Framing the Contraception Issue
Yesterday, we had the opportunity to see how the Obama White House plans on framing the contraception, Jack Lew, the new White Hose Chief of Staff, was interviewed by Chris Wallace on his Fox News Sunday morning program.
Lew quickly tried to frame the contraception issue as strictly a question of insurance. As far as he and the White House is concerned, the contraception issue should be narrowly viewed in terms of women’s health only, nothing more, nothing less.
The revised White House policy, that was announced by the President on Friday, includes the proviso that insurance companies rather than employers will provide contraception services, such as birth-control pills, morning-after pills and tubal ligation, at no charge to either the employer or the employee.
Once again, the Obama White House would have us believe that certain services are free. You may remember that they tried this during the healthcare debate when they attempted to have us believe that insuring 33 million more people would cost less than not insuring them. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) and numerous private organizations have debunked this argument.
Wallace questioned the policy’s additional cost and when Lew tried the same “it won’t cost any more” argument, was incredulous. Lew said that the White House was done negotiating. ”We have set out our policy,” Lew said. “We are going to finalize it in the final rules, but I think what the president announced on Friday is a balanced approach that meets the concerns raised both in terms of access to health care and in terms of protecting religious liberties, and we think that’s the right approach.”
Jack Lew, the former Budget Director, may be in for a rude awakening. The Republican’s can win this argument and use it as a giant club on the President during the campaign if they frame the contraception issue properly.
Rather than arguing on narrow insurance terms, it’s time for the Republicans to frame it as a freedom of religion and government intrusion issue. Using a narrow insurance issue falls into Obama’s trap. He could then accuse the opposition of not caring about women’s health.
The argument must be framed as on of religious freedom. It appears that Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) get its. On CBS’ “Face the Nation” when asked his view on the subject, he said, ”They don’t have the authority under the First Amendment of the United States Constitution to tell someone in this country or some organization in this country what their religious beliefs are.”
“It would be difficult as long as the president is rigid in his view that he gets to decide what somebody else’s religion is. I assume he would veto it. But yeah, we’ll be voting on that in the Senate. And you can anticipate that that would happen as soon as possible. This issue will not go away until the administration simply backs down,” McConnell said.
Besides the Freedom of Religion issue, the contraception issue exposes two other winning issues for the Republicans. One is the rather relativistic approach that the left takes on these types of “wedge” issues. Essentially, they are arguing that it’s right as long as the majority of Catholic women approve of and use birth control. Citing some incredible percentages of use by Catholic women, they dismiss the entire religious freedom argument with a simple wave of the hand.
When I was a child I can remember trying the “everyone else is doing it” argument with my mother. I daresay, many of us have used this argument with our parents. Fifty or so years later, I can still hear my mother’s reply, “If everyone else jumped out that window, would you?” Of course, I said no and the case was closed.
Finally, the Republicans need to drive home the argument that freedom of religion is absolute. It cannot be intruded upon or abridged by any government policy. Compromise is not possible. If we compromise on this what will be next? A compromise on freedom of speech? Or how do you think the mainstream media would react if they had to compromise on freedom of the press?
It’s time to draw the line on our freedom from government intrusion because if we don’t, the slippery slope may become an abyss into which our Constitution and the Bill of Rights disappears.