Aspirin as Birth Control, Shazam! and the GOP’s Crusade Against Contraception
If you think I’m making a mockery of serious arguments, let’s just say the arguments make a mockery of themselves. Committee Chair Darrell Issa and his fellow Republicans are up in arms about dire threats to the Constitution. To prove their point, they made sure the C-Span cameras caught them with posters of John F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Ghandi behind them. Because, you know, they all would have wanted a lengthy hearing about whether covering contraception through insurance trampled on religion.
Issa’s committee elevated certain religious groups—meaning those who oppose the requirement that insurance cover birth control—to a status above everyone else’s religious beliefs, including people of different religions who praised the requirement. Those religious leaders who supported the Obama administration regulation have stated, “We do not believe that specific religious doctrine belongs in health care reform - as we value our nation’s commitment to church-state separation” and “We believe that women and men have the right to decide whether or not to apply the principles of their faith to family planning decisions, and to do so they must have access to services.” They, however, did not get an invitation to the hearing.
Instead, the hearing’s lead witness was the Most Rev. William E. Lori, Roman Catholic bishop of Bridgeport, Conn., and chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Ad Hoc Committee on Religious Liberty. Others included clergy and teachers and administrators at Catholic and other Christian universities.
The Rev. Dr. Matthew C. Harrison, President of The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, revealed how the witness list reflected only one religious view of the matter when he said the contraception coverage requirement is “very dangerous to religious people with our kind of convictions.”
Virginia Democrat Gerald Connolly, a Catholic who last year said a related Issa hearing reminded him of a “latter-day Torquemada” conducting “an inquisition against the secular state,” called today’s hearing a “shameful exercise” and lamented that the clergy there allowed themselves to be “used.”
Let’s have a moment of truth here: the whole purpose of this hearing was for the GOP to be seen by its anti-“activist judge” base relitigating settled constitutional law in the court of public opinion. Issa and his cohorts kept insisting the hearing wasn’t about contraception, but about religious liberty. Not only is their first claim transparently false, their position on the second claim is demonstrably upside-down.