Today The Columbus Dispatch/Reuters is reporting that Attorney General Mike Dewine has joined Attorneys General from Florida, Michigan, Nebraska, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas, Catholic groups, and two Catholic individuals to enter Ohio into a lawsuit challenging the recent rule that shifts the requirement for free contraceptives and family planning onto insurers. This move was made to appease Catholic groups originally upset that they would have to directly provide such services, which they consider counter to their religious beliefs.
Originally the requirement to provide contraceptives as part of health insurance coverage was required of any group or employer providing coverage. The requirement always had an exemption for actual churches. Because religious groups are often affiliated with organizations outside the normal definition of a “church” (hospitals and universities), there was some consternation over them being required to participate.
The compromise is a good one and seems to be pretty air tight in terms of any Constitutional requirements, but I’ll leave that to the lawyers to discuss.
The story quoted our Attorney General Mike Dewine as saying:
“I continue to have grave concerns that despite President Obama’s so-called accommodation, the United States government is intent on implementing rules that violate religious liberty,” Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine said in a statement. “This lawsuit seeks to protect our fellow citizens, their churches and religious charities so that they are not penalized by this illegal regulation.”
What the story did not do was mention that Mike Dewine is a practicing Roman Catholic. You would think that real reporters would flesh out such obvious conflicts of interest in such a lawsuit. It only takes like 15 seconds to search Google and get to his Wikipedia page. Even out of state reporters could do that!
Let’s set aside the obvious conflict of interest for a minute and address his argument in the above quote.
One word reply: Bullshit.
Deeper look: It’s not a “so-called accommodation”, it’s a real one and likely one that will hold up. It’s been referred to as another example of Obama political Jiu jitsu. Insurance companies are not religious groups. Zing! Gotcha.
What religious liberties are even violated by the original rule? Does the Catholic Church really think that every woman in their congregation squeezes aspirin between their legs to prevent babies? Does the church really want to go down the road of preventing access to basic healthcare to the females in their flock? Not a single person is required by the healthcare law or this rule to violate their personal beliefs.
This isn’t about religious liberty. It’s about religion controlling individual liberty. It’s about a continued religious assault on the ability of women to control their own fate, whether that is to prevent pregnancy in the first place or terminate an unintended one.
The argument has been made by some that the new rule harms business because it requires insurers to incur more costs – which some even argue would passed on to policy holders in the form of higher premiums.
Think about this. If I’m an underwriter would I rather have a woman actively preventing pregnancy with relatively cheap contraception or would I like to see her in a hospital bed giving birth to a child?
Classic no brainer. Prevent the high cost of child birth.
Our Attorney General should be protecting the citizens and consumers of Ohio and not engaging in a political crusade on behalf of his personal religion. That this part of the story is missed by the folks who get paid to do this is a sad testament to the current state of news. Sad, but as we all know too well not surprising.
If it were any more obvious that Mike Dewine is polishing up his right-wing Christofascist credentials, he’d be providing communion at the foot of the Statehouse. Switch your endorsement from Mitt Romney to known religious whackadoodle Rich Santorum. Join a lawsuit to protect imaginary violations of religious liberty.
Yeah, Mike. It’s obvious.