The radical right is still at it. I was listening to NPR in the car today and some right-winger was complaining about Obama’s contraception mandate and his so-called “war on religion”. So I need to remind right-wingers that Republicans were for mandates before they were against them. In other words, they’re phony, hypocrites.
A well-known fact they love to hide from their supporters is that 28 states currently have contraception mandates for employers that have prescription drug plans. But probably not in red states like Iowa, Arizona and Arkansas, right? Wrong! But these bills were passed when those god-less Democrats were governors, right? Wrong!
In 2000, when Iowa became one of the first states to enact a contraceptive mandate, the Republican Legislature overwhelmingly backed the bill, which has no exemption for religious employers of any kind.
In Arizona, state Rep. Linda Binder, a pro-choice Republican, formed a bipartisan coalition to push her bill, which exempted churches but not other church-affiliated institutions, through the Republican-controlled Legislature. Then-Gov. Jane Hull, a Republican and a Catholic, signed the measure into law.
In New York, a similar law also won GOP support in the Legislature. It was signed in 2001 by Gov. George E. Pataki, another Republican.
Four years later, the Arkansas law easily cleared that state’s Legislature, with help from Republican lawmakers, including two GOP cosponsors. Huckabee signed it in April 2005.
He defended the law in a statement. “Religious employers are not required to comply with this policy,” he said. “My position is, and always has been, that religious entities shouldn’t be forced to pay for contraception.”
But like the original federal regulation proposed by Obama, the Arkansas law did not exempt church-affiliated hospitals and universities. It exempts only “religious employers” that are nonprofit organizations whose primary mission is “the inculcation of religious values,” and primarily employ people who share the same religion, a standard few Catholic hospitals meet.
So Republicans, you can pander to the base, and they’ll believe your bullshit, but facts are facts. Obama’s contraception mandate does not constitute a war on religion. If if did, Republicans started the war years ago.