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In the world of politics, there is nothing better than an opponent that shoots themselves in the foot. Hence, President Obama is having a much better time currently, than he should be.
Unemployment is still high and the debt is astronomical. Gas prices are high and rising and many of the President’s foreign policy accomplishments are footnotes because of Syria, Iran, and he’s continued throwing of Israel under the bus. But, none of that matters as much, because for the last three weeks the topic of choice has been the controversy regarding birth control and the President’s healthcare mandates.
If this is new to you, here are the bullet points. The Affordable Care Act that President Obama passed, mandates preventative medical care at no cost to anyone. No co-pays, no deductibles. Included in the preventive care list is coverage for birth control pills, the morning after pill, and elective sterilization procedures. Most company insurance plans already provide coverage for birth control, but now it must be covered for no co-pay.
The morning after pills and the sterilization surgeries would be at no cost as well. However, the Catholic Church does not believe in birth control and want waivers for having to provide coverage to employees of their schools and nonprofit organizations. The President refused, and the Republicans had an issue right up their wheelhouse.
So for the last two weeks, Republicans have been chopping at the bit regarding the infringement on religious rights by the President and the President has not been hurt by the debate because all that Americans hear are Republicans railing against birth control pills. Except, that is not what they are upset about. The issue is that the government should not be trying to make religious organizations do things against their religious beliefs. The real problem however is that the Republicans have again allowed the Democrats to frame the issue.
Most women in the country, 98%, have used birth control pills. Though it is easy to make people who fight against the mandate sound as though they are against birth control, that is not the real issue. The real issue is one of personal responsibility. If you are a woman reading this, or a man that is discussing this with a woman, you need to ask yourself: “Why I should have to pay for your birth control pills?”
That is the real issue. No one disputes that women should be able to get birth control pills, if she wants them. But, why should they be free? Whether a woman uses them is a personal choice, but at what point did we start thinking that other people are required to pay for your choices?
Food is more important than sex, should others pay for your groceries as well? Sterilization surgeries are elective, so it makes equally little sense to not let the person electing to do it, pay for it. I believe there is no difference between that and a woman getting a breast implant. Should we pay for them as well?
This is not only the more effective line of attack, but it is also the more understandable. Not only should the religious employers not have to pay for a woman’s birth control, but also neither should anyone else.
Republicans have allowed themselves to again get distracted by a social issue that does not win the election or overall opinion polls. If they focused on the personal responsibility aspect of this issue, they would be winning the debate. Because even women could disagree to pay for the decisions that other women make.
This is a classic case of what is right: arguing against the infringement on religious rights, versus being effective in arguing that it is wrong to make others pay for the elective decisions that individuals make in their own lives. If the Republicans continue to make this mistake, not only will they lose the election, but the U.S. will take an even closer step toward a society in which personal responsibility is absent from all areas of life.
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