Last week the president, along with the Secretary of Health and Human Services, announced a startling new policy: all health insurers would be required to offer contraceptives to women without co-pay. The reaction was loud, long and raucous. How dare the Secretary and her President launch this attack on religious freedom?
Mike Huckabee, the Baptist minister, who now preaches on Fox news, accused Obama of “a direct violation of the first amendment” and grandly declared that “we are all Catholics now”.
Mitt Romney called the new rule “an assault on religion”.
Rick Santorum was at least consistent: He called once again for a ban on all contraceptives as they interfere with God’s will.
Overlooked has been the fact that twenty two states already require health insurers to provide contraception. Some states create an exception for religious organizations, but many do not.
Guess who the Governor of Arkansas was when their version of the law was adopted? That’s right! Mike Huckabee signed it into law in 2005.
When Romney became Governor of Massachusetts that state already required insurance companies to provide contraceptives. Did he try to change the law? Certainly not. It became part of that state’s health care act (Romneycare), signed into law by then Governor Romney in 2006.
In 1997, Republican Olympia Snow sponsored a bill which aimed at requiring contraceptive coverage nationally. It was also sponsored by seven other Republican Senators and fifteen Republican members in the House.
Three years later the EEOC (“Equal Employment Opportunity Commission”) adopted a rule that required any business which employed more than fifteen people and provided health insurance, to be required to include in the coverage, contraceptives for women. That rule was in affect when Bush became President. He did nothing to change it, and his Attorney General John Ashcroft testified that he would “defend the rule”.
Rick Santorum ran for reelection as Senator for Pennsylvania in 2005. He lost by 18 percentage points. A great many people believe that his overwhelming defeat was the result of his position on contraception.
Every person I have mentioned so far is a man. It is a woman who carries the child for nine months, suffers the pain of birth, and then has most, if not all of the responsibility for raising the child.
Women should have the right to determine if, when and how often they have children. Thanks to the wonder of contraception they can do that. All they need is to have the men shut up and get out of their way. It would be helpful if the health insurance companies provide it free.