Novak on the “four hidden premises” of the HHS mandate

And Nancy Pelosi apparently thinks the mandate isn’t extreme enough

On the National Review site:

(1) The first deception is that the president has issued a “contraception mandate.” It is not that; it is a presidential power grab. No state or other jurisdiction is trying to ban contraception. Neither the Catholic Church nor any other religious body is trying to ban contraception. The means of contraception are even more widely available than in drugstores; one can pick up condoms in restrooms, even in restaurants. The reason for this deception is to make opponents appear to be doing something they are not. They are not banning contraception. It is dishonest to focus on contraception instead of on the real issue, the attempt to extend presidential power into areas constitutionally forbidden to it.

The genius of this deception is its explicit attack on the Catholic Church. This tactic was aided by the Church’s long and well-known moral disapproval of contraception, as an artificial barrier between a man’s and a woman’s complete self-giving. Yet the Church does not try to ban contraception even among its own congregants, only to teach that it is morally wrong, because it reveals a self-absorbed form of love.

In this way, by distorting Church doctrine, the president and his enablers in the press masked his power grab of forcing conscientious objectors to pay for contraception. The press also masked his violation of the Constitution in defining which religious bodies are religious, according to his ideas. Beginning with George Stephanopoulos, most of the press has been a delighted accomplice in misdescribing the issue.

(2) The second deception is that sterilization, contraception, abortifacients — and by logical extension, at the proper hour, abortion — are not matters of private choice, but matters of women’s health. This definition is then expanded into an enforceable right to women’s health. This supposed right is then expanded into a duty upon others to pay for the private choices and values systems of some women. In other words, this is naked coercion in its most deceptive form, and an illicit and twisted use of rights talk.

Pregnancy is a disease? The destruction of an individual human being within, boy or girl, is a matter of women’s health?

Read the entire piece.

In related news, House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi, a self-described “serious Catholic”, insisted this week that the Catholic Church and Catholic institutions should pay for contraceptives, sterilzations, and other “health” measures:

At a press conference, Leader Pelosi was asked by THE WEEKLY STANDARD: “The Catholic Church in Washington, D.C., is a self-insured institution. Should the Catholic Church in Washington, D.C., be required to pay for these morning-after pills and birth control if they find that morally objectionable?”

Pelosi talked about the importance of women’s health, and then said, “Yes, I think that all institutions who cover, who give, health insurance should cover the full range of health insurance issues for women.”

In other words, she apparently thinks the current HHS mandate is still too limited, because it provides an exemption for Catholic churches (though not for Catholic charities, schools, hospitals, etc.). I have no doubt that she is serious. But is she really Catholic or, better, is she a Catholic in good standing with the Church? It would be nice if her bishop(s) would clarify the matter.


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About Carl E. Olson 1098 Articles
Carl E. Olson is editor of Catholic World Report and Ignatius Insight. He is the author of Did Jesus Really Rise from the Dead?, Will Catholics Be "Left Behind", co-editor/contributor to Called To Be the Children of God, co-author of The Da Vinci Hoax (Ignatius), and author of the "Catholicism" and "Priest Prophet King" Study Guides for Word on Fire. He is also a contributor to "Our Sunday Visitor" newspaper, "The Catholic Answer" magazine, "The Catholic Herald", "National Catholic Register", "Chronicles", and other publications.