Senators Jeanne Shaheen, Barbara Boxer, and Patty Murray (D; NH, CA, and WA, respectively) have an Op-Ed piece in The Wall Street Journal that contributes to the disinformation being spread about concerning this diktat.
They begin with their opening premise:
…the Obama administration changed the law to require private health plans to provide preventive services including breast exams, HIV screening and contraception for free.
They actually think no one is paying for this mandate? They actually think no tax increases, no insurance premium increases, no reductions in services or policy option flexibility will result from this? No, they don’t think that: these are grown, adult human beings, of far above average intelligence. Of course they know better.
They go on:
…the real forces behind [an alleged campaign to deny this “benefit” to women]…are trying to force their politics on women’s personal health-care decisions.
Of course, this mandate in no way seeks to impose government’s politics to override the fundamental teachings of a broad reach of religions and religious institutions. Nosirreebob.
Contraception was included as a required preventive service on the recommendation of the independent, nonprofit Institute of Medicine and other medical experts because it is essential to the health of women and families.
Aside from the fact that, as feminists used to protest—correctly—pregnancy isn’t a disease, pregnancy prevention (and cancelation) mechanisms are widely available already. Not overriding religious teachings, not canceling religious tenets, in no way impacts this.
Those now attacking the new health-coverage requirement claim it is an assault on religious liberty, but the opposite is true. Religious freedom means that Catholic women who want to follow their church’s doctrine can do so, avoiding the use of contraception in any form.
It also means that religious institutions—including “institutions that have historic religious ties but also have a broader mission, such as hospitals and universities”—do not have to cast aside their fundamental beliefs, do not have to submit to a government order to ignore those teachings. Catholic—and other—women still can exercise their religious freedom. And they still have access to contraception and abortions absent this government intrusion.
The good Senators’ disingenuous claim to the contrary, this mandate has nothing to do with women’s health, except in the most peripheral, side effect way. It is exactly an assault on religious liberty, it is a deliberate reach for political power and an assertion of government’s authority over what will be permitted to be taught by religious institutions and what teachings will be permitted to be obeyed by related institutions. This is an attempt to bring down Jefferson’s wall of separation between Church & State, and nothing else.
Congresswoman Gwen Moore (D, WI) makes this plain. She has said that the church
…can’t impose its religious views on people and whether they can have health care.
However, it’s the government that’s imposing its religious view: religions must act contrary to their fundamental tenets because Government requires it. Moreover, “the church” certainly can impose its religious views. It’s what a church is. It’s God’s Word—regardless of the religion at hand—that’s being taught. The question of individual conscience, as the Catholic Church (for instance) teaches, is still a matter among the individual, the church, and God—government is, in no way, permitted to interfere here.
Yet government is doing everything it can to interfere.