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Whilst attending my mandatory four years in a state-operated institution of patchwork, dubious learning (aka, high school) in the mid-1980s, I was taught that the basic narrative for the women's "lib" movement was it allowed the fairer sex to make their own way in life, free themselves from the oppressive control of men, and chart their course upon a silver sea of endless, male-free possibilities. In everyday life, this meant that opening a door for a woman or thoughtlessly attempting to pay for both meals on a date were grounds to be viewed as demeaning to women and subservise of their liberated cause.

Now, in 2012, we learn that men who oppose the federal government's mandate that nearly all employers to pay for contraception and abortifacients are wicked, evil, and extremist. (Sure, lots of women also opposed said mandate, but let's not confuse folks who can't comprehend that the truly liberated women are the ones rejecting government handouts.) But don't believe me (I'm a man, after all); listen to that calm, measured voice of reason—a national treasure! a cosmic delight!—the sweetheart of liberal columnists, Maureen Dowd:

As secretary of state, [Hillary] Clinton is supposed to stay out of domestic politics. But this was a moment pregnant with possibility, a titanic clash of the Inevitable (Hillary) and the Indefensible (Republican cavemen).

The attempt by Republican men to wrestle American women back into chastity belts has not only breathed life into President Obama, it has roused and riled Hillary. And that could turn out to be the most dangerous thing the wildly self-destructive G.O.P. leaders have done.

In some kind of insane bout of mass misogyny, Republicans are hounding out the women voters — including Republicans and independents — who helped them gain control of the House in 2010.

Senator Olympia Snowe, who’s fed up and leaving Congress, told The Washington Post’s Karen Tumulty that “it feels as if we are going back to another era,” warning that Republicans could drive women into Democratic arms.

And that other era would be, what, the winter of 2011? The first week of January 2012 (as Jonah Goldberg dryly observed)? But, goodness, how many moments pregnant with possibility actually exist when one's time, talents, and passion for "reproductive justice" are spent clamoring for funding to eliminate the possibility of pregnancy and to terminante those pregnancies that somehow—unintended and unplanned, of course—suddenly threaten to punish the hapless, liberated, man-free woman?

To be fair to Dowd, she nearly comes off as moderate and thoughtful compared to a March 12th editorial in the New York Times that wails and flails like a Knicks fan coming down off the Jeremy Lin high because "the Republican-controlled House held a hearing to promote a mean-spirited and constitutionally suspect bill called the Child Interstate Abortion Notification Act." And what acts of shocking barbarism would this vile "Act" promote among the fair citizens of the land? It would "[impose] a mandatory parental notification requirement and 24-hour waiting period on women under 18 who travel outside their home state to get the procedure." The procedure, of course, being the killing of the unborn baby of a teenage mother.

This deeply traumatic requirement, the editors howled, "is both an attack on women’s rights and on the basic principles of federalism." One must acknowledge their obvious agitation: after all, they would never take down a dictionary and look up the word "federalism"—never mind use the baffling term—unless they were profoundly moved by the fear that somewhere and somehow a confused and distraught 16-year-old girl might have to stop and rethink her rash decision to destroy the innocent life in her womb.

And, as if to ensure their fiercely uttered (and feebly argued) sentiment could not be spoofed or satired in any way, shape, or form, the editors tossed in this desperate smokescreen:

Under threat of criminal and civil penalties, doctors also would be forced to comply with a burdensome legal regimen involving the interaction of varying state laws and those of the provider’s home state. A similar measure is pending in the Senate.

Ah, so doctors would be "forced to comply with a burdensome legal regimen involving [blah, blah, blah]", something that surely will never be a problem with the 425,116 words in the Obamacare statutes and the 2,163,744 words crammed into the Obamacare regulations. At least not until Nancy Pelosi has read all such statutes and regulations and informed us differently. But since she is busy being a flack for the fishy facts foisted by Sandra Flake (say it fast, faster, and fastest), we may never know.

Meanwhile, in related news:

A new CBS News/New York Times poll shows that most Americans believe there should be an exception for employers who may have a moral or religious objection to covering birth control for their employees.

According to the poll, which surveyed more than 1,000 adults nationwide from March 7-11, 51 percent of Americans believe employers of any kind should be allowed to opt out of covering birth control for religious or moral reasons. Forty percent say all employers should have to cover contraceptive care.

And, from the Wall Street Journal:

But when asked whether the government should mandate that Roman Catholic and other religiously affiliated hospitals and colleges offer birth control paid for by the institutions' insurance companies—as required by the rule—Americans were opposed by 45% to 38%. Women split evenly, with 40% in favor and 40% opposed.

Here is the actual poll.

 
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Carl E. Olson is editor of Catholic World Report and Ignatius Insight.
 
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