On the Sunday edition of ABC’s This Week, conservative commentator George Will weighed in on the controversy surrounding the Obama Administration’s policy to force Catholic institutions to provide contraception services that conflict with the Church’s beliefs. Mr. Will laid a portion of the blame at the feet of the Catholic Bishops who backed the Obamacare health care bill from the start.
Mr. Will said:
The Catholic Bishops, it serves them right. They’re the ones who were really hot for Obamacare, with a few exceptions. But they were all in favor of this. And this is what it looks like when the government decides it’s going to make your healthcare choices for you.
Mr. Will said that the national controversy over the Obama Administration’s contraception edict was the logical extension of big government run amok:
This is what liberalism looks like.
This is what the progressive state does. It tries to break all the institutions of civil society, all the institutions that mediate between the individual and the state. They have to break them to the saddle of the state.
On Friday, a smiling and jovial President Barack Obama appeared with Secretary of Health and Human Services Katherine Sebelius in an attempt to squelch the controversy and stem any slippage of Catholic support for his reelection. At the press conference, Mr. Obama announced a new proposal that would require health insurance companies to pick up the costs of contraception for religious organizations whose beliefs were in conflict with doing so themselves.
In response to Mr. Obama’s proposal, the Catholic Bishops issued a statement opposing the plan:
Today’s proposal continues to involve needless government intrusion in the internal governance of religions institutions and to threaten government coercion of religious people and groups to violate their most deeply held convictions. In a nation dedicated to religious liberty as its first and founding principle, we should not be limited to negotiating within these parameters. The only complete solution to this religious liberty problem is for HHS to rescind the mandate of these objectionable services.
Mr. Will likewise opposed Mr. Obama’s contraception “compromise”:
This is an accounting gimmick that they’ve done that in no way ends the complicity of Catholic institutions and individuals in delivering services they consider morally abhorrent.
On Sunday, Mr. Obama’s Chief of Staff Jack Lew appeared on Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace and announced that the Obama Administration was done compromising and that its new policy would stand.
We have set out our policy. We are going to finalize it in the final rules, but I think what the president announced on Friday is a balanced approach that meets the concerns raised both in terms of access to health care and in terms of protecting religious liberties, and we think that’s the right approach.
Mr. Lew’s statement, while intended to cauterize the controversy, will likely set off a new round of battles between the Catholic Church and Mr. Obama.