Because of recent measures the White House has taken to expand protection of religious and moral rights, the print media has been on an outright crusade against Trump, with two newspapers accusing him of imposing a “religious theocracy” on American women.
The complaints came after the White House moved last week to expand exemptions afforded under the ObamaCare birth control mandate, to now broadly include more types of companies, as well as provide for an employer’s “moral” objection to contraception, rather than just “religious” based objections. As to be expected, the media threw a fit, with columnists actually claiming that America was turning into Saudi Arabia.
After the Washington Post’s “conservative” columnist Jennifer Rubin opined Wednesday that the Republicans were “seeking to impose Christianity on the country,” and make religion “a tool of the state,” The New York Times’ Linda Greenhouse one-upped her by suggesting that the Trump White House was trying turn our country into a Middle Eastern theocracy.
Greenhouse started her Wednesday online op-ed by bemoaning how the U.S. was turning into a country with less rights for women than Saudi Arabia...because they may have to pay for their own birth control:
Saudi women are gaining the right to drive. American women are losing the right to employer-provided birth control.
The first development signifies a theocratic kingdom’s bow to the inexorable onslaught of modernity. The second is a cynical bow to the forces of reaction against modernity.
It would be too far a stretch to see in Saudi Arabia even the glimmer of the emergence of civil society.
That was just the opening lines. Greenhouse’s Handsmaid’s Tale-esque screed goes on to declare the recent move of the Trump White House was “enabling a fanatical fringe” to “outsource a crucially important building block of national health care policy.”
“It’s hard to overstate the radical nature of what has just happened,” she breathlessly gushed. Yes, she’s just talking about employer-provided birth control. But let’s not overreact or anything.
Greenhouse characterized the broadened exemptions as a dead-end for women. She worried, this “flat-out exemption” as she called it, holds “no requirement that women be offered any alternative route to coverage.” Again, ignoring the obvious, that the “alternative route” would be to just pay out-of-pocket for the inexpensive contraception yourself.
Greenhouse ended her article by blasting the right for not really caring about religious rights or moral objections at all; this was simply a ploy to control women. She claims, it’s all about “normalizing” the “disempowerment of women,” (because there’s nothing more “empowering” than requiring your employer to pay for your own contraception!):
I used to think — in fact, I wrote last year — that the resistance to the contraception mandate was fueled by cultural conservatives’ determination not to let federal policy normalize birth control. But now I think it’s deeper than that. Conservatives, even the publicly pious ones, don’t seem to have a problem with limiting the size of their families. (Vice President Mike Pence has two children, and Attorney General Jeff Sessions has three. Need I say more?) The problem they have is with what birth control signifies: empowering women — in school, on the job, in the home — to determine their life course. That’s what they don’t want to normalize. It comes as no surprise which side Donald Trump is on; his administration’s action last week makes perfect sense. Or none at all.
Conservatives have a problem with what birth control signifies: empowering women. https://t.co/73iMKqKBsU— NYT Opinion (@nytopinion) October 11, 2017
Conservatives on Twitter rightly noted that this article's crude accusations grossly miss the mark. Access to birth control is not an issue in this country, nor is it something Republicans are fighting to block. It’s the government forcing employers to provide it to their employees through their health insurance plans, that has always been the issue.
These overwrought op-eds come on the heels of CNN doing some agonizing of their own, when they shared one woman’s ridiculous claim that she would have to leave the country to afford birth control, because of Trump.