President Obama is catching some well-earned blowback for his decision to force religious institutions "to pay for health insurance that covers sterilization, contraceptives and abortifacients." You see, ObamaCare penalizes individuals (employers) who don't purchase (offer) a certain minimum package of health insurance coverage. The Obama administration is demanding that coverage must include the aforementioned reproductive care services. The exception for religious institutions that object to such coverage is so narrow that, as one wag put it, not even Jesus would qualify. HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius reassures us, "I believe this proposal strikes the appropriate balance between respecting religious freedom and increasing access to important preventive services." Ummm, Madam Secretary...the Constitution only mentions one of those things. The Catholic church is hopping mad. Even the reliably left-wing E.J. Dionne is angry, writing that the President "utterly botched" the issue "not once but twice" and "threw his progressive Catholic allies under the bus."
As I wrote over and over as Congress debated ObamaCare, anger and division are inevitable consequences of this law. I recently debated the merits of ObamaCare's individual mandate on the pages of the Wall Street Journal. Here's a paragraph that got cut from my essay:
We can be certain...that the mandate will divide the nation. An individual mandate guarantees that the government—not you—will decide what medical services you will purchase, including contraceptives, fertility services that result in the destruction of human embryos, or elective abortions. The same apparatus that can force Americans to subsidize elective abortions can also be used to ban private abortion coverage once the other team wins. The rancor will only grow.
Or as I put it in 2009,
Either the government will force taxpayers to fund abortions, or the restrictions necessary to prevent taxpayer funding will reduce access to abortion coverage. There is no middle ground. Somebody has to lose. Welcome to government-run health care.
The same is true for contraception. The rancor will grow until we repeal this law.
ObamaCare highlights a choice that religious organizations -- such as the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, where my grandfather served as counsel -- have to make. Either they stop casting their lots with Caesar and join the fight to repeal government health care mandates and subsidies, or they forfeit any right to complain when Caesar turns on them. Matthew 26:52.