Obama's Contraceptive Failure

The president pretends to accommodate religious objections to his birth control mandate.

A month ago the Obama administration said religious organizations will have to pay for health insurance policies that cover contraception and sterilization, even if they consider those practices immoral. Two weeks ago, responding to widespread complaints that its edict violated freedom of conscience, the administration unveiled a "new policy," under which religious organizations will have to pay for health insurance policies that cover contraception and sterilization, even if they consider those practices immoral.

And people are still complaining. Can you believe it? Last week the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform heard from a lineup of Catholic, Baptist, Lutheran, evangelical, and Jewish leaders who noted that President Obama's supposed compromise, which the White House claims "fully accommodates important concerns raised by religious groups," is "no accommodation at all," as Rabbi Meir Soloveichik of Yeshiva University put it.

Under the new rule, Obama explained, "if a woman's employer is a charity or a hospital that has a religious objection to providing contraceptive services as part of their health plan, the insurance company—not the hospital, not the charity—will be required to reach out and offer the woman contraceptive care free of charge, without co-pays and without hassles." He insisted that "religious organizations won't have to pay for these services."

But they will have to pay for the medical coverage, the price of which will reflect the cost of paying for contraception and sterilization. "Ultimately," Harvard economist Greg Mankiw noted on his blog the day after Obama's announcement, "all insurance costs are passed on to the purchaser, so I cannot see how policy B is different in any way from policy A, other than using slightly different words to describe it."

News outlets nevertheless reported the administration's spin as fact. Reuters claimed "the revised approach puts the burden on insurance companies, ordering them to provide workers at religious-affiliated institutions with free family planning if they request it, without involving their employer at all." The New York Times called the new approach a "concession," saying it "shifts the cost to insurers."

And what prevents insurers from shifting it back? The White House argues that there will be no need, because providing 100 percent coverage for contraception and sterilization saves insurers money by preventing expensive pregnancies and births.

It is not clear why profit-driven businesses must be compelled to do something that supposedly boosts their bottom lines. Testifying at last week's congressional hearing, Catholic University President John Garvey called the administration's cost argument a "Shazam Theory" that "resolves the intrusion on religious liberty by making the compelled contributions magically disappear." Even if the administration were right about the net financial impact of its mandate, Garvey added, his university still would be "forced to pay for…activities we view as immoral."

The mandate's supporters seem genuinely puzzled by the notion that their cost-benefit analyses do not override religious liberty. "Why should an employer's right to reject birth-control coverage trump a society’s collective imperative to reduce unintended pregnancy?" asks Harvard College administrator Erika Christakis in a recent Time essay.

Christakis has a degree in public health, which helps explain her unabashed embrace of collectivism and her blithe assumption that individual rights must yield to the demands of medical experts who know what is best for us. But Obama used to teach constitutional law, so he surely understands that the free exercise of religion is supposed to be guaranteed even when it's inconvenient.

By exempting churches from the birth control mandate, Obama concedes their religious freedom is at stake. But he arbitrarily denies that freedom to church-affiliated organizations. Although he acknowledges "many genuine concerns" about the mandate, he isn't willing to address them in a genuine way.

Christakis has some advice for people forced to subsidize services condemned by their religion: Suck it up. She says "the cost of living in a democracy is tolerating moral judgments we don’t always like." Yet that is exactly what Obama refuses to do. 

Jacob Sullum is a senior editor at Reason and a nationally syndicated columnist. Follow him on Twitter.

© Copyright 2012 by Creators Syndicate Inc.

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  • ||

    ". . . many genuine concerns"

    Chief among them being how badly this will hurt him come November.

  • ||

    Spoof handles blow.

  • Joe M||

    Dude, that was from yesterday afternoon. Slackin!

  • ||

    Dude, that was from yesterday afternoon. Slackin!

    I've been trying to get Reason to purchase the Spoof Handle Auto-Revert feature I invented, but so far nothing.

  • Barack Obama||

    Let me be clear: I can make anyone purchase anything. At gunpoint, if need be.

  • Rev. Blue Moon ||

    I think you shoulda stuck with it.

  • ||

    I think you shoulda stuck with it.

    Do you say so becuase you like the name Horace or because you dislike the name Karl?

