Mikaela Beloberk, Editor-in-Chief
First things first: the so-called birth control compromise is no compromise. It’s a joke. Obama is kicking his feet up in the White House, scoffing as many adversaries to the original proposal seem to have come on board, deeming it a dandy accord. Under the new plan, universities and institutions with religious affiliations that oppose contraception and associated services would not have to offer them directly. He claims that these free services would instead be provided by the insurance company—wait, did I say free?
Let’s take a look at “free” contraception. Obama promised not to force employers with religious reservations to offer free contraception and to instead require the insurers to provide such services for free. But wait a minute—who pays for the employees to have those insurance policies? I do believe, if I’m not mistaken, that it’s the employer. And who will the insurance company bill for the employee’s free services? The employer, of course. So ultimately, the employers will be paying for the “free” contraception and related services regardless. The compromise is non-existent—it’s merely a legislative euphemism and a dirty trick at that.
Reporter Jonathon M. Seidl says, “For someone from the University of Chicago—home of the great free-market thinker Milton Friedman—President Obama really doesn’t seem to understand some basic economic principles. Or, maybe he does. And then the issue becomes this: he thinks he can fool you, and believes you’re not smart enough to notice.” I think it’s safe to assume the latter here, which is a whole other issue.
But ignoring the glaring contradiction of a compromise and the fact that there is no such thing as “free” contraception, I will pause to share my perspective.
Personally, my stance is this: as a religious conservative, I am generally against abortion. Without getting into the technicalities of what is an abortion and what is not (for that is an entirely different debate of its own), I myself do not believe that if push came to shove I could make the call to have an abortion, for it goes against my morals.
That being said, I do not believe that abortion is always the easy out; I’m sure it can be an incredibly difficult decision for conflicted women, for a number of reasons. Furthermore, I do understand that there are circumstances in which a pregnancy reaches a state of such danger that an abortion becomes necessary to protect the life of the woman.
But I have a bigger bone to pick with this entire contraception mandate scandal. It has turned into a hot button debate of ideological extremes when there is a much larger issue at hand. Marfdrat.net asserts, “The received wisdom among media cynics is that Obama has engaged in an ingenious bit of misdirection by seizing on a pop-culture caricature of Republicans and inviting them to live up to it.” Admittedly, the Republicans are playing right along, shifting the focus away from where it need be.
Regardless of where you stand on abortion, regardless of your religion or your morals or your political beliefs, what needs to be examined here is the government. What is its role? How big should it be? What can it impose upon us?
I will assert that it is not the place of the government to be involved in such affairs, on either extreme. The government should not go against first amendment rights and force an employer to provide contraception. By the same token, the government should not outlaw abortion. To do either would be a sordid misstep of government authority. And it is disturbing that this has been overlooked throughout the controversy. If the people support government dictating their sex lives, either through mandated contraception or outlawed abortion, that is the true problem here. For that could only set a frightening precedent.