WH never “botched” contraception question

I have my own thoughts about last Friday’s “accomodation” by the White House and the HHS, but I am saving those for my First Things column, tomorrow, so here is what has developed over the weekend on that front:

Law Prof William Jacobson remembers the “odd” debate question:

Remember when George Stephanopoulos, at the New Hampshire Republican debate on January 7, brought up and harped on whether the candidates thought states could ban contraception?

Everyone, at least on our side of the aisle, shook their heads in disbelief as to why Stephanopoulos was bringing up the issue. There was no active controversy over contraception, it wasn’t in the news, and there were far more pressing political issues, yet what seemed like an eternity of debate time was devoted to the subject at the insistence of Stephanopoulos.

Read it all; watch the videos.

Oh, and in case you have not heard, over the weekend Catholic Charities has walked back its initial approval of the Obama “accommodation” which the press insists on calling a “compromise” and the administration calls a “negotiation”, as in “we are done negotiating with the Catholics”.

Which leads one to ask, “negotiating? When did you negotiate?”

Kind of like that moment in Friends, when a terminally dishonest Rachel says to Ross, “I’m over you!” and a stunned Ross asks, “you’re over me? When…when were you under me?”

Ace: Explaning the Shell Game

Francis Beckwith: The Right not to do Wrong and the Politics of the Ruse

Rod Dreher with a MUST-READ: Quoting a “liberal Catholic” friend (you know, one of the “good” ones to the bigots) who has seen enough of the administration:

I do not see how anyone serious trusts him now. What can be done by executive fiat can be undone by executive fiat.

Read it all: Democrats to Catholics: We Don’t Want You!

WSJ: The “Accommodation” Makes it Worse

Kathryn Lopez applauds Obama for the clarification he has brought. She’s not the first to say it, but she brings it up to date!

Boxer’s bad stats

Phil Lawler: Analysis of the “accomodation” and the Bishops second repsonse

Archbishop Chaput calls the “accommodation” — hey, it’s the first word the White House used — “insulting and dangerous

Today is a busy day of writing for me, but check back — I’ll add more links as I find them.

HHS Mandate and the Cloud of Witnesses

About Elizabeth Scalia
  • kelleyb

    President Obama never negotiates. He says he is done negotiating with the Catholics. This reminds me how he has never negotiated with the GOP or any one who disagrees with his policies. I only hear him say: ” My way or the highway.” The lie is always simple, repeatable and detestable.
    Oh, Elizabeth, I apologize for using the liberal label on our brother and sister Catholics who support the mandate and the Presidents agenda. I was very angry. I should not comment when I am so angry. I offer my apologies for doing it.

  • Elizabeth Scalia

    Unfortunately, Kelleyb, these are the limitations of our language. I hate having to make these insipid distinctions between “liberal” and “conservative” — it’s very divisive. But I am not sure, myself, how to avoid it. So I at least use parenthesis and acknowledge that the labels suck.

  • Branford

    The link to the Catholic Charities statement is their same initial statement of semi-approval. I see no walk-back from that statement when I go to their website, so are you sure they’ve taken back their initial approval? Is there a better source?

  • LisaB

    Besides practicing his second favorite sport – attacking the Catholic church, Obama just made the 2012 election about sex. Those miserly, old-fogey Republicans want to keep you from having FREE sex, sex, sex. Obama, needed to rally his base and apparently his stint as a Navy SEAL wasn’t enough to overcome his failings on the… economy, unemployment, student debt crisis, no budget in three years, mid-term election shellacking, Obamacare, Solyndra, Fast & Furious, Keystone Pipeline, BP oil spill, drone attacks, Gitmo, Libya/Syria/Iran/Iraq/Afghanistan war…

  • CV

    I hope that K-Lo is right, that this will in fact prove to be a significant election issue.

    I worry, though, that the bishops’ second, more forceful statement was completed diluted by their initial “muted” statement. I would have preferred that they waited a bit longer to respond, and came out a proper blast of the “accommodation.” The above-the-fold headline in my local MSM daily the day after was “bishops cautiously welcome” the “compromise.”

    This obviously played out exactly as the WH planned, complete with prepared statements from the ever-so-accommodating Sister Carol et al. As far as the great Catholic middle and everyone who tuned in is concerned, it was a minor problem that is now “solved.”

  • Indy

    Have you read this post at NRO?

    “The bottom line is this: “Accordingly, the amendment to the interim final rule with comment period amending 45 CFR 147.130(a)(1)(iv) which was published in the Federal Register at 76 FR 46621-46626 on August 3, 2011, is adopted as a final rule without change.” [Emphasis added.]

    Translation: The Obama administration Friday afternoon put into federal law the very regulation that drew objections from almost 200 Catholic bishops, some 50 religiously affiliated colleges and universities, 65 North American bishops of Orthodox churches, numerous other Jewish, Evangelical and Lutheran leaders, and even some liberals — and without changing so much as a comma.

