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Ed Ross | Monday, March 5, 2012

On Mar 1, in her testimony before the House Energy and Commerce Committee, Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius made it clear why the Obama administration is pushing free contraception for women and seeks also to curtail religious freedom and force certain Catholic institutions to provide free contraception against their religious doctrine.

She said; “The reduction in a number of pregnancies compensates for the cost of contraception.” To which Tim Murphy (R-PA) responded, “So you’re saying by not having babies born, we’re going to save money on healthcare?”—a remark Ms. Sebelius did not take issue with.

Free contraception, of course, isn't the only way to prevent the birth of more babies; the next step is free abortions.

From the outset of this controversy, the Obama administration, Democrats in Congress and liberal women’s-advocacy groups have staunchly defended the new free-contraception policy as they have defended abortion, as a "woman's choice" and a “women’s health” issue.

They don’t want the debate to focus on religious freedom, nor do they want it to focus on bringing down the overall cost of healthcare. The former resonates even with Catholic women that use contraception. The latter emphasizes the ominous nature of Obamacare. Because so many American women use contraception, they’re counting on the women’s-health argument to divert attention from both.

This strategy was on display last week when Georgetown University law student and activist Sandra Fluke testified before the Democrat Steering and Policy Committee chaired by House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi. Georgetown is a Catholic university.

Ms. Fluke told the committee about the health and financial problems Georgetown University Law women have that can't afford to buy their own birth control. She said that contraception cost students $3,000.00 over the three-years of law school. Fluke cited medical reasons for taking birth control pills that have nothing to do with having sex, but those reasons didn’t apply to the overwhelming majority of her classmates.

Radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh ridiculed Ms. Fluke on his program by suggesting that Georgetown Law students obviously where having too much sex and wanted Americans to pay for it. He said "Well, what would you call someone who wants us to pay for her to have sex? What would you call that woman? You'd call 'em a slut, a prostitute or whatever."

Ms. Fluke, as you would expect, said she felt “outraged” over Rush Limbaugh’s personal attacks and called his remarks “really inappropriate” and “outside the bounds of civil discourse.”

Democrats immediately rushed to Ms. Fluke’s defense. President Obama was so concerned about the effect of Limbaugh’s remarks on Ms. Fluke that he called her to make sure she was all right. Democrats in Congress called for the GOP to condemn Limbaugh’s remarks.

Rush Limbaugh has apologized to Ms. Fluke for insulting her; and he said his remarks were deliberately “absurd” to “bring attention to absurdity.”

I doubt, however, that Limbaugh's apology will much ameliorate Democrats outraged over his attack on Ms. Fluke; they couldn’t be happier with the opportunity to divert public attention away from the religious-freedom and cost-saving arguments. They want Americans to believe that their policies on contraception aren’t about the role of government, individual freedom, religious convictions, and cost cutting but about women’s health.

Women’s health is a legitimate issue when it comes to the use of birth control pills and other forms of contraception; birth control pills, for example, are used to treat ovarian cysts.

Free or affordable contraception, however, is widely available in America to rich and poor alike through Planned Parenthood and other similar organizations. The Wall Street Journal reports that 27 states provide free contraception and other reproductive-health services to lower-earning women through a Medicaid pilot project.

It’s simply not necessary to provide a free-contraception mandate in Obamacare to address the women’s health issue. If free contraception for those that can’t afford it is necessary, there are better ways to provide that assistance that don’t put Catholic institutions in a bind or raise everyone else’s health insurance cost. Providing it to Georgetown Law students who pay $200,000 or more or receive scholarships to obtain a law degree is absurd.

More important, we should not allow misdirection and deception to obscure the larger issues; to what extent do you want the federal government involved in individual decisions about your personal life?

Do you want the federal government pursuing policies that reduce births because it seeks to hold down health care costs? The natural progression of this logic is free abortions. If preventing births to reduce healthcare costs by providing free contraception, which includes morning-after abortifacient drugs, is good and desirable, why not double down and provide free abortions?

If you think that can't or isn't likely to happen in the next four years, should President Obama win a second term, you should take the time to read the “Affordable Health Care Act” (Obamacare). The Secretary of HHS has the authority to mandate coverage of anything he or she adds to the “preventive services” list. There is no statute preventing Sebelius or her successor under President Obama from adding abortion to that list.

Free contraception is a stalking horse. If President Obama is reelected there is nothing Republicans in Congress can do to stop HHS from mandating free abortions without a veto proof majority in both houses of Congress.

Many Americans, no doubt, want free contraception and abortions on demand, many more do not. Even if you support such policies, however, do you want the camel’s nose under the tent?

What the government gives it can take away. If it can give you free contraception and abortions, it can take away dialysis, heart transplants, and cancer treatments for selected groups of people in order to hold down the costs of healthcare. 


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Sebelius: Fewer Babies Born Will Save Healthcare Costs

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Did the Obama Camp Flat Out Lie About the Contraception Mandate by Posting This 'Permission Slip?'

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Copyright © Edward W. Ross 2006-2012 All Rights Reserved



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