It's a deliberately calculated move on his part. The Democrats realized that abortion is no longer a winner for them. So what they're trying to do now is replace it with contraception.So far it seems to be working - not only are they distracting from Obama's economic and foreign policy failures, they're trying to wedge moderates against the GOP on social issues. It astounds me that Obama and liberals have been able to turn the truth of an Obamacare mandate forcing religious objectors to pay for contraception into the hysterical liberal lie that REPUBLICANS WANT TO BAN CONTRACEPTION!!!!11!
[Glenn Reynolds: "It’s as if we passed a law requiring mosques to sell bacon and then, when people objected, responded by saying 'What’s wrong with bacon? You’re trying to ban bacon!!!!'"]
No one is trying to ban contraception or access to it! They are trying to stop the government from forcing not only religious groups for whom it is a mortal sin but ALL Americans to pay for it (through increased health insurance premiums) to be "free" (no co-pay).
A woman who works for the Catholic church is not "banned" from getting contraception; she has access to it, she just can't get the church to foot the bill. If she wants contraception she can pay out of pocket. And don't give me the "what if she has to choose between buying birth control pills or eating dog food??!" sob story, there are plenty of pharmacies that offer discounts and free clinic programs that help low income women - she could even go down to her local high school and grab some free condoms from the office basket for all I care! [Update: 2 recent headlines: California counties get federally-funded teen mail-order condom program and Pa. vending machine dispenses 'morning-after' pill] Bottom line: with or without this mandate, contraception will remain available and accessible, the only difference is who pays for it, how, and at what price.
There is absolutely no reason for contraception to be universally free on demand for anyone who wants it and certainly no reason - logically or morally - for the government to unilaterally force insurers give it out free. Granting this kind of power to the federal government is truly troubling - and it should be a concern no matter which ideological end of the spectrum you sit. Turn about is fair play.
Hey liberals: You know that if the Obamacare law has the power to mandate the right to free birth control, it also has the power to ban it, right? As Rush Limbaugh said, "Obamacare could ban contraception. Once Obamacare is implemented, the government can make any change unilaterally it wants." As in, the next president, (oh, let's REALLY give them chills!) maybe Santorum, can not only change that mandate, but replace it with whatever other mandate he wants because the law gives him that power. As they say, "A government big enough to give you all you want is big enough to take it all away."
If the government can force insurers to cover birth control for free, and can force you to buy health care, what CAN'T it force companies and citizens to do? I am very afraid that if the Supreme Court does not declare Obamacare unconstitutional we will find out.
UPDATE: Last year Jenny Erikson wrote about her experience buying birth control even though (GASP!) her insurance didn't cover it, and she says of the mandate:
This isn’t about helping women obtain contraceptives; this is about exerting control over yet another portion of U.S. business. Women already have access to birth control for little or no money. Medicaid (government-sponsored medical care for those that meet income guidelines) covers contraceptives. Planned Parenthood hands out condoms like they’re candy. Walmart fills birth control pill prescriptions for as little as $9 per month.
The only thing this birth control mandate will do is remove the cost of contraceptives from women that can afford it, and shift it to everyone else in the form of their premiums going up. Which means that people barely managing their payments every month will have to scrimp elsewhere, or drop their coverage and get on the government plan. After all, it will soon be illegal to be without health insurance.
UPDATE!!! I just wrote this follow up: