A few weeks ago, Obama’s Department of Health and Human Services mandated that all employers–even religious hospitals and schools–had to include health coverage for birth control, sterilization, and ‘morning-after’ pills in the health insurance plans they give their employees.
Today the “Blunt Amendment,” which would allow employees with conscience-objections to opt out of that requirement, went down to defeat in the U.S. Senate by a 51-48 vote. And the whole thing will be disputed through lawsuits anyway.
But the Obama campaign still thinks it is a good political issue for them.
So they mocked up a scary image on the campaign’s Tumblr account that is extremely misleading.
The post says, “If Mitt Romney and a few Republican senators get their way, employers could be making women’s health care decisions for them.”
And they show this:
The Republicans (and some Democrats) were voting on a bill that preserves the status quo for religiously-affiliated institutions and then extends those same rights to other employers.
The image above is hypothetical mockup of a permission form. It’s short, but contains an embarrassing number of lies.
Let’s count them.
Lie #1 The idea employers have creepy discussions with individual employees about their sex lives when discussing their health insurance compensation. This does not happen. New hires usually get a packet with their insurance information just like everywhere else.
Lie #2 That employers currently (or under any law) would be granting or revoking permission to even use birth control. This is just not true. Currently many schools and hospitals just refuse to pay for it because they believe it directly implicates them in a sinful act. But employees are absolutely free to follow their own conscience and do what they want with their wages.
Lie #3 That there will be more ongoing creepy discussions and that a person’s health insurance will be constantly changed and reviewed according to changeable moral standards. This is not the experience of anyone working at a religious hospital or school, nor would it be.
Lie #4 That these decisions even get this personal. These institutions typically write up an agreement with a health insurer–or they self-insure. It’s an impersonal contract, not an inquisition.
Lie #5 Implicitly this makes it seem like it is also about women and their most common birth-control choices. It doesn’t mention sterilization or “morning-after” drugs that are part of the mandate. And it doesn’t mention most health-policies that don’t cover birth control also don’t cover elective-vasectomies for men.
That’s a lot for one tiny slip of paper.
The big lie behind all this is that somehow allowing some employers not to pay for this kind of coverage amounts to a “contraception ban.”
And we recognise this principle everywhere else. My employer, Henry Blodget, doesn’t pay me in prayer books or altars. But that is not an infringement on my free exercise of religion. He isn’t banning my faith.
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