The Corner

Contraception Conscription and the Bigger Picture

Much has been written here about the phony “compromise” the Obama administration is offering to religious organizations opposed to contraception and the “Free Birth Control Rule.” But there has been little discussion about how the rule conscripts private insurance companies to provide a free product — which is just as wrong as forcing individuals to engage in commerce. I discuss that point elsewhere as part of a broader article on the entire mess.

According to DOJ legal briefs, the state has a compelling state interest in ordering businesses to provide free contraception in order to further “gender equality.” But that isn’t the purpose of health insurance. Moreover, it demonstrates that the Obama administration fully intends to draft the private sector to do its bidding in the service of its constituencies — and it won’t end with contraception. As I note in concluding my piece:

When you think about it, the free-birth-control “compromise” is ingenious statism . . . The issue here is not contraception, but the demolition of limited government. If the Obama administration can force the private sector to provide a free product to help the government circumvent a constitutionally protected freedom, what can it not do? Why not also one day mandate free, universal coverage of abortion? After all, the president and many of his supporters plainly would regard this as enlightened policy. For that matter, why should the ability to force the private sector to pay for favored social agendas be limited to health care? If this “compromise” sticks, all manner of power grabbers and social engineers will be rubbing their hands in eager anticipation of all the “good” they can do. 

There’s a word that describes an economic system in which the government effectively controls the private sector in service to the political, cultural, social, and other goals of the state. Hint: It begins with the letter “F.”

Wesley J. Smith — Wesley J. Smith is a senior fellow at the Discovery Institute’s Center on Human Exceptionalism.

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