In the wake of the Obama Administration’s announcement that it would accommodate religious employers’ objections to providing birth control coverage by exempting them from paying for it, conservatives at CPAC and elsewhere pronounced themselves entirely unswayed by the Administration’s efforts.
“Nothing’s free,” said John Marlin of Human Life International, an anti-abortion Catholic non-profit that isn’t directly affiliated with the Vatican. His colleague Adam Cassandra added, “Employees and employers will still have to pay the insurance companies providing the contraceptives,” effectively subsidizing the coverage even if they aren’t paying for it directly. “The Administration is playing a word game,” Cassandra said.
Cassandra, like other anti-abortion organizations at CPAC, identified the Administration’s health care reform as the real problem. “In a broader sense,” he said, “the entire Obamacare bill has to be repealed because Obamacare is the instrument that is driving attacks on religious freedom and freedom in general.”
Lila Rose, the president of Live Action best known for posing as an pregnant teen seeking an abortion from Planned Parenthood, agreed. “Forcing anyone to provide insurance is a violation of their freedom,” she said after a panel discussion with other anti-abortion activists. During the panel, she told the audience that the Administration’s birth control coverage mandate “is forcing any pro-life employer to provide abortifacients to their employees.”
Carol Tobias of the National Right to Life Committee said of the compromise, “It strikes me as very odd,” and asked aloud, “Why should the insurance companies have to provide it for free?” Tobias, who spoke on the panel with Rose, revealed that NRLC opposes “Obamacare” in general because it “rations life-saving care” and that they oppose birth control methods that they say acts as abortifacients — which usually includes birth control pills, Plan B and intrauterine devices. Tobias told Raw Story that the decision means “they’re still making it available and it still has to be available” regardless of employers’ objections. “You can’t force a religious organization to do something to which they have objections,” she said. During the panel discussion, she told the audience, “If they can tell the bishops that they have to provide birth control to their employees, they can tell the NRLC that we have to provide abortions to our employees.”
Cassandra of HLI told Raw Story, “The only acceptable option is for the Administration to completely repeal the mandate and respect religious freedom.”
[Image of Stephanie from Bound For Life via Emily Redmond on Flickr, Creative Commons licensed]
Megan Carpentier is the executive editor of Raw Story. She previously served as an associate editor at Talking Points Memo; the editor of news and politics at Air America; an editor at Jezebel.com; and an associate editor at Wonkette. Her published works include pieces for the Washington Post, the Washington Independent, Ms Magazine, RH Reality Check, the Women's Media Center, On the Issues, the New York Press, Bitch and Women's eNews.
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