Give the Obama administration their due, they sure are great deceivers. In an effort to escape the firestorm engulfing them because of the ObamaCare mandate that forces churches to violate their theology, the president announced a “compromise” on February 10. The details of this compromise demonstrate that President Obama simply cannot be believed.
Naturally, the Washington Post, either as compliant dupes or dishonest confederates, ran with the front page headline: “Obama shifts course on birth control rule to calm Catholic leaders’ outrage.” The headline contained a falsehood, the “shift,” as well as the administration’s messaging to Catholics, calm.
N.C. Aizenman, Peter Wallsten, and Karen Tumulty, authors of the Post story, claimed the White House “alter[ed] a new birth control rule.” It characterized the announcement as a “new policy.” Most deceptive of all, the Post said the announcement “amends a rule announced in August.”
First, nothing was changed from the original rule. The Department of Health and Human Services, Friday night, hours after Obama’s big “compromise,” issued the final regulation in exact form as the regulation first issued in August 2011 “without changes.” Church-affiliated entities, such as Catholic hospitals, were still not exempted in the issued final regulation.
Next, the final rule issued the evening of the “compromise” provided absolutely no relief from the sterilization mandate. Remember, this fight is not just about contraception, though the White House seeks to steer the debate in that direction. ObamaCare also mandates that Catholic institutions provide sterilization services and abortifacient drugs, something squarely at odds with Catholic theology. The Washington Post and White House usually omit the pair when discussing the issue.
Worst of all, the “compromise” was not a formal rule or promulgated regulation issued to correct the original rules. No law or rule changed. Instead, it was an empty promise, like the thirty pieces of silver given to former Representative Bart Stupak to obtain his vote for ObamaCare. HHS merely mentioned an “intent to develop” future regulations that would apply the rule differently. These safe harbors wouldn’t even be available until 2013. The compromise was theoretical, delayed, and meaningless. Phony is another word that fits.
Even under the phony compromise, if an employee of a religious institution wants contraception or sterilization coverage, the religious employer is still forced to pay for it as part of the employer’s insurance plan. Church-affiliated money will still be forced to flow in directions contrary to church teaching.
Simply, Obama’s compromise is what many suspected — a phony, politically expedient diversion that relies on the stupidity of the American people or the active collaboration of the media. As I have written before, the administration simply doesn’t understand what it is up against. They don’t seem to understand the resolve of their opponents on this issue.
The original ObamaCare mandate was a frontal assault on constitutionally protected religious liberty. The White House “compromise” has piled deception onto the already rancid history of ObamaCare.
With this administration, nothing is surprising anymore.