Lifting the Veil on the HHS Mandate And a Query to the Administration UPDATED

Joanne McPortland does all of the heavy lifting for us. All we have to do is put our thinking caps on, and consider the source of the whole twisted enterprise known as the HHS Mandate. Joanne lays it all out clearly and succinctly, and you will want to read it all. Here’s a taste, though, to get you started.

As we continue the skirmish known variously as The Battle for Religious Freedom and The War on Women, I continue to be fascinated by the underlying assumptions and agendas behind the contested portion of the HHS mandate. To repeat what often gets lost, Catholic leaders are not taking issue with the President’s health care plan–indeed, Catholics were strongly in favor of broadening access to healthcare–or even with many of the other women’s health initiatives among which the disputed regulation is included. We’re all for equalizing access to screening for diabetes and heart disease, among a number of other areas in which coverage for women’s health care lagged behind that for men. The piece that we object to, on grounds that have been well spelled out in recent lawsuits, is the mandate that requires employers to provide a full range of contraceptive services (including those the Church, which teaches that life begins at conception and not at implantation, defines as abortifacients) and sterilization at no cost to their female employees as part of covered preventive care.

The administration believes it has made a compelling case for overriding conscience concerns. This case draws on recommendations made by the National Institute of Medicine in a July 2011 white paper. This outlines in detail the “public health emergency” upon which the case for the mandate has been made, but here is a quick summary, as objectively worded as I can manage:

  • US women are at risk of unintended pregnancy. This risk is heightened among young, poor, uneducated, nonwhite women.
  • Unintended pregnancy is a health risk to both women and their children because unwanted pregnancies lead directly to higher rates of depression, drug abuse, child abuse, and stress. All unintended pregnancies are unwanted pregnancies. These risks are in addition to the risks that come from pregnancy; women who are not pregnant are healthier than women who are.
  • Unintended pregnancies have economic consequences for society. Pregnancies cost society more than population control.
  • The chief contributing factor for the public health emergency of unintended pregnancy is lack of access to reliable forms of contraception. This lack of access is chiefly economic.
  • The types of contraception most effective against unintended pregnancy are those that remove the need for user compliance (sterilization, IUDs, and implants); this is particularly true among young, poor, and uneducated women who are not reliable when having to use methods that make them have to make a decision at the time of intercourse. The most effective methods, however, are the most expensive.
  • Women would choose these more effective methods in much higher numbers than they do now if cost were not an object.

My mother always used to tell me to “consider the source,” so I read the NIM study and checked the research on which it (and the subsequent HHS mandate) was based. It was not surprising that every single premise drew on research from the Guttmacher Institute of Planned Parenthood. Nor was it surprising that President Obama, to whom Planned Parenthood is a key donor, would be adamant about enforcing directives based on its agenda.

…But another study is also making news today–one I only learned about from attempts to refute it because it turns the party line on its head.

Joanne’s  mom was a smart woman. And she’s a chip off the old block herself. Read the whole thing. Bookmark it. Share it with everyone you know. But before you go to work, stick with me for a minute or two longer. Because all of the signs were there from the start, you know. Maybe everyone hasn’t connected the dots, though. If you think that Joanne’s post still isn’t enough, here are some more hints for your consideration.

We’re you riding along with me as we flew the Freedom of Conscience petition past Max-Q and 25,000 signatures? That was a great effort and I appreciate everyone who hopped aboard. About five days before the “Accommodation” was announced, NARAL launched their own little petition, like a surface-to-air missile hot on our tail. At the time, I called it a horse race. A few days later, after we crossed 29,000+ signatures, well ahead of ‘ol Goliath, the Administration waved the checkered, and said “game over.” We had skunked them, fair and square.

They called the race over, for both petitions, see. And they answered the petition the same evening the President announced his phony “Accommodation.” And in that “Accommodation,” which did nothing to ameliorate the moral dilemma faced by the Church, and by her faithful, the evidence of who is behind the whole thing was very clear: NARAL and Planned Parenthood. Recall their rapid agreement to the Administrations proposal? It’s all right here in black and white,

Planned Parenthood’s response:

The Obama administration has reaffirmed its commitment to ensuring all women will have access to birth control coverage, with no costly co-pays, no additional hurdles, and no matter where they work.

NARAL’s response:

Today’s announcement makes it clear that President Obama is firmly committed to protecting women’s health.

As Cardinal Dolan said to Charlie Rose the other day, that’s also about the same time that the Administration stopped talking to the Church. You may recall that President Obama, and his dutiful hands at the HHS Department informed Cardinal Dolan, and the USCCB that the mandate is a fait accompli. And they published the law as it was written, and have never budged again.

And so the Church is suing the U.S. Government, because unlike the folks at Susan G. Komen, see, we don’t back down from defending life against bullies and thugs that believe killing baby human beings is an acceptable practice. You can jail us, you can fine us, and you can even kill us, but we will never back down from shining the harsh light of truth on this despicable, sinful, practice.

If the administration hasn’t yet noticed a drop in the polls, they will. Because unless they rescind this unjust, unconstitutional mandate, they will likely lose the election. Rescind it, and their odds will drastically improve for the better. It all kind of reminds me of a scene from a movie I saw once (or twice). Do you feel lucky?

That’s not just the “Catholic Vote” asking the question, by the way. And the only violence being threatened is the kind that takes place in the ballot box. Because as Marc Barnes noted recently as well, and another guy I know, it’s your move, Mr. President.

Now scram. Get on with the work of sharing Joanne’s post with every freedom loving person you know. Godspeed.

The Becket Fund has a “must share” HHS Mandate Information Center.
Ross Douthat: Obama vs. Catholics, Catholics vs. Obama.
LifeSite News: President Obama: The Best thing to happen to the Pro-Life movement in years?
Catholic Vote: Obama pulls out the “But I’ve got friends who are Catholic” defense.

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