    Please consider your answer carefully, my self-esteem is riding on this one . . .

  • Rev. Blue Moon ||

    Because Horace Greeley was like this Cool Crank all at once.

  • dd||

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  • Barack Obama||

    Let me be clear.

    I acknowledge your many genuine concerns.

  • WWNGD?||

    "including celebs and famous stars"

    Well gosh durn it, I am signing up.

  • JohnD||

    Hopefully it destroys him

  • MJ||

    "But Obama used to teach constitutional law, so he surely understands that the free exercise of religion is supposed to be guaranteed even when it's inconvenient.

    You are joking, right? Obama has shown with this and Citizen's United that he does not understand any of the 1st Amendment's guarantees when it is inconvenient to his ideology.

    Again, the issue with religious affiliated organizations is just the canary in the coal mine making obvious the intrusion in exercising personal judgement by taking away the right to not purchase contraceptive coverage for any reason. Bookkeeping sleight of hand does not make this government coercian go away, it just makes it sleazier.

  • ||

    Obama has shown with this and Citizen's United that he does not understand any of the 1st Amendment's guarantees when it is inconvenient to his ideology.

    Worse. He understands it perfectly - certainly as well as you or I do. He just doesn't care. What you and I see as fundamental Constitutional rights, he sees as obstacles to his agenda that must be circumvented.

  • Suki||

    +1

  • ||

    "He understands it perfectly - certainly as well as you or I do. He just doesn't care"
    get more than a measely +1

  • Barack Obama||

    Let me be clear: I became a constitutional scholar in order to learn how to most thoroughly eviscerate the Constitution.

  • ||

    An adjunct professor is not, in the vast majority of cases, properly referred to as a "Constitutional scholar." Usually, significant publication in the field is required to get that label.

  • ||

    Does "I won" count?

  • Max has made his last post||

    Max|6.24.10 @ 3:29PM|#

    Go suck ron puals dick, morons. You peeple are fucking retarded. I`m done coming to this wingnut sight. this is my last post.

  • ||

    this is my last post

    Well you'll certianly be missed. We hope that you find another forum that's more to your liking, and that they enjoy your insights as much as we have. They'll be lucky to have you :)

  • ||

    I'm serious! This will be by last post you wingnuts.

  • Max's Mom||

    That's good, Honey. You've finally cut the cord!

  • ||

    Max has issues.

  • ||

    Better than tissues.

  • ||

    Do not go away mad ...

  • ||

    I'd love to see Max try to debate his thoughts with a donkey or an elephant.

  • ||

    "the cost of living in a democracy is tolerating moral judgments we don’t always like."

    I'm curious what Christakis would say in 1937 Germany.

  • Erika Christakis||

    The cost of being a Jew in Germany is tolerating the fact that you don't always get to live.

  • Abdul||

    He'd say: "Finally, someone understands a society’s collective imperative to reduce unintended pregnancy!"

  • Heroic Mulatto||

  • Parents||

    Are parents worried that their teenage daughter actually wants to be impregnated by a 100-year-old vampire who can crush a headboard with his hands (and perform an emergency C-section with his teeth)?

    Duh, YEAH!

  • Numeromancer||

    The male species...

    Enough said.

  • Jerryskids||

    Christakis, M.P.H, M.Ed., is an early-childhood educator, public health advocate and Harvard College administrator

    What he said.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    "When was the last time (or only time) you saw a movie that featured menstruation? (The Runaways, directed by … a woman.)"

    Haven't you heard of a movie called Carrie?

    Empowering!

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    (ps - the bad guys were female)

  • Jabster||

    Ahhh...yet another play of two tired, hoary liberal arguments: 1) "Quityerbitchin' about more government--you use public roads, right?" This is tantamount to saying if taking 2 aspirin will cure a headache, taking the whole bottle will cure cancer.
    2) "The social contract is a blank check--and if we make it out for $1MM, that's not our problem."

  • Erik||

    If a compromise was made, why not move on. Sometimes you have to look at the whole pie & it's reasoning & not feel offended when it wasn't meant to offend in the first place. With this requirement it gives the average person a opportunity for health coverage when many don't have it. The contracepives may help fight disease and unwanted births. Some of these private institutions get away with to much and don't want to be accountable but at the same time want to play by there own rules....

