on other issues. But you have to be flat-out ignorant of American politics to claim unironically that Republicans aren’t, in a general sense, more “pro-life” in practice (not just rhetoric) than Democrats.

    In other news, I don’t understand your conscientious objector/conscription argument. The Republican Party hasn’t supported conscription since the Civil War (thanks, Lincoln!), and in recent years has voted against any proposals to reinstate the draft. I don’t know which party “supports” or “opposes” conscientious objectors, but Jehovah’s Witnesses and others are permitted to refuse conscription on religious grounds. Not that the discussion of conscription is in any way relevant to abortion.

  • Cincinnatus

    Tom@57:

    My, my. I have to say, Tom, that I generally love your reflections on topics of more spiritual or theological interest, even if I don’t always agree. But your political provocations are often disappointing, today being no exception. It seems you are a rather defensive Democrat: disappointed with your own party, but determined to prove that Republicans are certainly no better on any question.

    First, I’d be interested in what pro-life accomplishments to which any Democrats can legitimately lay claim. I’m not saying that none exist–though I can’t think of any–but, since Roe v. Wade was accepted as valid law (mid to late 1970s), the Democratic party has been careful to ensure that it is, without doubt or question, the pro-abortion party. Period. No exceptions. Abortion has been a litmus test for the Democratic party in a way that it has never been for Republicans (except, perhaps for a brief period during the height of the “culture wars”). This, of course, is why I am so baffled by the large number of Roman Catholics and other groups who claim to prioritize “life issues” adamantly support the Democratic Party. It’s been truly amusing to watch E. J. Dionne and other liberal organs dare to critique Obama, truly shocked, SHOCKED that the Democratic Party has taken an action that violates Catholic moral sensibilities. Meanwhile, I can think of lots of concrete Republican accomplishments in this domain: mandatory ultrasounds, partial-birth abortion bans, parental-consent requirements, stringent clinic requirements, etc.

    Think about the question you’re asking vis-a-vis compromise vs. open support. Consider first that all politics involves compromise. Thus, what you’re really asking is this: “How is incremental progress on pro-life issues [Republicans in general] morally superior to open support of abortion as a legal choice [Democrats in general]?” Do you really still fail to “get it”? Look, I’m not a Republican cheerleader, and I’m not arguing that they’re “better” than the Democrats on other issues. But you have to be flat-out ignorant of American politics to claim unironically that Republicans aren’t, in a general sense, more “pro-life” in practice (not just rhetoric) than Democrats.

    In other news, I don’t understand your conscientious objector/conscription argument. The Republican Party hasn’t supported conscription since the Civil War (thanks, Lincoln!), and in recent years has voted against any proposals to reinstate the draft. I don’t know which party “supports” or “opposes” conscientious objectors, but Jehovah’s Witnesses and others are permitted to refuse conscription on religious grounds. Not that the discussion of conscription is in any way relevant to abortion.

  • Steve Billingsley

    Cincinnatus @ 61
    Agreed on basically every point.

    Tom @ 57
    I am not sure how arguing a position on the comments selection of a blog post qualifies as screeching. I am not aware of any name-calling or bad faith arguments that I am making. I just think it is pretty clearly a bad policy for lots of reasons and am frankly baffled as to why the Obama administration would do this. The only reason that even makes some sense is abortion extremism. Nothing else even begins to make sense.

  • Steve Billingsley

    Cincinnatus @ 61
    Agreed on basically every point.

    Tom @ 57
    I am not sure how arguing a position on the comments selection of a blog post qualifies as screeching. I am not aware of any name-calling or bad faith arguments that I am making. I just think it is pretty clearly a bad policy for lots of reasons and am frankly baffled as to why the Obama administration would do this. The only reason that even makes some sense is abortion extremism. Nothing else even begins to make sense.

  • mendicus

    Tom: You seem to think you’re bringing much-needed clarity here, but in truth it’s just obfuscation. You’re the one dragging party politics into this. You’re the one who cares about the moral equivalency of Dems and Repubs. You’re the one distracting the conversation with issues of whether past behaviors have comported with current outcries, etc., etc. None of that really matters. On the table right now is a major statist invasion into individual liberty, the consequences of which are visited most acutely upon the most vulnerable among us–the unborn. The government is trying to force Christians to participate in murder–in genocide, really. That’s the issue, and I’m interested to know what you think of that issue.

  • mendicus

    Tom: You seem to think you’re bringing much-needed clarity here, but in truth it’s just obfuscation. You’re the one dragging party politics into this. You’re the one who cares about the moral equivalency of Dems and Repubs. You’re the one distracting the conversation with issues of whether past behaviors have comported with current outcries, etc., etc. None of that really matters. On the table right now is a major statist invasion into individual liberty, the consequences of which are visited most acutely upon the most vulnerable among us–the unborn. The government is trying to force Christians to participate in murder–in genocide, really. That’s the issue, and I’m interested to know what you think of that issue.

