Jonah is right, of course, that there are neither free lunches nor free abortifacients, and that it is infuriating to have our intelligence insulted by the Left’s incessant claims about “free” medical coverage. But I want to focus on a different aspect of cost because, as I’ve said any number of times over the years, once you lose the language battle, the substantive policy defeat is sure to follow. In the debate over the mandate, we are losing the language battle in two critical areas.
First, the Left is getting away with saying that religious organizations want to deny coverage for birth control. That is sheer idiocy. As I contended in last weekend’s column, contraceptives and abortifacients are cheap, cheap, cheap in this country. If there were enough months in the year, you could have two second-trimester abortions for less than I spend on pizza — to say nothing of flat-screen TVs, iPods, X-boxes and the scores of other extravagances that the “poor” in America manage to score without government mandates. What we are talking about here is not walling people off from birth-control — condoms will still be free in New York City, the pill will still set you back less than $4 per week, and so on. The issue is whether people who have moral objections to abortion and contraception should be extorted by state power into paying for other people’s abortions and contraceptives. But that hardly means the latter will be denied.