Sen. Landrieu’s Justification of the vote against the Blunt amendment

I sent an email urging Sen. Mary Landrieu (who says she is Catholic) to support the Blunt Amendment. Today, I got an email in response (which apparently was sent to others)

Thank you for your letter in support of the Respect for Rights of Conscience Act. The recent decision by the administration to require contraception coverage as a health insurance benefit has raised a number of questions and brought some difficult issues to the surface. I value your input on this important issue.
I strongly support the values and teachings of the Catholic Church, and I was one of the voices who expressed concerns about the Obama administration’s initial, ill-advised policy on this issue. On February 10th the administration modified the policy, and the revised rule, in my view, protects religious freedom and respects the rights of churches and Catholic hospitals and institutions. The compromise requires health insurance companies to provide free preventive contraceptive services if a religiously-based employer chooses not to. This compromise is supported by the Catholic Health Association, and has no effect on the conscience clause protections that currently exist for providers, which allow a Catholic doctor, for example, to refuse to write a prescription for contraception.
However, the Respect for Rights of Conscience Act (also known as the “Blunt amendment” after its sponsor, Senator Blunt) goes too far. It would allow any employer or insurance provider to block any service, preventive or otherwise, that is “contrary to the religious beliefs or moral convictions of the sponsor, issuer or other entity offering the plan.” This not only includes preventive birth control medication, which millions of American women rely on, but could also include transfusions, organ transplants or hospice care, which some “sponsors” may find objectionable.
I understand how sensitive this issue is, and I am very grateful for your input. There are no easy answers to these difficult questions and I appreciate you taking the time to write to me.

I’m going to ignore the part about how she finds that the compromise actually protects religious freedom but we can pretend that it actually does. Her objection then to Blunt amendment is that many other types of services could be objected to, creating a mish-mash of coverage.

I’m having difficulty with Landrieu’s argument. As I read it, I wondered “…and? So what?” Let’s say Jehovah’s Witnesses denied coverage for transfusions, Scientologists denied coverage for psychological medication, and others wanted to object to hospice care period. Is that so terrible? We had a far greater mish-mash of coverages before; I think this lesser degree of variancy won’t destroy the system. We could even require that religions who deviated from the standard coverage requirements inform all employees when their coverage is renewed that they deviate, that way the employees can either a) buy supplemental coverage or b) choose alternative places of employment.

The argument then against the Blunt amendment is that minimal variance in coverages is too intolerable to permit concerns of religious liberty to be recognized. This is a terrible development for a country whose system is dependent upon diversity in order to function properly in the pursuit of true/good/better ideas.

Of course,

26 Responses to Sen. Landrieu’s Justification of the vote against the Blunt amendment

  • Her actual argument in opposition to the Blunt Amendment is that she does not have to face the good citizens of the Pelican state until 2014.

  • and since the employer is paying for the health insurance doesn’t he get to choose what he is buying? I really feel like property of the state in this matter.

  • Sooo, let those other entities challenge their restrictions in court. Voting for the Blunt legislation would have given the Catholic Church the right to retain its rights under the Constitution. Her explanations for voting against it is BS.

  • “You do nothing with all your profusion of words but fight a fire with dry straw.” – ML
    From three posts down the line… for the Justification here.

  • I know this ain’t gonna happen, but wouldn’t it be nice if Notre Dame took its honorary degree away from Obama and gave it to Sen. Blunt instead, even though he’s not Catholic? This isn’t the first time, by the way, I’ve seen a Baptist legislator turn out to be a better Catholic than many of the Catholics!

  • True Elaine, and isn’t that fact a sad commentary on the state of catechesis in the Church today?

  • “This isn’t the first time, by the way, I’ve seen a Baptist legislator turn out to be a better Catholic than many of the Catholics!”

