Planned Parenthood’s Role in the HHS Mandate

Commentary by Susan Brinkmann, OCDS

A new report has discovered that Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards, a frequent guest at the White House, was a key player in the formulation of the HHS mandate and how she convinced the president that the public would see the contentious law as a contraception rather than a religious liberty issue.

Jake Tapper of ABC News is reporting that the Obama Administration was fully aware of the risks of issuing a mandate that would force churches to provide coverage for services which they consider immoral.  The president’s top advisers on the issue included Vice President Joe Biden, former White House Chief-of-Staff Bill Daley, former White House Communications Director Anita Dunn, and Planned Parenthood Federation for America CEO Cecile Richards:

“The debate within the White House on this issue was, sources say, heated,” Tapper reports. “The policy was wrong, the two Catholic men, Biden and Daley [and also Panetta], argued, saying that the Obama administration couldn’t force religious charities to pay for something they think is a sin….But Biden and Daley faced a strong group making the case for the rule within the administration….The two sides couldn’t even agree about what they were debating.

“In the fall, Richards brought in polling indicating that the American people overwhelmingly supported the birth control benefit in health insurance. She also highlighted statistics showing the overwhelming use of birth control.”

However, the Vice President and others correctly argued that this wouldn’t be seen as an issue of contraception – it would be seen as an issue of religious liberty. “They questioned the polling of the rule advocates, arguing that it didn’t explain the issue in full, it ignored the question of what religious groups should have to pay for….” Tapper reports.

But in spite of all the warnings, “the president ultimately sided with the rule’s advocates…..” and the mandate became law.

Commenting on Tapper’s report, pro-life activist Jill Stanek expressed surprise that Richards’ prominence in the White House and the issue of the mandate went unchallenged by the media.

“Why did the mainstream media not question an obvious benefactor of the contraceptive mandate being in on the conversation? Richards is truly in the inner circle. Pro-lifers knew Richards had influence, but to see in writing just exactly how much weight she carries is informative.”

Although her role in the mandate is certainly unethical, it’s not the least bit surprising. Richards, who once served as Nancy Pelosi’s deputy chief of staff and is married to a labor organizer with the Service Employees International Union, certainly fits right in with the president’s far left advisors.

And in the end, the president sided with Richards and a group of mostly female advisers who urged him not to limit the mandate to provide contraceptives, even at the risk of alienating Catholic voters in November.

In other words, this was a (mis)calculated risk and explains why the pro-abortion lobby is deliberately trying to frame the mandate controversy as one of contraception rather than what it is – a matter of religious freedom. In most televised debates, pro-abortion pundits are so desperate to manage the message they actually talk over those who disagree.

This is why people of faith should stand firm and don’t be lured into wars about whether or not women should have access to contraception. This isn’t about the pill, it’s about the right of the faithful to practice their religion without interference from the state.

© All Rights Reserved, Living His Life Abundantly®/Women of Grace®

One Response to “Planned Parenthood’s Role in the HHS Mandate

  1. Amen and amen! As a Christian of another tradition, I still realize the government attacks the Catholic Church because it is the largest denomination. Thank you for fighting this! This is an attack on religious freedom , the most basic of our freedoms. The government is using contraception to get the camel further into the tent and to muddy the waters with regard to their full intent. If our government can tell us what to believe ,or how, when and where we may live out those beliefs , then we are no longer a free republic , but yet another totalitarian state. I know many of my Evangelical brothers and sisters stand with you , but I’m afraid others believe that this is an attack on contraception and doesn’t affect the churches which allow it. Isn’t it interesting that the government is talking about contraception instead of abortion because they know the Evangelical churches will stand against abortion? Let’s not let them frame the argument . Once again, it is about freedom. While it may sound alarmist, when the house is afire, one must sound the alarm.Giving up our freedom of religion could be our last free act if we succumb. May our Lord and Savior bless your work as you continue to serve him