advertisement

J. KARL MILLER: Freedom of contraception choice does not mean freedom from payment

Wednesday, March 21, 2012 | 6:00 a.m. CDT; updated 9:03 a.m. CDT, Wednesday, March 21, 2012

It is equally tragic and asinine when a simple First Amendment issue concerning religious freedoms evolves into an irrational attack on Republicans, labeling any opposition to the mandated provision of unlimited free contraception as yet another phase in the GOP's "War on Women."

When one discards the fancies of emotion, rumor, innuendo and lies instead, concentrating on cold, hard facts, a much different portrait is painted. First, the notion that the GOP initiated the controversy over the decision not to exempt religious employers' health care plans from requirements to offer contraception belies the reality that the opposition came from Catholic Bishops and other major religious denominations denouncing the assault on religious freedoms.

The U.S. Constitution's "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion" is self explanatory — the government may not dictate nor proscribe the teachings of a church or a religious group. Consequently, whether or not many or even all of its members reject the ban on contraception is irrelevant, the church doctrine and teachings are not subject to government interference or interpretation.

There is another but also closely related issue at stake. The first, as described above is the assault on religious freedom as, once more, the left-leaning progressive Democrats have employed their well-documented animus against the "religious right" in particular and the GOP in general to tilt and becloud the birth control issue. To infer that opposition to the contraception mandate violates a woman's right to choose is absurd.

The pundits and other proponents of contraception are on firm ground in assuming that "most Americans like contraception" and that the public favors its legality and wide availability. It is also accepted in law and by the vast majority of Americans, regardless of political or religious persuasion, that it is the right of every woman to have access to contraceptive birth control if she so chooses.

However, on what authority may the president order private companies to parcel out, free of charge, a service that his own secretary of Health and Human Services has described as a major financial burden? Where in the Constitution do we find precedent for government by presidential fiat in unilaterally decreeing contraception an entitlement and requiring insurance companies to pay for contraception?

Kathleen Sebelius, secretary of Health and Human Services, in testifying that fewer births means lower future health care costs, defended the mandate to provide unlimited free contraception and abortion-inducing drugs. That may well be true; however, those costs are merely passed on to taxpayers in the form of higher insurance premiums — nothing is free.

Accordingly, along with the Constitutional infringement on religious freedoms and unlawful assault on our collective pocketbooks instituted by the mandated "right" to contraception and birth control, there is a third issue — that of personal responsibility.

Unfettered access to contraception devices is a right enjoyed by all Americans, be they male or female. However, the right of access does not obviate the individual's responsibility to exercise common sense, reasonable caution or even abstinence in birth control measures.

Progressive and media histrionics notwithstanding; no one is questioning nor denying the right of a woman to choose to exercise contraception — the issue is whether the cost is an individual responsibility or to be borne by the taxpayers. Almost everyone is in favor of "free stuff" but, freedom of choice does not mean there is no charge for that choice.

J. Karl Miller retired as a colonel in the Marine Corps. He is a Columbia resident and can be reached via email at JKarlUSMC@aol.com.


Like what you see here? Become a member.


Show Me the Errors (What's this?)

Report corrections or additions here. Leave comments below here.

You must be logged in to participate in the Show Me the Errors contest.


Comments

Mark Foecking March 21, 2012 | 7:51 a.m.

"to be borne by the taxpayers"

Actually any such costs are borne by those people paying premiums for a policy that provides contraceptive benefits. The general taxpayers have nothing to do with that.

I suspect that, for most employees, this is a total non-issue. Either their insurance policy doesn't cover contraception in the first place (about half don't), or if it does, they work for a company or institution that has no religious affiliation, and no opinion on contraception. Generic oral contraceptives are available many places for $9/mo, or a whopping $108/year. This legislation doesn't matter.

This legislation attempts to fix something that is not a significant problem. There is also no "War on Women". Very little has changed in the area of reproductive rights since Roe v. Wade, and for all the GOP's bluster, few Americans support such changes.

DK

(Report Comment)
Christopher Foote March 21, 2012 | 12:00 p.m.

In response to this:
"However, on what authority may the president order private companies to parcel out, free of charge, a service..?"
Answer = none
However congress can and did when they passed the ACA. It is under the authority of the ACA that the federal government mandates contraceptive coverage. The executive branch is tasked with enforcing federal law. The specific language of the constitution directs that the President: "take care that the laws be faithfully executed". Thus the President, as head of the executive branch, is constitutionally bound to enforce federal law. One wouldn't want the President to ignore the legislative dictates of congress would you? If you don't like the law, elect a sufficient number of representatives/senators to pass legislation to appeal the ACA (or specific provisions stipulated by the ACA). Alternatively, petition the courts to find the law(s) unconstitutional. This is the current tact of the GOP vis a vis the ACA. I suppose their professed abhorence to judicial activism has been checked by their greater desire to thwart enactment of progressive policies.

(Report Comment)
Jonathan Hopfenblatt March 21, 2012 | 1:07 p.m.

Karl said: "It is equally tragic and asinine when a simple First Amendment issue concerning religious freedoms evolves into an irrational attack on Republicans, labeling any opposition to the mandated provision of unlimited free contraception as yet another phase in the GOP's 'War on Women.'"