  • Jeff||

    A compromise wasn't made, and anyone who considers this arrangement to be a compromise is a fucking simpleton. "Okay, Catholic hospital, no worries. You won't have to check that objectionable old box that says 'free contraceptives' because we've already coerced the insurance company to not offer any other plan. Everything's cool now, right?"

  • JohnD||

    Did your mother have any children that weren't born brain dead?

  • ||

    Its even worse than that. Many (most?) Catholic institutions are self-insured for health care. They ARE, in effect, the insurance company. The "concession" makes no difference that I can see for them.

  • ryan||

    Worst. President. EVER.

  • newshutz||

    He still has a way to go to get to Wilsonian suckitude. And its unlikely that the US will descend into civil war in the wake of his Presidency like Buchanan.

  • ||

    Wilson-Buchanon-Obama there is a troika from hell.

    Obama could very well be another Buchanan.

    His disdain for the law in incredible. The recent trammeling of the bill of rights in order to pay off the his fellow travelers at NOW pales in comparison to his upending 200+ years of contract law vis a vie the federal theft of GM and Chrysler and the pay off of the union thugs.

    This administration shown less concern for the law than even Bush. Looking at the Patriot act, that took some doing.

  • mgd||

    Don't forget the not-at-all-veiled threat about bringing the "full weight of the White House" to bear against anyone who raised a challenge in the courts.

  • Me ||

    Not about this article but...
    The first ad on this site I keep seeing is for the Environmental Defense Fund, showing a kid thanking Obama for rejecting lobbyists and protecting kids. Whoever did the ad buy for them clearly was educated in the public schools and has no idea what this site is about. But hey if it pays the bills all the better. Thought this was pretty funny.

  • wef||

    One consolation of this latest flap over fascistic buttinski-ism is to see the squirming of the desiccated vagina monologues of the galilean cult.

  • Aunt Esther||

  • shrike||

    Obama sides with American women vs the child molesters of the Catholic Church and his poll numbers now show a 21 point lead among all US women. This is a political beatdown, nothing else.

  • ||

    . . . his poll numbers now show a 21 point lead among all US women.

    Of course. When you use the law as a weapon to force Group A to transfer wealth to Group B, you can rest assured that Group B is going to be grateful.

  • shrike||

    As a secular capitalist liberal, I support the use of government force to transfer wealth from Group A to Group B. Especially when Group A is a bunch of christfags.

  • BigT||

    Sieg heil!

    Oh, sorry, that was for mosesfags. My mistake.

  • Suki||

    "Christfags" is an interesting term. Is that an extremist, intolerant, bigoted, right wing formulation?

  • ||

    No suki, it is a n extremist, intolerant, bigoted, left wing formulation. TEAM BLUE does bigotry quite well. Let us not the dear departed 'sheets Byrd' a.k.a. Grand Wizard of WVA.

  • shrike||

    And if it were the Jehovah's Witnesses instead and they wanted to not pay for blood transfusions due to religious conscience that would be permitted as a health insurer?

    That is NOT a question for a libertarian purist because I know the answer.

    This is a political issue - which is my point.

  • Rev. Blue Moon ||

    Remind me: does birth control save lives?

    The totally secular and financial-oriented way to look at this, without injecting politics, is that having insurance cover birth control is like having car insurance cover oil changes: contra to the purpose, increases costs, and a bad idea.

  • sarcasmic||

    What do you think an oil change would cost if it were covered by car insurance?

    I'm thinking $500, minimum.

  • Anal Vanneman||

    The vast majority of cars, of whom Jake is not one, have had oil changes. Therefore, oil changes should be free regardless of what old men in funny hats think.

  • Old Man in Funny Hat||

    OK, that was funny.

  • ||

    The vast majority of cars, of whom Jake is not one, have had oil changes.

    +100

  • shrike||

    You're right. But this isn't a cost issue any longer. Its a political issue.

    And there is no way Obama will abandon women to cave in to the Weird Hats. And the Weird Hats will never support women.

  • Rev. Blue Moon ||

    So if I am right you should shut up and stop making it political.

    And there is no way Obama will abandon women to cave in to the Weird Hats. And the Weird Hats will never support women.

