Sorry David, The Language is the Same, and the “Kennedy Clause” has the Same Meaning

Our good friend David Kravitz over at Blue Mass Group is trying to argue that the words “Moral Conviction” in a conscience clause when used by Senator Kennedy are not the same as the words “Moral Conviction” when used by Senator Blunt in his amendment.  It’s actually quite difficult to follow the logic.

Yes, that’s the same broad “conscience” language in the Roy Blunt amendment.  But the context is completely different.  In Kennedy’s bill, the concern was forcing, say, a doctor who believed that abortion was murder to nonetheless perform an abortion.  Or to require that Catholic hospitals offer abortions.  But Ted Kennedy – who was famously pro-choice despite his Catholic faith – would no doubt have expected that a woman who wanted an abortion would simply go to a different doctor.

That, of course, is miles away from what we are talking about with the Blunt amendment.  Under Blunt/Brown, it doesn’t matter where the woman goes, because if her employer has a “moral conviction” that she shouldn’t get an abortion, or AIDS treatment, or a blood transfusion, then it doesn’t matter where she goes; her insurance won’t pay for it.  Kennedy’s concern was that doctors and hospitals not have to provide services that conflict with their faith.  But the Blunt amendment says that any employer (religious or not) can make it effectively impossible for his employees to receive health care services to which he objects (by exempting them from insurance coverage), even when the patient wants, and the doctor is willing to provide, those services.

David, but the employer is not willing to pay for those services, because of the same conscience exemption.  Much like you say in your post just as the person wanting an abortion can go to another doctor, the person wanting his or her employer to pick up their $9.00 per month birth control prescription (page 4 of the pdf) can find another employer.  It truly is that simple.  

This is about the government forcing private individuals to do something that they don’t want to do, and is against their beliefs. Whether that is providing an abortion or paying for procedures they do not feel comfortable in paying for.  

To further the abortion analogy, we are not just talking about the pill here.  We are talking about abortofacients and sterilization.  The Obamacare mandate covers abortion inducing drugs.

This fight is not about cheap access to birth control, for that is already available via the private sector.  This is about an ever increasing encroachment on our liberties by an ever expanding state.  An encroachment even Senator Kennedy did not share, or he would have never have authored the “Kennedy Clause”.

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