Meanwhile in New Hampshire



The poll shows dramatic majority support for 1st trimester abortion...above 60 percent.

My contention is that the right and left are selling two different versions of the birth control story to the public, but the majority viewpoint of the public is pretty clear.

So, we have extremists dividing us when in fact, there is a clear, reasonable and inclusive opinion on the subject.
Here’s where conservatives fail on religious liberty. I think all, including most libertarians and conservatives, would agree that public health and safety trumps religious liberty. Conservatives would especially agree with this when an Islamic woman wishes to cover her face for a driver’s license/passport ID photo – it is a matter of public safety that she cannot.

Access to contraception and Plan B is a also matter of public health and safety.

It's their evil, fascist pope. He's interfering in our domestic affairs. This must stop!
How the hell can this happen in New Hampshire? One of the least religious states and the most libertarian state? I doubt the pro-lifers will win this one. Maybe they don't even think the can win, maybe they just want to cause "controversy."
Ah c'mon the Republicans need something new to run on.

Can't run on the economy, it's getting better, and the good lord knows they had nothing to do with that.

We're armed to the teeth, the uberwealthy have had their taxes cut to the bone, abortion and gay marriage are good wedge issues, sure, but they're not new and as fundiloon exciting.

The problem with your logic is, well, that it's logical. Republicans and Catholic clergy don't do logic.
The republicans are winning this because they are genius at narrative framing. They are turning denial of access to contraception into a 'liberty' framework: government shouldn't tell insurance companies what to cover, government shouldn't tell employers what insurance to buy, etc. In this framing, 'limiting contraceptive access' becomes 'more freedom.' Genius.
If the New Hampshire diocese helped draft the Bill then it is no longer a religious institution but a political one and should lose its tax-exempt status.
This shit in NH! How much farther to the right can this goddamned pendulum swing? When do we get to start returning to some kind of humane, reality-based governance?

Or maybe we don't. Maybe this drift is just the new normal, and the next battle after contraception will be women's suffrage: join us in 2014 when we'll be defending the voting rights of vagina havers.

After that they'll want to raise taxes on the ritually unclean or some crap. Fuck.
if people want to have sex without making babies they should become homosexuals
@1: Scumbag SRotU color wheel meme!
I think if the Catholics want the 'liberty' to deny basic healthcare then the government should exercise its liberty to withhold all federal funds from their hospitals and universities. We will see how well they do without Medicare dollars and federal tuition assistance.
I agree - if the Catholic church is participating in writing legislation, it's WAY past time for their tax-exempt status to END.
Funny how churches are only concerned with seperation of church and state when the state impedes on their practices, but have no problem at all with it when they impede on the state's practices. Oh wait, it isn't funny at all, it is exactly what one would expect from people who live their whole lives in a state of cognitive dissonance.

Also have to point out how they obviously do not trust their flock to make a "moral" choice whatsoever, they would rather take choice away entirely. What happened to the free will they say is our greatest gift from on high? Isn't it a sin to take away another's personal gift from god?
It astonishes me that Republicans think they've found a winner with this issue, because it (supposedly) communicates how bad and overreaching and totalitarian the Obama health care law is. Meanwhile, half the public is waking up from their usual disinterest in politics long enough to realize, my goodness, that expensive birth control I used to have to pay for is now going to be covered! Wow, bonus!
Apparently several other states are doing the same. Hopefully all this overreaching will hurt the Rethugs in November. We can only hope.
Do employees get to pick and chose which parts of the job they can opt out of on religious grounds?
Why all the outrage? No one is saying that anyone will be denied the ability to obtain birth control. They're just declining to pay for it. Not even in the same league.
@18: No sweetie, they already don't have to pay for it. They want birth control not to be covered full stop. Read the post.
"not be covered" is leagues, LEAGUES away from "difficult to obtain in any way"
@20, Actually cupcake, that is the same thing for many people. Just like a $1,000,000 surgery that is not covered is "difficult to obtain" for 99% of the country. Just because you are privileged does not mean everyone is. Not to mention, it is not an issue of the availability of birth control, it is about the seperation of church and state, quite possibly the most important aspect of our free nation.
Not really. For starters, this debate is over people with insurance, which means they probably already have decent jobs. Jobs where they can afford birth control. Which is pretty much ubiquitous. "I'm not gonna pay for that on your behalf" is, again, waaaaaayyyyyy different than "you can't have that," especially when you're already working a decent job and the "that" in question is relatively inexpensive.
An institution that helps craft laws, assumes moral authority and uses that moral authority to instruct its members on how to vote is not a neutral party in politics. Start taxing the child-fuckers.
I think they're accomplishing nothing except RADICALIZING thousands, if not millions, of women voters! Contraception has been so uncontroversial for so long, it's been pretty easy for apolitical Americans (i.e. most of them) to think, "Oh, don't be silly. They couldn't possibly take away The Pill!" I think the blowback from this one is going to be both fierce and lasting. But by all means, GOP, do keep this up until November! Please!
Seriously, isn't this literally what the Taliban does?
"Hey, we'd like things to stay exactly as they are now, thanks"

@26 You may have missed the part where they are attempting to overturn a 12 year old state law.

I am assuming that you are a religious person who made the bizarre decision to read this blog and defend anti-contraception groups. Why?
@26: Not only are you misinformed, as #27 points out, but your argument is fallacious. Appealing to tradition results in a circular argument, as explained here:
"Why should things be this way?"
"Because they are."
"Why are they this way?"
"Because that's how they should be."
@22-26, and you miss the original point: they (the church) already don't have to pay for that. So they have absolutely nothing to lose. It's just that they don't want people, especially people who work for them, to get birth control from health insurance -- even if they themselves (the church) doesn't have to pay a dime for it. It's more like jealousy.
I have a question. Do people have an option to purchase insurance that includes contraception but opt out of contraception? So that theoretically the price of insurance is not higher for EVERYBODY, but just for people who want that particular drug? Or is this a stupid question?
This isn't a religous issue at all, it's a government regulation/economics issue. The law simply removes the mandate. Insurance companies are free to cover birth control pills or not.

