Mandatory Contraceptives – Religious Liberties or Women’s Rights?

Ryan Tolley, Staff Writer

courtesy Google images

Contraception has become the most recent hot button bipartisan issue. This leads us to wonder why President Obama believes now is a good time for America to fight over this battle. This issue that was previously known to be very controversial and cause a divide in communities and politics, so why would President Obama think now is a good time to bring up such a heated topic? We currently have a fourteen trillion dollar debt, a failing economy, a barely-recovering housing market, a recovery from a pointless war, a divided Congress and on top of this Obama would like to make birth control mandatory under his new Health Care Reform. So here goes the battle over mandatory contraceptives folks, round one of the fight has started and the Catholic Church and civil liberties groups are trying to put pressure on Obama. As for how the rest of the fight will be dealt out is up in the air so lets get back to the underlining issue, is the a fight for equal health care for all women or an attack on civil liberties?

George Niederauer wrote an article titled Contraception Mandate Diminishes Liberty in the San Francisco Chronicle, he argues that it is not as much an issue of contraception but about religious liberty and how the government respects and views their liberties. He draws the correlations from when American patriots dumped British tea into Massachusetts Harbor in 1774, saying that it was not about the tea but more importantly about the Americans’ liberties being diminished by the British. Niederauer is saying this issue should never have arisen because of religious liberties that are given already deal with this issue and it is not the government’s affairs to deal with. Charles Kadlec wrote another article for Forbes, The Audacity of Power: President Obama Vs. The Catholic Church where his views go along with that of Niederaurer stating, “President Obama is on the brink of successfully rendering moot the very first clause of the First Amendment to the Constitution…”

President Obama stands behind his beliefs that if every woman has access to birth control they will be able to prevent unplanned pregnancies and that it does not infringe on the First Amendment of religious freedom. Democratic Governor of Maryland, Martin O’Malley stated on CNN’s “State Of The Union”, “There has been a little bit too much hyperventilation over the issue.” He believes that the responses to the issue have been overly dramatic. He cites as examples other countries, such as Italy, that have a large number of Catholic citizens and also have mandatory contraceptives and they get along just fine with Italian laws. They, like many others believe that there is no real threat to religious liberties and that it is only furthering equal health care to all women.

The answer is simple, if the government believes it has the power to impose its will over religious organizations then it starts a chain of events that do not stop. It is very easy to see a lot of the laws we have in place today that were suppose to be either temporary or non-detrimental to civil liberties that have been expanded upon and continue to grow in limitation capacity each year. We can look back through our history and see how much power since WWII has be pulled from Congress and placed in the Executive branch to know that what were once checks and balances no longer exist.