Similar to how "the left" is accused of waging a "War on Religion" any time it's suggested that reproductive freedoms are important, or that it's outright discriminatory not to offer gay couples the same legal benefits that heterosexual couples enjoy.

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams March 21, 2012 | 2:50 p.m.

The ACA goes to SCOTUS soon. Although I have a preference on the outcome, the main fun and education will come from reading the decision and dissents (there will be some). I'm guessing this will be a defining moment on how the commerce clause is to be interpreted and implemented, one way or the other. The subsequent writings/blogs/complaints/whining/praises/etc., will be epic.

(Report Comment)
J Karl Miller March 21, 2012 | 3:06 p.m.

Mr Hopfenblatt,

Do you suppose you could tell me how this commentary "Similar to how "the left" is accused of waging a "War on Religion" any time it's suggested that reproductive freedoms are important, or that it's outright discriminatory not to offer gay couples the same legal benefits that heterosexual couples enjoy." is germane to anything I wrote?

I don't mind your criticism--in fact, it is often amusing. However, sometimes I have to wonder if you bother to read beyond the first paragraph or perhaps only the byline?

(Report Comment)
Ray Shapiro March 21, 2012 | 3:51 p.m.

("Georgetown co-ed: Please pay for us to have sex … We’re going broke buying birth control")
http://hotair.com/archives/2012/02/28/ge...

(Report Comment)
Jonathan Hopfenblatt March 21, 2012 | 4:06 p.m.

Karl: I mentioned that because you're singling out the attack on Republicans as an unfair move on the part of whoever is doing it, as if Republicans--especially of the strongly religious variety--don't do the same.

So, if you genuinely are interested in the cold, hard facts, perhaps you should just state your point instead of playing victim. The rest of your article could have stood on its own without the hypocritical, woe-be-me intro.

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams March 21, 2012 | 4:30 p.m.

Jon: I mentioned that because you're singling out the attack on Republicans as an unfair move on the part of whoever is doing it, as if Republicans--especially of the strongly religious variety--don't do the same.
_______________________

Too bad you didn't chime in against Rose Nolen's recent and one-sided victim posture about incivility ala Limbaugh, all the while ignoring liberal misogyny against conservative women. That was hypocritical woe-be-me, too, but you failed to comment. I don't know why.

(Report Comment)
Jonathan Hopfenblatt March 21, 2012 | 5:17 p.m.

Michael: I failed to comment because the Limbaugh issue is way overblown IMO.

Plus, you're reading way too much into Rose's article. She did use Limbaugh as the example, but she made zero references to party affiliation or political ideology, aka it makes no sense to accuse her of favoritism when her point was foul language in public in general, not "Republicans/conservatives do it." Also note that she says, "Personally, I liked it better in the old days. People knew they were not free to insult people, and they were not allowed to use certain phrases over the airwaves."

Hmmn, referencing society's downturn into incivility and hearkening back to the old days. Oh my, such disgusting liberal dreck, right?

(Report Comment)
David Rosman March 22, 2012 | 9:48 a.m.

Karl - Good column and good discussion going on. My concern is the lack of clear and referable proofs. - Dave

(Report Comment)
J Karl Miller March 22, 2012 | 10:30 a.m.

Much obliged for the kind words Dave.

(Report Comment)
John Bliss March 22, 2012 | 11:38 a.m.

Colonel, I felt the more pressing issue was seeing an all male panel talking about womens birth control! It was like the 1800's when all male doctors didn't write or speak of breast cancer...not that it didn't exist, but tbey TOO didn't know what they were talking about. GOOD ChaT over all Sir.

(Report Comment)
Don Milsop March 24, 2012 | 2:33 a.m.

We haven't seen incivility like there used to be in congress in the early days when fist fights broke out on the floor. Look at the newspaper articles depicting Abe Lincoln as an ape due to his features. Andrew Jackson's opponents said he should lose because his wife Rachel had gotten a divorce, so she was a sinful, immoral woman. Lively discussion and insults have been there throughout our political history. Commentators just framed their arguments in a less crude manner than they do now. Entertainment media, including FOX, has injected every sort of crude behavior in their programing. FOX just separates theirs from the news. It's small wonder that commentators today are less professional in their presentations than they were 60 years ago.

(Report Comment)
frank christian March 24, 2012 | 7:34 a.m.

Has anyone heard from Ellis Smith?

(Report Comment)

Leave a comment

Speak up and join the conversation! Make sure to follow the guidelines outlined below and register with our site. You must be logged in to comment. (Our full comment policy is here.)

  • Don't use obscene, profane or vulgar language.
  • Don't use language that makes personal attacks on fellow commenters or discriminates based on race, religion, gender or ethnicity.
  • Use your real first and last name when registering on the website. It will be published with every comment. (Read why we ask for that here.)
  • Don’t solicit or promote businesses.

We are not able to monitor every comment that comes through. If you see something objectionable, please click the "Report comment" link.

You must be logged in to comment.

Forget your password?

Don't have an account? Register here.

advertisements