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The Fight the Left Wants

Religious liberty versus ‘women’s health.’

Feb 27, 2012, Vol. 17, No. 23 • By JOHN MCCORMACK
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Supporters of the mandate are fighting back, arguing that legislation to restore the conscience protections that existed before Obamacare will leave Americans vulnerable. “You know, a Christian Science owner of a running shoe store could decide no health insurance,” Durbin said on Tuesday. Of course, for all of American history prior to the passage of Obamacare, shoe salesmen—whatever their religion—were free to pay their employees with money rather than health care benefits without facing fines from the federal government, yet the republic managed to survive.

At the grassroots level, Catholics are rallying opposition at parishes throughout the country. The National Association of Evangelicals, a group known for its liberal-leaning positions on global warming and defense, has vowed to fight the mandate. Meanwhile, NARAL, the group formerly known as the National Abortion Rights Action League, has cut an ad thanking Obama, and other pro-abortion groups are mobilizing their forces as well. 

It’s not at all clear who will win this fight. A CNN poll showed Americans oppose the administration’s policy 50 percent to 44 percent, but a CBS/New York Times poll found that 61 percent of Americans supported it. 

A lot depends on whether opponents can press the argument against Obama’s mandate from all angles. Can they get the word out that it’s not merely a “contraception mandate” but an “abortion mandate,” too? Can they make the case that the issue is religious liberty—or liberty more broadly—and not access to contraception? That all remains to be seen. But there’s no reason to think the issue will go away before November. For opponents, the election is the only opportunity to reverse the mandate.

John McCormack is a staff writer at The Weekly Standard.

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