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More on the Weak Case for a Special Exemption on Contraceptive Coverage

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I’m sure you’ll be surprised to know that I don’t find E.J. Dionne’s criticisms of the Obama administration’s contraception coverage persuasive. For the reasons stated there it’s not entirely clear what Dionne wants, but what he’s advocating is either pointless or isn’t a “compromise” but just represents giving in to opponents of gender equity. My second point applies to Jon Chait as well; if you’re going to try to make a case that religious freedom should trump core concerns about gender equity, reproductive freedom, and impartial governance, the fact that as a first approximation no lay Catholics believe in the church’s teachings seems relevant (as does the fact that the policy does not apply to religious institutions qua religious institutions, but only in their secular functions as employers.) The burdens of what Dionne, Douthat and Chait are asking to impose are real, while the impact on religious freedom as the religion is actually practiced of the Obama administration’s superior alternative is miniscule.

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