Skip to comments.Obama Administration Partially Caves on Abortion/Contraception Mandate
Posted on 03/17/2012 5:40:46 AM PDT by NYer
From the National Catholic *Reporter* (not Register):
Taking a conciliatory tone and asking for a wide range of public comment, the Obama administration announced this afternoon new accommodations on a controversial mandate requiring contraceptive coverage in health care plans.
Coming after a month of continued opposition from the U.S. bishops to the mandate, which was first revised in early February to exempt certain religious organizations, today’s announced changes from the Department of Health and Human Services make a number of concessions, including allowing religious organizations that self-insure to be made exempt.
Also raised is the possibility that the definition given for religious employers in the original mandate could be changed.
. . .
News of the changes also came as a separate ruling on student health insurance coverage was announced by the Department of Health and Human Services this afternoon. Under that ruling, health care plans for students would be treated like those of employees of colleges and universities—meaning the colleges will have to provide contraceptive services to students without co-pay.
Religiously affiliated colleges and universities, however, would be shielded from this ruling, according to a statement from the HHS.
“In the same way that religious colleges and universities will not have to pay, arrange or refer for contraceptive coverage for their employees, they will not have to do so for their students who will get such coverage directly and separately from their insurer,” the statement said.
In the 32-page proposal on the broader health care mandate published in the Federal Register today, the Health and Human Services Department says it is not yet making final rules on the contraceptive mandate, but is instead issuing questions and suggestions for a 90-day comment period to begin today.
(Excerpt) Read more at ncregister.com ...
A few thoughts:
1) Note that this was in a Friday news dump from the administration, to have minimal news impact.
2) The provisions, while welcome, do not go far enough. Nobody should be required to pay for abortion and contraceptive services against their will. Religious freedom matters for everybody, not just the minimum number that the Obama administration thinks it must grant religious freedom to.
3) This is a sign of weakness. The Obama administration has begun to realize how badly it has burned itself by its thuggish, totalitarian move to restrict freedom of religion to freedom of worship in this country.
4) This is not the time for the bishops or others to go soft. It’s time to press further and demand full respect for religious liberty. Caving at the first opportunity would be a grave mistake.
5) Ignore analysis about tone (e.g., taking a conciliatry tone, dialing back rhetoric, etc.). Tone is just the wrapping on the package. What’s inside the package is what counts.
There is NO accommodation, nothing but distraction. It is a full frontal assault on liberty, regardless of the window dressing.
What everyone has to realize and hammer away at is that giving the HHS secretary authority to govern by decree is the problem.
HHS graciously makes a concession today.
HHS sternly reimposes the conceded point tomorrow.
HHS gives, HHS takes away, HHS gives, HHS takes away.
The bishops are fools if they fall for this. But to grasp what’s happening they have to realize that Obamacare’s power-granting to the bureaucrats is the problem, not the individual decrees issued, withedrawn, reissued, repackaged, gussied up, rehammered down by HHS.
You buy this? You don't know propaganda when you see it? The Obama gang is in full "lie big - rinse - repeat" mode.
Perhaps this whole thing will be moot. If the SCOTUS rules Obamacare to be unconstitutional in the curent court calender.
Good analysis from Mr. Akin. The Bishops need to push back and push hard: NO mandates for ANYTHING for ANYONE.
“negotiate” what? The law is already the law. Oh, you mean the same way a playful cat “negotiates” with a bedraggled mouse.
The administrators or third party managers would be responsible for contraception coverage? What if these folks are the religious organization itself (which is why they are self insured) or against contraception coverage too?
Not in any real sense. "The law," in this case, is whatever the Secretary of HHS - currently Darth Sebelius, may flying monkeys eat her gizzard - says it is. It's government by diktat, just like in any 3rd-world dictatorship or good old Soviet Russia.
Nonetheless, it would be a lot smarter, in my opinion, for the Church to stand on this hill rather than wait for the next assault: stand for every citizen (remember when we were citizens, rather than subjects?) and not just for themselves.
