But more than the other rallying points, the battle over contraceptive coverage at religiously affiliated institutions has bound together Republicans of all stripes because it hits core GOP themes: religious liberty, government intrusion and reproduction politics. Perhaps more important politically, it has given Republicans something to talk about other than the economy, just when Obama’s gotten a lift from modest gains.Kevin Drum is righteously pissed:
The power of the issue with conservatives was on display on the first day of CPAC, where the contraception regulation was the dominant topic — virtually every speaker tried to fire up the audience talking about it.
My position on this is plain: the church hierarchy's objection to birth control is medieval and barbaric. All those Catholic pundits raising hell over the new contraception regs should spend their time instead raising hell with their own church over a policy that's caused incalculable pain and misery for millions of women around the globe. Instead, they're all claiming that although they don't have any problem with contraception, they think the government should be more sensitive toward those who do. But it turns out there's practically no one who does. They're all pointing their fingers toward a group of people that barely existsAdam Serwer provides some background:
The unacknowledged background to this fight is that, as my colleague Nick Baumann reported earlier this week, federal law has required employers to offer health insurance for more than a decade—which is why DePaul University, the largest Catholic university in America, already offers birth control coverage to its employees. Far from being an unprecedented "assault on religious freedom," the narrow religious exception here has ample legal precedent. As Michelle Goldberg has written, contraception mandates are in effect in 28 states in various forms, and the courts have ruled against challenges brought to those state laws. And in a 1990 opinion,Justice Antonin Scalia found that laws "neutral toward religion and generally applicable" don't hamper inviduals' constitutional rights, so the administration seems to be on firm legal ground.The mind reels.