Well, that wasn’t hard to predict.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D.-Calif.) vowed today that she will join with the Obama administration in standing up against the Catholic Church in defending a new regulation that will require Catholic individuals to buy, and Catholic institutions to provide, health insurance plans that cover sterilizations and artificial contraceptives, including those that induce abortions.
There’s video at the link, but CNSNews gives us the heart of the discussion:
At her Wednesday press briefing, CNSNews.com asked Pelosi: “The administration has issued a regulation that will require all health-care plans to cover sterilization and all FDA-approved contraceptives, including those that induce abortions. This would force Catholic individuals and institutions to act against their consciences. All across the nation, Catholic bishops are saying:–
Pelosi responded: “Is this a speech, or do we have a question in disguise as a speech?”
CNSNews.com continued: “‘We cannot–we will not—comply with this law.’ Catholic bishops are saying they will not comply with this law. Will you stand with your fellow Catholics in resisting this law or will you stick by the administration?”
Pelosi: “First of all, I am going to stick with my fellow Catholics in supporting the administration on this. I think it was a very courageous decision that they made, and I support it.”
“Stick with my fellow Catholics in supporting the administration,” Nancy? What planet are you living on? Bishops across the nation are saying that they oppose this, with one bishop going so far as to call HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius “a bitter fallen-away Catholic (who) now requires…coverage for evil and grave sin.” And it’s no wonder, given what Sebelius is reported to have said last November:
“We are in a war,” Sebelius told a recent pro-choice meeting. Opponents of the administration, she said, are trying to “roll back the last 50 years in progress women have made in comprehensive health care in America.”
It may not have been a war in November, Secretary Sebelius, but you sure seem to have started one now.
(Cross-posted at PJ Tatler.)
It seems that Obama may–I said may–have had what might–I repeat, might–be a good and workable idea.
In a separate statement, the White House announced 2012 grants of $166 million to hire veterans as police officers and $320 million to hire them as firefighters and emergency personnel.
Obama also will include in the 2013 budget a separate $4 billion in funding to promote police hiring, with communities that hire post-September 11 veterans getting preference for the funds. Another $1 billion would go to employ firefighters and emergency workers, the statement said.
This actually makes a good deal of sense, if you think about it. Veterans would logically have the physical and emotional training to handle high-stress jobs like police officer or firefighter, so they’d probably be a good fit for these positions.
The big question, however, is what happens once the grant money runs out? The fear is that if the grant money goes away, so do the positions, and that could put these vets out of work again. Of course, this is somewhat offset by the fact that by the time the grant runs out, the vets would have valuable experience as cops or firefighters, which might make it easier for them to find another position if they find themselves looking because the grant money isn’t there anymore.
Overall, count me as a cautious supporter of this idea.
(Cross-posted at PJ Tatler)
Boehner, Democrats for Life Both Oppose Forcing Church Hospitals to Provide Birth Control or Abortions
Opposition to HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius’ order that health-care providers affiliated with churches or religions–meaning mostly Catholic hospitals–provide birth control or abortion services that conflict with their religious beliefs has officially gone bipartisan.
First, as might be expected, House Speaker John Boehner, who is himself Catholic, spoke out about the order today:
“I think this mandate violates our Constitution,” Boehner, R-Ohio, said Thursday. “I think it violates the rights of these religious organizations. And I would hope that the administration would back up and take another look at this.”
He’s right, of course, this does violate the Free Exercise clause of the First Amendment, and you don’t need to be a legal scholar to see that. They’re being ordered by the federal government to do something that is in direct opposition to their religious beliefs, and that’s a restriction on their free exercise of their religion.
What’s interesting, however, is that a Democratic group is also speaking out against Sebelius’ order:
Also joining in disapproval was a group that includes Democratic lawmakers who helped engineer final passage of the health care law. The group, Democrats for Life of America, represents anti-abortion lawmakers who provided the margin of victory in Congress.
“Forcing religious institutions to provide insurance coverage for services that are directly in opposition to their moral beliefs is very clearly wrong,” said Kristen Day, its executive director.
For whatever reason (feel free to use your imaginations here), DFLA hasn’t yet posted this opposition on their website, but an item from November on their front page is also of interest (bold in original):
The PPACA ncluded a provision to mandate that insurance plans include free contraception coverage. The law also proposed to continue to allow those employers who oppose those types of birth control that cause abortions of new embryos, to continue to provide insurance to their employees, but would be exempt form providing contraception coverage. This was part of the agreement reached between pro-life Democrats and the Obama administration.
“I would have never voted for the final version of the bill if I expected the Obama Administration to force Catholic hospitals and Catholic colleges and universities to pay for contraception,” said former Pennsylvania Congresswoman Kathy Dahlkemper. “We worked hard to prevent abortion funding in health care and to include clear conscience protections for those with moral objections to abortion and contraceptive devices that cause abortion. I trust that the President will honor the commitment he made to those of us who supported final passage.”
Women’s groups scored a tremendous victory with a contraception mandate that requires all health insurance companies to provide free birth control. Some groups, such as Emily’s List and NARAL, are attempting to push the mandate even further by forcing those who oppose contraception for moral reasons to include free birth control in their plans as well. They are also using scare tactics to convince their supporters that they are in jeopardy of losing coverage for birth control.
“The campaign by Emily’s list to scare women into thinking that they will no longer have access to birth control is as dishonest as the Republican campaign to convince voters that the PPACA funds abortion,” said Day. “The PPACA does not fund abortion and not one woman will lose access to birth control under the new law. In fact, women will now receive free birth control under that law.”
Given that so far the President hasn’t himself spoken about this as far as I can find (if I’m wrong, please post in the comments and I’ll add an update), it seems that he’s not yet honoring the commitment that Congresswoman Dahlkemper spoke about. Whether or not he eventually does will depend largely on how loudly those in his own party push him on this issue.
(Cross-posted at PJ Tatler)