PopeConservatives and Catholics have lambasted President Obama over his plan to force insurance providers, including Catholic ones, to cover birth control.

Wayne Laugesen explains for the Colorado Springs Gazette:

President Barack Obama’s administration finalized orders last week that will force all Americans, with few exceptions, to buy health insurance plans that cover sterilizations and abortion pills without the burden of fees or co-pays. Obama is not merely ordering all Americans to accept abortion and contraception, he is demanding their support with mandatory purchases.

Colorado Attorney General John Suthers told the Gazette, “This extends telling Americans they must buy health insurance to telling them they must buy products that are contrary to their religious beliefs.” Laugesen added, “Freedom of religion is under siege.” Republican Presidential candidates Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum harshly criticized the president on similar grounds. House Speaker John Boehner vowed to overturn the policy by Congressional action.

True, the government should not force Catholics to fund birth control against their religious beliefs. But the government should not force anyone to fund any type of insurance coverage against their wishes. The government should not force people to buy insurance that covers birth control, acupuncture, maternity leave, or any other good or service. Such mandates violate the rights of insurance companies and their clients to freely negotiate terms, and they drive up the costs of premiums.

Insurance mandates not only violate Catholics’ freedom of religion; they violate everyone’s freedom of conscience and everyone’s freedom to use their own resources as they judge best. To be genuinely “pro-choice,” one must respect people’s choices across the board—including their choice of religion or philosophy, their choice of whether to buy insurance and if so what kind, and their choice of how to dispose of the fruits of their labor.

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Image: Wikimedia Commons via Kancelaria Prezydenta RP

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