Helen Whalen Cohen

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said in a press conference Thursday that Republicans are using religious freedom as an excuse to change the law in a way that will be harmful to women's health. This was in regard to the pushback against Catholic employees being required to cover birth control and abortifacients, which violates Church doctrine.

“And so this is an issue, 98 percent of Catholics, they tell us, use contraception, overwhelming numbers of people in our country support the president’s decision, including, they tell us, at least you all tell us, a majority of Catholics,” said Pelosi.  “So I support it.  If it comes to the floor we’ll use this as a welcome debate to talk about the importance of women’s health.”

“And it’s not just about the women,” Pelosi said.  “It’s about their children and the health of their families as they make serious decisions and use contraception to determine, as I said, the size and timing of their families.  That will be a debate that we welcome.”

“It’s a sad one,” she concluded.  “We shouldn’t have to be to a place where people are saying—when the overwhelming practice is going in favor of women’s health—‘we want to pull that back.’  And use the excuse of religious freedom, which, of course, this is not.”

If the government has the opportunity to give more freebies to people, then sure, why not, right? Pelosi seems to think that because she desires a particular outcome, there is no reason that the government shouldn't provide it (or force others to). I'm pretty sure that no one in America who wants contraception has had trouble getting it, and yet the above statement makes it sound like birth control is impossible to obtain on ones own. There's a difference between being left alone to obtain whatever goods and services a person desires and being given everything as though we are all incapable of finding things that we want or need without help from the government. Creating new rights (like a right to birth control) will of course trample on someone else's right to be left alone. Fortunately in this country we have a First Amendment to protect our original rights, as Senator Mitch McConnell pointed out.

“Our founders believed so strongly that the government should neither establish a religion, nor prevent its free exercise that they listed it as the very first item in the Bill of Rights,” said Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) in response to the Democrats’ actions. “And Republicans are trying today to reaffirm that basic right. But Democrats won’t allow it. They won’t allow those of us who were sworn to uphold the U.S. Constitution to even offer an amendment that says we believe in our First Amendment right to religious freedom. .... I’ve spent a lot of time in my life defending the First Amendment. But I never thought I’d see the day when the elected representatives of the people of this country would be blocked by a majority party in Congress to even express their support for it.”


Helen Whalen Cohen

Helen Whalen Cohen is Associate Editor and Community Manager at Townhall.com.