    Great, so here is shrike, who has admitted that I make total financial and business-sense when it comes to this issue, admits that I am right, and then proceeds to plow ahead and support the politicization of this issue anyway. And because *culturally* he's more inclined to love Democrats and hate Conservative Catholics, he's going to go ahead and join Team Secular Liberal, oops, I mean TEAM BLUE on this issue.

  • ||

  • ||

    @Vote Democrat......if given the choice between burning the tip of my peni$ with acid and voting Demoncrat....you wouldn't get my vote...

  • shrike||

    It doesn't surprise me that you fundies have a tendency toward genital self mutilation. Tryin' ta exorcise them sex demons away!

  • ||

    And if it were the Jehovah's Witnesses instead and they wanted to not pay for blood transfusions due to religious conscience that would be permitted as a health insurer?

    Permitted? You just can't stand the idea that people do things of which you disapprove, can you? Individual choice terrifies you, doesn't it? Some of your stupid beliefs will be proven wrong and you would have to admit their failure. I truly pity you.

  • Rev. Blue Moon ||

    I am a little confused* how shrike would permit a full-grown adult the right to refuse a blood transfusion, but not permit an insurance company run by and with clientele of almost exclusively full-grown adults to not fund blood transfusions.

    * - not really

  • ||

    If I'm ever in a Jehovah's Witness hospital, I'll take note of this.

  • sarcasmic||

    It takes some serious doublethink to believe a government can protect both the right to have private property and a claim to the private property of others.

  • shrike||

    On the contrary. I'm not thinking at all.

  • Dan Ontafarm||

    Some property is more private than others.

  • Fulton||

    I'm still concerned that employees of Catholic hospitals could use their salaries to buy contraceptives for themselves. If they have to do that they will pass the costs to the church by asking to be paid more to cover the contraceptives and then the Catholic church will end up paying for the contraceptives anyway. Why should the Catholic church have to run the risk that its employees will use contraceptives? The only way to insure full religious freedom is for Congress to pass a law banning employees of Catholic institutions from buying contraceptives with money they have received from Catholic employers. I look forward to the Santorum administration implementing this reasonable compromise.

  • anon||

    suggest renaming to "troll & run."

  • ||

    You don't see a earth-swell of complaints by mainstream Catholic, just by a few Catholic officials and their supporters.

  • Dan Itall||

    "the cost of living in a democracy is tolerating moral judgments we don’t always like."

    The beatings will be tolerated until morale improves.

  • Barack Obama||

    Catholic University President John Garvey called the administration's cost argument a "Shazam Theory" that "resolves the intrusion on religious liberty by making the compelled contributions magically disappear."

    Let me be clear.

    Economic worries, Al Qaeda leaders, compelled contributions, ...: I am the "Shazam President".

  • shrike||

    *slurp slurp slurp*

  • ||

    Very good, now wipe your chin

  • Alan Vanneman||

    The vast majority of women, of whom Jake is not one, use or have used birth control. The point seems to be that men should be able to tell women what to do, as God intended. Birth control is really a phony issue, that allows the Catholic Church to pretend that it is as important as it used to be. The Church set out to roll Obama, and instead it got rolled. I shed no tears for the wounded vanity of old men in funny hats. Learn to lose, geezers.

  • sarcasmic||

    The dispute is whether or not the government can force religious organizations to pay for birth control, even if it goes against their teachings.

    Nobody is saying that the employees of these organizations can't purchase birth control with their own money.

  • Anal Vanneman||

    The vast majority of women, of whom Jake is not one, use or have used birth control. Therefore it should be free of charge, as God Obama intended.

  • Jane Doe||

    Nobody is saying that the employees of these organizations can't purchase birth control with their own money.

    But that would be UNFAIR! At least give them a tax write-off!

  • Fulton||

    "Nobody is saying that the employees of these organizations can't purchase birth control with their own money."

    Absolutely. This is the crucial point, if the Catholic Church pays money then all that money is Catholic money now and forever. The employee's salaries are Catholic money and how that money is spent is a matter of religious liberty for the Catholic Church to control how its money is spent. That's why the cost of contraceptives should not be borne by the Church whether passed to it by the market through the insurance plans of its employees or through their employee's expenditures. No matter how you cut it the money belongs to the Catholic Church, no matter who spends it! We need Rick Santorum to end this madness!

