Olivia Brough, broughol@muohio.edu

The Patient Protection and Affordable Health Care Act “Obamacare” is back in the national spotlight.

Three recent events have brought “Obamacare” to the forefront: the United States Supreme Court hearings of the law’s constitutionality, the release of new Congressional Budget Office cost estimates and the issuance of a compulsory contraception mandate, highlighted by Sandra Fluke, a Georgetown University Law student and advocate for mandatory insurance coverage of birth control.

The controversy surrounding Fluke shows just how politicians and media have used her as a distraction.

She is meant to distract attention from the Obama Administration’s failed attempt to force the Catholic Church to go against their faith by providing health insurance plans that include coverage for contraceptives, abortifacients and sterilization.

The administration, in essence, changed the conversation from government intrusion in matters of faith to a health issue regarding women’s access to contraceptives.

Furthermore, it distracts from Obama’s track record of a stimulus bill that didn’t work, from a healthcare bill that has a high probability of being found unconstitutional and from energy policies that have not helped the price of gasoline.

Fluke’s case is being masked in a distracting veneer about “women’s rights” when it’s not really about women’s rights at all.

It’s about separation of church and state. It has nothing to do with men trying to control women.

To perpetuate this distraction, many refer to Rush Limbaugh’s comment about Fluke, but my response to this is: Where were the women’s rights activists when Laura Ingraham was called a “right wing slut” by Ed Schultz, when Michele Bachmann was called an “evil bitch from hell” by Mike Malloy and when Sarah Palin was called a “c***” and a “t***” by Bill Maher?

It is not a gender issue. It’s not even a birth control issue. But it’s being disguised as those issues in order to create a distraction, so attempts to increase government control will go unnoticed and unchallenged by the general public.It is, however, about separation of church and state.

The issue is not so much about access to and cost of birth control, but about mandatory insurance coverage of birth control. Fluke willingly and knowingly attended a private Catholic university.

If birth control was so important to her, she could have chosen another university to attend. Furthermore, most health clinics and Planned Parenthood clinics provide low-cost or free birth control to their patients.

Fluke’s case is a preview of the coercive nature of increased governmental power. The government is attempting to limit religion. ‘Religious exemptions’ do not apply to church-run charities and hospitals, only to churches. It suggests worshipping God is acceptable, but doing God’s work is not.

Charles Krauthammer summarizes this point: “Religious exemptions to this edict extend only to churches, places where the faithful worship God, and not to church-run hospitals and charities, places where the faithful do God’s work.

Who promulgated this definition, so subversive of the whole notion of godliness, so stunningly ignorant of the very idea of religious vocation?”

Krauthammer’s last line is very insightful. Who promulgated this definition? Not only is some entity controlling things, but that entity has a ‘subversive’ definition of religion. Is that who you want controlling your healthcare?

Is that who you want to be dependent on – the Secretary of Health and Human Services, who perhaps may classify contraception, sterilization and abortion pills as medical prevention and pregnancy as a disease?

Do you want a government healthcare system that views contraception as a money saver? And if the government views contraception as medical prevention because it reduces the rate of disease and saves money, couldn’t you then conclude the government might also prefer mass sterilization and even eugenics?

The consequence of “Obama care” and allowing the government to interfere with churches and eventually other institutions is you’ll end up getting your rights from the government and begging the government for things a free enterprise system can provide with better quality and lower prices.

The fact Fluke had to testify in front of a government committee to beg for free contraceptives illustrates this point.

Most Americans believe healthcare needs to be reformed. Recent events, however, show that when it comes to healthcare we need more private sector solutions instead of government ones.