Yesterday on the Bill Bennett show, I opined that the Obama administration will reverse itself on the HHS mandate regarding contraceptives, sterilization, and abortifacients. But after reading that just weeks ago the president personally promised Archbishop Dolan that the provision “would go away,” I’m slightly more skeptical.
During the course of his public life, President Obama has taken the hard-left position on matters falling under the phrase “reproductive rights.” Recall that as a state senator he fought against the Illinois state version of the Born-Alive Infant Protection Act (BAIPA). BAIPA requires that babies born alive after a botched abortion be given medical care and sustenance as any other infant born alive, rather than be left to die in a hospital utility closet.
Not one senator — neither Boxer, Clinton, nor Kennedy — voted against BAIPA at the federal level. Even NARAL did not oppose it.
Now, it’s not easy getting to the left of NARAL on “reproductive rights” issues. So it’s unlikely that reproductive-rights organizations have had to twist the president’s arm to prevent him from caving on the mandate. And it’s just as unlikely that issuance of the mandate was some staff or bureaucratic bungle. Not only is the mandate something President Obama strongly supports, it’s clear form the reported exchange with Archbishop Dolan that the president harbored no illusions about the church’s vigorous opposition to the provision. Perhaps President Obama didn’t anticipate the degree of blowback, but he knew there’d be blowback. Nonetheless, the administration implemented the mandate.
If the mandate were promulgated in a second Obama term, the probability of rescission would be nil.