  • Esteban||

    So employers don't pay for health insurance now? Employees pay the full price for their coverage?

  • Rev. Blue Moon ||

    The vast majority of women, of whom Jake is not one, use or have used birth control.

    Not relevant. Men have benefited from and have likely participated in important decisions around birth control. And even if they hadn't - so what? It is the definition of ad hominem.

    The point seems to be that men should be able to tell women what to do, as God intended.

    No, it seems to be about liberty of conscience and contracts AKA "free minds and free markets"

    The Church set out to roll Obama, and instead it got rolled. I shed no tears for the wounded vanity of old men in funny hats. Learn to lose, geezers.

    Shorter Anal: "Ha, ha, I don't care about freedom unless it's my ox getting gored."

    Sherlock Holmes and the Case of the Brain-Dead but Beloved Commenter

  • Tim||

    ..."men should be able to tell women what to do,"

    Shut up bitch.

  • mofo||

    Are you trolling? None of what you said makes any sense, not even accidentially.

  • Barack Obama||

    Let me be clear.

    There are some who claim that none of what I say makes any sense, not even accidentally.

  • ||

    Funny

  • ||

    HEY GUYS I'M ALAN VANNEMAN! ALAN VANNEMAN! ALAN VANNEMAN EVERYBODY!

  • Rev. Blue Moon ||

    I would like to know why Alan deigns to ride in here, make a one-off nonsense comment, and then fail to defend himself.

    Maybe he takes the name "Hit & Run" literally.

  • ||

    The whys of Alan Vanneman are best left unpondered.

  • ||

    C'mon, Anal, this isn't about men telling women not to use birth control, its about women paying for their own damn birth control if their employer doesn't want to.

    And you know it.

  • Joe M||

    The New York Times called the new approach a "concession," saying it "shifts the cost to insurers."

    It's almost like they don't understand economics at all.

  • NYT||

    SHAZAM!!

  • Aborted Stork||

    +1

    lulz lulz lulz lulz...

  • ||

    It's almost like they don't understand economics at all.

    Almost?

  • WWNGD?||

    I just want to mumble something about separation of church and state, except when it comes to the state controlling the church.

  • shrike||

    Those who would trade FREE SHIT for religious liberty deserve neither.

  • ||

    Sounds like a pretty fair conclusion to me dude. WOw.

    www.Privacy-Wares.tk

  • Dick Fitzwell||

    The White House argues that there will be no need, because providing 100 percent coverage for contraception and sterilization saves insurers money by preventing expensive pregnancies and births.

    I can't believe that those greedy, money grubbing, evil insurance companies never thought of this!

  • Eric||

    I think that I could be Libertarian, if it wasn't for these god dammed insufferable Libertarians.

    Thank you.

  • Eric||

    I think that I could be Libertarian, if it wasn't for these god dammed insufferable Libertarians.

    Thank you.

  • ||

    Whats the big deal?

    Just put a jammy on that jimmy

  • ||

    Actually the business is NOT the one forced to pay, it's the employee who pays, as so many articles here have said in the past. It's really the employee's money, not the employers. Do we truly believe that or not?

    If we do, then we cannot allow an employer to dictate to an employee what moral code to follow. We cannot allow employers to say "we will not let you purchase insurance that covers contraception"

    It's the employee's money, it's the employee's freedom of religion that is at stake. These employers and religions want to quash their members' freedom of religion.

    Now an employee might choose a plan that does not cover contraception, but it is really no difference in price to the insurance company, and in the end the extra record keeping to have two plans might even cost insurers more.

    But in the end, these priests and religions and yes you too, have no right to complain about their rights. It's not their rights that are at stake. It's the members of the religions and the employees. If the religious organizations win, then their members lose.

  • ||

    If we do, then we cannot allow an employer to dictate to an employee what moral code to follow. We cannot allow employers to say "we will not let you purchase insurance that covers contraception"

    If the employers weren't paying a nickel toward the premium, you might have a point. But they are, so what they are saying is "We won't pay for health insurance that covers contraception."

    Not only that, but the employee is always free to buy a policy outside of work. Even an employer that doesn't pay any of the premium, but doesn't offer a group health plan that covers contraception, isn't prohibiting their employees from paying their own money for such a policy.

