By Tony Perkins
Being the “greatest deliberative body” in the world usually implies that you’ve done some deliberating. Not so for the U.S. Senate. While the Middle East, southern border, and economy implode, Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.) seems perfectly content to coast along in the sea of futility. Occasionally, he’ll drop anchor — but just long enough to push a political agenda that has nothing to do with the country’s priorities. Case in point: the Democrats’ decision to shift into legislative overdrive on the supposed shortage of free birth control.
As real issues like national security fall by the wayside, Sen. Reid has decided to focus on his party’s primary concern — reelection. Just 14 Senate bills have been signed into law this year (nine fewer than last year), and the Majority Leader is determined to make forcing religious groups to violate their consciences one of them. The Left is fast-tracking at least three bills in response to last week’s Supreme Court decision, which gave companies like Hobby Lobby the right to opt-out of health care that conflicts with their beliefs.
Democrats, who are nervously trying to keep their grip on the Senate, are resorting to every progressive buzz word to incite their base before November. “The one thing we are going to do during this work period,” Reid warned, “sooner rather than later, is to ensure that women’s lives are not determined by virtue of five white men.”
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Unfortunately for Harry Reid, turning the Hobby Lobby debate into a racial issue didn’t exactly work — not when Clarence Thomas is one of the “five white men” the Senate boss tried to stereotype. If this is how desperate the Left is to re-impose its unconstitutional mandate, voters may not be as persuaded as liberals think. To most Americans, there are far more urgent challenges facing America — a shrinking GPD, job growth, the Middle East, and immigration — than the hardship of $9 birth control. Not to mention, a new report explains, that the rate of women enjoying no-cost birth control and abortifacients has skyrocketed from 14% from 56% — in just one year. If that isn’t access to reproductive “health care,” I don’t know what is!
Still, Harry Reid insists, “[Senators] are going to have to walk down here and vote [to force employers to provide these drugs]. And if they vote with the five men on the Supreme Court, I think they are going to be treated unfavorably come November.” With all that’s happening in the world, liberals honestly think this is a top priority for Americans — forced employer-funded drugs that can end a pregnancy? The President’s party is flying rainbow flags over its embassies and ordering businesses to cover potentially abortion-causing drugs and they think conservatives are out of touch? It’s ludicrous enough to be a “Saturday Night Live” skit. The reality is, there are probably plenty of women who would love to stop using contraception and have children — but because of Obama’s failed economic policies, they can’t afford to!
What’s more, this entire Sandra Fluke-inspired crusade is built on the lie that this is about the freedom to live your life the way you choose. It isn’t. It’s about the Left’s ability to force the nation to affirm, and in this case finance, an ideology of unrestraint. Exhibit A? Instead of just introducing a bill to fund millions more in free contraception and abortifacients, liberals are digging in their heels and demanding conformity. They’ve intentionally decided to go after religious employers and engage in unnecessary legislative arm-twisting that demands faithful people sacrifice their beliefs to grow the Left’s sexual welfare program.
Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), House Reps. Louise Slaughter (D-N.Y.), Diana DeGette (D-Colo.), and Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) all have bills that tag employers as “denying” coverage — when the only thing that’s truly being denied is the one thing liberals say they want: freedom to choose.
Tony Perkins is president of the Washington, D.C.-based Family Research Council. He is a former member of the Louisiana legislature where he served for eight years, and he is recognized as a legislative pioneer for authoring measures like the nation’s first Covenant Marriage law.
(Via FRC’s Washington Update. Tony Perkins’ Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.)
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