Yesterday I praised Claire McCaskill for standing up for the Obama Administration’s new rule on expanding access to contraception. Seems I spoke too soon and the timid little soul we’ve become accustomed to is back – and all it took was a couple days of bloviating religious bullies and a media far too willing to take their claims of persecution at face value:
Some other Catholic Democrats in the Senate, including John Kerry of Massachusetts and Claire McCaskill of Missouri, said they want the administration to adjust its rule.
“I’ve told the White House that I think they need to find a compromise that allows women to get access to birth control through their employer’s health-care coverage, but without pressing this issue of religious freedom to the extent that the current scenario does,” said McCaskill, a Missouri Democrat who also is running for re-election this year.
Excuse me! What issue of religious freedom can she possibly mean? The one where the Catholic Church is privileged over every other religion and gets to disadvantage their female employees in federally supported institutions? Where Catholic rights of conscience take precedence over public welfare? When it comes to rights and freedoms, why do women always get the short end of the stick – and how can even a minimally conscious female politician, who demonstrably knows better, roll over like this?
UPDATE: Talk about a quick response – the President has announced an “accommodation” that knocks the legs out from under the anti-birth control cabal that’s been whining about “rights of conscience” and “religious freedom” all week:
The gist is that women who work for religious institutions that object to offering birth control coverage will get contraception for free, directly from their insurers. The institutions won’t have to pay for it. The White House argues that this preserves both the “liberty” of those institutions and the core, inviolate principle that all women will have equal access to birth control, no matter where they work.
Insurers “will be required to reach out directly and offer them contraception coverage, free of charge,” one senior administration official says. “All women will still have acess [sic] to preventive care, and that includes contraceptive sevices [sic], no matter where they work.”
If I were McCaskill, I’d jump on this quick. Greg Sargent suggests that “the Obama team is betting that any further objections to this policy will unmask opponents primarily as hidebound foes of birth control at any costs.” In other words, they’re calling the Bishops’ bluff. Couple this development with a new poll which suggests that the Bishops’ effort to create a holy furor has largely failed to gain traction, and it’s clear that jumping on the anti-contraception bandwagon could be a big loser for unwary pols next fall.
UPDATE 2: And, as per the St. Louis Beacon, McCaskill did jump in the right direction:
… This is a common-sense solution that protects the rights of women to access basic birth control, while respecting the rights of religious organizations. I’m glad this got worked out. If you’re someone who believes strongly in preventing abortions, like I do, then it only makes sense that we ensure women have equal and universal access to birth control, regardless of where they work.
Note: Last update saved in garbled form and updated for clarity.