I think it’s important to understand just what the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops is demanding in its war against contraception coverage. Here’s USA Today on the matter:
The White House is “all talk, no action” on moving toward compromise, said Anthony Picarello, general counsel for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. “There has been a lot of talk in the last couple days about compromise, but it sounds to us like a way to turn down the heat, to placate people without doing anything in particular,” Picarello said. “We’re not going to do anything until this is fixed.”
That means removing the provision from the health care law altogether, he said, not simply changing it for Catholic employers and their insurers. He cited the problem that would create for “good Catholic business people who can’t in good conscience cooperate with this.”
“If I quit this job and opened a Taco Bell, I’d be covered by the mandate,” Picarello said.
In other words, the bishops are not merely demanding that church-affiliated organizations be exempted from the requirement that contraception be covered in health insurance. They are insisting that the contraception requirement be abolished altogether.
The proposed legislative fix endorsed by the bishops, HR 1179, makes that explicitly clear. It states that no insurer or employer can be required to provide coverage if paying for such coverage “is contrary to the religious beliefs or moral convictions of the sponsor, issuer, or other entity offering the plan; or (if) such coverage (in the case of individual coverage) is contrary to the religious beliefs or moral convictions of the purchaser or beneficiary of the coverage.”
Again, that is not a fix limited to churches or church-affliated organizations. It would prohibit the contraception requirement across the board, for every employer and insurer.
If you had any doubts about how political this all is, that ought to resolve them. Twenty-eight states, including conservative Georgia, have had laws on the books for years that require contraceptives be covered, with not a squeak of protest or complaint.
And yet now it becomes a threat to religious liberty?
– Jay Bookman