    From this point forward, any changes to this regulation have to go through the formal regulatory process all over again.

    The administration admits as much in the preamble to these regulations when it states that Treasury, Labor, and HHS “plan to initiate a rulemaking to require issuers to offer insurance without contraception coverage to such an employer (or plan sponsor) and simultaneously to offer contraceptive coverage directly to the employer’s plan participants (and their beneficiaries) who desire it, with no cost-sharing. Under this approach, the Departments will also require that, in this circumstance, there be no charge for the contraceptive coverage.”

    Thus, instead of delaying final regulations until they could be revised to reflect the prospective changes President Obama outlined Friday, the administration went ahead and locked into regulation its original position, accompanied by a (non-binding) promise to revisit the issue.”


    [Linked to it last week. Please take a moment to read the stuff I've posted before filling my comboxes with excerpts from things I've already made available, thanks! -admin]

  • doc

    I disagree, Anchoress. Distinctions between liberal and conservative, between Democrat and Republican are vital and should be brightly drawn. It serves the purpose of the Left to blur or deny the distinctions. Those who claim that there are no real differences between Republicans and Democrats on the issue of Life and traditional marriage are simply wrong, and in some cases, deliberately deceptive. Just look at the party platforms. Look at the legislative proposals from each side. Look at the people who kill legislation which seeks to rein in abortion. They are called Democrats. We need less of them until they learn that this stance will cost them.

  • Margaret

    doc– the danger in throwing around the liberal vs. conservative labels is that many people automatically translate that into Democratic vs. Republican. The teachings of the Catholic Church are not coterminous with the Republican Party. While we have no shortage of people in this country who are Democrats first, then Catholic, the exact same thing is unfortunately true on the other side of the aisle as well.

  • Elaine

    When Obama first ran for office I remember the nurse who broke the story on the babies who were born alive and left to die in the Chicago hospital. Obama voted against the legislation to prevent this “babies born alive act” and I just could not get that out of my head. I felt that he was so ideologically driven that he could not even put abortion aside and save a live baby. From that moment on I knew we were headed for trouble. I know Archbishop Dolan is a fine man but knowing even this one fact about Obama should give us all angst and distrust that he will ever support our religious rights and freedoms. Archbishop Dolan is ever the diplomat still hoping that Obama made a mistake when sadly the sacrament of abortion seems to be in his heart. We can pray Obama will have a change of heart but I am inclined to like Archbishop Chaput’s straight and forward words. I wish Dolan would say the same thing in his own style.

  • http://evilbloggerlady.blogspot.com/ EBL

    George Stephanopoulos: I serve at the pleasure of the President of the United States…

    Fine if you a a partisan member of the president’s staff (you should be loyal and on message), rather creepy when you are an ABC reporter moderating a GOP debate. Boy, that was only a month ago. It seems like ancient history. Bill Jacobson is right about this, this was not a coincidence. ABC and the White House are working actively together.

  • Margaret

    @OR– I know too many people (Catholics) who take their their talking points and moral guidance primarily from Fox News. They applaud the bishops when they speak out on abortion, but stick their fingers in their ears, saying, “Lalalalala! Can’t hear you!” if they touch on an issue like immigration. We need to be Catholics first. Yes, I understand that the Republicans are the only game in town when it comes to sanctity of life issues and marriage. Got that. Know that. But that doesn’t mean we as Catholics are obliged to say, “Yes, Massa” to every Republican diktat or support every Republican candidate.

    [Yes, I know. I once lost about 2,000 readers because I argued against the GOP during the height of that issue. Worth it. For the record, I'm not a Republican, and I don't "fall in line" with anyone's dictat. -admin]

  • doc

    I’ll second that Occam. Margaret, do you honestly think that if Republicans were to suddenly support abortion the way Democrats do, that conservative Catholics would continue to vote Republican? I know not one single Catholic who would fit this description.

  • CV

    After three decades as a registered Dem (raised in a long line of working class Irish Dems) I changed my party registration to GOP when Obamacare was passed in 2010 (My state requires party registration for primary participation.)

    I’ll happily explain when the subject comes up that I am planning to vote for “generic Republication nominee” in Nov. It’s a matter of quite literally voting for the lesser of two evils. However, many people in my disappointed family are quite convinced that I am “taking my talking points and moral guidance” from Fox News. Little do they know, I’m a Catholic RINO.

    The liberal and conservative (left and right) labels are political descriptions that shouldn’t rightly be applied to Catholicism but unfortunately it’s a necessary shorthand in these discussions.

  • Rhinestone Suderman

    Occum’s Razor, accusing any, and everybody, of taking their talking points from Fox News—or Rush Limbaugh—or Sarah Palin—or whoever the conservative boogey-man of the moment is—is a typical tactic many use, when any aspect of progressive-think is questioned, the implication being that you don’t really believe what you think you do, you’re just parroting the Republican party line. Bad ol’ Rush (or somebody) has brainwashed you. If you were really thinking for yourself, you wouldn’t question the progressive agenda, but would be saying “Yes massa” to them, instead. . .

