Andrew McCarthy posted an article today at The Corner at National Review about the recent mandate issued by Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius regarding health insurance, contraception, and abortion. Mr. McCarthy points out that conservatives are letting the left control the language and thus the debate, a fact which obscures what is actually taking place.
The left has stated that religious organizations want to deny coverage for birth control. That is not the issue. Birth control is unbelievably cheap in this country–it doesn’t need to be free. The issue is whether the state has the power to make people who are morally or religiously opposed to abortion or birth control pay for abortion and birth control for the people who use those services.
Mr. McCarthy further points out:
Second, how dare the administration propose compromises and safe-harbors for “religious organizations”? I imagine they dare because the usual useful idiots (see, e.g., Michael Gerson, cited in Ramesh’s post Tuesday) are, as ever, warning conservatives not to “overreach” — this time, for exemptions that extend beyond corporate religious entities. The Bill of Rights, however, protects individual liberty from abusive government action. The First Amendment does not merely protect the religious liberty of groups of people who formally organize as a religious enterprise. It protects the individual believer, who has as much right as the Archdiocese of New York to resist government compulsion that violates his conscience. Under the Left’s First Amendment, we’re supposed to be deferential to every Saudi alien Islamic supremacist whack-job who wants to replace the Constitution with sharia, but an American citizen who personally objects to abortifacients should pipe down and pay up unless he’s the CEO of Catholic Charities? I don’t think so.
This is a religious freedom issue–not a contraception issue.