Mona Charen

The Obama administration issues an edict regarding birth control that is 1) blatantly unconstitutional, 2) economically absurd, and 3) completely unmatched to any national need. What are they talking about? The "Republican war on women."

Democrats are geniuses at muddying the waters and twisting the debate in a direction they find congenial. They've been at this a very long time. Recall that in the late 1980s and early 1990s, we found ourselves ensnared in a discussion of so-called "censorship." The National Endowment for the Arts (a luxury no deeply indebted nation should indulge) had provided grants to two particularly obnoxious exhibits. One was a photograph by Andres Serrano called "Piss Christ" that depicted a crucifix submerged in a jar of the artist's urine. The other was a series of homoerotic photographs by Robert Mapplethorpe, featuring, to cite just one example, a man's anus being penetrated by a bullwhip.

A number of conservative organizations protested this use of taxpayer dollars, and some in Congress responded by threatening to cut off NEA's funding (droll, no?). The liberals were ready with a jaw-dropping claim: To deny a federal subsidy to "Piss Christ" was censorship. Or, as Obama might put it, "It's not who we are."

Conservatives and others, who hadn't completely lost touch with common sense, responded that censorship had nothing whatever to do with it. No one was proposing to deny Mapplethorpe or Serrano the opportunity to sell their miserable wares to willing buyers or to exhibit them at private galleries, which indeed happened. Certainly, no one was threatening to deny employment to the artists, which happens in countries that practice censorship or God forbid, to arrest them. The proposal was simply to refrain from offering such works taxpayer subsidies.

Today, we are again invited to believe that to deny a taxpayer subsidy is to withhold a right. For no discernible reason, the Obama administration has decreed that all contraceptives must be provided "free" to those who want them, which of course means that everyone else's insurance rates must rise.

The administration demands this despite the fact that:

1) Most Americans can well afford their own contraception. It's less than the cost of a weekly trip to Starbucks.

2) Inexpensive contraceptives are widely available at every supermarket and pharmacy.

3) Medicaid recipients already receive them free.

4) The feds also spend another $300 million annually to provide free contraceptives to those who are low-income, uninsured or otherwise do not qualify for Medicaid.

5) Planned Parenthood and state and local public health clinics distribute contraceptives free around the nation.


Mona Charen

Mona Charen is a syndicated columnist, political analyst and author of Do-Gooders: How Liberals Hurt Those They Claim to Help .
 
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