Commentary Magazine


Topic: birth control

Obama E-Card Asks Mom to Pay $18K for Birth Control

It would be hard to dream up a clearer example of an entitlement mentality than this e-card on the Obama campaign website:

Dear Mom,

Mitt Romney says he would repeal the Affordable Care Act. So here’s a quick question: Can I borrow $18,000 to help pay for my birth control?

Thanks!

The e-card is supposed to point out that it’s ridiculous to ask your mother for $18,000 to pay for birth control. True, but that begs the question: wouldn’t it be even more ridiculous to ask a perfect stranger to pay for your birth control? Because that is essentially what Obama’s “free birth control” law does. Pills cost money to make — the materials, the research, the labor, complying with government regulations. It costs money to package and export to pharmacies. It costs money to advertise. It costs money to fight against class-action lawsuits. It costs money for pharmacists to fill the prescription. It costs money for the doctors to write the prescription.

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It would be hard to dream up a clearer example of an entitlement mentality than this e-card on the Obama campaign website:

Dear Mom,

Mitt Romney says he would repeal the Affordable Care Act. So here’s a quick question: Can I borrow $18,000 to help pay for my birth control?

Thanks!

The e-card is supposed to point out that it’s ridiculous to ask your mother for $18,000 to pay for birth control. True, but that begs the question: wouldn’t it be even more ridiculous to ask a perfect stranger to pay for your birth control? Because that is essentially what Obama’s “free birth control” law does. Pills cost money to make — the materials, the research, the labor, complying with government regulations. It costs money to package and export to pharmacies. It costs money to advertise. It costs money to fight against class-action lawsuits. It costs money for pharmacists to fill the prescription. It costs money for the doctors to write the prescription.

Previously, there was a co-pay that helped defray the costs. Now that the co-pay is being abolished by law, who ends up shouldering the cost? The insurance companies? Of course not. It gets passed back to the consumers through higher insurance premiums.

But let’s assume the people cheering on Obama’s “free” birth control law probably won’t think that far into it. What about a more obvious problem: how on earth does birth control cost $18,000? Is that over a lifetime?

The Obama administration has touted its birth control law by saying it will effect 47 million women. We are told by the Obama campaign e-card that birth control costs $18,000 for each of these women.

That would mean $846 billion is being passed along to somebody. For the sake of comparison, the global pharmaceutical market is a $300 billion industry. So, either we have a serious problem here, or the Obama campaign needs to recheck their numbers.

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Catholics Reject Contraception Compromise

Via Ed Morrissey, this is a significant blow to the Obama administration’s so-called compromise on the birth control mandate. The Catholic Health Association was a key supporter of Obamacare, and provided the administration with Catholic cover by initially supporting the mandate compromise. But after a long review, the CHA has decided that the administration’s accommodations don’t go far enough. USA Today reports:

President Obama’s support for his signature health care act took a fresh hit Friday. The Catholic Health Association, the nation’s largest private health care provider, has rebuffed the latest White House moves to make its contraception coverage mandate more acceptable to Catholics and conservative evangelicals, according to Religion News Service.

The CHA was a critical voice in getting the Affordable Care Act passed in 2009. Sister Carol Keehan, head of CHA, drew standing ovations from progressive Catholics.

The CHA expressed lingering concerns about aspects of the mandate in a letter to HHS on Friday.

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Via Ed Morrissey, this is a significant blow to the Obama administration’s so-called compromise on the birth control mandate. The Catholic Health Association was a key supporter of Obamacare, and provided the administration with Catholic cover by initially supporting the mandate compromise. But after a long review, the CHA has decided that the administration’s accommodations don’t go far enough. USA Today reports:

President Obama’s support for his signature health care act took a fresh hit Friday. The Catholic Health Association, the nation’s largest private health care provider, has rebuffed the latest White House moves to make its contraception coverage mandate more acceptable to Catholics and conservative evangelicals, according to Religion News Service.

The CHA was a critical voice in getting the Affordable Care Act passed in 2009. Sister Carol Keehan, head of CHA, drew standing ovations from progressive Catholics.

The CHA expressed lingering concerns about aspects of the mandate in a letter to HHS on Friday.