  • ||

    The employers AREN'T paying for it. That insurance policy is not some gift from the employer, it is purely a product of the employer's labor. It is no different than the wages they earn. If the employee didn't perform a useful service, then they wouldn't have employed the person in the first place.

    In other words, if you claim that the employer is "paying" for part of the insurance policy and anything that covers, you are claiming that the employer owns the labor of employee, which I would think would be profoundly anti-libertarian.

  • ||

    The employers AREN'T paying for it.

    So, those checks they write aren't transferring money from the employer's account to the insurance company?

    That insurance policy is not some gift from the employer, it is purely a product of the employer's labor. It is no different than the wages they earn.

    It is part of their compensation, which the employer is (or should be) free to pay on the employer's own terms, yes?

    you are claiming that the employer owns the labor of employee, which I would think would be profoundly anti-libertarian.

    The employer certainly owns the labor that it has purchased from the employee in exchange for the compensation offered by the employer. I don't see how that is unlibertarian at all.

    And, the employee is free to exchange that labor for different/better compensation at a different employer, if they so desire.

  • ||

    You seem to be arguing that an employer has no rights whatsoever in determining how to compensate their employees. That strikes me as pretty unlibertarian, right there.

  • foobaz||

    well... I have way more than 900 bytes to rant about. (Please let me know if multiposting is frowned upon, and I will switch to pithy one-liners.)

    1/7: @rcdean, you are on the right track, but be careful... you are in a maze of twisty passages, all alike. You are complaining about the 'rights of employers', which is to say, from a libertarian standpoint, the rights of *individuals* who happen to hire somebody. Obviously, government mandates that force that boss-individual to pay for some kind of perk are anti-libertarian. That's transferring money from the wallet of the boss, into the pocket of the employee, with governmental helicopter gunships pointed at their head. But the point made by plutosdad is that the individual rights of the employee must also be preserved, by all true libertarians.

  • foobaz||

    2/7: Although contract law permits employee and boss to work out *almost* whatever contract they wish, many contracts are void *because* they in & of themselves constitute a violation of somebody's fundamental individual rights. If I am your boss, and I hire you to work for me, I can offer you compensation such as money + benefits, and in return I can require of you services such as sweeping the floor or programming a PC. But the contract cannot say that the worker and their kids will be chattel-slaves of the boss, right? Similarly, it cannot say that the boss will (purposely outlandish example) perform a contract killing of some enemy of the worker, as a 'benefit' aka perk aka part compensation, nor can the employee work as a hitman. These null-n-void contracts all boil down to this: contract law can't be used to sneak around individual rights guaranteed by The C.

  • foobaz||

    3/7: So. A collectivist organization, the Catholic church, complains that new laws ('contracts' that are forcibly enacted upon all citizens) make them to pay a perk to employees that they do not wish to pay. You might argue that the individual owner of a hospital, for instance Bishop Smith of Anytown, ought not have the govt impose such a requirement on him, since it conflicts with tenets of his religion, and is thus a violation of the freedom of exercise of religion. But this is a very murky area! Some religious tenets involve the sacrifice of non-consenting vestal virgins to the volcano gods, for instance. No libertarian would argue that, when the government *prevents* sacrifice to the volcano, to preserve the individual right to life + liberty + pursuit of non-lava-oriented happiness, they are somehow infringing on the freedom-of-conscious of the volcano church!

  • foobaz||

    4/7: The volcano church was in the wrong, in the first place, by trying to force their moral code on unwilling virgins - which is not just murder, but sexually discriminatory. (Yes, sex discrim wasn't in the C originally... suffrage and the ending of legalized slavery and so on just goes to prove that what *was* most important in the C was the idea of individual rights. Serious bigotry issues, leftovers from earlier times, made us screw the pooch and define Individual to exclude women and slaves. Later fixed, because *most* of the C is wonderously golden. PETA would like redefine Individual to include the individual cow, and the individual stalk of wheat, so clearly this idea of "fixing" can be taken ludicrously if we aren't careful. But that is what I am trying to get you to do here - be careful with words.)

