Two reactions to a Kathleen Parker piece

Kathleen Parker has a piece up about abortion fights taking place. In the first, she claims that the Susan G. Komen for the Cure charity has the right to stop giving Planned Parenthood $680,000 a year. That's absolutely correct. Komen is a private organization and does indeed have that right. Yes, "given the rabid response from abortion-rights supporters, you’d think that Brinker and her organization were running puppy mills for soup vendors." That's true, because Komen executive made their decision for blatantly political reasons and then tried lying and dissembling and fudging about it. Komen decided to dive into the pool of a heated and divisive political issue and then acted surprised when the people on the other side of that issue started yelling about it.

Parker suggests: "Don’t like it? Don’t run in Komen’s fundraising races. Don’t buy a pink blender. Give directly to Planned Parenthood." What's Parkers' problem? That's precisely what lefty critics have done. No one has threatened to launch any sort of legal action, no one has threatened to burn down their buildings and no one has been beating up or assassinating Komen personnel. Critics have indeed loudly protested Komen's decision, but that's just as much our right as it is Komens' right to decide how to allocate their cash. Parker's complaints about "Coercion and intimidation" are just so much hyperbole. I'm not at all clear on where critics have gone overboard in their reaction to Komen's very bad decision and what Parker thinks the correct response should have been.

BTW, I think it's absolutely hilarious that the Bush Administration spokesperson, Ari Fleischer, is connected to the Komen story. "Fleischer personally interviewed candidates for the position of 'Senior Vice President for Communications and External Relations' at Komen last December." Very tellingly, "Fleischer drilled prospective candidates during their interviews on how they would handle the controversy about Komen’s relationship with Planned Parenthood," meaning that, no, the decision to cut off Planned Parenthood was made several months ago and they thought up the whole BS "if you're involved in an investigation" story as a very deliberate way to single out PP for getting cut off. The hilarious part is that "Whu-u-uh?!?! A former Bush Administration official made a clumsy and stupid PR move?!?! Na-a-a-ahh!"I mean, gee, those guys were so nimble and light on their feet when it came to PR [/snark].

The second part is that Parker is upset that Roman Catholic hospitals are being told to "provide health insurance that covers contraception, including in some cases abortifacient drugs." She and the Roman Catholic hierarchy feel that this constitutes an infringement on Catholic religious liberty and she and they also fear that "these requirements are the edge of the wedge." Sorry, I have absolutely zero sympathy for her arguments.

Back when I was in the Navy, Muslims who wanted to get military ID cards for their wives wanted to get them with their wives' faces veiled. We said no. We were willing to have the ID photo taken by a female, with no males nearby to see the wifes' unveiled face, but we were not willing to take a photo of a veiled face for an ID card. The military needed to be absolutely certain that the person holding an ID card was indeed the person they said they were. The religious desires of devout Muslims were incompatible with our military needs, so their religous desires took second place. Some devout Native Americans want to smoke peyote as part of their religious rites. As they were doing so long before white, Anglo-Saxon settlers occupied their land, the usual classification of peyote as a "controlled substance in Schedule I" is lifted, but it's lifted specifically for Native Americans so that they can continue their religious practices uninterrupted.

In both cases, the law and what the Federal Government needs, trumps the law of religious freedom and liberty. If Catholics don't like providing women with the means to control their wombs, then they can sell off their hospitals to private entrepreneurs who are willing to abide by the national law. If Catholics who practice medicine within those hospitals don't like it, they can go to another country or they can find another occupation. Under no circumstances does religious liberty take precedence over a woman's Constitutional rights.

Update: What Digby said.

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