For the past couple weeks, we’ve been treated to scores of Republican men (primarily — and even a couple Democrats) using women’s health as a political football. Suddenly a decision to permit women free access to birth control became a War on Religion, as the GOP decided to up and move to Crazytown (population: them) in order to avoid talking about the issues that people actually give a shit about — jobs and the economy.
Today — whether by design or brilliant post-Crazytown strategery, President Obama “accommodated” the Catholic Church and the bishops who had been trying to convince us all that permitting women free access to contraception was a harbinger of the end of days.
Initially, I thought that the Administration, after instituting the rule, was taken aback by the right-wing freak out, but managed to strategize and negotiate its way around it. Others have since convinced me that this was the plan all along — to force the Republicans to show their asses thereby demonstrating to Democratic and Republican women alike (as well as those crucial independents) that what Republicans really want to do is install a tiny government in to every women’s vagina and arrogate complete control over women’s sexuality and health.
Either way, once again, President Obama stood up for American women (as he has done time and time again) and made Republicans look like jackasses. The “accommodation” (which, actually, is no accommodation at all because the Church’s position was nonsensical to begin with) is brilliant:
From Raw Story:
The “accommodation” being made will remove the burden of paying for contraceptives from religious employers, placing it entirely on health insurers instead.
“Women who work at these institutions are going to have access to these free contraceptive services, that’s guaranteed,” the official said.
The Catholic Church, which considers use of contraceptives a sin, had been pushing back against the new rule, calling it an attack on their religious liberty.
The Obama administration had initially given Catholic non-profits a one-year grace period to implement the rule, whereas all other private health insurance plans will begin offering free contraception by August 1.
An exemption for religious non-profits that hire exclusively within their faith remains in the rule, officials said. Religious groups that receive an exemption must also provide their employees with information on how to obtain contraceptive coverage.
It’s a win for women. Hands down. Even Planned Parenthood thinks so. And you know what they say, “As Planned Parenthood goeth, so goeth the Uterati”:
“In the face of a misleading and outrageous assault on women’s health, the Obama administration has reaffirmed its commitment to ensuring all women will have access to birth control coverage, with no costly co-pays, no additional hurdles, and no matter where they work.
“We believe the compliance mechanism does not compromise a woman’s ability to access these critical birth control benefits.
“However we will be vigilant in holding the administration and the institutions accountable for a rigorous, fair and consistent implementation of the policy, which does not compromise the essential principles of access to care.
“The individual rights and liberties of all women and all employees in accessing basic preventive health care is our fundamental concern.
“Planned Parenthood continues to believe that those institutions who serve the broad public, employ the broad public, and receive taxpayer dollars, should be required to follow the same rules as everyone else, including providing birth control coverage and information.
“As a trusted health care provider to one in five women, Planned Parenthood’s priority is increasing access to preventive health care. This birth control coverage benefit does just that.
“The birth control benefit underscores the fact that birth control is basic health care, and is fundamental to improving women’s health and the health of their families.
“That’s why women have consistently applauded the Obama administration for one of the greatest expansions for women’s health in decades.
“Unfortunately there are significant and immediate threats to women’s health and access to birth control in the House and Senate that would completely take away access to birth control and severely undermine women’s health.
“One bill, the Rubio-Manchin bill, would allow any business or corporation, on the basis of personal religious belief or moral conviction, to take away birth control coverage from their employees.
“Employers should not be allowed to impose their personal beliefs on employees regarding birth control coverage or basic health care.
“Another bill, sponsored by Senator Blunt (R-MO), would drastically undermine women’s health and allow any employer or health plan to refuse to cover any health care service they object to on religious or moral grounds.
“That’s why Planned Parenthood, and women across the country, won’t let up for one minute in our fight to protect the birth control benefit and women’s health.”
This is a victory for women. Without question.
The right-wing is predictably butt-hurt about it, and advocates for the true victims of this horrid policy refuse to be silenced:
WH “compromise” totally bogus. Now just tramples on religious liberty of insurance companies instead. It’s a travesty.
— Bryan Fischer (@BryanJFischer) February 10, 2012
Obama’s “compromise” is totalitarianism on hormones. Now jackbooted thugs are ordering insurance companies around.
— Bryan Fischer (@BryanJFischer) February 10, 2012
My God! Think of the insurance companies! Who will speak for them? (Besides, like, everybody.)
Oh, and by the way? Insurance companies aren’t going to be mad at the president. But it’s good to know that god-fearing Christians are on the side of big business and not on the side of women. Hey Bryan — Jesus’s mom was a woman! Think about that!
There is something wrong with conservatives. Seriously and deeply wrong with them. Luckily the Uterati escaped unscathed — this time.
[via Raw Story]