President Obama has for all practical purposes slapped the face of the Catholic Church in the United States. He did this by signing off on a Department of Health and Human Services ruling that will require Catholic employers to provide and pay for insurance coverage that would provide contraceptives, some abortions and sterilization procedures.
Peggy Noonan, writing in The Wall Street Journal, says this sign-off could cost Obama the election.
If the church-run institutions do not do this, they face huge fines, or could make the decision to go out of business.
Noonan says that should anger enough Catholics to inspire them to vote for someone other than Obama.
They have a wide choice. Former Massachusetts Gov. and Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney is a Mormon, and that church shares Catholic beliefs on these subjects. Former House Speaker and GOP presidential candidate Newt Gingrich is a recent Catholic convert. Former Pennsylvania Republican Sen. Rick Santorum is outspokenly anti-abortion. Rep. Ron Paul, also a GOP presidential candidate and an obstetrician opposes abortion.
Noonan, who writes from the political right, may hope that is the case, but she shouldn’t bet money on it.
Unless things have changed, the majority of American women favor abortion rights, and probably see nothing wrong with requiring Catholic employers to provide the same benefits many non-Catholic employers provide. That could put them in the Obama camp.
Abortion rights arose from the Roe vs. Wade decision by the U.S. Supreme Court in early 1973 that the 14th Amendment to the Constitution extends to protecting women’s right to privacy in medical care — including abortions — as long as they don’t violate state law.
The court has upheld that decision.
However, Noonan could be proven right if Catholic hospitals, Catholic charities, even Catholic schools and universities start closing rather than have to pay for procedures and drugs they find abominable.