The article by Angela Morabito to which Kathryn links is a good example of how conservatives must not sound if they wish to win the debate over the HHS mandate. It suggests that Sandra Fluke has too much sex, says she speaks for “skanks who don’t want to take responsibility for their choices,” and rebukes her for having “missed the ten commandments.” Maybe the author was trying to be funny, but instead she conveys arrogance, condescension, and a total lack of manners.
But it’s not just about manners. It’s also about making the right arguments. Nothing in this debate hinges on the particular sexual choices of Sandra Fluke, whatever they may be. (She might have been a married student who wished to use contraception with her husband.) And nothing hinges on whether the Catholic teaching about contraception is sound. The fundamental point is twofold: that the government should not dictate to private institutions what sort of health-care coverage they must provide, and that the government should not force a religious institution to violate its conscience. There are a great many people who hold this position but are disgusted by remarks like Morabito’s. They are people we need on our side.
The Obama administration would like nothing more than to drag opponents of the HHS mandate into debates over the character of a particular young woman or the moral permissibility of contraception. These are traps. Don’t walk into them.