  • foobaz||

    5/7: So, to come back full circle, is the Catholic church trying to tell employees they cannot have birth-control *forcing* them? Yes, indirectly, it is. Because why? Well, the obvious reason: the government is forcing the (individual or collective - makes no difference in this case) employer to provide all individual employees with some mandatory perk. In other words, by libertarian standards, the govt is in the wrong. The church, as a collective organization, is trying to assert *their* bit of control *over* the existing (anti-libertarian) control that the govt has already put in place. This doesn't put the Catholic folks into the same class as the volcano gods, but it does put them in the wrong, indirectly kinda.

  • foobaz||

    6/7: At the end of the day, what I'm trying to say is that by defending the rights of individual employers to not have *particular* government rules forced on them, you are making the mistake of implicitly *supporting* the imposition of *any* such controls in the first place. To wrap things up, *any* time the govt imposes controls on the individual business owner - which is *distinct* from defending the individual rights of some other person - such as taking money from the wallet of the boss and forcing them to pay employees govt-defined perks, then you have opened up the door to insanity. The big story here is not that the Catholic church should be able to control whether their employees have access to birth control, nor whether the government should be able to control whether the Catholic church must provide such things for free.

  • foobaz||

    7/7: The big story is that, any time you start the ball rolling, by violating the rights of one group via the power of govt, you are guarantee more and more violations later. Controls beget more controls, when we're talking econ. But it also holds true when we're talking civil liberty. Methinks the libertarian response to Obama + congress imposing healthcare reqs, which then the church wants to tweak so that the controls line up with *their* idea of a proper way to control employees, is double-wrongness. If people want to buy birth control, with their own money that they earned, then they should have the freedom to do so, period, nothing more to be said, transmission ends.

    cf rec#1 here -- http://reason.com/archives/201.....out-of-the
    cf last paragraph -- http://reason.com/archives/201.....aception/1

  • Jerryskids||

    It's really the employee's money, not the employers.

    Um, what is the "it" you are referring to? The pay plus benefits package the employer offered and the employee accepted? Or the pay plus benefits package the government has - post facto - decided the employer must offer and the employee must accept?

  • Jerryskids||

    Ooops. This was posted before I finished my typing my comment.

    it is purely a product of the employer's labor

    I am assuming he meant "product of the employee's labor".

    End of conversation.

  • Sovereign Citizen||

    Can any of the lefties on here tell us why employers provide health insurance?

  • NL_||

    Because who better to give us access to life-extending and life-saving medical treatment than soulless, profit-hungry corporations?

    Also, tax breaks.

  • ||

    Hi, S.C. during our last great depression, congress or some such critter froze people's pay. Companies couldn't hire people for the value of the work, so they started throwing in fringe benefits such as health insurance. and we have never looked back.

  • NL_||

    Apparently companies are greedy, rapacious monsters, ravenously exploiting customers unless blocked by a consumer protection watchdog like the CFPB.

    Also, companies are virtuous, long-sighted exemplars of public good, willing to forgo cash in hand in exchange for largely speculative gains sometime down the road.

    It's interesting that in this scenario, the Administration is making profit-seeking health insurers (one of the more despised industries) out to be unalloyed white knights, while non-profit educational institutions and health care providers (two of the more admired industries) out to be bigoted, misogynist black hats.

  • ||

    The fact of the matter is even worse than you here are talking about. HHS issued their regulations last Friday - late in the day, of course - and guess what? That particular regulation has been issued without change. President Obama lied when he said that he was going to have the regulation changed so that the institutions wouldn't have to violate their religion's rules. Oh, yes, HHS issued a note on their website that 'future modifications would be considered'. That is called a lie. So, there was no compromise, faux or otherwise, just another lie. Smile! I'm from Washington and I'm here to help you! Aren't you getting tired of this?

  • Jane Linscott||

    Do people relize that now you will be able to change welfare. Make mothers get a shot for birth control or no money! "Saying it is against my religion" won't work anymore. So now the mother with 10 kids can go out and get a job!!!

  • ||

    Why should churches or religious institutions be different? I have to pay for wars, oil company subsidies, agri-biz subsidies, and many other things I find repugnant. I even have to cover the tax liabilities churches are exempt from -- something else I find morally repugnant.

    Let me out of paying for these things and I'll take the churches whining about paying for women's health care seriously. Until then, they can all go to hell. Except the Pastafarians -- they're cool.

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