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Posted on: 02/21/12

Idaho House Committee Fights Obama Mandate

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The House Health & Welfare considered two bills from Rep. Carlos Bilbao on Monday. HB530 would allow insurance companies operating in Idaho to decline coverage for sterilization, birth control and abortifacients. HJM10 would ask Congress to enact legislation being pushed by Congressman Raul Labrador to repeal Obama's mandate on insurance coverage for said drugs.

Planned Parenthood was able to generate quite a crowd to complain about the perceived threat to birth control pills - one of their more lucrative side businesses. Logic or the language of the bill had little to do with much of the testimony. Planned Parenthood had framed the bill as a conspiracy to deprive women of birth control pills.

Bilbao's legislation would actually have changed little because he was merely trying to assert a position entirely consistent with his Joint Memorial: Insurance companies or employers should not be forced to pay for sterilizations, birth control or drugs that cause abortion.

Many of those testifying declared that his legislation would deprive them of their "rights". More than one asserted that those holding religious or moral objections to abortion-causing drugs had no right to (potentially) deprive them of free birth control or abortifacient drugs. The hearing was quite reminiscent of those held in years previous around the conscience protection law. It is almost impossible to reason with those folks. They hold a completely self-centered view of the U.S. Constitution and a perception of their "rights".

But let us try reason one more time: Rep. Bilbao's bill would not deprive anyone of their birth control pills. If you want to swallow Plan B or any other abortion-causing drug, you are free to do so under the law. But you could no longer force taxpayers or other members of your insurance group to subsidize your decision.

There was a day when the public schools educated future citizens on the fundamental idea of "reciprocity" - that is, the social compact which undergirds our great experiment in self-government. Our civil liberties depend upon mutual respect and a mature understanding that one's "rights" end where your neighbors' begin. The failure of public schools to properly prepare folks was on grand display at the hearing this week - and is nearly as troubling as the demand for "free" abortifacients.


Carlos Bilbao, Idaho Legislature

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