Nuns sued = War on Women

I thought we were done with this, but government officials want the Little Sisters of the Poor to pay for other peoples’ birth control. In October, the feds bowed out of that asinine battle for the time being*, via a rule that is still open for public comment. Now, state-level harassment takes the stage as the Attorneys General of Pennsylvania and California – both men, as it happens – seek to force the Sisters to knuckle under.

The Sisters minister to elderly people living in poverty. Litigation is not their specialty. Fortunately, the Sisters have good legal representation. Too bad they need it.

See “For the love of God, why can’t Democrats leave the Little Sisters of the Poor alone?” by Nicole Russell in the November 26 Washington Examiner.

Challengers to conscience rights aren’t done, and those challenges are going to go beyond contraception. Anyone who wants to force you to pay for other peoples’ contraception will just as readily work to overturn or prevent abortion-funding restrictions.

Anyone who says “health care” and means “you pay for my contraception” is debasing the language.

Anyone who sues nuns to force them to pay for contraception is waging war on women.

Anyone who thinks contraception is “preventive health care” is asserting that women are broken and need to be fixed.

We’ll see how the two offending states fare in their effort.

 

* From the web site of the Becket Fund, a public-interest law firm defending the Little Sisters of the Poor: “On October 6, 2017, the government issued a new rule with a broader religious exemption. The rule may be changed after the government considers the comments it receives. Becket attorney Mark Rienzi stated, ‘It should be easy for the courts to finalize this issue now that the government admits it broke the law. For months, we have been waiting for Department of Justice lawyers to honestly admit that fact, like the President did in the Rose Garden five months ago. Now that the agencies admit the mandate was illegal, we expect the leadership of the Department of Justice will cooperate in getting a final court resolution.'”

Round-Up: Pro-Life at Yale, Etc.

Here’s what turns up in a month-end sweep of my inbox and bookmarked social-media items:

Yes, Yale Has Pro-Lifers

Registration is open now for Vita et Veritas, Yale’s fifth annual pro-life conference, coming up October 6 & 7. The first conference was founded in 2013 by a team of students in Choose Life at Yale (CLAY). I envy this year’s attendees the opportunity to hear from the conference’s lineup of speakers. Thumbs up to all who are working for a culture of life in unlikely places.

Tickets Available for NHRTL Banquet

New Hampshire Right to Life’s annual banquet is scheduled for October 12 in Manchester. Featured speaker: Janet Morana of Priests for Life and Silent No More Awareness. More information here.

Responding to Disaster

The catastrophic flooding caused by Hurricane Harvey has brought forth one amazing story after another about people helping each other and making donations for short-term and long-term relief. New Wave Feminists leader Destiny Herndon-De La Rosa lives in Dallas. She heard about a Texas church that was taking in flood refugees and was in need of diapers and feminine hygiene products. Destiny then made a one-minute video appeal on Facebook, saying that donations to NWF over the following 24 hours would go toward meeting that particular need.

Result: wow. Check out the post from the last couple of days at the NWF Facebook page.

Not to take anything away from the big guys like the Red Cross, but sometimes small is beautiful. Neighbors- helping-neighbors is a good thing.

Mandate Update…Still Waiting

In case you missed it on the Leaven for the Loaf Facebook page, here’s a link to a recent Washington Examiner editorial calling for the abolition of the so-called HHS/contraceptive mandate. That’s an Obamacare feature that not only attacks religious liberty but also writes into public policy the idea that women are broken and need to be fixed.

(More on the mandate here.)

So when will the elected officials who decried the mandate when it was handed down in 2012 finally get rid of it?

40 Days for Life Approaching

I never get tired of promoting this program of peaceful witness. Fall 2017 campaigns will begin next month in Manchester and Greenland, and now is the time to plan to schedule your vigil hours. The official web pages for each campaign will give you information about the overall 40 Days for Life effort, contact information for the local coordinator, and a link to signing up for vigil hours (including a link to the Statement of Peace required of all participants).

Manchester information

Greenland information

Need a speaker about 40DFL for your local group, radio show, or podcast? Contact the campaign coordinators at the links above.

Undermining the First Amendment in the name of “Health Care”

Short memories make for bad public policy. I can’t help but reflect on that.