  • rey

    Abortion pills are not healthcare. Not only should the gobment not force insurance companies to cover this crap for free, but the gobment should outright outlaw insurance companies covering abortion pills at all or covering v*gra or c*lis or any similar ‘entertainment’ drug that facilitates illicit entertainment before or after. And damn all the faith-onlist Lutheran/Calvinist scum who says “blah, the culture wars are for Pelagians.”

  • rey

    Abortion pills are not healthcare. Not only should the gobment not force insurance companies to cover this crap for free, but the gobment should outright outlaw insurance companies covering abortion pills at all or covering v*gra or c*lis or any similar ‘entertainment’ drug that facilitates illicit entertainment before or after. And damn all the faith-onlist Lutheran/Calvinist scum who says “blah, the culture wars are for Pelagians.”

  • –helen

    A committee of Planned Parenthood members devised this “Healthcare law” and Obama supports it.

    A committee largely composed of homosexuals and Planned Parenthood advocates wrote the original “sex education” programs for our public schools. Too many people weren’t paying attention and so we have arrived at a point where the rights of homosexuals and the profits of abortionists are more important than anybody’s religious values. Our children in public schools are being indoctrinated in those ideas from kindergarten (Heather’s Two Mommies”) onward, which accounts for the “increasing acceptance of gay marriage” and the hordes in the WashPost’s opinion columns who are vitrolic against any religion that interferes with their “rights”.
    Religion is going to face increasingly rough times where it counters the “popular” edicts.

  • –helen

    A committee of Planned Parenthood members devised this “Healthcare law” and Obama supports it.

    A committee largely composed of homosexuals and Planned Parenthood advocates wrote the original “sex education” programs for our public schools. Too many people weren’t paying attention and so we have arrived at a point where the rights of homosexuals and the profits of abortionists are more important than anybody’s religious values. Our children in public schools are being indoctrinated in those ideas from kindergarten (Heather’s Two Mommies”) onward, which accounts for the “increasing acceptance of gay marriage” and the hordes in the WashPost’s opinion columns who are vitrolic against any religion that interferes with their “rights”.
    Religion is going to face increasingly rough times where it counters the “popular” edicts.

  • rey

    And yes, medicare already covers v*gra if you didn’t know that. In fact, sex offenders can still get it through medicare after being convicted.

  • rey

    And yes, medicare already covers v*gra if you didn’t know that. In fact, sex offenders can still get it through medicare after being convicted.

  • http://www.facebook.com/mesamike Mike Westfall

    Before Obama’s “compromise:” Religious organization pays for employee’s health care coverage, Health Care company provides the contraceptives to the employee.

    After Obama’s “compromise:” Religious organization pays for employee’s health care coverage, Health Care company provides the contraceptives to the employee.

  • http://www.facebook.com/mesamike Mike Westfall

    Before Obama’s “compromise:” Religious organization pays for employee’s health care coverage, Health Care company provides the contraceptives to the employee.

    After Obama’s “compromise:” Religious organization pays for employee’s health care coverage, Health Care company provides the contraceptives to the employee.

  • rey

    And as for Planned Parenthood..what, stealing money from Susan G Komen isn’t enough, now they have to steal everyone’s money?

  • rey

    And as for Planned Parenthood..what, stealing money from Susan G Komen isn’t enough, now they have to steal everyone’s money?

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    Well, rey, I mean I figure there are married men who use v@gra to be intimate with their wives. Still not sure that it is medicares place to fund the activity, but i suppose a case could be made.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    Well, rey, I mean I figure there are married men who use v@gra to be intimate with their wives. Still not sure that it is medicares place to fund the activity, but i suppose a case could be made.

  • Truth Unites… and Divides

    Rey, #64: And damn all the faith-onlist Lutheran/Calvinist scum who says “blah, the culture wars are for Pelagians.”

    Are there Lutherans and Calvinist commenters on Cranach who are dismissive of so-called “culture wars”?

  • Truth Unites… and Divides

    Rey, #64: And damn all the faith-onlist Lutheran/Calvinist scum who says “blah, the culture wars are for Pelagians.”

    Are there Lutherans and Calvinist commenters on Cranach who are dismissive of so-called “culture wars”?

