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Don't Revise, Rescind


GEORGE WEIGEL

Source:
National Review
Type:
Media/Opinion
Date:
2/11/2012

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ABSTRACTCatholic Bishops: Don’t Revise, Rescind - By George Weigel - The Corner - National Review Online Get FREE NRO Newsletters   Log In   |   Register Follow Us Everywhere         April 16 Issue  Subscribe to NR  Renew  April 16 Issue   |   Subscribe   |   Renew Home The Corner The Agenda Campaign Spot The Home Front Right Field Bench Memos The Feed Media Blog Critical Condition Larry Kudlow David Calling Exchequer Phi Beta Cons Planet Gore UK Between the Covers Radio Derb Tweet Tracker NR / Digital Subscribe: NR Subscribe: NR / Digital Give: NR / Digital NR Renewals & Changes Shop! Donate Media Kit Contact Close To: Your Email: Your Name: Subject: Zubrin: Carbon Emissions Are Good Derbyshire: March Diary Costa: The Ron Johnson Factor Hanson: Iran’s Win, Win, Win Bomb Habeeb: Too Young to Die Sowell: Argument from Disparity Charen: Violence and Family Breakdown Fonte: Saving Sovereignty Prager: They Don’t Know Us Lowry: Meltdown with Keith Olbermann Pipes: It’s Not Road Rage, It’s Terrorism O'Sullivan: The Significant ‘Little War’ Lopez: Desperately Seeking Women Ponnuru: The Culture Warrior Geraghty: Senate 2012 Outlook Fund: Penny Anti Interview: Ringing a Bell for Liberty Barone: The Constitution’s Comeback Sowell: The Death of Mrs. G Murdock: Socialist Hong Kong? New on NRO . . . The Corner The one and only. About This Blog Archive E-Mail RSS Send Print   |  Text   Catholic Bishops: Don’t Revise, Rescind By  George Weigel February 11, 2012 11:28 A.M. Comments 91 Saturday morning’s  Washington Post  headline and first sub-headline, page one and above-the-fold, nicely captured the confusions that prevailed as of 6 p.m.  Friday, in the matter of tweaks to the “contraceptive mandate” issued by the Obama administration’s Department of Health and Human Services: “Obama shifts on birth control / Catholic leaders open to plan.” Well, no, and no. The administration “shifted” on nothing. It simply decreed that insurers, not employers, must provide “preventive services” (including sterilization and abortifacient drugs), a shell game that has been variously and accurately described as a “fraud” ( Andrew McCarthy , in the Corner) and an “absurdity” ( the Wall Street Journal ). More to the point, as Yuval Levin  pointed out  shortly after President Obama and HHS Secretary Sebelius announced their “accommodation,” the newly tweaked regulations “would not actually change the moral circumstances at issue in any way.” Later in the day, on the  PBS News Hour , Ray Suarez confronted Secretary Sebelius with the obvious:  Someone  was going to pay for the contraceptives provided, and who, if not those who purchased the insurance that had to include these “preventive services?” The secretary then took the absurdity to a new level by claiming that none of this would cost anyone anything, as there was empirical evidence showing that readily available contraception lowered the overall costs to the health-care system by reducing the rate of pregnancy. All of which was, on a much graver matter, reminiscent of an old WPA poster-turned-postcard that I recently saw at the Grand Canyon, which extolled Grand Canyon National Park as “A Free Government Service.” Right. The question on some minds as of 6  p.m.  Friday night, though, was whether the Catholic bishops, who had taken the point in opposing the HHS mandate since its announcement on January 20, grasped that they had been played for fools by the administration. A rather anodyne initial reaction from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops to the Obama/Sebelius “accommodation” had sent the blogosphere into turmoil Friday afternoon. Charges that the bishops were “caving” were soon flying all over cyberspace, charges that seemed to accept at face value the administration’s self-satisfaction over the “accommodation,” in which Obama and Sebelius had been reinforced by the likes of Sister Carol Keehan, president of the Catholic Health Association, and Father John Jenkins, C.S.C., president of Notre Dame, both of whom were quick out of the blocks to praise the administration’s moves. But the bishops hadn’t caved, and even if they had lost the first battle of the spin-cycle, they certainly hadn’t lost the war. It’s a war they are determined to fight and win, legislatively and/or judicially, and they will do so with the solidarity of allies across the American religious spectrum. The USCCB’s developed  statement  on the administration’s “accommodation” came late on Friday, about 6:30  p.m.  EST, but irrespective of the timing, the statement made.......