Occupy Ovaries and the Religious Right
Darrell Issa, is the Chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. Behind closed doors; the Republican leadership made the decision to pursue President Obama’s perceived attack on the First Amendment rights of Religious institutions.
A Hearing from Representative Issa’s committee, entitled Lines Crossed: Separation of Church and State. Has the Obama Administration Trampled on Freedom of Religion and Freedom of Conscience?" occurred on Friday, February 17th. The legitimacy of the very question being asked, as stated in the title of the hearing, assumes the willingness of acceptable risk by Republicans regarding public perception of the issue.
The Democrats not only appear prepared to have this fight, they very well may have baited their opponents into it. Their objective is to attack the Republicans on multiple fronts. The Democratic strategy is based on the litany of proposed GOP legislature placing women’s Healthcare rights in the line of fire.
Representative Carolyn Maloney wasted little time attacking the first Panel of all male witnesses presented by Chairman Issa."Half the population of this country are women, and we will not be sent back to the Dark Ages, and we will not be denied our rights." Delegate of the District of Columbia Eleanor Holmes Norton protested by walking out, later denouncing Issa’s hearing as an “Autocratic Regime.” Representative Elijah Cummings expressed his outrage citing the initial absence of female panelist and total disregard for objective witness testimony in opposition to the Catholic Church.
Once the Catholic Health Association, Catholic Charities, Catholics United, and a host of other Catholic groupsgot on board, the complexion of the discussion was altered dramatically. Essentially, the Republican leadership was aligned with the ‘Religious Right’ and the established Church Hierarchy. Seemingly overnight, they found themselves on the minority side of the issue.
The downside Risk of continuing to pursue this matter is potentially devastating. The electorate may view this as an opportune divisive gambit. If so, the blowback on this topic connects a straight line with the long standing Party agenda to ensure President Obama serves only one term, at any costs. The limited upside Reward is to convince the electorate, President Obama is waging a War on Religious Freedom.
Specifically, the national discourse is centered on contraception and Women’s Health Care needs. There is no shortage of examples for women to site regarding Republican attacks to include Personhood Amendments, Overturning Roe vs. Wade legislature, Invasive Vaginal Probes, Birth Control restrictions and defunding Planned Parenthood and the Violence Against Women Act.
Ultimately, the issue was framed as ‘ObamaCare’ violates the First Amendment Right of Freedom of Religion. This won’t be a matter of polling the ethos of the male religious community. A fair and just decision shall be based on the rule of law and precedent.
Permitting religious organizations to structure Health Care policy sets a dangerous standard. Those who follow the doctrine of Christian Scientist and Jehovah’s Witness are prime examples of the negative ramifications of setting such a model.
The challenge to end this dispute would be a contraceptive mandate previously enacted in order to establish a precedent. The Los Angeles Times ran the very story we are searching for this week.
The state of Iowa mandated such a contraception law in the year 2000. The Republican sponsored bill contained no religious exemptions for religious employers, including churches.
Arizona followed suit although they gave an exemption to churches. This too was Republican backed legislation signed into law by Republican Governor Jane Hull;
New York had similar contraceptive Mandate legislature in 2001, Republican Governor George Pataki made it law;
2005, add Arkansas to the mandated contraception ranks as Mike Huckabee signed it into law; He has recently flipped calling it “an attack on religious Liberty.”
Governor of Massachusetts, Mitt Romney also was on board when affixing his signature upon the much ballyhooed Healthcare Mandate. Mitt Romney has since had a change of opinion because he now calls President Obama similar Healthcare Mandate “an assault on Religion.”