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    Klasie,
    Let Tom speak. I could guess Iraq too. But I want Tom to say it if that is the one he is thinking of. Quite frankly I don’t though much care which war he chooses. I think his logic stinks on this issue. Of course it is the same sort of incoherent psychobabble you get from Rome these days. They used to have theologians that could at least make sense, men like Augustine, and even Aquinas. These days you read their junk and you want to pound your head against a brick wall. Vatican II lost the culture war….

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    Klasie,
    Let Tom speak. I could guess Iraq too. But I want Tom to say it if that is the one he is thinking of. Quite frankly I don’t though much care which war he chooses. I think his logic stinks on this issue. Of course it is the same sort of incoherent psychobabble you get from Rome these days. They used to have theologians that could at least make sense, men like Augustine, and even Aquinas. These days you read their junk and you want to pound your head against a brick wall. Vatican II lost the culture war….

  • Michael B.

    b@18
    “Would you support the government forcing vegan organizations to pay for meat for the lunches of their employees?”

    –Let’s just use the example of health care. How would we feel about vegan organizations about not having to have health care for their employees because the insurance companies pay for drugs that have been tested on animals? Can every company just make up its own excuse?

    @Jon@25 // @Booklover@9
    “What could be healthier than having a baby?”
    “PREGNANCY IS NOT AN ILLNESS!!!!”

    –In many cases pregnancy can be worse than an illness. Ask yourself the question, which would you consider worse news: your 15-year old daughter has the flu, or she is pregnant. If we can work to prevent the flu, we can work to prevent pregnancy as well.

    @Klasie @27 // @Cincinnatus
    “Because, since ’73, the republicans have been sooo busy dismantling abortion……Once again the piper play, and children of Hamlin come marching out, all the way to the booths!

    –Klasie is rightfully a bit confused about how pro-lifers can continue to support the Republicans. You have to imagine the American pro-life leaders as a baseball team of 90-year olds at a nursing home…no one is really held to any standards, and every one is congratulated for just showing up. This kind of attitude results in people like Cincinnatus (and most pro-lifers) thinking Republicans have done a good job. Cincinnatus talks about it being hard to get an abortion, when in fact you can go into any Walmart and get an morning-after pill. An abortion is literally something you can do in your car. (On a side note, this attitude is completely opposite to what you find in American youth sports — kids performance is measured, bad perforers are removed, and a very-high emphasis is placed on winning.)

  • Michael B.

    b@18
    “Would you support the government forcing vegan organizations to pay for meat for the lunches of their employees?”

    –Let’s just use the example of health care. How would we feel about vegan organizations about not having to have health care for their employees because the insurance companies pay for drugs that have been tested on animals? Can every company just make up its own excuse?

    @Jon@25 // @Booklover@9
    “What could be healthier than having a baby?”
    “PREGNANCY IS NOT AN ILLNESS!!!!”

    –In many cases pregnancy can be worse than an illness. Ask yourself the question, which would you consider worse news: your 15-year old daughter has the flu, or she is pregnant. If we can work to prevent the flu, we can work to prevent pregnancy as well.

    @Klasie @27 // @Cincinnatus
    “Because, since ’73, the republicans have been sooo busy dismantling abortion……Once again the piper play, and children of Hamlin come marching out, all the way to the booths!

    –Klasie is rightfully a bit confused about how pro-lifers can continue to support the Republicans. You have to imagine the American pro-life leaders as a baseball team of 90-year olds at a nursing home…no one is really held to any standards, and every one is congratulated for just showing up. This kind of attitude results in people like Cincinnatus (and most pro-lifers) thinking Republicans have done a good job. Cincinnatus talks about it being hard to get an abortion, when in fact you can go into any Walmart and get an morning-after pill. An abortion is literally something you can do in your car. (On a side note, this attitude is completely opposite to what you find in American youth sports — kids performance is measured, bad perforers are removed, and a very-high emphasis is placed on winning.)

  • http://steadfastlutherans.org/ SAL

    “–In many cases pregnancy can be worse than an illness.”

    You were once a pregnancy. Are you worse than a disease, Michael?

    So let’s just count up the far left positions expressed here:

    1st Amendment- Allows too much freedom
    Human Life in the Womb- Worse than a disease

    I wonder when we’re going to get to the point where those on the far-left promote the outlawing of religious views they disagree with, a strict policy of mandatory abortions, and the revocation of freedom of speech and freedom of the press. It appears the fringes of the left are fast approaching the sort of social policies familiar to Stalin or Mao. How soon before those totalitarian views are mainstream I wonder?

  • http://steadfastlutherans.org/ SAL

    “–In many cases pregnancy can be worse than an illness.”

    You were once a pregnancy. Are you worse than a disease, Michael?

