If you were watching the TV news today, you are aware that during his latest speech the President seemed to be reversing a previous policy requiring religious employers to include free contraceptives in their employee health insurance. But was it really a reversal or just a political gimmick?

In his speech, the President said religious employers who do not agree with providing contraceptives on moral grounds will not be caused to do so. However, he went on to say that the employer’s insurance company will be required to furnish the contraceptives.

So, what is the difference? Has the Obama administration reversed its policy?

The answer is an emphatic no. Common sense dictates that since the religious employer will be paying for the insurance, they will be paying for the contraceptives as well. It makes no difference how the information is provided to employees, the coverage will be there. And the religious employer who opposes making contraceptives available on religious grounds will be footing the bill.

It’s kind of like a retailer saying that if you purchase a certain product the manufacturer will give you something else free. The truth is that the so-called free item is priced into the cost of the item you purchase. Everyone knows that – or they should.

The President and those surrounding him can spin this issue on weekend talk shows but they cannot alter the facts. And it is somewhat surprising, even for this White House, that they actually believe the public is not able to see through this sham.

The fact that birth control is used by many in this country in no way negates the fact that the very idea of disseminating contraceptives is morally offensive to many others, and maybe even to some of those who use them. The Catholic Church is on record as being opposed to contraceptives.

But the bigger issue is freedom of religious rights. Do religious organizations have the religious right to opt out of providing medical insurance that covers contraceptives, even if it is veiled in underhanded legal jargon?

So, let us be honest here, this administration has once again shown that it has no respect for anyone’s religious freedom. It has an agenda. And anything getting in the way of that agenda must be removed.

It’s too early to know whether this latest walk-back on the part of the President will stand, or whether public outcry will cause him to actually take the contraceptive issue off the table entirely. It all depends upon how it is perceived.

If most people view this issue as being all about women’s health, then the President may have won the skirmish. And eventually the rhetoric will become but a whisper. However, if the public sees it for what it really is – an attack on religious freedom – then I believe this White House is in for a long battle that it will wish it never engaged.

So, was the President’s decision today a policy reversal or just another political gimmick?

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