Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards was on MSNBC Wednesday afternoon, and she confirmed that there was no policy change announced by the White House Friday on the HHS mandate. She said that the latest regulatory move “simply clarifies what they already said, which is, religious churches, places of worship, do not have to provide contraception to employees.” Richards applauded the White House for standing firm in insisting that “your boss can’t decide whether or not you can get birth control.”
Richards would know; she was in the room for the crafting of the “accommodation” of last February and would surely take action if there were any White House concession to those of us concerned about religious liberty in America on account of this policy.
This latest “accommodation” does nothing to protect the Green family that runs Hobby Lobby from having to provide this coverage. The Greens don’t actually have the power to keep their employees from the abortion drugs they are morally opposed to, they are simply fighting for the conscience protections that there had been a bipartisan consensus about. But federal policy currently insists that the Greens must violate their consciences if they want to continue to run their arts-and-crafts business, threatening them with crippling fines for noncompliance.
But never mind about the Greens and religious freedom if you’re on MSNBC. “These are folks who don’t want women to have access to birth control,” Richards insisted, about critics of the mandate. Never mind that some of these “folks” aren’t even opposed to the contraception aspect of it.
Richards insisted that critics, including those in court, are extremists who “want to take reproductive-health access away from women.” This scare tactic is an attempt to obscure the stealth abortion-drug coverage they’ve snuck in here, obscured by the near-universal emphasis in the media on birth control, following Planned Parenthood’s lead.
There is not a contraception-access problem in this country. And this unnecessary and offensive HHS mandate is not about contraceptive access. It’s about solidifying, institutionalizing, and coercing a radical sexual revolutionary value and punishing those who do not obey.
It is “just insane that in the 21st century we are having this debate,” Richards says. I suppose I agree with that, for different reasons. Though I’m not sure I’d use the word “insane.” Given the trajectory of the last few decades, it actually makes some sense. It’s very difficult to have a sane, truthful, helpful conversation about anything that touches upon issues involving sex without polarization, obfuscation, and manipulation. There’s a weird, disturbing denial going on about what’s healthy and who’s happy. And we’re decades into a privatization of religion, in which faith’s value to the public square and civil society has been minimized by elites. It’s trickled down as everyone has been educated in schools and culture that this is just about the only thing we can be sure of, that God belongs only inside that house of worship unless we need to reference Him as a safe harbor when something terrible happens or we otherwise want to feel better about ourselves.
That MSNBC segment was pure propaganda. And anyone who cares to do anything today to help educate people about the religious liberty that is being redefined before our eyes, as we look away, I thank you in advance, as a fellow American, who’d like to see this country continue to be the beacon it has been in protecting religious freedom and seeing the free practice of real religion as something good for the nation.
Some links you might want to share:
NR’s editors: “HHS Mandate Has Not Changed“
Yuval Levin: “New Round of Intolerance“
James Capretta: “Another Non-Accommodation“
Mark Rienzi walks through the many ways Friday’s release is “Not New, Not Broad, Not a Compromise.”
And, for the Record: “Defending Religious Liberty Is Not a Right-Wing Thing, It’s Simply Right.”