I know, I know, I'm a Canadian ranting about American Politics. I hope to have an analysis of the New Democratic Party Leadership Debates done sometime late-week.
If you haven't already heard that America's in the middle of a fight over birth control, I just told you. What you need to know is that a Health and Human Services directive was going to put employers on the hook for birth control coverage for the women that work for them, as part of their general health insurance.
What's new, and you probably didn't hear, was that the Obama Administration has actually backed down on that position last week. They announced that, while coverage was still going to be (for all intents and purposes) universal, employers at religious institutions and institutions with close ties to religion would no longer have to pay the cost, and that the difference would be picked up by insurance companies themselves. With even religious people divided fairly evenly down the middle, you'd think that this would be a laudable compromise. Nobody is forcing anybody to actually take the birth control, and nobody with a strong stance against it is going to have to pay. It makes yet one more personal choice actually personal, which is where medicine belongs.
So what's the problem? Republicans are framing it as the administrating 'ratcheting up' an agenda of 'religious persecution', which, to me anyway, triggers a bit of cognitive dissonance. The Dems looked at how much opposition they were getting, shrugged their shoulders, and compromised, like intelligent adults are expected to do.
It's more than just that, though. Mitch McConnell, Mitt Romney, and others are still trying to make this an issue of religious persecution, which this isn't about any more. Not now that religious employers aren't going to be required to pay for the extra coverage. What they really mean is that this policy is a violation of their own religious values. That's fine. You're allowed to make that argument. This is America, baby, home of the free, one nation under God and all the rest of that prose. If your Baptist, Mormon, or otherwise religious views have gotten a hammering from this, that's your right (and, some would argue, responsibility) to share. If you hold the view this law is still immoral, you are correct. Conversely, if you think birth control is all right and dandy, you are also correct. When you are incorrect is when you say that it is somehow 'sticking it to religion'. If anyone's getting it "stuck to", it's the insurance companies themselves.
They say a rose, by any other name, would smell as sweet. I say a rose is a rose.