A very wise comment.
That's not what they are saying. The bishops' have taken the line:
This is only a partial reading of the HHS announcement. The goal is to put off any implementation until after the election. The 90 day listening period is only the start. After that there will be internal HHS discussions and proposals and more listening periods. After Obama is reelected there will be a very minor change in the original mandate and it will become law. Mike Barone is one of the few who have continually written about Obama’s strategy of pushing any important, controversial, or possible damaging decision to after November when they will no longer be in a position to damage him and where he will be able to implement the entire prog agenda with impunity. This is why the total ineptitude shown by the GOP in Congress and its POTUS candidates will enshrine this present GOP in an exalted place in an American Hall of Shame.
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I think the commenting thing does nothing anymore except to permit people to vent.
"The goal is to put off any implementation until after the election. The 90 day listening period is only the start. "
You're absolutely right. Barry has no intention of backing down but he'll try to put the actual implementation off until after the election, particularly if he can do so in a way that all his fascist supporters recognize as a typical bureaucratic game. Barry is hell bent on seeing this through to the Supreme Court so he will get some sort of ruling that sets limits on what will be defined as a religious objection. Once he has a ruling, anyone they don't like can be wrapped up in court for years trying to fight every little technicality they quietly introduce the same way people are not lost in the EPA maze over nearly anything someone wants to use to force others into court.
They have to have some sort of ruling that limits them in order to justify the next few steps of BarryCare, if you think about it. They can't just start off demanding that they know what your religion is and when you change from one approved church to another, so they have to have some good reason to "need" that information and losing over this issue in court gives them exactly the sort of reason to collect that information that they really want.
The goal is that anyone not a registered member of one of a government sanctioned (approved, recognized, whatever . . . ) religion will be unable to claim a religious objection to anything. Forcing people to wear a Star of David, Cross, or Crucifix, armband would be a bad PR move, but the democrat fascists want exactly that sort of religious information at their fingertips. Having "Christian", or "Mooze Lame", "Baptist", "Catholic", and so on, encoded on your Drivers' License or the wonderful new electronic medical ID they'll no doubt soon be promoting is critical to their long term eugenics goals.
Of course, they'll insist that the court ruling striking down their abortion mandate is "forcing" them to collect such information to ensure that they don't infringe your religious freedom if you're in the hospital. Once it's legally required, though, it'll be part of part and parcel of the automated care rationing process.
Don’t be a dupe. Any compromise now will end as soon as fools reelect this goon.
I wonder how that will play out with all the Christians who band together and ante into the pot to cover each other so outside insurance isn’t required.
Yes, I know. As the catz say, UR DOIN IT RONG, guys.
The church has to stand, as you say, and as much as I gripe about how they ignored the whole process until now, I am grateful they are standing, even as I’m fearful *they* will cave. As, in fact, they have been for a generation or more.
As others have pointed out, the Bishops don’t have the authority to give in, except on behalf of their individual dioceses. Faithful Catholic institutions are filing legal challenges, and they’re not going to withdraw them if a Bishop or the USCCB says a suitable compromise has been reached.
However, the heirarchy is missing a golden opportunity to place the American Catholic Church at the national level on the side of freedom for everyone and Christian moral values as a good for everyone. Even if they don’t reach an agreement with the Zero administration, they’ve already shown that they don’t “get it” regarding what is going on.
I didn’t mean “cave” in any official sense — there isn’t one. All they have is a pulpit, and in my opinion they have, collectively, wasted it. Now they want to be taken seriously — ok, better late than never— but where were they when the Community Organizer-cum-leader-of-the-free-world was campaigning with voodoo? Or when his footsoldiers were wearing “Obama 2008” baseball caps to Mass; or when the nation was “debating” this travesty of a law? The same place the bip — was it lynch?— was when Terri Schiavo was being starved to death: AWOL.