Many readers were irate about President Obama’s decision to compel Catholic hospitals to provide contraception abortion-inducing drugs and sterilization in contravention of their religious faith. Sold2u writes that this “was a huge unforced error” that could cost Obama in critical Midwest battleground contests. Cwillia11 argues: “No significant public purpose is served by this requirement. Compared to the total cost of medical services contraception and sterilizations are cheap. They are never medically necessary. They do not prevent disease. This is nothing but an ideologically driven attempt to drive the Catholic perspective underground. No serious Catholic can support Obama in 2012. The question is how many of these people would have supported him otherwise.”
Other readers contend that this won’t be a top tier issue in 2012.
The Courts may eventually force a reversal of this decision for two reasons: HHS’s mandate to provide insurance for abortifacients puts it in violation of provisions against taxpayer funding of abortion services in the Affordable Care Act and previous legislation that proscribes using taxpayers’ dollars to fund abortions, and its blatant assault on the religious conscience of charitable institutions is likely to fall given the recent Supreme Court Hosanna-Tabor decision. While I hope that this assault on liberty would be a significant political liability, the electorate is so focused on the economy, they will likely be distracted from this attack on fundamental freedom of conscience. Add to that Mr. Obama’s success in mollifying the anti-life elites that fund his re-election machine and it is hard to see what could force a reversal.
While the economy and our fiscal mess remain the top issues, Obama’s decision gives the Republicans a foothold to argue that Obama is still intent on refashioning America — to give government a more dominant role in the lives of Americans and to bully people of faith and private institutions that resist the federal government’s agenda. It is the arrogance and the cluelessness about the values of those who “cling” to their guns and Bibles that have been at the root of Obama’s inability to connect with the voters on an emotional level. That disconnect with the voters is as much, if not more, a problem for Obama as it will be for Mitt Romney.