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Monday, July 28, 2014
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Published: Monday, 4/1/2013

EDITORIAL

Liberty for whom?

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine is wading again into the overstated “religious-liberty” argument that surrounds Obamacare. He is siding with church groups that seek an exemption from contraception coverage within what will eventually be a more universalized national health insurance system.

President Obama already has agreed to such an exemption, but now Mr. DeWine and some other state attorneys general demand a broader one. They won’t take yes for an answer.

You have to read the fine print, but they also want an exemption for nonchurch businesses whose owners object to the law. That slippery slope could end with a businessman “of conscience” saying that his heart, or his Lord, has told him he cannot accept a minimum wage or a ban on child labor.

The new health-care law requires that employers provide insurance plans that make birth control available. It does not require anyone to use birth control.

But 70 percent of U.S. women use birth control at some time in their lives. To deny this option to please religious groups amounts to theocratic imposition.

The Obama Administration, under political pressure, extended an exemption to churches that opposed the contraception mandate. It transferred the mandate to insurance companies.

But that was not enough to quiet critics who called that transfer an accounting gimmick. They said that virtually anyone who objects to Obamacare should be exempted in the name of religious liberty.

Health insurance is the possession of the individual. As a matter of law, it is now the obligation of virtually every American to obtain health insurance.

Most of us get it from our employers or the employers of our spouses, as part of our compensation. What we do with this portion of our compensation, like what we do with our salaries, is up to us.

The only liberty at stake is the liberty of the individual health-care user — the citizen. A woman who works for a Catholic hospital has a right to decide for herself whether she wants to take the pill. It is not her employer’s call, or her church’s, or the attorney general’s.



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