    Which is supposedly better.

    (It’s also atributing incredible mind powers to institutions such as Fox News; like The Shadow, the apparently possess the power to cloud mens’ minds! Who’da thunk?)

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  • http://evilbloggerlady.blogspot.com/ EBL
  • Manny

    Stephanopoulos was in the know!!!! Oh wow. I’m sick of the whole Liberal media. I’m sick of this administration. Dear Lord, please don’t make us suffer through another term. I’ll even double my sacrifices during lent. ;)

  • Manny

    @Margaret who says:
    “The teachings of the Catholic Church are not coterminous with the Republican Party. While we have no shortage of people in this country who are Democrats first, then Catholic, the exact same thing is unfortunately true on the other side of the aisle as well.”

    That may be true but if you look down a list of issues you will find that the Republicans are much closeer to supporting Catholic objectives. In fact in today’s environment you can catagorize the right as being sympathetic to religion and the left as first and foremost sympathetic to secularism, if not out right atheism. Look over the party affiliation of atheists and you will see it’s mostly on the left. Are the Republicans purely with the Catholic church? No, we’re not the only religion in this country. But if you look at the five supreme court justices who are on the right and have been appointed by Republicans, you’ll notice that all five are Catholics. If you look at the four justices appointed by Democrats you will see that they are repeatedly pushing religion out of the public square.

    As to immigration, that’s more complicated than just accepting the Bishop’s position. Every country in the world, including European countries, have a policy on illegal immigrants, and none of them would get American Bishop support. Every nation has a right to control its borders. I supported the George Bush compromise, but that was because i trusted George Bush. But in reality, it was amnesty. Amnesty is in effect an unjust policy. There are plenty of legal immigrants who wait years by following the law to immigrate to the US. The US is not proposing anything that would change that. When an illegal jumps the fence, he has jumped ahead of the line. That is unjust. Here’s an example. My brother married a Peruvian girl. Even though they were married, she had to wait over a year (might have been two years, I don’t remember exactly) to legally immigrate. She is equally hispanic, and yet she did not jump the line. Those that jumped the line unjustly got into the country ahead of her.

  • ahem

    There is a decided difference between the Left and Right, and you’d better understand it if you wish to preserve your liberty. The main distinction is in the way the sides view economics; economics is the means by which most political problems are solved.

    The Left is a legacy of the French Enlightenment and the Right is a legacy of the Scottish Enlightenment. With the Left’s economic policies you get the French Revolution, Karl Marx, collectivism, enforced conformity, tyranny, and the unnecessary deaths of millions of people in the 20th century. With the Right’s economic policies you get the American Revolution, Adam Smith, protection against the state, the free market of ideas, and prosperity.

    Fifty years ago, Saul Alinsky targeted the Catholic Church and succeeded in infecting about half of it with so-called “liberal” ideas (see Michael Voris on YouTube) ; that’s why easily half of people calling themselves Roman Catholics today vote with the Marxists. (You can call them Marxists or Socialists or Liberals or the Social Justice crowd–they are identical.) Obama is a Marxist; there are no more traditional “Liberals” left in the Democrat Party. If you vote for Obama, you’re agreeing with a Marxist.

    So—yeah–it’s incredibly important to make these distinctions. They are a matter of life and death.

  • Elaine

    Ahem – you may be interested along with some others of an article written by Paul A. Rahe called “American Catholicism’s Pact with the Devil” article which explains what you are talking about. It is an alarming read of what might be the problem for the church today as starting in the 1930′s when the church got on board with the New Deal. The author is a Roman Catholic who analyzes the road the church went down being that “public provision is somehow akin to charity.” The result undermined what the church professed to teach that charity is an individual responsibility and the church’s to alleviate the poor and not confiscate other people’s money and redistribute it.” The author follows through an interesting discussion of what happened along the way leading up to now. Rush Limbaugh brought this up in detail and went through the whole article. It is another piece of info to think about with the church and like our priest said on Sunday we are to be Catholics first before anything else. After reading this I am not sure how to balance helping the poor and getting alarmingly worried about redistributing wealth and govt overreach.

  • http://fkclinic.blogspot.com tioedong

    Well, at least you can criticize it, and although Obama weakened the conscience protection law for health care providers, an old civil rights law still gives us some protection.
    If the RH bill here in the Philippines passes, anyone refusing to give out contraceptives, any hospital/clinic that refuses to push them on patients, and anyone who criticizes the bill will be fined.

    It’s your tax dollars at work: Wikileaks revealed the US is using taxpayer money to pressure the Philippines to push contraceptives to limit population, and the press here routinely ignores the pro life marches.
    Never mind that one third of women don’t have a trained birth attendant, and the law will make it hard for pious Catholics and Muslims to be midwives in isolated villages that need them.