Obama’s administration, more specifically, The Secretary of HHS, came out with a rule under Obamacare. The rule, or regulation, mandated that all institutions will be forced to pay into health care coverage that includes coverage for contraception, without co-pays from the women who will use them; the exception was given to Churches. However, Church-run institutions like universities and hospitals, are not given the exception. A vague representation of the rule, by Obama, calls for, essentially, the same thing (though it is being falsely presented as a compromise). Opponents are opposed to the rule on pro-life grounds, but proponents of the rule hardly ever admit why opponents are against it.
When the rule first came out those, whom pundits call ‘The Right’, came out against the rule. In reality it was religious people from across the spectrum. Bishops and priests, especially. Why were they against the bill? Not because it was a power the government didn’t have, but because it violated religious liberty. How did it violate religious liberty? On this matter they were quite specific; because many contraception are post-coital abortion-inducing medication; in other words, some contraception exist for the sole purpose of causing an uninhabitable womb for the zygote to grow, in effect causing the death of the zygote (hence, abortion). An example of this type of medication is the “Morning After Pill.” Not only were bishops, priests, and Catholic religious leaders coming out on this, but grass-roots organizers on the ground rallied around the same argument, from Texas to NYC. The argument was explicitly framed as it related to abortion and murder, and that both were not allowed in the Catholic and Christian religions. Every single group, including Right to Life, stated explicitly they weren’t against traditional contraception; only the abortion-inducing ones.
Rush Limbaugh came out describing the issue: “You might just as well ask how can Obama mandate free birth control and abortion pills for everybody? How can he do that? He can’t, according to the Constitution, but he just did it. He just did it. Nobody’s trying to stop it. He just did it.’ Note how he described the problem as it related to mandated “abortion pills.”
The Conference of Catholic Bishops made two formal complaints on the rule; first, the unconstitutionality of forcing people to buy a service, and second, the 1st amendment assault on forcing religious people to pay for abortion-inducing medication. They made clear that life-affirming contraception isn’t the target.
National Right to Life wrote that Obama’s arguments for the contraception rule was a “scam” that would directly and explicitly force people to pay for others abortion-inducing medicine. It isn’t about contraception, it’s about forcing abortion-inducing medication coverage onto to other people.
One Conservative news source, when the rule came out, called it “Obama” forcing “Americans – including Catholics-…to buy coverage for sterilization, contraception, and abortifacients.” In that same article, the word “abortion” came up a number of times, and many times more in the comments section to the article. One commenter wrote “Preventative Care” shouldn’t cover “abortions” whether they be “surgical or chemical.” This same source, CNSNews.com, made a number of articles on the contraception issue and every single one I read (four of them) used the word “abortion” a number of times, and explained the conservative position as it related to abortions.
Why else would local priests of every church in America rally the congregation around this, from Left-religious, center-religious, to religious-Right areas? Why else would even the pope get involved? Why else would “National Right to Life” be so involved in the discussion? Why else would everyone be so passionate? Not because of ideas on contraception, in general, but on a pro-life stance on abortion.
Now, what is the Left’s response? What is their ‘obvious’ strawman?
A quick look at the article the NY Times wrote on the issue shows the word “abortion” did not show up once, even when they tried to present both sides of the issue. Though the word “tried” may be giving them too much credit. Another NY Times article on how the debate is “splitting critics” again never presented the more conservative stand-point as it related to abortion. The word “abortion” was never used!
Democratic Congressmen/women, including Nancy Pelosi, have come out calling the opposition to the rule an affront to ‘woman’s rights,’ never once mentioning abortions or a pro-choice position, explicitly.
The Young Turks said numerous times this was an issue of “woman’s rights” and in explaining why people were so mad at the rule, they stated it was because they were “religious.” The word “abortion” nor the argument on abortion-inducing medication was never presented. Not even in the three videos they put out.
The Huffington Post, surprisingly, also did not present the Conservative position in any objective way what-so-ever. In the three major articles they put out on the issue none of them ever explained the reasoning against the rule, framing it solely on this basis; liberals wanted woman’s rights to contraception, and Conservatives are religious zealots who are against contraception. The first article never used the word “abortion” except to state “some abortion rights supporters were also unhappy.” The second article never used the word “abortion” except when quoting a supporter of the rule as saying the rule was being opposed by the same people who once opposed abortions. Again, the framework was as follows; Conservatives are bringing up an archaic fundamentalist and backward argument against general contraception. The last article, about the compromise, didn’t even use the word “abortion” at all, let alone speak on it, and let alone present the Conservative position on it.
The Los Angeles Times too never spoke on the Conservative position on abortions as it related to the contraception controversy. Jon Stewart, too, “rips Catholic church over birth control,” according to the LA Times, but never presents why the Catholic Church was so against it except to say that their religion didn’t allow for contraception. Another Jon Stewart clip presented by the Huffington Post says he “rips” Fox News Christians apart, but doesn’t say what the Christians were specifically mad about.
When Obama came out to discuss his compromise, he never once used the word “abortion” nor did he explain why Conservatives were mad about the issue, only to continually say their “religious objections” were the cause (not that he’s under the same moral-code of journalism that touts objectivity, though). On the flip side, the moderate, Conservative, and some Left-leaning, congressmen who all signed a letter to revoke this rule, expressed anti-abortion sentiment explicitly clear in the letter.
To be fair, though, the only liberal-pundit who mentioned the abortion-issue was Rachel Maddow on MSNBC. She presented the issue in full light, saying the Right were “The Men who Stare at Zygotes,” who are all angry over the contraception issue as it related to abortion, etc. She, of course, went on to explain that only Conservatives were against it, and how evil and wrong the Conservatives were for supporting this, but at least she made an attempt to present their position.
All of this, despite Maddow, goes to show one thing; across America liberals, and those of Leftist persuasion, who are in the limelight, have completely misrepresented why so many people are so angry about this rule; it’s just religious, they say. They present the religious people as a backward people against the social-culture that accepts general contraception. This is, very simply, a strawman fallacy.
Rush Limbaugh explained:
The media people go to Republicans, “Why do you want to ban birth control from the people?”
“I don’t want to –”
“Well, clearly you do. Obama said you want to ban birth control. You want to eliminate birth control.”
“No, no. We –”
“Well, Obama says so. Why do you want to do that?”
Limbaugh explained, as I am explaining now, that Republicans are against forced payment for abortion-inducing medication, and not what Obama & Co. are stating that they are stating. One conference of Democratic Senators stated the Republicans wanted women “barefoot and pregnant” and to live life like back in the “medical dark ages.” The Left, in their description of the Right’s position, sold a strawman fallacy to the nation, and a lot of Americans bought it.
The Young Turks: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kt4SHHPid0s
http://www.bing.com/videos/watch/video/contraception-more-womens-issue-than-religious-issue/67756o0 (This one is a straw-man from Rachel Maddow)
Right Specifying Why They Oppose:
http://cnsnews.com/news/article/154-congressmen-send-letter-hhs-protesting-hhs-contraception-mandate (the aforementioned letter)
http://cnsnews.com/news/article/birth-control-womans-right-dems-say-its-not-about-birth-control-gop-counters (This one is a retrospective analysis, like mine, saying the same thing)
Rachel Maddow: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b1v7vxd-9hk