The announcement comes at a terrible time for the Obama administration. Obama has already lost some ground with Catholic voters, and Thursday marks the beginning of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Fortnight for Freedom protest, which will highlight the mandate as an example of government persecution. It will bring the issue into pulpits around the country through lectures, prayer vigils and public action campaigns for two weeks (that is, if Obamacare is still around for that long).

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Solid Case Against Birth Control Mandate?

More than 40 religious institutions, included Catholic universities and charities, filed simultaneous lawsuits against the Obama administration’s birth control mandate yesterday, As The Hill reports, the biggest threat to the mandate in court is a 1993 religious freedom law, which was originally introduced by the late Sen. Ted Kennedy and then-Rep. Chuck Schumer, of all people:

RFRA sailed through Congress with broad bipartisan support in response to an unpopular decision by the Supreme Court that was seen as curbing Native Americans’ religious freedom to use peyote, a traditional hallucinogen.

Now it will force the government to prove that federal regulators did not have another way to expand women’s access to birth control that would be less burdensome on religion — an argument experts say conservatives can win.

The law puts the onus on the federal government to show that it had a compelling interest in requiring Catholic employers to provide birth control coverage, and that it couldn’t have achieved these aims another way. The Hill reports that legal experts think this case is solid:

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More than 40 religious institutions, included Catholic universities and charities, filed simultaneous lawsuits against the Obama administration’s birth control mandate yesterday, As The Hill reports, the biggest threat to the mandate in court is a 1993 religious freedom law, which was originally introduced by the late Sen. Ted Kennedy and then-Rep. Chuck Schumer, of all people:

RFRA sailed through Congress with broad bipartisan support in response to an unpopular decision by the Supreme Court that was seen as curbing Native Americans’ religious freedom to use peyote, a traditional hallucinogen.

Now it will force the government to prove that federal regulators did not have another way to expand women’s access to birth control that would be less burdensome on religion — an argument experts say conservatives can win.

The law puts the onus on the federal government to show that it had a compelling interest in requiring Catholic employers to provide birth control coverage, and that it couldn’t have achieved these aims another way. The Hill reports that legal experts think this case is solid:

“I think the odds are pretty good for the plaintiffs here,” Marc DeGirolami, an assistant law professor at St. John’s University, told The Hill.

Because of the law, courts now have to apply certain standards to federal actions that might inadvertently infringe on religious liberty. In one sense, laws under scrutiny must aim to achieve a “compelling” government interest. In another sense, they must be designed in a way that burdens religion as little as possible.

It’s much smarter for Catholic groups to fight this in the courts than through Congress. The legal challenge will refocus the issue on religious freedom, and make it much more difficult for Democrats to argue that opposition to the birth control mandate is all about waging a “war on women.” And the administration will be forced to argue against a religious freedom law backed by the late Ted Kennedy and Democratic attack dog Chuck Schumer, who helped push the war on women narrative.

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Catholics Angered by Choice of Commencement Speaker

To be precise, it’s Georgetown’s Public Policy Institute that will reportedly host Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius – the official behind the birth control mandate – as its commencement speaker.

As you might imagine, the Catholic Cardinal Newman Society is furious:

It is scandalous and outrageous that America’s oldest Catholic and Jesuit university has elected to provide this prestigious platform to a publicly “pro-choice” Catholic who is most responsible for the Obama administration’s effort to restrict the Constitution’s first freedom — the right to free exercise of religion — while threatening the survival of many Catholic and other religious colleges and universities, schools, charities, hospitals and other apostolates.

Georgetown insults all Americans by this honor. The selection is especially insulting to faithful Catholics and their bishops, who are engaged in the fight for religious liberty and against abortion. The contrast is stark between Georgetown University and those faithful Catholic colleges and universities that have stood for faith and freedom.

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To be precise, it’s Georgetown’s Public Policy Institute that will reportedly host Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius – the official behind the birth control mandate – as its commencement speaker.

