Sandra Fluke. Rush Limbaugh. Georgetown University. Nancy Pelosi. George Stephanopolis. Mitt Romney.
If any of those names mean anything to you – especially if they don’t – this post is for you.
Last week there were Congressional hearings regarding the HHS mandate commonly referred to as Obamacare.
One of the objections to Obamacare is that it does not provide an exemption for religious organizations and employers when it comes to covering services that “violated their consciences” – specifically, in this case, Catholic organizations (school, hospitals, etc) providing health coverage that covered contraceptives.
In case you don’t know, the official position of the Catholic church is not in favor of contraception. Some individual Catholics may use contraception, but the official position and practice of Catholic institutions is not to provide them. If you work for a Catholic institution, they insist that you provide for your own contraception. And according to the First Amendment of the Constitution, that is their right.
The hearings last week were to explore adding an amendment that provided such an exemption for religious organizations.
Let me restate that: as the law stands, religious organizations are required – in violation of the Constitution – to provide coverage for services that contradict their beliefs.
Still with me?
Along comes Sandra Fluke. There’s still some debate about who contacted whom, when, but either way, via Nancy Pelosi, Fluke asks to testify in the Health and Human Services exemption hearings. Unfortunately for her, she was too late. The agenda was already set. In order to be added so late, she had to prove to be an “expert” on the subject matter of the hearings. Since she is not a doctor or a religious leader, she was not considered an expert witness and wasn’t added to the list of witnesses.
When they found out she couldn’t testify in the hearings, Congressional Democrats, led by Nancy Pelosi, held a press conference choreographed and staged to look like it was part of the HHS hearings. In fact, it was for a completely different committee altogether, which didn’t come out until later. There, she was presented as a 23-year-old Georgetown University law student testifying about the hardship need for her Catholic law school to provide coverage for contraception in their insurance coverage.
And yes, she said she spent $1000 a year in contraceptives.
Here’s the thing: Sandra Fluke isn’t “just” a 23-year-old law student. She’s actually a 30-year-old “reproductive rights” activist, who has enrolled in multiple universities around the country in order to challenge their “reproductive rights” stances as a student – usually in the form of getting them to change their insurance coverage to cover contraceptives.
In her testimony, she talked about how it was a hardship on her and other women to have to provide for their own contraceptives because they attend a Catholic university which doesn’t cover contraceptives in their insurance plans.
The obvious implication was, Congress must not allow a religious conscience exemption to be added to Obamacare, because it would – according to her – put undue hardship on women needing contraception.
Let me restate that: Sandra Fluke did not go to Congress to fight some religiously-motivated piece of legislation banning contraception – and by the way, none of the candidates are in favor of such legislation, contrary to what you have heard.
Sandra Fluke went to Congress to fight against allowing religious organizations to operate within their First Amendment right to freely practice their religion – specifically, to force the Catholic church and Georgetown University to provide coverage for contraception in their insurance packages.
Suddenly, the media had an excuse to pretend that – golly gee, Obamacare isn’t trampling over the Constitution! Look! Catholics hate women! Sandra Fluke was the perfect distraction from the real issue – that Obamacare is, in fact, unconstitutional in several ways, but in this instance specifically, because it runs contrary to the First Amendment guarantee of free exercise and the establishment clause. As soon as the government says, “You must exercise your religion in XYZ way,” they have mandated religious practice – established religion.
By telling Georgetown University and every other religious institution what services it must and must not provide individuals as it relates to their religious beliefs, the government is mandating religious practice – establishing religion.
This is what Obamacare does.
This is what the HHS hearings were trying to correct.
This is what Sandra Fluke went to Washington to fight.
And to be a distraction from the real discussion that needed to be happening:
That Obamacare is unconstitutional
And then Rush comes along, makes fun of Fluke saying she needed $1000 a year in contraceptives, and provides a distraction from the distraction. And then apologized.
But make no mistake, the real story here is that Sandra Fluke went to Washington to defend and engage in religious discrimination, by falsely portraying Georgetown University and the Catholic church in general as being “anti-woman” because they do not provide coverage for birth control.
This is an important distinction: Georgetown University is not banning their students or faculty from using contraceptives. They do not bar anyone’s access to contraceptives. They merely require that if you use them, whether for medical or lifestyle reasons, you must find a means of providing for them yourself.
Even if that means going to the local Planned Parenthood and getting it for free.
As all this was going on, the wheels in my (and others’) head got turning. This all sounded very familiar. Accusations of religions banning contraceptives? Where have we heard this before?
Last fall during one of the Republican debates, while they were talking about something completely different, “moderator” George Stephanopolis asks Mitt Romney “if he believes the states had the right to ban contraception, or if that was a federal issue.” And God bless Romney, he actually made me proud.
Romney replied, “Why are you asking me about this? No state wants to ban contraception. You’re asking me if I think we should go in and overturn some Supreme Court ruling over an issue that isn’t even happening, that no one is talking about, that no one wants to do. Why are you asking me about this?”
Stephanopolis keeps pressing and Romney finally says, No, states don’t have the right to ban contraception, but no state wants to do it, no presidential candidate wants do it, so I don’t know why we’re talking about it. There were a couple of other topics thrown in but that was the crux of the discussion.
And those of us who watched or read about it the next day (because who actually wanted to watch 75 debates???) were scratching our heads. Where the heck did this come from? Banning contraception? Who thinks up these stupid questions?
And so we let it go, thinking it was just a typical weird media sucker-punch attempt.
Then occasionally, not often, but occasionally, JournoListas would ask candidates or those connected to candidates about banning contraceptives. And every time, people would get this perplexed look on their faces and go, “Where is this coming from?” Frankly, I appreciated those who dealt with the issue by treating it as ridiculous as it appeared to be. The aspirin comment was the best response. It wasn’t sexist. It was “answering a stupid question with a stupid answer,” or to put it another way, “using absurdity to illustrate the absurd.” Because it was an absurd non-issue.
Or so we thought.
And then along came Sandra.
In hindsight, we should have seen this coming all along.
Obama is up for re-election this year. The Democrats and the media knew these HHS hearings were coming up this year. They needed to blow smoke in front of the eyes of the public regarding how Obamacare stomps all over the First Amendment (and Tenth, for that matter). They needed a convenient distraction from the real issue.
So they contrived a previously non-existent “war on women” to get the public’s focus off of Obamacare being unconstitutional and off of the fact that Obama and nearly every Democrat in Congress voted for an unconstitutional mandate that, among other things, attacks the free practice of religion.
They started working on it last fall.
And Sandra Fluke is the culmination of that weeks-long, perhaps months-long, endeavor.
Sandra Fluke, who is not a young college student plucked from obscurity to speak on behalf of impoverished women in America, as she and Nancy Pelosi and the media want you to believe.
Sandra Fluke, who is actually a long-time left-wing activist who has traveled around the country enrolling in university after university, for the sole purpose of being an activist, which is her right, to force institutions to cover medical treatments and procedures (including sterilization and sex-change operations) – in this case, in violation of conscience and the First Amendment.
They are lying to you. Sandra Fluke is nothing more than a plant, a smokescreen for Obamacare, the star in a media stageshow, intended to attack the free exercise of religion and run interference for Obama.