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The Fight Over Government Mandates to Religious Organizations: Women’s Health used to Fuel Another Attack on the First Amendment

WASHINGTON, DC – The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC) is taking advantage of the current controversy over the Obama administration’s contraceptive mandate to raise campaign funds. In an email to potential Democratic donors, signed by DSCC Chair Sen. Patty Murray (D-Washington), the administration’s decision to require insurance providers to provide contraceptive and sterilization services free of charge is hailed as a great victory for women’s health rights.

Catholic bishops in New York say their dioceses won’t abide by the new federal regulation requiring Catholic hospitals, charities and schools to provide birth control coverage in their health insurance plans. And they aren’t alone.

Numerous religious groups have condemned the mandate, saying it violates their First Amendment right to religious freedom because it would compel them to provide contraceptives to their employees despite the fact that they have religious convictions that see contraception and sterilization as immoral.

The DSCC sees this as an opportunity to draw battle lines for the coming national election. The email labels opposition to the Obamacare mandate an “attack” on women’s health.

“Our right-wing opponents continue to launch attack after attack against women’s rights, women’s health, and women’s economic security — and we’ve got to fight back every single day,” the email says. “The next battle over the Obama administration’s decision to make contraception more affordable under the new health care law is already underway.”

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee has created what it calls a new grassroots effort, Standing Strong for Women Project, “to combat the Republican war on women.” Since a large majority of Catholics are registered Democrats it would seem the “grassroots effort” has a lot more to do with politics than women’s rights.

The DSCC urged supporters to give money in support of the mandate. “It’s hard to believe that in the 21st century we have to fight for access to birth control, but that is the fact — and there will be many more fights in the weeks ahead.”

The email also cites the liberals’ “victory” in forcing the Susan G. Komen foundation to reverse its decision to defund Planned Parenthood. Planned Parenthood does not provide mammograms yet somehow feels it is entitled to funds from a foundation established for providing them.

“Our opponents tried to defund Planned Parenthood, in the federal budget and in many states, “said the DSCC. “They tried to destroy our Medicare and Medicaid lifelines, which would be particularly devastating to women. They tried to get the Susan G. Komen Foundation to cut off support for Planned Parenthood. Enough is enough. We may have won this latest round, but our opponents aren’t going away. They’re launching endless attacks against women every single day, and we need to rise to the challenge.”

Lost in the political theatrics is yet another attack on the Constitution itself. The First Amendment’s guarantee of protection from the intrusion of the government into church matters is fundamental to the formation of this country. The majority of the Founders of this country came here with a determination to ensure separation of the church from state control. They would, no doubt, be up in arms over yet another attempt by the federal government to dictate what the church can and cannot do.

Update: The White House announced earlier today that instead of requiring religious organizations to provide contraceptives and abortifacients in violation of their beliefs, that insurance companies will now be required to provide these services free of charge. The shell game this administration uses to achieve its goals is astounding. In the end, either the taxpayers will be required to foot the bill or increased insurance premiums paid by religious organizations will fund the mandate. Despite this attempt at smoke and mirrors, the majority of Americans realize full well there is no free ride. Someone ultimately pays the price.

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