The Obama administration mandated that all employers – including religious institutions – cover the cost of contraception and abortion-inducing drugs in their employees’ health-care plan. This sparked off a war with the Catholic Church, which said it would not and could not comply with the mandate. And, via the “Blunt Amendment,” members of Congress tried to pass a bill that would allow employers to opt out of the mandate.
That bill was killed Thursday in the Senate.
Obviously, this is a contentious and touchy political issue, right? It would seem like the sort of thing an incumbent president running for re-election would avoid, right?
It doesn’t look like the Obama administration has any intention of walking away from the firestorm it has created with the HHS mandate. In fact, it would seem that the president plans on using this issue as a campaign tool.
Earlier today, the Obama campaign thought it would be a good idea/funny to post the following "permission slip" on its Tumblr account:
The “permission slip” reads:
I have discussed the employee's contraceptive options with her, and I verify that her use of these methods (IS / IS NOT) in agreement with my personal beliefs. The employee (DOES / DOES NOT) have my permission to access birth control pills, intrauterine devices, or any other type of contraception.
And included with the image was the following caption: "If Mitt Romney and a few Republican senators get their way, employers could be making women’s health care decisions for them.”
Now, as Michael Brendan Dougherty of Business Insider points out, the whole thing is dripping, sopping wet with factual inaccuracies (i.e. lies).
Dougherty catalogs all of the errors:
Lie #1 The idea employers have creepy discussions with individual employees about their sex lives when discussing their health insurance compensation. This does not happen. New hires usually get a packet with their insurance information just like everywhere else.
Lie #2 That employers currently (or under any law) would be granting or revoking permission to even use birth control. This is just not true. Currently many schools and hospitals just refuse to pay for it because they believe it directly implicates them in a sinful act. But employees are absolutely free to follow their own conscience and do what they want with their wages.
Lie #3 That there will be more ongoing creepy discussions and that a person's health insurance will be constantly changed and reviewed according to changeable moral standards. This is not the experience of anyone working at a religious hospital or school, nor would it be.
Lie #4 That these decisions even get this personal. These institutions typically write up an agreement with a health insurer–or they self-insure. It's an impersonal contract, not an inquisition.
Lie #5 Implicitly this makes it seem like it is also about women and their most common birth-control choices. It doesn't mention sterilization or "morning-after" drugs that are part of the mandate. And it doesn't mention most health-policies that don't cover birth control also don't cover elective-vasectomies for men.
When you think about it, it’s really quite impressive that they were able to fit that many "untruths" into three sentences.
“The big lie behind all this is that somehow allowing some employers not to pay for this kind of coverage amounts to a ‘contraception ban,” Dougherty writes.
Echoing these sentiments, Tim Carney of the Washington Examiner writes: “It’s hard to recall a political cause as dependent on dishonesty as the support for Kathleen Sebelius’s ObamaCare contraception mandate. Mandate proponents attack opponents for wanting to ban contraception, or at least for ‘politicizing’ contraception."