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Obama Pleases Planned Parenthood and Catholic Church With Birth Control Policy


by: Chaille Jolink

Fri Feb 10, 2012 at 06:42 PM CST


The White House recently dodged what was a bit of a pickle this past week. The administration's policy decision to mandate that all employers cover contraception in their insurance plans drew quite a bit of controversy from religious institutions and conservatives, who said it violated their first amendment rights.

The Catholic Church is opposed to providing birth control to women despite the fact that research studies show that almost all of Catholic women (98%!) use birth control at some point in their life.

Catholics for Choice President Jon O'Brien told BOR:

"It's a fact that 98% of Catholic women have used a form of birth control banned by the Vatican.  They have no religious objection to contraception, and the majority of Catholics support insurance coverage of it regardless of who provides the insurance. Students at Catholic universities deserve the same preventive health coverage as everyone else, and the right to follow their own conscience in deciding whether birth control is right for them.  By demanding an expansive and unjustified exemption from providing preventive healthcare for women, the Catholic bishops are claiming that their right to religious freedom trumps everyone else's. That isn't a principle that Catholic universities should be teaching their students."

In a much more fluid and simple policy maneuver President Obama simply took the burden off the employer and placed it squarely where it should be, on the insurance companies, requiring that they provide comprehensive access to contraceptive coverage. As the article states, "every insurance company will be obligated to provide contraceptive coverage."

Slate.com reports:

"Under the rule, women will still have access to free preventative care that includes contraceptive services no matter where they work," he (Obama) said at the White House, adding, "no religious insitution will have to provide these services directly."

Planned Parenthood touts the decision as a key policy decision aligning with one of their own tenets:

"As a trusted health care provider to one in five women, Planned Parenthood's priority is increasing access to preventive health care. This birth control coverage benefit does just that."

The Catholic Health Association said the revised policy, "protects the religious liberty and conscience rights of Catholic institutions."

Check out these videos reported by local news station KVUE.

What a happy Friday for President Obama, it's not everyday you get to please these two seemingly opposing groups, but he did.

A very happy Friday to all my ladies out there. Get that health care.  

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Some Catholic groups, not the Catholic Church (0.00 / 0)
The Catholic Church is still very much opposed to the policy. It's pretty darn easy to please Catholics for Choice with a pro-contraceptives policy, and not hard to please the Catholic Health Association, which gave its full support to health care reform. Saying that they represent the Catholic Church on this issue is like saying that the Log Cabin Republicans represent the GOP on gay marriage. The position of the Church is set by the Catholic Bishops, and they're still dead-set against the policy.

I'm not criticizing Obama's maneuver, mind you. I'm 100% behind the idea that contraceptives should be freely available. But saying that the "make the insurer pay for it" dodge neutralizes the support of the Catholic Church is nonsense.

Obama's maneuver makes him look reasonable and accommodating, and perhaps gets him some more support from moderates. That's good. It makes it harder for Republicans to demagogue the issue. Good again. But it's never going to win over the real opposition, and we shouldn't pretend that it does.

For that matter, we should be glad that it doesn't. If we're going to fight about social issues, let's make it about contraception, where the middle is solidly in favor. Let's not make it about late-term abortions, where the middle is opposed. Let's have Santorum look like a raving lunatic while he explains that contraception is the source of America's problems. Let's have Romney look like a hypocrite pretending to be a lunatic while he says almost the same thing. Let's have Gingrich look like a hypocrite and a lunatic, as usual.

This may be the first election in memory where Democrats do better running on social issues than on the economy. If the economy continues to improve, we'll win regardless of the campaign's focus. If it doesn't, expect the Dems to use contraception as a wedge issue.  


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