I responded by asking her if it bothers her that she can’t get health insurance.
“But I do have health insurance,” she said.
“No, you don’t,” I replied. “You pay a premium every month to subsidize behavior that you consider sick and wrong. But you do not pay a premium to insure against actual risks to your health.”
I asked her if she would ever allow herself to be kept alive in a vegetative state through feeding and breathing tubes. Of course not, she replied. She believes in letting nature take its course, and thinks it’s sick and wrong to do that.
“Then why don’t you go get a discount from your insurer in exchange for a policy that specifically excludes such practices?” I asked.
“Can I do that?” she inquired.
“No,” I answered, “You can’t. The fascist government wouldn’t enforce the exclusion, so the insurer won’t give you the discount.”
I asked her if she took drugs and she said she didn’t. I asked if she would like to pay less for her policy in exchange for a clause that excluded drug-related mental health treatment. She said she would. But once again, state law prohibits such exclusions.
“You see,” I said. “You’re not buying health insurance. You’re just subsidizing drug abuse.”
It was in the wake of this conversation that we heard of the administration’s decision to mandate the Catholic Church provide birth control for its employees as part of their health insurance, should it continue to offer health insurance.
Although we are both very fond of birth control (I have no children and she doesn’t want any more), we both recognized the mandate as a horrible violation of liberty of contract, with an added twist of also violating the Free Exercise Clause.
It occurred to me that if the Catholic Church can be forced to pay for birth control it considers immoral, then a pacifist church like the Quakers should be forced to buy me another gun. I have as many guns as my friend has children, but unlike her, I want more.
The analogy is quite apt, I think. After all, birth control is a constitutional right, even if the Catholic Church is against it, and the right to bear arms is a constitutional right, even if there are pacifist churches against it.
Surely, if a right that is nowhere to be found in the Constitution, such as birth control, trumps the Free Exercise Clause, then the right to bear arms specifically enumerated in the Second Amendment must trump it as well. And frankly, I’ll gladly trade the Catholics’ right not to subsidize birth control they consider immoral if the government will force pacifists to buy me more guns.