Chuck Donovan

ObamaCare On The Verge Of Providing Free Birth Control At The Expense Of Basic Freedoms

Forget for a moment the fiscal and health policy irresponsibilities  — of which there are plenty — of ObamaCare (trillions of dollars in more debt and health care rationing, to name only two of the largest). Let's just say government can wave its magic wand and make every decision with twice the wisdom of Solomon, we need do nothing but accept the beneficence of a big, all-knowing central authority, and life ran smoother than marbles on glass. That still doesn't address the absolute authoritarian rule ObamaCare empowers the federal government through unelected bureaucrats and political appointees — more than 1,000 "shalls" granted to the  Secretary of Health and Human Services alone. One of those powers is to force health insurance companies to provide coverage of certain procedures and at what cost (but the administration says it believes in capitalism). Some of that came down the pipe last week when the Institute of Medicine, the health policy arm of the National Academy of Sciences, released its recommendations on women's preventative health care to HHS. The understanding, of course, is that this was to deal with diseases and illnesses, you know silly, the things that make you sick. Stuff that can make you die or limit or incapacitate you. Things that aren't of choice.

But for some reason it wasn't a surprise when the IOM classified pregnancy as such and recommended to mandate insurance companies not only provide for contraception coverage, but offer it free — not even a co-pay. For those who eventually enroll in the government's insurance plan, that means the taxpayers will pick up the tab for birth control. Never mind the fiscal implications. Never mind even the health implications. What about conscience protections? Pharmacies, doctors, insurance companies, hospitals and the like who are morally opposed to contraception will be forced to provide it? What about employers at institutions, such as churches, who are opposed to contraception? No exceptions. We're all going to pony up for this if it becomes official (see Sister Mary Ann Walsh in the Washington Post's Views on Faith blog).

The Left already is soft pedaling this (if not demagoguing opponents). But we're not talking only about the occasional six pack of condoms. The IOM broadly defined contraception to include certain abortifacients. Abortion, we were told, would not be part of ObamaCare. Speaking of ObamaCare lies, check out the lies (not just y the administration about what the law will or won't do) but the lies used to sell the bill to the public (which still didn't buy it) as thoroughly sourced and documented by Michelle Malkin. But this administration never ceases to work around the will of the people and its legislative representatives. It rules. It doesn't govern. This isn't a subtle policy change, but an unprecedented, abrupt circumnavigation of decades of bipartisan agreement.

Here is how Chuck Donovan details it at The Foundry blog:

The IOM recommendations on preventive medicine not only would include a “full range” of contraceptives but would also stipulate that the contraceptives be offered without co-pays and exempt from deductibles —preferential treatment not accorded other procedures or prescription drugs. The term contraceptive is impressively flexible, including sterilization and devices and drugs that are known to have a mode of action that includes causing an abortion early in pregnancy. Among the latter is a new drug called ulipristal, or Ella, which is characterized as a morning-after pill, but it can actually work days after conception by “preventing attachment to the uterus,” as a promotional video from the manufacturer describes it.

Read the full post here. Meanwhile, in Virginia, Planned Parenthood wants the policy right here, right now. Hear it roar in this CBS6 piece which also features Family Foundation President Victoria Cobb. How ironic that those who cynically call for "choice" are clamoring for a policy that infringes on the economic, financial and conscience freedoms of companies, taxpayers and citizens of faith.

Free birth control? No problem. First, we will control your decisions.

It's "Gay" Marriage, Stupid!

The normal political diatribe for years, from politicians and pundits alike, has been that the focus of nearly every candidate and elected official is and ought to be the economy. No need to be "distracted" by or waste time on those pesky social issues. Usually, that line is thrown in the face of values voters who actually care about the culture. Seldom is it used against those whose "values" are different than ours. Remember another famous line, "It's the economy, stupid"? With New York's legislature and Governor Andrew Cuomo recently passing and signing same-sex marriage into law (see Chuck Donovan at Heritage's The Foundry Blog), the claim by any liberal politician or pundit — or anyone else for that matter — that the focus is, and must be, on economic issues amounts to nothing more than blatant hypocrisy. After all, during an economic meltdown in a state bleeding jobs, in a state on the verge of economic bankruptcy, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Governor Cuomo and the entire legislature were "distracted" for days debating homosexual marriage. (Not to mention Congress and the Obama administration last December, during a lame duck session, ramming through repeal of the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy as unemployment continued to skyrocket.)