We have gotten away from what health insurance is supposed to be. Coverage for sickness or major health problems. Pregnancy is not a sickness.

Our health care costs will only rise if we have more and more government mandates. Now Obama wants all birth control to be provided free of charge with no regard for ability to pay. So Donald Trump's latest wife will pay nothing.

Let's just have insurance cover for free condoms and viagra, why don't we? Afterall we're not supposed to be allowed any sex discrimination, right?
@30, I don't think the option exists, but probably it should. And since the difference wouldn't be much (a few more bucks per month if you decide to include contraception, which you'll soon have back if you do use contraception), then probably it would be a good idea.

Come to think of it, why not itemize a number of things in your health insurance, so you can opt out of them if you want to pay less? Maybe that will appeal to people.
I grew up in New Hampshire, and I just gotta say, there's a lot of weird freaky stuff that gets brought up in the legislature each year. The state legislature is HUGE... members are not paid, and are in session only a few months. Standards are not super high for who gets to be in office and submit bills.

And each year, tons of stuff like this doesn't get any traction. I know it's fun to get all alarmist that "OMGZ0RZ NH is falling to the INQUISITION!!!" but take this in context. Just because the local diocese is getting involved in drafting laws doesn't mean they are going to get their way. I can remember them doing this and failing all the time when I was a kid. It's unlikely that this bill will get anywhere.
okay, I can understand the problem of churches dictating policy and agree that its a bad thing.

I don't get the issue about providing insurance coverage for contraception. An employer puts a package together of wages and benefits. Prospective employees look at the wages and the benefits and will either work there or not. If contraception is a deal breaker, get a different job.

If employers can't get staff they will rejig the benefits package. no birth control but will cover 100% of...orthodontics...whatever. If people want the coverage the employer will eventually have to provide it. The only thing more important than your religion is your ability to make money.
@34: In other words, "leave the market alone and it will fix itself".
@32 I did a small amount of research and found out that apparently insurance is already higher for women of child bearing age than it is for men of the same age. So this whole contraception thing isn't having much of an impact.

@33 I live close to NH, that is the impression I got also. A lot of political struggles that amount to nothing. I don't recall the church ever having much influence around there though. Conservative catholics all around the US are suddenly making a bigger deal out of birth control than they used to.
@31, most insurance covers Viagra. So, a man getting an erection is a medical necessity, but preventing a pregnancy is not?

I don't have sex with men, but there have been times in my life when I've been on the pill for other reasons. Paying out of pocket for it was sometimes difficult.
Sorry Ayatolla Santorum, but Catholics have the right to abstain from accessing the provided coverage.

As always, regarding questions of religious freedom, it is useful to consider the situation of orthodox or otherwise observant Jews, and the difference between required acts and required abstinences.

These rites and abstinences may well lie outside the social norms of the surrounding society. Hence the term ‘religious minority’.

In terms of the State, the goal is determine which religiously required acts and abstinences the State must either tollerate or protect in order that members of any religious group can freely fulfill their obligations.

In Judaism, for example, the list of required religious acts is perhaps shorter or less imposing to those outside the religion than the abstinences. The requirement of dress, to wear head covering and tzitzit, is for many Jews of fundamental importance (others, not). It may look strange to the rest of society, but it does not impose any adjustment in behavior other than tolerance. The requirement of circumcision similarly demands mere tolerance from non-adherents. The requirement to observe the Sabbath comes to mind as one the most imposing to outsiders, as it means probably leaving work before the end of business hours during the winter months—giving rise to possible employment conflicts. Similarly, certain religious holy days must be observed. These rites need to be protected by the State and tolerated by the society in order to uphold the right to religious freedom.

But they do not extend to the acts of those outside the religion. Even the

Judaic abstinences are more well known, beginning with the ten ‘commandments’—a list mostly of things not to do. Further abstinences concern forbidden foods, forbidden speech (prohibiting the use of the name of G-d), forbidden marriages, and yes, even forbidden sexual activity. These prohibitions would be outlandish if imposed by the State, violating fundamental and ‘inalienable’ freedoms and rights, but are voluntarily and willingly indulged by members of the religion as a demonstration of their devotion.

The Catholic prohibition of the use of birth control and of certain sexual activity (i.a. homosexuality) fall under exactly the same category of religious abstinences. (Indeed, many of the forbidden practices in Christianity were copy/pasted from Judiasm.)

The very aim of many religious prohibitions is in fact to underscore one's dedication and discipline—despite the ready availability of the prohibited object, subject or activity in the larger human society. This is called being pious, which has its charms.

My point is that the State allows Catholics and others to freely and voluntarily practice certain abstinences (eg. using birth control), thus protecting their religious freedom. Even if the law of the land were to require providing free access to all manner of prohibited substances and activity, the religiously pious are also free to abstain.

So, even if the State were somehow to demand that the insurance provided to an orthodox rabbi through his congregation must include free coverage and access to emergency medical pork rinds, the rabbi still has the religious right to abstain from exercising his secular right to that access.
Here in NH, speaker O'Brien is the devil that puts in these details. He has a veto-proof majority and is regularly working against the wishes of most of New Hampshire. Gay marriage is also challenged regularly as he threatens to overturn. We can't get that guy out of office soon enough. He's the guy, along with the church, who is behind this.