LIMA, Ohio — After an outcry from the nation’s Catholics, President Barack Obama modified his unconstitutional attempt to provide free birth control to women. The situation has now gone from bad to worse in a way that has little to do with birth control or religion.

Originally, Obama’s plan was to force religious groups to pay for behavior that violates their core beliefs. That is, he wanted religious organizations to pay for free birth control for their employees.

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The revised diktat shifts the cost of contraceptive coverage to insurers when the faith-based employer morally objects.

While Obama’s change might have appeased some Catholics — especially liberal and moderate ones — by essentially giving the church political cover while achieving the same result, the rule is still bad.

A common complaint heard from the libs on this matter is that the Catholic Church’s proscription against birth control is antiquated and should be changed. The church, their illogic goes, should conform to liberal mores.

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This goes to the very definition of religion. The church has a set of core beliefs. It preaches those beliefs and people choose to follow or not follow. If the polls are any indication, a majority of Catholics, at least those of the American variety, choose not to follow, at least on this point.

Still, that does not give anyone the right to try to use the force of law to make the church change its beliefs. That is called religious liberty.

I think the ban on birth control by the church is wrong. I also find it wrong, or simply silly (no disrespect intended), that Jews won’t eat cheeseburgers, Jehovah’s Witnesses won’t take blood transfusions, and Mormons choose to wear long underwear on the hottest days of the year.

Yet it would be wrong for society to tell those faiths they should be eating cheeseburgers, taking blood transfusions and dispensing with the long underwear. It would also be wrong to force them to pay for someone else’s cheeseburgers, blood transfusions and boxers.

However, Obama’s rule has little to do with birth control and everything to do with control.

Obama is essentially forcing insurance companies to provide, at no cost to users, birth control. Where in the Constitution does the president think he has the authority to force someone to pay for someone else’s birth control?

Will liberals please explain how, in a free country, it is acceptable for the federal government to put a gun to the head of an insurance CEO and force him or her to provide to the people, without charge, birth control?

This is no different than if Obama forced automakers to give Americans free cars. Or force you to give your television to your neighbor.

We are talking about contraception, not cancer treatment, AIDS medicine, or influenza vaccines.

There is no reason people should not pay for their own birth control. Anyone with a job can afford contraception. If they can afford iPods and cellphones, they can afford pills and condoms. That’s the crowd we are talking about because those without health insurance and jobs are unaffected by this rule.

I understand the argument that there is a social burden associated with unwanted pregnancies. But sacrificing our basic principles of religious and personal liberty is not the solution. If the government wants to subsidize birth control, then it should do so directly with a tax. At least then there will be accountability to the voters.

Finally, the Obama diktat is just another example of his economic ignorance. What it does is force all of us, through higher insurance premiums, to pay for contraceptives for a group of women that can afford to buy it themselves if they wanted to. Not only should churches be free of this coercion, we all should be.

What procedures insurers cover should be an economic decision based on market principles, not a political one based on the liberal infatuation with sex. In the end, sex is a voluntary choice and contraception is a discretionary medical expense. Covering birth control is akin to auto insurance covering oil changes.

Do you really want to live in a country where the federal government has the power to order insurance companies to give free oil changes?

Thomas J. Lucente Jr. is a columnist with The Lima (Ohio) News, a Freedom Communications newspaper. He is also a veteran of the Iraq war and a law student at the University of Toledo in Toledo, Ohio. Visit his blog at Readers may write to him at The Lima News, 3515 Elida Road, Lima, Ohio 45807-1538, or e-mail him at His telephone number is 800-686-9924, ext. 2095. Follow him on Twitter at, Google+ at, and Facebook at

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