birth control

The Department of Justice is trying to stop the religious-freedom logic of the Supreme Court’s decision in the Hobby Lobby contraceptive-mandate case from spreading to religious colleges and other nonprofits seeking the same exemption.

The Associated Press reports that DOJ asked the Supreme Court Wednesday to turn down Wheaton Colleges’s request to get itself out of any complicity in the provision of “objectionable contraception”:

The issue in the lawsuits filed by Wheaton and other nonprofit groups is different because the administration already has allowed them to opt out of paying for the objectionable contraception by telling the government that doing so would violate their religious beliefs.

But they must fill out Form 700 that enables their insurers or third-party administrators to take on the responsibility of paying for the birth control. The employer does not have to arrange the coverage or pay for it. Insurers get reimbursed by the government through credits against fees owed under other provisions of the health care law.

The fight is over completing the form, which the nonprofits say violates their religious beliefs because it forces them to participate in a system to subsidize and distribute the contraception. …

“The decision in Hobby Lobby rested on the premise that these accommodations ‘achieve all of the Government’s aims’ underlying the preventive-health services coverage requirement ‘while providing greater respect for religious liberty,’” the Justice Department said, quoting from Justice Samuel Alito’s majority opinion.

Read the full article here.

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IMAGE: Department of Justice

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After hearing Sandra Fluke speak at American University recently, one female student wasn’t impressed.

In an op-ed titled “How Sandra Fluke Gets It Wrong,” sophomore Julia Morriss writes in The Eagle student newspaper that Fluke’s feminism charms didn’t work on her, and offers a pretty compelling argument against Fluke’s infamous claim to fame.

“Fluke presents an appealing position: someone else paying for contraception. For a college student on a limited insurance plan, this sounds pretty good. It’s easy to work up self-righteous anger about it. Lots of insurance plans cover Viagra and vasectomies, so why not my birth control? Isn’t this just another example of sexism in our society? It’s not my fault I was born a woman, so why should I have to pay extra for my contraception?

Once worked into a frazzle, we demand our “equal” treatment and push the government to ensure we get it. The result is Obamacare’s Contraceptive Mandate. While there are numerous problems with the mandate, some are especially poignant. It seriously infringes on religious liberty, and it denies any concept of responsibility for one’s actions and choices.

Though Catholics have been among the most vocal opponents to the mandate, it goes against the religious practices of many others, including some Jewish and Muslim groups. To them, contraception is considered immoral for a variety of reasons that they’ve explained on numerous occasions.

But they shouldn’t even have to explain. The First Amendment guarantees anyone the right to their religious practices, and no branch of government is authorized to take away constitutional rights. Religious groups are private institutions whose mission is not only their product or service but their desire to foster an environment where they can practice and share their faith. As a country that prides itself on religious tolerance, why are we punishing some for their beliefs and forcing them into practices they find immoral?

… Another problem with Fluke’s demands is that she refuses to accept responsibility for her choices, a problem our generation seems to struggle with on a continuous basis. We are constantly told that a woman has a right to her privacy and her own body and that her choices are her own. No one else gets to make them and the government should stay out of her bedroom. But then the government should pay for her decisions? If my choices are my own and only I get to make them, why does someone else have to shoulder the responsibility?

The choices we make come with consequences and responsibilities. That is no one else’s fault and no one else’s burden to bear. Live your life how you want. Just don’t ask me to pay for it.

Fluke embodies our generation’s sense of entitlement. As a woman, I understand her appeal, but I also recognize that in an economy already crushed with debt, we should not try to expand government spending for something that both hurts religious liberty and removes our responsibility for our actions.

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The College Fix has previously reported on president Obama’s efforts to force Catholic and other religious universities to provide contraceptives under Obamacare, contrary to the teachings of Catholic doctrine.

Obama his attorney general Eric Holder have made it clear that they do not believe that constitution protects religious institutions from acting against their own religious teachings when it comes to upholding the provisions of Obama’s health care reform bill.

In a similar case, now winding through federal courts, the Obama administration is determined to force the nationwide arts and crafts chain Hobby Lobby, which is owned by a family of evangelical Christians, to pay for contraceptives and abortion-inducing drugs.

CNS News reports:

In a legal argument formally presented in federal court in the case of Hobby Lobby v. Kathleen Sebelius, the Obama administration is claiming that the First Amendment—which expressly denies the government the authority to prohibit the “free exercise” of religion—nonetheless allows it to force Christians to directly violate their religious beliefs even on a matter that involves the life and death of innocent human beings.

Because federal judges—including Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor—have refused to grant an injunction protecting the owners of Hobby Lobby from being forced to act against their Christian faith, those owners will be subject to federal fines of up to $1.3 million per day starting Tuesday for refusing to include abortion-inducing drugs in their employee health plan.

Religious liberty and liberty of conscience can no longer be taken for granted in Obama’s America.

Read the fulls story at CNS News. (Via Fox Nation)

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A renowned University of California-Riverside professor recently advised students to save Mother Earth, eat vegetarian, only have 1.5 kids - two at the most – take up social justice causes, and “lower your standard of living.”

Biology Professor Richard Cardullo – recently tapped by several federal agencies to assist with redeveloping how college students across the nation study life science – offered the advice to a room full of middle school students as part of the university’s online science lecture series, recorded on the campus earlier this year. A video of his talk is posted on YouTube.

He began his 50-minute lecture, “Is Earth Overpopulated,” by painting a picture that the planet doesn’t have the room or resources for more and more humans, yet that’s the direction in which it’s headed.

“What is the carrying capacity of the planet?” Cardullo said. “As the population goes up we are using more and more resources at a faster rate. … Most people think (Earth’s carrying capacity is) in the range of nine to 13 billion. And remember – no matter what we do – we believe we are going to be at nine billion by 2030 anyway.”

Apparently famine, disease and war do not have the ability to effectively roll back the burgeoning human population and save the planet’s resources, the professor noted.

“If you want to minimize environmental impact, perhaps you should consider lowering your standard of living, for instance,” Cardullo told the students.

But that won’t cut it entirely, he said.

“Ultimately … the argument is, we have got to do something about population as well. The United States, we are very affluent. … We currently have a population of 313 million people. … Altogether we gain one person every 15 seconds. … If we want to take the population down to 150 million, all it would require in the next 100 years is to lower that birth rate – because we are not going to do it through any other method, right? That would be horrible.”

Cardullo ultimately advocates family planning for the task.

“That means your generation and the next generation, if they are committed to doing this, would mean having family sizes that on the average are 1-and-a-half children, or two,” he said. “Some would have one, some would have two. It would be 50/50.”

Cardullo’s lecture then morphed into somewhat of a sexual education seminar, explaining to the students on a cellular level how sperm fertilizes an egg, and how scientists study new ways to stop that from happening.

“Sperm is a vector … which leads to increased populations, so many scientists want to know, ‘Are there new ways we can control population or fertility rates?’ … so individuals can make the decisions to keep those rates low,” he said. “We are talking about controlling human fertility.”

He cited Gossypol, a cotton derivative that can cause sterility in males, as something under scrutiny by the scientific research community. Apparently in large doses it has the unfortunate effect of killing people, however.

“That’s one form of birth control, but probably not a good one,” Cardullo said, then chuckled. “So ultimately the World Health Organization argued against using it. But interestingly enough, there are countries in the world (such as China now investigating) using it as a permanent  method for controlling fertility in males, which is an option.”

Cardullo turned to some advice from renown conservationist and Professor Joel Cohen, who oversees the Laboratory of Populations at Rockefeller and Columbia Universities, to conclude his speech to the kids.

“So what are we going to do? What are you going to do is the real question, because my generation is about done, we’ve left this for you,” Cardullo said. “We have talked about fertility control, we have talked about the environment, we clearly have to start making some smart choices, there are a few solutions.”

For one, continue to use technology and innovation to increase production of resources, he said. But there are some other ideas as well, he said, citing Cohen’s work.

“ ‘Put fewer forks on the table,’ meaning reduce the numbers and expectations of people  through such means as family planning,” Cardullo said.

He also suggested not eating meat.

“One of the things we know is the production of meat is incredibly expensive,” he said. “You are going to start hearing more and more about humans’ carbon footprint, and one of the biggest contributions to that carbon footprint is the production of meat. … We could do a lot simply by just becoming more vegetarian.”

Finally, change attitudes, he said.

“We could teach better manners … enhance social justice,”  he said. “What are we going to do about continents like Africa. Is it fair to say we are going to be affluent, but other parts of the world are not? These are all decisions you are going to be making.”

IMAGE: Bluedharma/Flickr

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…for acting like a liberal:

On his radio show Monday afternoon, host Rush Limbaugh explained his motivation for apologizing to Sandra Fluke, the Georgetown University student he had referred to as a “slut” and a “prostitute” over her testimony regarding birth control.

Limbaugh said his apology — which he posted online over the weekend — was sincere and “heartfelt.”

“I don’t expect, and I know you don’t either,” he told listeners, “morality, intellectual honesty from the left. They’ve demonstrated, over and over, a willingness to say or do anything to advance their agenda; it’s what they do. It’s what we fight against here every day. But this is the mistake I made: in fighting them on this issue last week, I became like them.”

“That was my error,” he reiterated. “I became like them. And I feel very badly about that.”

He conceded that the words he used against Fluke had been inappropriate and uncalled for, and that they distracted from the larger point he had been trying to make about the issue of birth control. “And I again sincerely apologize to Miss Fluke,” he added, “for using those two words to describe her.”

Read the rest of the story at Mediaite.

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After facing enormous backlash stemming from a new birth control mandate for insurance plans offered by religious institutions, today the White House announced a compromise. The new rule would allow religious universities and other non-profits to exempt themselves form providing insurance coverage for birth control, as they have done in the past.

Catholic universities, in particular, had objected to Obama’s earlier plan since the Catholic church forbids the use of artificial methods of birth control. Critics argued that president Obama would be violating religious liberty by requiring Catholic universities to pay for something the church forbids.

So has Obama finally warmed up to the principle of religious liberty? Don’t count on it. The latest announcement, upon closer inspection, appears to be a bunch of bull. In reality, the Obama administration is simply playing games with words. As the Washington Post reports:

Religiously-affiliated non-profit employers such as schools, charities, universities, and hospitals will be able to provide their workers with plans that exclude such coverage. However, the insurance companies that provide the plans will have to offer those workers the opportunity to obtain additional contraceptive coverage directly, at no additional charge.

Let’s get this straight: Under the new compromise, insurance companies sponsored by religious universities would still be required to cover birth control. Only now, insurance companies would be required to provide the birth control coverage for free. The institutions themselves would not be required to pay for that part of the health plan.

But won’t insurance companies simply raise their overall rates to compensate for these “free” services?

It’s like when you buy a set of steak knives off a TV infomercial for $19.95, and they throw in a cheap “free” gadget, like a lemon peeler or a pizza cutter, on the side. In effect, you’re paying for everything. Saying that part of the purchase is “free” is nothing more than a sales gimmick. We all know that.

It’s the old bait and switch. Pure Washington spin. The new “compromise” is nothing but the old mandate dressed up with a new infomercial-style sales pitch. In the end, religious institutions with objections to birth control will still end up paying for it. The new plan still threatens religious liberty. But Obama obviously believes that Catholic universities and other non-profits that object to his agenda are too stupid to understand this.

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