Today we are again invited to believe that to deny a taxpayer subsidy is to withhold a right. For no discernible reason, the Obama administration has decreed that all contraceptives must be provided “free” to those who want them (which of course means that everyone else’s insurance rates must rise).
The administration demands this despite the fact that 1) most Americans can well afford their own contraception (it’s less than the cost of a weekly trip to Starbucks); 2) inexpensive contraceptives are widely available at every supermarket and pharmacy; 3) Medicaid recipients already receive them free; 4) the feds also spend another $300 million annually to provide free contraceptives to those who are low-income, uninsured, or otherwise do not qualify for Medicaid; and 5) Planned Parenthood and state and local public health clinics distribute contraceptives free around the nation.
That even Catholic institutions, who object to this command on religious grounds, are to be bullied by the federal government into violating their consciences, ought to have provoked an outcry from liberals, allegedly firm guardians of the First Amendment. Instead, a compliant media has peddled the narrative of a supposed Republican “war on women.” Every Sunday talk host presented the issue on the Democrats’ terms. Senator Frank Lautenberg (D., N.J.) wailed that Republicans “want to take us back to the Dark Ages . . . when women were property.” The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is encouraging signatures on a petition to fight back against Republican efforts “to deny tens of thousands of American women life-saving health care services.”
More bunk. Contraceptives are not a matter of life and death. But even if they were, as for example, cancer drugs are, is that an argument for forcing insurance companies to provide them free of charge? Why not force free distribution of all medicines? The mandate makes no economic, social, or moral sense.