    “…do not presume to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father’; for I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children to Abraham.” Matthew 3:9

  • I completely agree that the RCC should not be forced to provide contraceptive coverage, and that the HHS mandate and “accomodation” ar total BS. Her buying in to the “accomodation” in my view shows she is full of BS. But, there is some legitimacy it would seem to the argument that the Blunt amendment goes little too far. What about things like blood transfusions or other true treatments that some particular sect may object to? Where do you draw the line, or do you not draw one at all? Personally, I would have simply offered a counter amendment, or requested Blunt to be modified, to simply drop contraceptives, sterilization, etc. from mandatory coverage unless medically indicated to treat a disease, the state of pregnancy not counting as such.

  • Is that so terrible? We had a far greater mish-mash of coverages before; I think this lesser degree of variancy won’t destroy the system.

    The answer to the question was yes. That is why we had health insurance reform. While your opinion of social policy alternatives is valuable, you chose not to be a party to the reform. You instead chose to oppose chimerical abortion coverage. We all have to live with the consequences of our choices. You and people like yourself were given the opportunity to offer proposals and marshal support for those proposals as part of the comprehensive reform.

  • Donald R. McClarey says:
    “Her actual argument in opposition to the Blunt Amendment is that she does not have to face the good citizens of the Pelican state until 2014.” What you write is the truth. My concern is that if Obama wins this battle, there might not be any elections in 2014.
    http://www.rosaryvictory.blogspot.com

  • c matt -

    “But, there is some legitimacy it would seem to the argument that the Blunt amendment goes little too far. What about things like blood transfusions or other true treatments that some particular sect may object to?”

    “Blood transfusions” is settle law via court cases. It is legitimate and correct medical care to protect a patient’s life. The fact that she doesn’t know that is troublesome. I’m sick ‘n tired of being played by these liberal Democrats who lie without hesitation. And if they are not lying, then they are too stupid to be in the position they’re in. Thanks, Catholics, for putting so many of them in power to RULE over our us

  • MZ:

    The answer to the question was yes. That is why we had health insurance reform.

    Healthcare reform was not justified due to too much variance; it was justified under the guise of expanding coverage to the poor & those with pre-existing conditions in order to counter perceived abuses & greed by the insurance companies. I never heard anything to the sound of: we need a uniform national policy in order to streamline things.

    While your opinion of social policy alternatives is valuable, you chose not to be a party to the reform. You instead chose to oppose chimerical abortion coverage. We all have to live with the consequences of our choices. You and people like yourself were given the opportunity to offer proposals and marshal support for those proposals as part of the comprehensive reform.

    This is laughable, A) b/c at the time I supported Obamacare as long as it had the Stupak amendment (a decision I now regret; it’s simply too much power to be in anyone’s hand as the Obama’s administrations actions have made perfectly clear) and B) the reason the USCCB and others opposed the final version was that it lacked proper conscience provisions. So b/c we ended up opposing a particular version of healthcare reform due to its inadequate conscience protections we shouldn’t complain about the egregious violations of religious liberty? The USCCB with its storied history of support for healthcare reform no longer even gets a seat at the table b/c it didn’t endorse the final product? Are you joking or are you that much more of a Democrat than a Catholic?

  • As a proud Louisiana native I am continually embarassed by our esteemed senior senator and more embarassed that we have continued to re-elect her to office. Maybe my fellow citizens will have awoke by 2014 and remember what this CINO has done to us and to our state. She is a typical politician, she does not understand the concept of being a public servant.

  • Let me re-write MZ’s entire comment in one sentence.

    “You are a bad catholic if you oppose Obamacare because social justice justifies sin.”

    I’m MZ’s bad Catholic. I would reform health care by providing poor people with needs-based vouchers (e.g., “food stamps) not by seizing people’s health care and warring on the Roman Catholic Church.

    That was not considered because the people would retain discretion and freedom.

  • “You and people like yourself were given the opportunity to offer proposals and marshal support for those proposals as part of the comprehensive reform.”

