CNS News broke the story late last month: At a recent press conference held to discuss the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (aka “Obamacare”), a reporter asked former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi a critical question:
“One of the services that health care plans have to offer free of charge [under the HHS mandate] are sterilizations … do you agree with the federal government mandating—”
At this point, Congresswoman Pelosi cut the reporter off and responded: “You know what, I told you before, let’s go to church and talk about our religion. Right here we’re talking about public policy as it affects women…”
This whole issue of government-sponsored sterilization first surfaced earlier this year when reporters asked House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer whether he supported the mandate for free sterilization services.
Hoyer insisted he didn’t know anything about such a provision, despite the fact he helped enact the law, which clearly requires all non-exempt employers to cover “the full range of Food and Drug Administration-approved contraceptive methods, sterilization procedures, and patient education and counseling for all women with reproductive capacity.”
The committee that wrote this mandate defined “women with reproductive capacity” as those who had reached their first menstrual period, which, according to the National Institutes of Health, usually occurs at age twelve.
So under the HHS mandate, every health plan except those held by houses of worship conceivably must not only cover contraceptives, but sterilization for children as young as 12.
Here’s where it gets even scarier. Many states require parental consent for the sterilization of a minor, but as CNS News reported, some don’t. In Oregon, for example, girls as young as 15 can now undergo sterilization procedures without their parents or legal guardians knowing a thing. All these children have to do is sign a consent form — something which Edwin Black, bestselling author of War Against the Weak, points out was routinely faked during the dark days of American eugenics and forced sterilization.
“I find it abhorrent,” says Black, “that a 15-year-old girl who’s not old enough to consent to sexual activity, who’s not old enough to consent to buying a beer, who’s not old enough to drive herself to the hospital could possibly be considered old enough and mature enough to give informed consent for her own sterilization…”
If this all strikes you as horrifying, you’re in good company. After all, young girls might now be manipulated into giving up their reproductive futures with the simple stroke of a pen. But what bothers me just as much is the attitude of our government officials toward those who question this legislation.
“Let’s go to church and talk about our religion,” Congresswoman Pelosi said. The message is clear: If you’re concerned about the well-being of young women, and aren’t sure that free sterilization without parental consent is a good idea, you’re just trying to shoehorn your religion into the public debate, where it doesn’t belong. Go back to church and be quiet.
As Chuck Colson warned two years ago, and as we’ve been pointing out ever since, the current administration has been advancing an entirely new definition of religious liberty — one which must bow to any perceived sexual freedoms and which must remain within the walls of our church buildings.
As Matthew Lee Anderson of MereOrthodoxy.com points out in our interview this weekend on BreakPoint This Week, it’s more than religious freedom being pushed out of the public square. When it’s pushed out, secular institutions, including government, become increasingly hostile towards it.
Our freedom to express and exercise our religion in the public square is quickly being sterilized — without our consent.
As the host of The Point, a daily national radio program, John Stonestreet provides thought-provoking commentaries on current events and life issues from a biblical worldview. John holds degrees from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School (IL) and Bryan College (TN), and is the co-author of Making Sense of Your World: A Biblical Worldview.
BreakPoint commentary airs each weekday on more than one thousand outlets with an estimated listening audience of one million people. BreakPoint provides a Christian perspective on today's news and trends via radio, interactive media, and print.
Publication date: September 6, 2012