So tell me: Why did the Obamination even bother with this new rule change, this latest attempt to hide First Amendment violations under creative bookkeeping?
According to the legal analysis done by Americans United for Life, for-profit employers like Hobby Lobby and Bible publisher Tyndale will still not be afforded any exemption under the proposed new rules. Worse, if one affiliate of a group plan doesn't meet the stringent requirements, the group itself won't be exempted or even "accommodated".
The "accommodation" is worthy of a fuller quote:
The [Notice of Proposed Rulemaking]’s description of the "accommodation" as alleviating the conscience concerns of even the select few it pretends to protect requires a substantial amount of make-believe. Its argument that a “separate” contraceptive plan (that employees/students must be automatically enrolled in — there is no individual opt-out) will somehow not require the payment of either the enrollees or the “accommodated” religious non-profit, rests on the idea that it “is cost neutral because they would be insuring the same set of individuals under both policies…” Put another way, it is only cost-neutral for the insurance company if both “separate” policies are considered. In order to make the Obama Administration’s math for “free contraception” work, these insurance plans are not really distinct [bold font mine.—TL].
In other words, the NPRM concedes damn little, in return for further restrictions in a couple other areas.
Now, I suspect that there is a big hunk of the populace that currently have no "need" or desire for contraceptives but who have no objection to paying for the coverage ... most of them men. (Think about it: how many men, as their sole protection from paternity, count on women taking the Pill? Be honest, now!) So really, to realize cost savings on this, the Obamination doesn't need to frog-march the unwilling into participation. Besides, the most common forms of birth control are so inexpensive that the only people who can't afford them can't afford health insurance either; the only people who really benefit from this scheme are people who don't need financial help to pay for their pills and rubbers!
There, in a nutshell, is the final irony of Obamacare: Once the increased costs of insurance are factored in, PPACA will put health insurance further out of reach of people the law was supposedly designed to help!
So again I ask: what's the point of pretending to spare religious objections by this shell game? It's almost as if Obama, Sebelius et al. were saying, "Look, you're gonna pay for this whether you like it or not. We're just trying to find a way for you to rationalize giving in gracefully so you can save the money you're spending on legal fees." But the objection isn't solely from religious organizations and employers, as Marjorie Dannenfelser, the president of the non-religious pro-life group Susan B. Anthony List, pointed out:
There must be no religious "test" by the government as to who, and what type of entities, are entitled to a conscience. We demand respect for non-religious entities ... that recognize the taking of human life is the antithesis of health care. Government policy under our constitution, history and statutory law has recognized the right of citizens to be free from government compulsion of conscience on such fundamental matters.
There, in a nutshell, is the objection: If freedom means anything, it doesn't mean the liberty to participate in evil but rather the right to disengage from evil. We may be forced to tolerate evil in our midst, but it doesn't follow that government has a right to compel our material cooperation. Conscientious objection and civil disobedience are both predicated on the principle that no government has the right to force its subjects to participate in evil. People like to object, "You can't impose your morality on me!", which is a false position as all law involves an imposition of a common (or at least negotiated) morality. What is true, and more fundamental, is that you cannot impose your immorality on me ... even if I'm so crass and boorish as to be an employer or (heavens!) a stockholder.
Progressives don't get it; they still think freedom is about doing whatever you damn well please. So the fight goes on, with the Administration's attempts to massage the mandate into acceptability becoming a running joke that wasn't funny the first time around. Perhaps it's occurred to them that, despite the addition of AJ Sotomayor to SCOTUS, they may very well lose one of the many challenges coming up.
SCOTUS, at least, believes in freedom of religion. For now, anyway.