    So let’s just count up the far left positions expressed here:

    1st Amendment- Allows too much freedom
    Human Life in the Womb- Worse than a disease

    I wonder when we’re going to get to the point where those on the far-left promote the outlawing of religious views they disagree with, a strict policy of mandatory abortions, and the revocation of freedom of speech and freedom of the press. It appears the fringes of the left are fast approaching the sort of social policies familiar to Stalin or Mao. How soon before those totalitarian views are mainstream I wonder?

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    This thread deteriorated very quickly, despite my efforts at 11. So, let’s sum up:

    1. There is a fear of government interfering with the basic Constitutional Right of Religious Freedom. The doubt/skepticism persists even in the light of Obama’s concessions late last week. In answer to my previous question, I was told that the similar laws in the states have different types of exceptions. A summary of the situation in the States would be enlightening though.
    2. Different question: If a Church (say) has an employee that wants to have an abortion, or need/want a regular supply of Morning After pills, isn’t refusing to pay for it too little, too late?
    3. The GOP will save us from abortion card: doesn’t play. Pied Piper and all that.

    Here are my comments: The religious freedom is potentially the most explosive, but one court case can deal with it.

    Regarding my second observation, it would appear (and I know this is not the case everywhere, or for everybody) that it is much easier fighting the symptom than the causes. Who has the most abortions? What is leading them to have them? More importantly, what can be done about it? Yes, and I think these questions might take many into uncomfortable terrain. Because there is no way you can try and do something about them, and hang onto pseudo-libertarianism at the same time. Or build really, really big prisons. Or lots of electric chairs.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    This thread deteriorated very quickly, despite my efforts at 11. So, let’s sum up:

    1. There is a fear of government interfering with the basic Constitutional Right of Religious Freedom. The doubt/skepticism persists even in the light of Obama’s concessions late last week. In answer to my previous question, I was told that the similar laws in the states have different types of exceptions. A summary of the situation in the States would be enlightening though.
    2. Different question: If a Church (say) has an employee that wants to have an abortion, or need/want a regular supply of Morning After pills, isn’t refusing to pay for it too little, too late?
    3. The GOP will save us from abortion card: doesn’t play. Pied Piper and all that.

    Here are my comments: The religious freedom is potentially the most explosive, but one court case can deal with it.

    Regarding my second observation, it would appear (and I know this is not the case everywhere, or for everybody) that it is much easier fighting the symptom than the causes. Who has the most abortions? What is leading them to have them? More importantly, what can be done about it? Yes, and I think these questions might take many into uncomfortable terrain. Because there is no way you can try and do something about them, and hang onto pseudo-libertarianism at the same time. Or build really, really big prisons. Or lots of electric chairs.

  • mikeb

    Klasie @ 74

    Re: Your bullet point #2

    I’m sure the Obama administration would argue, Hosanna-Tabor not withstanding, that a church would be wrong in dismissing such a minister as being both employment and health discrimination.

    -

    Now, more seriously to the second part of your comment:

    Are you saying that in order to resolve our issues with the social issues (abortion, gay marriage, moral decay, &etc.) that we need to drop the pretense of celebrating individual freedom and liberty and move to a more conservative, more rigid, way of life–that those virtues we say we value most are incompatible with the full measure of Liberty we also claim to value? That’s an interesting proposition, if indeed that is what you are saying. Would the renewed emphasis on social mores be enforced by the State, the Church, or other social institutions including families?

    Might be easier (not to mention cheaper) to just build the electric chairs.

  • mikeb

    Klasie @ 74

    Re: Your bullet point #2

    I’m sure the Obama administration would argue, Hosanna-Tabor not withstanding, that a church would be wrong in dismissing such a minister as being both employment and health discrimination.

    -

    Now, more seriously to the second part of your comment:

    Are you saying that in order to resolve our issues with the social issues (abortion, gay marriage, moral decay, &etc.) that we need to drop the pretense of celebrating individual freedom and liberty and move to a more conservative, more rigid, way of life–that those virtues we say we value most are incompatible with the full measure of Liberty we also claim to value? That’s an interesting proposition, if indeed that is what you are saying. Would the renewed emphasis on social mores be enforced by the State, the Church, or other social institutions including families?

    Might be easier (not to mention cheaper) to just build the electric chairs.

  • rey

    @Truth Unites… and Divides, “Are there Lutherans and Calvinist commenters on Cranach who are dismissive of so-called ‘culture wars’?”

    Yes. Klasie Kraalogies specifically said the culture wars are only for Pelagians.

  • rey

    @Truth Unites… and Divides, “Are there Lutherans and Calvinist commenters on Cranach who are dismissive of so-called ‘culture wars’?”

    Yes. Klasie Kraalogies specifically said the culture wars are only for Pelagians.


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