Obama has a good laugh at women's expense.
If you thought the contraception debate was about expanding or protecting women’s existing right to reproductive health care, think again. If you were waiting for the other shoe to fall, congratulations. You are not blinded by your own bias and can see clearly and painfully exactly how much the left, especially the new Democratic constituencies attracted under Obama, care about the signature women’s issue according to left-centered feminists. Which is to say they do not care at all. Women, you have served your purpose, and it is time for reassignment back under the bus. Contraception coverage, decided and issued just over a month ago, is already up for review:
Taking a conciliatory tone and asking for a wide range of public comment, the Obama administration announced this afternoon new accommodations on a controversial mandate requiring contraceptive coverage in health care plans.
Coming after a month of continued opposition from the U.S. bishops to the mandate, which was first revised in early February to exempt certain religious organizations, today’s announced changes from the Department of Health and Human Services make a number of concessions, including allowing religious organizations that self-insure to be made exempt.
Note that they are asking for public comment. It would be irresponsible for organizations such as NOW, Emily’s List, and NARAL to remain silent on this. I expect to see a big fundraising push to raise awareness about this issue. There’s a war on women, for goodness sakes! And women must fight the good fight! I’m waiting for it. I’m just sure it’s going to happen…
But wait. There’s more!
About that new student rule, which Sandra Fluke fought so hard for, and for which she suffered so much indignity, it may not be as permanent as she would like, or as immediate. The proposal suggests ways that universities can easily skirt the rules. It’s so nice of the Obama administration to publish the loopholes at taxpayer expense so that these universities don’t have to pay lawyers to figure it out themselves. Obots are right that Obama is like Jesus in one sense: The lord giveth and he taketh away.
News of the changes also came as a separate ruling on student health insurance coverage was announced by the Department of Health and Human Services this afternoon. Under that ruling, health care plans for students would be treated like those of employees of colleges and universities — meaning the colleges will have to provide contraceptive services to students without co-pay.
Religiously affiliated colleges and universities, however, would be shielded from this ruling, according to a statement from the HHS.
“In the same way that religious colleges and universities will not have to pay, arrange or refer for contraceptive coverage for their employees, they will not have to do so for their students who will get such coverage directly and separately from their insurer,” the statement said.
I’d be very curious to learn what Fluke’s opinion is of this specific issue, and the other reproductive health proposal (both linked in the article above) overall. If she or anyone else participating in the debate on the pro-contraception side can support this, it does raise some questions. Most notably: So, it’s okay (to segregate medical care by gender) if you’re a Democrat? I wonder if it will even be an issue tomorrow, if any self-labelled feminist of the progressive/liberal persuasion will comment on it at all. I’m guessing not if the last three years are any indication. I mean, who cares if Obama’s health care plan segregates women’s reproductive health care, or if it rolls back EEOC rulings that have stood for 12+ years? He’s the coolest m*therf*cking feminist president evah!
Update: The NYT spin on this is interesting if only because it exemplifies the cliche Who am I to believe, you or my own lying eyes?
The Obama administration took another step on Friday to enforce a federal mandate for health insurance coverage of contraceptives, announcing how the new requirement would apply to the many Roman Catholic hospitals, universities and social service agencies that insure themselves.
Except it doesn’t do that at all. It’s not pushing the Catholic constituency further into a corner; it’s accommodating them and their concerns, and giving them a way to opt-out by self-insuring. It also establishes another year-long exemption, including a permanent exemption for religiously affiliated schools. The proof is in the pudding. According to the article itself, much further down, of course:
The administration on Friday also issued a final rule requiring coverage of contraceptives under student health plans offered by many colleges and universities. The requirement applies to health plans underwritten by private insurers like UnitedHealth and Blue Cross and Blue Shield. It does not apply to student health plans at colleges that serve as their own insurers.
“A self-funded student health plan cannot be included in this regulation without a change in law,” the administration said.
And from Fluke herself, who in her disappointment offers this tepid and disappointing criticism:
Ms. Fluke welcomed the new rule on Friday, but said she was disappointed that, under the Obama administration policy, “religiously affiliated schools and employers may delay a year before offering contraceptive coverage.” Ms. Fluke said colleges should not “delay what is now inevitable” and should provide contraceptive coverage as soon as possible.
So basically she trusts he’s just kicking the can so he can deliver after the election. It couldn’t possibly be a walk-back because his campaign tactic known as The War on Women(TM) didn’t work and he actually lost support, including among women, in the polls, now could it?