When it comes to discussing religious objections to President Obama’s contraception mandate, MSNBC decided this afternoon that prominent feminist and liberal darling Sandra Fluke is the best person to comment. Speaking with Tamron Hall on the February 1 NewsNation, Fluke appeared on MSNBC to hype, “the [Obama] administration's process of clarifying how women will have access to this important health care service."
Fluke, a Georgetown Law student who "testified" before a Democratic policy committee -- not a congressional panel contrary to popular belief -- became a recurring guest on MSNBC, and even spoke at the Democratic National Convention last year. According to Politico, under the new policy announced by the Obama Administration [See video after jump. MP3 audio here]:
Women will still be able to get the same health benefits, but certain religious employers won’t have to pay for them. Instead, institutions that insure themselves can use a third-party to find a separate health insurance plan to pay for and provide the contraceptives.
Fluke was brought on to comment, but no guests who oppose the Obama contraception mandate were extended the same courtesy. For her part,Tamron Hall described Ms. Fluke as a, “household name” and failed to challenge her ideas, instead pushing White House platitudes about the need to get:
All voices to come together and to come up with a reasonable solution here that would not infringe on someone’s religion and also keep women protected...
The segment concluded with Fluke grousing that people who have further objections to the contract policy, “have some very extreme ideas about religious freedom and employee health care in this country.”
That's an article of faith for MSNBC, which dares not bring on anyone who would challenge Flukian orthodoxy on the sacred right to employer-subsidized contraception, even if it causes the employer to violate his or her conscience.
See relevant transcript below.
February 1, 2013
2:26 p.m. EST
TAMRON HALL: Joining me now, women's right advocate and recent Georgetown Law School graduate Sandra Fluke. Last year of course, she testified in front of House Democrats that insurance plans should have a mandate to cover contraceptive. Thank you so much Sandra for your time.
SANDRA FLUKE: Thank you.
HALL: I'm sure you heard our reporter Kristen Welker say there's been a mixed bag. Planned Parenthood has released a statement saying it is quote optimistic about the new regulations or change here. You also have NARAL, their statement. Today's draft regulation affirms yet again the Obama Administration’s commitment to fulfilling the full promise of its historic contraception policy thanks to the commitment, most American women will get birth control coverage without extra expense. What is your reaction Sandra?
FLUKE: You know, this really is just another step in the administration's process of clarifying how women will have access to this important health care service and it makes clear that houses of worship will not be covered if they have a religious objection and that religiously affiliated organizations like universities and non-profits potentially will have coverage offered to the female employees and students via the insurance company and the religiously affiliated institution won’t need to be involved. So it meets the important criteria of women having access to the health care they need and not infringing on any potential religious concerns.
HALL: The statement from the New York Archbishop Cardinal Timothy Dolan. He of course is the president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops says in part Sandra, we welcome the opportunity to study the proposed regulations closely. We look forward to issuing a more detailed statement later. But when you see the mixed group from both sides showing if you will again the word Planned Parenthood used optimism that is along the lines of what the Obama Administration said that they wanted. All voices to come together and to come up with a reasonable solution here that would not infringe on someone’s religion and also keep women protected and you had those who were I guess attempting to enflame by saying that this as a war on religion and some of the other things that were accused. When we talked with you and when you became a household name at the beginning of this story.
FLUKE: Yeah. This is just another step in what the administration has said that they wanted to do, which you're exactly right. To find a path forward that covers health care without infringing on any potential concerns. And I think what's important to note is some of the folks who are continuing to object to this policy are actually worried about employers who are private companies not religiously affiliated employers in any way but the boss has a particular religious concern and they want to be able to deny their employees particular types of health care. Now if you take a step back and think about that, that's you work at a restaurant, you work at a store and your boss is able to deny you leukemia coverage or contraception coverage or blood transfusions or any number of medical concerns that someone might have a religious objection to. So the folks who are still objecting have some very extreme ideas about religious freedom and employee health care in this country.
HALL: Sandra Fluke, thank you so much for your time. It’s a great pleasure to have you on as a guest of NewsNation. Thank you.
FLUKE: Thank you.