Religious liberty is critical, President Obama says in an interview, but not as critical as providing contraceptive coverage:
Yeah. Well it’s absolutely true that religious liberty is critical. I mean that’s what our country was founded on. That’s the reason why we exempted churches, we exempted religious institutions, but we did say that big Catholic hospitals or universities who employ a lot of non-Catholics and who receive a lot of federal money, that for them to be in a position to say to a woman who works there you can’t get that from your insurance company even though the institution isn’t paying for it, that that crosses the line where that woman, she suddenly is gonna have to bear the burden and the cost of that. And that’s not fair.
Whatever one’s views on the morality of contraception (this is an issue, it should be said, on which First Things staff and writers have a variety of views) it simply is not a part of medicine as traditionally defined. To include contraception in a health plan on the same level as any other treatment—to assign it such importance that it overrules any claim of religious liberty—is very nearly to make the bizarre suggestion that fertility is a disease.