In this morning’s Wall Street Journal, columnist William McGurn has a piece on the efforts by Kathleen Sebelius, Obama’s HHS director, to enshrine contraceptive “care” and abortion coverage in our healthcare system. The Democrat Sebelius, daughter of former Ohio Governor John Gilligan, is a native of Cincinnati and proud alumna of Summit Country Day School. A half-dozen years ago, the school invited her to speak until it was alerted by a Kansas pro-life group of her strident pro-abortion views. (Sebelius was then governor of Kansas.) Summit’s headmaster reached out to Archbishop Pilarczyk for advice, and to his lasting credit he told him that were he the headmaster — the school is independent of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati —  he would rescind the invitation. And so the headmaster did, taking tremendous heat from alumni. (He has since left the school.) It is fair to say this was the first sign Archbishop Pilarczyk would “go in style,” and was followed by his bold decisions to confront the Bodies exhibition at the museum center, UC’s “Sexapalooza” festival, and the priestess advocacy of archdiocesan catechist Louise Akers.  So I suppose we have Ms. Sebelius to thank for … “spontaning” his conscience into action.  In any event, here is the back half of McGurn’s column:

Whether you approve or disapprove of contraception or sterilization is beside the point. Today nine out of 10 employer plans offer what Mrs. Sebelius wants them to. The point is whether it is right or necessary for Mrs. Sebelius to use the federal government to bring the other 10% to heel.
There was a day when liberals and libertarians appreciated the importance of upholding the freedoms of people and groups with unpopular views. No longer. As government expands, religious liberty is reduced to a special “exemption” and concerns about government coercion are dismissed, in the memorable words of Nancy Pelosi, as “this conscience thing.”

“Religious liberty is better seen as more a liberty issue than a religion issue,” says Bill Mumma of the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty. “The more we drive religious and private associations off the public square, the more that space will be occupied by government.”

Of course, some might answer that they object to lots of things their money underwrites—say, the war in Iraq. Mrs. Sebelius’s HHS rule, however, doesn’t involve tax dollars: It involves forcing Americans to spend their private dollars on things they deem unconscionable. How far this is from the understanding in 1776 that the way to uphold liberty and keep these conflicts to a minimum was to keep government small and limited.

A new TV ad from CatholicVote.org features a little girl. “Dear President Obama,” she says. “Can I ask you a question? Why are you trying to force my church and my school to pay for things that we don’t even believe in?”

It’s a good question. Apparently it’s not enough that contraception be legal, cheap and available. As Mrs. Sebelius illustrates, modern American liberalism cannot rest until those who object are forced to underwrite it.

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