As the old saying goes, the devil (diabolos) is usually in the details. This is a purely personal reaction to today's presidential announcement and in no way reflects official opinion at BreakPoint/Colson Center, where I work. But I noticed a few things in the announcement:
1. It was mentioned again (and again) that MOST women use contraceptives and that they prevent disease. The conclusion apparently should be that the government should make that free, and therefore anoint the principles implied as kosher and even mandatory. That is, anything that is healthy should be mandatory and free -- that is -- paid for by your tax money. Personal responsibility goes out the window.
2. Since it is healthy, mandatory and free, and since so many use it, if a church has a doctrine or a belief against it, the church is (implied) not smart. But, says the government, we will accommodate. We will not make the church or non-profit pay for it and violate their conscience. We will, instead, force (yes, the law forces this on all insurers -- it was plainly stated) the insurance company of the organization to pay for it. In other words -- we are going to require at least a proxy of the organization to pay. Supposedly, that lets conscience and religious freedom off the hook.
Sometimes, the devil is really in the details of what isn't mentioned.
3. Not mentioned: Many organizations are self-insured. That means that they ARE the insurers. Well, even in a case like that, as we all should know, they have to have an insurance company under contract to handle the things the organization cannot. So I feel sure it is this contract company that will have to pay for the questionable operations, medicines, or procedures. In business, we call this a "pass-through" cost. Again, a proxy. But this time the veil of separation is much thinner. It gets much closer to the conscience being pushed to overlook this fact -- that we really are paying for these things, even if under another name.
4. Also not mentioned: abortifacients. The president did not mention this type of "contraceptive" drug, which is also mandated. He mentioned things like mammograms, etc. Who can argue with mammograms? This is the darkest side of the mandate. And the gnattiest detail. It all might boil down to this: Can you make a conscientious person, who abhors the idea of terminating a new life -- even one only a few hours old in the uterus -- pay to have that life snuffed out, even through a willing, or coerced, proxy?
Details . . . details.
Just added: The Becket Fund responds with a much more scholarly take on this - but covers many of the same points: