“Women Speak for Themselves” on the Mandate


“Those currently invoking ‘women’s health’ in an attempt to shout down anyone who disagrees with forcing religious institutions or individuals to violate deeply held beliefs are more than a little mistaken, and more than a little dishonest. Even setting aside their simplistic equation of ‘costless’ birth control with ‘equality,’ note that they have never responded to the large body of scholarly research indicating that many forms of contraception have serious side effects, or that some forms act at some times to destroy embryos, or that government contraceptive programs inevitably change the sex, dating and marriage markets in ways that lead to more empty sex, more non-marital births and more abortions. It is women who suffer disproportionately when these things happen.” (by Helen Alvare and Kim Daniels of Women Speak for Themselves)

Add this to the toolkit for rolling back the Obamacare/HHS contraceptive mandate: Women Speak for Themselves. The project was started by law professor Helen Alvare, as a method of constructive resistance to claims that the mandate is a good thing for women – and resistance to the corollary, that anyone opposed to the mandate is waging “war on women.”

Check out the WSFT blog and Facebook page. The WSFT web site also offers an opportunity to sign an open letter to President Obama. (from which I took the quotation at the head of this blog post). Over 40,000 people have signed so far. Look at the fact sheets on the WSFT site as well, which make an excellent primer for anyone new to the debate over the mandate.

Here’s an excerpt from a WSFT fact sheet, to give you an idea why I love their style and message. This goes beyond a web site and a Facebook page, by the way; WSFT filed an amicus brief with the Supreme Court in the Hobby Lobby/Conestoga case.

“By forcing religious employers – groups of people employed to carry out a religious mission of service to persons in need – to ‘get with the government’s program/message’ (the message that birth control and abortifacients are no different from health care, which cures diseases … or that women’s freedom and women’s fertility are ‘natural enemies’) the government destroys the unique WITNESS that these religious institutions offer not only to their employees and clients, but to the world. Again, religious employers are among the last few witnesses in the world today to the truth of the ‘weight’ of sex, to its link with the very existence of human life, and the circumstances into which that new life will be born and nurtured. Women’s health, happiness and freedom are also genuinely compromised when sex is reduced to just another pastime.”

Good message there: being opposed to the mandate is not a matter of disliking the President or his policies, but rather being FOR religious liberty, FOR authentic health care, FOR the value of life. Worth reading and sharing, don’t you think?

Mandate opposition persists; demonstration planned for DC this Thursday

“Countries that respect the right to religious freedom are more likely to respect the rights of women.” With that in mind, women will be at Lafayette Park in Washington, D.C. at 11:30 a.m. this Thursday, August 1 to deliver the message to the President and HHS Secretary Sebelius – yet again – that the HHS mandate in Obamacare is a straightforward attack on the First Amendment. Thursday’s event is being organized by Women Speak for Themselves.

More info, from the Patheos blog: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/kathyschiffer/2013/07/womens-group-plans-major-protest-at-the-white-house-on-august-1-and-you-can-help/

Go for it, sisters. I wish I could join you.

Anyone coming late to this discussion can search on this blog for “HHS mandate,” or go to the Becket Fund web site.

No matter where an American might stand on the morality of contraception, all Americans have reason to be concerned when a presidentially-authorized public policy undercuts the sincerely-held religious beliefs of American citizens. The policy – that induced infertility for women is a “preventive” health service – is in itself an attack on the dignity of women. Forcing employers with religious beliefs against contraception to participate in programs that pay for it brings the First Amendment into the mix.

Remember that the next time someone with an “I Stand With PP” sign says that repeal of the mandate means denying women their birth control. Nonsense. It means no women has to reach into my pocket to pay for her own choices. And why isn’t men’s fertility of equal concern to the federal government? How is it that women are the ones that need “fixing” along with regular checkups?