    Here’s God’s proposal:

    “If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.” 2nd Chronicles 7:14

    No righteousness and no holiness means no healthcare and no prosperity. Conversion and repentance must precede every other thing. Liberals refuse to comprehend this because they think that they can by their own efforts create a Kingdom of Heaven on Earth. Such pride, such arrogance, such hubris God hates. They have learned not one thing from the account of the Tower of Babel.

    Liberal. Progressive. Democrat. The three dirtiest words in the English language.

  • The ‘care’ word has to go. On November 6th, a lot of politicians, too.
    This HHS opus, that some exempt-from-it brain said had to be passed to be read, will offer coverage that will later be eliminated. Preventive, such as teeth cleaning, will stay. Problems to be fixed by anything but extraction will not be covered.
    Health and Human Servants care about the citizens they serve to the extent that the citizens take HHS medicine and shut up about after effects.

  • You and people like yourself were given the opportunity to offer proposals and marshal support for those proposals as part of the comprehensive reform.

    I have to call you on that falsehood MZ. As I recall, the debate went something along the lines of

    Obama: “I won. LIve with it”. Not much opportunity there. Or did you conveniently forget that the Dems forged the monstrosity of Obamacare on their own behind closed doors?

  • Or did you conveniently forget that the Dems forged the monstrosity of Obamacare on their own behind closed doors?

    You can’t cure stupid.

  • Indeed M.Z., but if you keep reading TAC perhaps we can put you into remission.

  • Her actual argument in opposition to the Blunt Amendment is that she does not have to face the good citizens of the Pelican state until 2014.

    Donald, I’m not sure that she will run again in 2014.

    In any event, I’ve already sent her an email telling her that I’ve never gotten involved in politicking for an election before, but I will walk the streets of my town to campaign against her if she runs for office again. And, I meant it.

    So, if she doesn’t run for re-election, I can always say I get the credit. :)

  • If Ms. Louisiana Purchase does not enter the lists in 2014 Nicholas, I know it will be because she is quailing in fear from you and a lot of your fellow voters!

  • I see MZ had the opportunity to empty his spleen *and* up his smug quotient for the week.

    Good for him.

  • “You can’t cure stupid.”

    Ah, our intellectual superiors from VN.

  • I suppose I could have just linked to a timeline of the health care reform bill. I could have linked to the numerous hearings with insurers, providers, and beneficiaries. I could have pointed to the numerous efforts to get Republican cosponsors that started in the House and ended with overtures to Susan Collins in the Senate. But I figured anyone who made the statement, “Or did you conveniently forget that the Dems forged the monstrosity of Obamacare on their own behind closed doors?” wasn’t particularly interested in an argument and was just being stupid. Much to my chagrin, other people in this combox decided to place their tribe before a trivial and easily verifiable truth. Please go back to feigning to offer intelligent commentary and throw a few more rips at me for my offenses.

  • But I figured anyone who made the statement, “Or did you conveniently forget that the Dems forged the monstrosity of Obamacare on their own behind closed doors?” wasn’t particularly interested in an argument and was just being stupid.

    Yes, I think everyone was impressed by how you showed that you, on the contrary, were interested in argument.

  • But, there is some legitimacy it would seem to the argument that the Blunt amendment goes little too far. What about things like blood transfusions or other true treatments that some particular sect may object to?
    c matt

    My responses to that are threefold: “so what?”, “what is it about the free exercise of religion clause of the First Amendment you don’t like?” and “when has an employer ever hidden their religion as it affects their business’s practices from a job prospect?”

    To amplify the latter, if I had a health plan at a job provided by a practicing Jehovah’s Witness I’d be grateful to have a job. And if I had an acute life-threatening injury and the only reachable-in-time medical help was the Jehovah’s Witness clinic (they operate no hospitals to my knowledge), I’d be grateful for whatever help they offer.

    Also, none of this should matter anyway because the federal government is not permitted the power to meddle in our lives and livelihoods this way by the U.S. Constitution.

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