As you might imagine, the Catholic Cardinal Newman Society is furious:

It is scandalous and outrageous that America’s oldest Catholic and Jesuit university has elected to provide this prestigious platform to a publicly “pro-choice” Catholic who is most responsible for the Obama administration’s effort to restrict the Constitution’s first freedom — the right to free exercise of religion — while threatening the survival of many Catholic and other religious colleges and universities, schools, charities, hospitals and other apostolates.

Georgetown insults all Americans by this honor. The selection is especially insulting to faithful Catholics and their bishops, who are engaged in the fight for religious liberty and against abortion. The contrast is stark between Georgetown University and those faithful Catholic colleges and universities that have stood for faith and freedom.

At the American Spectator, Quin Hillyer rightly wonders why Rep. Paul Ryan’s speech at Georgetown was criticized by 90 faculty members as anti-Catholic, but they have yet to object to the Sebelius invitation:

If 90 faculty members can protest a non-honorary speech by somebody who only arguably would violate interpretive church teaching, why aren’t they not just protesting but actually threatening to publicly demonstrate against honoring a speaker who is directly trampling upon central, doctrinal church theology and mission?

If there was any doubt that Georgetown’s PPI is intentionally trying to send a message by choosing Sebelius, consider the institute’s last controversial speaker. Georgetown law student and activist Sandra Fluke gave a lecture at the institute yesterday. This seems intended as some sort of protest of Georgetown’s birth control insurance policy, which the university has refused to change, despite complaints from activists.

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Obama’s Approval Rating Among Women Drops 12 Points

Here’s more evidence suggesting that the New York Times “trend” story on how women are bolting from the GOP and flocking to the Obama campaign was complete fantasy. And the latest contradictions come from the New York Times’ own poll:

In the head-to-head matchups, Mr. Obama also maintained much of the advantage he had built in the last year among important constituencies, including women, although he lost some support among women over the past month, even as the debate raged over birth control insurance coverage.

Mr. Obama appears to be retaining much of his gains among important demographic groups, erasing inroads that Republicans made in 2010, especially among women. But his falling approval rating in the last month extended to his handling of both the economy and foreign policy, the poll found.

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Here’s more evidence suggesting that the New York Times “trend” story on how women are bolting from the GOP and flocking to the Obama campaign was complete fantasy. And the latest contradictions come from the New York Times’ own poll:

In the head-to-head matchups, Mr. Obama also maintained much of the advantage he had built in the last year among important constituencies, including women, although he lost some support among women over the past month, even as the debate raged over birth control insurance coverage.

Mr. Obama appears to be retaining much of his gains among important demographic groups, erasing inroads that Republicans made in 2010, especially among women. But his falling approval rating in the last month extended to his handling of both the economy and foreign policy, the poll found.

“He lost some support among women” is apparently the New York Times’ nice way of saying Obama’s approval rating dropped 12 points among women during the past month, from 53 percent to 41 percent. Needless to say, the Democratic Party’s “war on women” rhetoric doesn’t seem to be working:

In recent weeks, there has been much debate over the government’s role in guaranteeing insurance coverage for contraception, including for those who work for religious organizations. The poll found that women were split as to whether health insurance plans should cover the costs of birth control and whether employers with religious objections should be able to opt out.

Poll respondents said 51 percent to 40 percent that companies should be allowed to opt out for religious/moral reasons. Women said companies should be allowed to opt out, 46 percent to 44 percent.

Those numbers are even more favorable to conservatives when you specifically ask whether religiously-affiliated employers, like schools and hospitals, should be forced to provide birth control coverage. Poll respondents said these institutions should be allowed to opt out, 57 percent to 36 percent. Women said these institutions should be allowed to opt out, 53 percent to 38 percent.

It sounds like the Obama administration has seriously miscalculated its “war on women” strategy. Either women are in favor of religious opt-out rules, as the Times poll suggests (and in that case, are possibly offended by the way the Obama administration has handled the controversy); or, women care so little about this issue that they haven’t even been paying close attention to the debate. Even if the latter is true, that doesn’t mean this strategy was cost-free. According to the Times poll, Obama has further alienated religious voters, and received no political gain with women in exchange. His support has dropped to 37 percent with Catholics, 26 percent with white Protestants and 18 percent with white Evangelical Christians.

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