While the U.S. Supreme Court weighs the constitutionality of the Obamacare contraception mandate, the real goal of the provision appears to have very little to do with providing affordable birth control.
After combing through Obama administration documents in the Federal Register, National Center for Public Policy Research Chairwoman Amy Ridenour said the administration’s official justification for the policy is very different than the reasons often stated publicly.
“While the president went out in the East Room and gave a speech saying that the purpose of the HHS mandate is to help lower-income women afford birth control, in the HHS documents themselves, they talk about something else entirely and that is that the purpose of the mandate is to reduce economic and social disparities between men and women,” Ridenour said.
“This is an official legal document. They do not talk about the need to help lower-income people afford birth control. They do not say things like birth control may only be $9 a month, but if you make $9 an hour that’s a lot of money. No, what they talk about over and over and over again is gender disparity. It sounds like a women’s studies class,” she said.
“What they emphasize is that, in their view, women make less money than men and women get promoted less than men. Again, that’s their view, and they see the HHS mandate as a way to change that.”
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Ridenour said the proof of the mandate as a wedge issue between the genders can be seen in the fact that women's contraception services are fully covered, from contraceptives to abortion-inducing drugs to sterilization methods such as tubal ligation. However, the mandate provides no coverage whatsoever for men when it comes to condoms or even vasectomies.
She also said the low-income argument falls apart in light of what the mandate does and doesn't do.
"A billionaire woman would be covered, and a very, very poor man would not be covered. Income has absolutely nothing to do with this. Gender and, frankly, feminism has everything to do with it," Ridenour said.
While the official documents in the Federal Register focus only on the mandate, Ridenour said she has a pretty good idea of what the administration's end game in addressing "gender disparity."
"What I think we're seeing here is the feminist agenda that has been taught in public universities and private universities for decades now, which has the bizarre theory that the United States and other Western cultures are patriarchal, that they are oppressive to women. (They think) that the family is oppressive to women, that if you are a woman in a family and you think you are happily married and you think you are happy being a mom, you aren't actually; you just don't realize that you are being oppressed," Ridenour said.
"The endgame here is the social reorganization of society. The end game is to change the way we think about how we live. It is to change Western culture. That's the big end game," she said.
"Now a secondary and not insignificant end game is the balkanization of society, men vs. women, so then a certain political party or certain political interests can approach women and say, 'Look, we're your champions. You are oppressed. There's a war on women. We are your rescuers and their goal, of course, is to get votes."
So what will be the next wedge issue? Ridenour suggests the administration will once again be leading from behind.
"My guess is that wherever the women's studies courses choose to go in the future is where they will happily follow," she said.
Ridenour encourages Americans to alert their members of Congress to the official reasons the administration is giving for the mandate in the Federal Register. She said this is one more major reason the mandate should be scrapped.
"There's a lot of reasons, in my opinion, to be opposed to the HHS mandate. The federal government doesn't have this authority. It is unconstitutional. It violates the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. It's unfair to people of conscience, whether it's religious conscience or otherwise. Also, it's unfair to workers because it's forcing them to take a certain percentage of their pay in birth control whether they want it or not. Frankly, most people would just as soon have cash," Ridenour said.
"That said, we need to keep in mind that this is a basic inequity. It is ridiculous for the federal government to impose a mandate that helps one gender against another. And that's honest to goodness what it is," she said. "We should not be dividing Americans against other Americans, certainly not dividing spouses among spouses. It's not the function of government to divide us, and that message has to get to Washington."