Simply put, the next time someone tells you that social issues are a distraction from what's really important, they must be forced to answer the question, "What about New York?"

In Virginia, as we approach this November's crucial elections, that question isn't just for us, it's for the candidates as well. After all, as liberals across Virginia celebrate New York's attempt at redefining one of God's most basic institutions, candidates for the House of Delegates and the Virginia Senate must be asked, "What about New York?"

Politicians, policy makers and pundits, academics and activists simply can’t have it both ways. If social issues such as homosexual marriage are a distraction from the important economic issues, then every candidate in Virginia — regardless of political party — must reject what has happened in New York. If taking weeks to debate the definition of marriage is a waste of time then every candidate in Virginia must be absolutely critical of their colleagues in New York.

Is the same-sex marriage debate a distraction from what’s important? Yes? Go ahead, and say so. Oh, and if it's not, feel free to run on that in Southside and central Virginia.

Virginians made it clear where they stand on the issue of same-sex marriage in 2006. While the ink on our state constitutional amendment is barely dry, we at The Family Foundation have attempted to focus on other issues in recent years, issues like strengthening traditional marriage — the best economic safety net there is — to ensure Virginia’s future economic strength. But with what happened in New York, we have little choice but to once again ask every candidate for office in Virginia, "What about New York?"

So, maybe the question isn't so much about the economy as it is about New York. We look forward to their responses.

Sign The Petition: Defense Of Marriage Act Needs An Appropriate Defense By The Obama Justice Department

Even as the fallout from the Prop 8 ruling is still getting sorted, another legal proceeding dealing with a major marriage protection law is ongoing. But barely. Whereas the defenders of California's Marriage Amendment filed a prompt appeal and yesterday won a stay on San Francisco Federal District Judge Vaughn Walker's deplorable decision at least until the end of the year (San Francisco Chronicle), the Obama Justice Department's weak and meek defense of the federal Defense of Marriage Act appears to have "thrown the match" and it says it is not certain whether it will appeal a recent Massachusetts Federal District Court's decision that ruled DOMA unconstitutional. As Chuck Donovan writes at The Heritage Foundation's The Foundry blog:

Echoing some of the most notorious boxing matches in the history of the ring, the Obama-Kagan Justice Department engaged in what even one supporter of same-sex marriage, the distinguished constitutional law scholar Richard Epstein, labeled "almost like collusive litigation," where the adversaries in a case are secretly on the same side.

The collusion boils down to this: attorneys in the Obama Justice Department, who have sworn that they will "well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office" in which they serve, abandoned not one but all four of the bases for DOMA asserted by Congress. "Congress" in this instance was no small minority cobbled together at the last instant for legislation it scarcely debated, but a bipartisan majority that encompassed 85 percent of both houses of Congress, joined by a Democratic president (Bill Clinton) who had access to comprehensive reports that amplified the many grounds for DOMA.

The Justice Department’s concessions were crucial to the outcome in the case. As Judge Joseph Tauro noted, he felt bound to address the detailed justifications Congress provided for DOMA only briefly, because, "For the purposes of this litigation, the government has disavowed Congress’s stated justifications for the statute[.]"

As Family Research Council President Tony Perkins (see FRC Blog) wrote yesterday: 

The Defense of Marriage Act merely defines marriage — for federal purposes — as being between one man and one woman, and protects states from having to change their state definitions. Not surprisingly, a liberal court in Massachusetts — after a weak defense from the Obama Justice Department — ruled DOMA unconstitutional. Amazingly, the federal government appears to be dragging its feet as they contemplate whether or not to EVEN APPEAL the decision! If the Department of Justice does not appeal, it is unlikely outside defenders of marriage will even be allowed to defend marriage in court.

The Department of Justice is supposed to vigorously defend statutes passed by Congress, not to roll over to appease President Obama's political base.

So, FRC Action has started a nationwide petition to hold the Justice Department accountable and to do its job — appeal and aggressively defend the law of the land. Please take time to sign the petition (click here to sign) and send a clear message to the Obama administration. He has said he believes marriage is between one man and one woman (ABCNews.com). It's time he proves it with a vigorous defense of federal law he is sworn to uphold.