Wednesday, February 15, 2012

What The Birth Control Debate Really Means

In regards to the contraception controversy that occurred last week I understand why the Catholic church/Catholics were so bent out of shape over the issue. They felt, rightly or wrongly that it went against their beliefs and they should not be forced to violate their conscience.

In understanding the issue at hand, President Obama came up with a solution that satisfied the majority of the aggrieved parties. In the revised version of this heath care bill religiously affiliated institutions are exempt from paying directly for birth control for their workers, instead making insurance companies responsible... Problem solved!

But I felt uneasy because I saw how jazzed up the GOP was over the issue and like a dog with a bone I knew they weren't likely to give it up easily.

What intrigued me most was that I knew the Republicans would try to keep the story alive but I had no idea how they would do it.

It didn't take long for the Repubs to reveal their plan. In a measure, proposed by Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) the Affordable Care Act would be amended to allow any employer to exclude any health service coverage, no matter how critical or basic, by claiming that it violates their religious or moral convictions. In other words, the new strategy is to demand the exclusion the Catholic church received for birth control extended to all employers-- not just religious employers. Plus it wouldn't be limited to contraception. Any employer could restrict access to any service they claimed they objected to. So if the company you work for wants to deny you your right to to a medical treatment it would be within their legal right to do so under the the grounds they found it objectionable.

Choosing this as a fight is a bad idea for Republicans due to the fact that American men and women of all religions love their health care!

Even when it came to the Catholic dust up it wasn't the birth control that was the issue it was the forcing or a religious entity to do something they don't believe in. I understand this. It would be as if I were forced to say the "under god" part in the pledge of allegiance or alternately if I forced those around me to desist from saying it. Both would be unfair.

Nonetheless the Republicans are really going to try to run with this issue but since the majority of women believe in birth control one must conclude that it is a loser of an issue. Even if you want to go back to the original argument polls revealed that 98% of sexually active Catholic women have used birth control at some point in their lives.

The larger picture to look at here is a good one. If the Republicans have decided this is the strategy to win back the White House it can only mean one thing. That is that their original strategy of hitting the President on the economy is now failing... That can only mean one thing... They don't believe the economy is failing any more and therefore it is no longer a winner of an issue. This is good news all around because it means that the economy is in better shape and more importantly Obama will win reelection if the economy is the issue.

If the republicans want to take this race to a place of cultural wedge issues all we have to do is remember the time tested words of James Carville: It's the economy stupid". in other words... as goes the economy so goes the election of President Obama. The pill debate is a non-issue.

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