Last week, the Obama administration instituted a new rule requiring institutions to provide birth control for their employees, with exceptions for primarily religious institutions — they didn’t have to provide birth control if it violated their conscience. Seems like a good compromise, right? No. Because the Catholic bishops are mad that Catholic institutions which are run by a lot of non-Catholics and serve a lot of non-Catholics and employ a lot of non-Catholics — places like Catholic-affiliated hospitals and universities — would have to provide birth control to their employees. “It’s religious freedom!” they say. “Making us provide birth control violates our moral conscience!” Sure, fine. I mean, 98% of Catholic women use hormonal birth control at some point in their lives, but yeah sure whatever. Clearly this ruling must violate the consciences of all Catholics, right? (No, sorry). Most Catholics, even? (No, sorry). Ok but it does offend, like, 10 celibate dudes who for some reason have enormous amounts of power, right? Yes, yes it does!
So fine, compromise time: Catholic organizations, even those that are not really all that religious and instead serve the public, won’t have to pay for contraception. Instead, insurance companies will have to cover contraception. Bam, women are covered, and no one is forced to violate their strong moral opposition to birth control by covering it for their employees. Good, right? Everyone’s happy?
Nope! Because, wait, this is just about a handful of celibate men wanting to control women’s reproductive freedoms? And it’s not really about religious freedom at all? It’s just about hostility to women having the ability to prevent pregnancy? Oh. Who could have possibly seen that coming?