As I write this, Congress is about to take a vote on doing something-or-another with Obamacare: repeal, replace, whatever. I’m not sure they know what they’re doing, despite good intentions all around. In all the tinkering, I am not hearing much from Members of Congress about what made the “Affordable Care Act” utterly unacceptable to so many Catholics, including me: the contraceptive mandate. Continue reading “Undermining the First Amendment in the name of “Health Care””

A timely throwback video: “Bureau of Womanhood Conformity”

The team at the Susan B. Anthony List reminded me today of a canny little video they made a few years back, when the outgoing president and his appointees imposed the HHS mandate.  The video hits a nerve anew, in this week of the rescission of an invitation to pro-lifers by organizers of a so-called “Women’s March.” This week, it’s not a president speaking – but the Bureau of Womanhood Conformity sounds like it’s still in business.


 

N.H. 1st Congressional District: remembering a Shea-Porter letter

Congressional candidate Frank Guinta speaks with 40 Days for Life coordinator Jennifer Robidoux
Congressional candidate Frank Guinta speaks with 40 Days for Life coordinator Jennifer Robidoux

In New Hampshire’s First Congressional district, incumbent Frank Guinta is facing former Member of Congress Carol Shea-Porter. This is the fourth time the two have gone head-to-head for the seat, with Shea-Porter holding a 2-1 edge.

Looking strictly at his pro-life record, Guinta has voted to keep taxpayers out of the abortion industry’s business, with exceptions for pregnancies resulting from rape and incest (Hyde Amendment language). The National Right to Life Committee has endorsed him. On his campaign web site, he writes “I believe in the sanctity of life and will work to make sure all children have the ability to grow up surrounded by their parents’ loving attention.”

Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter (D-NH1). Facebook photo.
Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter (D-NH1). Facebook photo.

Then there’s Carol Shea-Porter. She’s an EMILY’s List favorite, which speaks volumes. And in 2013, refusing to vote to weaken the Obamacare HHS/contraceptive mandate, she was willing to let the government shut down instead.

Recall her letter to  me from 2013, which stands up pretty well as a guide to her attitude towards religious liberty and what constitutes health care. The subject was the potential government “shutdown,” her support for Obamacare, and her insistence on defending its provision that women are broken and need to be fixed via “preventive” contraceptive converage. She had (has?) no problem forcing employers who provide health insurance to employees to be involved in those employees’ decisions regarding contraception.


From the 2013 post, with excerpts from Shea-Porter’s letter set off in quotation marks:

Here’s the relevant portion of her message. I’ve added some bold-face emphasis.

“Last weekend, the House of Representatives voted on a Continuing Resolution that contained multiple provisions that had nothing to do with keeping the government operational. That version of the bill, which I voted against on September 29th, included a provision that would allow any employer or insurer to refuse to cover any health care services they might object to.  This would give unprecedented control over personal healthcare decisions to employers and insurers, allowing them to deny coverage for important women’s preventive health services, including HPV testing to prevent cervical cancer, domestic violence screening and counseling, and birth control.”

Like the president whose water she’s carrying, she conceded no good will to people like me who see the down side of the “Affordable” Care Act. That makes her next sentence a punch line, albeit a lousy one.

“I stand ready to work with my Republican and Democratic colleagues on finding common ground and getting things moving here in Washington.” 

I guess the First Amendment doesn’t qualify as common ground.

…In Shea-Porter’s view, it’s imperative that employers with religious objections to contraception be forced to subsidize it anyway. She thinks that affording such people freedom of conscience would amount to “unprecedented control” over a woman’s health care decisions.

Forcing an employer to pay for birth control pills is an “unprecedented control” of its own.

I take from this that Shea-Porter believes free pills must somehow trump religious liberty. Perhaps I take too dim a view.  HHS Secretary Sebelius, when asked about the HHS mandate last year, couldn’t square it with religious liberty beyond saying, “I’m not a lawyer and I don’t pretend to understand the nuances of the constitutional balancing tests.” Madam Secretary is apparently not the only Washington denizen who has trouble with nuance. The difference between health care and health coverage, between choice and mandate, between cancer screening and fertility suppression: all are lost on my congressional representative.

One more thing: if Carol Shea-Porter wins in 2016, she’ll be entitled to a lifetime Congressional pension at her own option once she’s halfway through her term. That seems odd recompense for her support of the HHS mandate.

(Photo credit: visitthecapitol.gov)