On Friday on the campaign trail, President Obama doubled down on his decision to erode religious liberty by regulation.
Referencing the Department of Health and Human Services abortion-drug, contraception, sterilization mandate, the president said: “I don’t think a college student in Fairfax or Charlottesville should have to choose between text books or the preventive care that she needs. That’s why we passed this law. And I am proud of it. It was the right thing to do. And we are going to keep it.”
In Fairfax, Va., he further said: “Doctors prescribe contraception not only for family planning, but as a way to reduce the risk of ovarian and other cancers. And it’s good for our health-care system in general — because we know the overall cost of care is lower when women have access to contraceptive services.”
I’m glad he brought that up, because this is at the heart of Sandra Fluke’s fame. She originally came to the scene talking about an anonymous friend at Georgetown, a lesbian — this last description to underscore that she did not need the contraception for birth control so much as for a medical condition — who was refused coverage for contraceptive pills prescribed as hormone therapy for an ovarian cyst. This woman, whoever she is, fell victim to a bureaucrat not following Georgetown’s own policy, which allows such coverage, as would any Catholic institution. Buzzfeed has made this point, too. Now-archbishop William Lori of Baltimore also pointed out in front of a congressional committee (in a now-infamous hearing) that there is no moral objection to hormone therapy in such a situation. As the health-care directives issued by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops explain:
Direct sterilization of either men or women, whether permanent or temporary, is not permitted in a Catholic health care institution. Procedures that induce sterility are permitted when their direct effect is the cure or alleviation of a present and serious pathology and a simpler treatment is not available.
This is the same mandate that the president has bragged about, that his HHS secretary has referred to as a tool of “war” for suppressing the backward views of those who have moral qualms about abortion and contraception and sterilization.
This is not something this president should be allowed to get away with. Fertility is not a disease, as the “preventative” scenario and the regulation, under “preventative services” in the president’s health-care monstrosity, insists. And as was made even clearer when the Protestant Tyndale Bible publisher had to file suit in court over the HHS mandate last week, this is not just a “Catholic problem,” or a situation of bishops wanting to impose their views on America, but a simple matter of religious freedom: protecting our rights to live our faith outside of the walls of a house of worship — a fundamental right, and a good.
UPDATE: More on the same stop here.