Back in 2008 when President Obama was elected, I asked my sister how she felt about it. She said she didn’t vote for him, but it wasn’t the end of the world as some predicted. She lives in Colorado, a “purple” state as she calls it. It is one of the few states that seems to be pretty evenly divided among Republicans and Democrats, and so presidential contenders often pay attention to this swing state.
Since that election, I’ve been amazed to see a transformation in her. She has definitely become much more politically active, and has served as a volunteer to get out the vote. She has become much more critical of President Obama’s policies, and worked actively to defeat him in the recent election. She has become much more of a critic of his social policies, especially the contraception mandate. In case you are not aware, part of Obamacare mandates that employers pay for contraception. Logically it seems like it will save money in the long run. I’ve previously discussed that the Freakonomics experts believe that abortion helped lower the crime rate because unwanted children don’t grow up to become career criminals. In addition, a St. Louis University study showed that when free contraception was given to high schoolers, it cut the teen birth rate by 72%, and cuts the abortion rate by 68%. Frankly, these are goals that should be lauded by all who want to lower crime, abortion, and teen pregnancy. Obama’s plan seems very sound in tackling these important issues.
But certain Catholic and Evangelical groups feel that providing contraception gives teens a license to sin, and are morally opposed to it. Hobby Lobby, a national chain store that sells hobby supplies is owned by devout Evangelicals; they are fighting Obamacare because they don’t want to be forced to pay for contraception; as a result, the government was imposing $1 million dollar a day fines against the chain. My sister is excited that a court ruled in favor of the retail store, saying they don’t have to pay the fines while the court case is pending.
In my mind, the contraception mandate just makes good economic sense. My sister and I have discussed birth control, and she certainly has used it, but she feels that this is a government intrusion and supports Evangelicals and Catholics who oppose having to pay for contraception on the basis of moral grounds. My reaction has been to say that if these 2 groups don’t want to pay for contraception, then they should have to pay for the jails to house the unwanted children, which is much more expensive. But alas, she (and I suppose Catholics and Evangelicals) probably wouldn’t think that was fair. Of course they would argue that teens should put these unwanted children up for adoption, but that doesn’t happen. As a result, these unwanted children turn to a life of crime because they have no other way to support themselves.
If Obama can cut a deal allowing for Catholic organizations to avoid paying directly for contraception (and Obama has worked out some sort of indirect method to allow employees of Catholic employers to get free contraception), then I suppose that Hobby Lobby has some sort of a case and should be allowed a similar exception. But in my mind, the Evangelicals are tripping over dollars to pick of pennies on the basis of some self-righteous moral crusade. It just makes no sense to me why they would oppose contraception when it will make society a better place. I mean who thinks that cutting teen pregnancy and abortions is a bad idea? Apparently the Catholics and Evangelicals believe the ends to not justify the means.
What say you?