by Max Brantley
I'm not sure I totally agree with Gail Collins of the New York Times — I do think a lot of the tempest over birth control was about birth control and some religionists' desire to cram their faith down the throats of those who don't share their opposition to birth control pills. But she makes a good point after President Obama's genius improvement of a policy to guarantee preventive health coverage for women.
It's about health care reform and that's why, even with no good reason, the usual suspects are still screaming about the Obama administration policy.
The bishops have made their point. Even if many of them had managed to avoid noticing the Catholic institutions in their own diocese that were already covering contraceptives to comply with state law, they are absolutely correct that Church doctrine holds that artificial methods of birth control are immoral. They’re not going to let the White House ignore that just because their own flocks do.
But Republican politicians have other fish to fry. They want to use the bishops and the birth control issue to get at health care reform. Right now in Congress, there are bills floating around that would allow employers to refuse to provide health care coverage for drugs or procedures they found immoral. You can’t have national health care coverage — even the patched-together system we’re working toward — with loopholes like that.
Which is the whole idea. National standards, national coverage — all of that offends the Tea Party ethos that wants to keep the federal government out of every aspect of American life that does not involve bombing another country.
Except, of course, when they want to get into your life, your prescription medicines, your bedroom.