ObamaCare’s defense of First Amendment “values” begins today – or something

by Ryan Streeter on August 1, 2012. Follow Ryan on Twitter.

Today begins the brave new world of ObamaCare’s contraception mandate. Shrouded in language about the laudable goal of improving women’s health, the Obama administration slipped out a press release yesterday with this utterly ridiculous claim:

The Obama administration will continue to work with all employers to give them the flexibility and resources they need to implement the health care law in a way that protects women’s health while making common-sense accommodations for values like religious liberty.

“Values like religious liberty”? There are moments when gentry liberals show what they really believe. This is one of those moments. Together with the freedom of speech, the freedom of religion headlines the Bill of Rights and is established as the First Amendment to our Constitution. It is a fundamental right without which the United States ceases to be country the founders envisioned.

It’s not merely a “value.” No American with an appreciation for the Constitution and the legal history of the First Amendment would call it that.

Beyond that, it’s pretty hard to understand how charging employers $100 per day per employee if they have a conscience objection to providing health insurance that covers abortion-inducing drugs counts as flexible or common sense. If they drop coverage altogether, it’s $2000 per employee per year.

The threat of these hefty fines is an outright assault on religious liberty in the name of a goal that is, in practical terms, largely already achieved. Most women have access to the contraception at reasonable costs. Sure, we’d all love to see costs for drugs and related services lower so more can access them more easily. But trampling on the First Amendment to coerce one American citizen to pay for contraception for another is a gross injustice.

To think that a head-nod toward the “value” of religious liberty would express some solidarity with religious groups that object to the mandate shows just how far-out-there this administration’s leadership is.

How ironic that on the White House blog yesterday, Team Obama put out a release on religious freedom as a human right in foreign policy just a half hour before its post on the HHS mandate: