The Catholic League, according to CBS, is “poised to go to war with Obama over mandatory birth control payments.” A better stenographer the Catholic League could not have than CBS, with the threat meant to put a political scare into Obama. But this isn’t 1980 and the Catholic League is facing a new generation in a new century where the vast majority of women rely on birth control, regardless of faith, with the economy of birth control very real. If you can’t afford $600/month, you play Russian roulette with your life and your future.

From Marjorie Clifton of GoVote over at Huffington Post:

According to the Centers for Disease Control, 79.5% of people aged 18 to 24 have had sexual intercourse, and, of those, 2.2% become pregnant. While Catholic authorities would say that unmarried young adults should not be sexually active to begin with, this position ignores reality and serves only to isolate young people — dismissing the issue as someone else’s problem.

But Catholic students are no different from the broader population. In 2009, the Boston College Undergraduate Government held a vote on whether the university should offer more sexual health services, including STI testing, condoms, and prescription birth control. The vote saw a record turnout, and an overwhelming 89% of students supported making these services available. The truth is in these numbers.

Al Sharpton won the round yesterday morning in a walk, which also revealed the tired arguments of the elite media, though they represent, as CBS did parroting exactly what the Catholic League wanted, conventional wisdom of a certain set. But the culture war today is about how modern women, who aren’t marrying like generations before, control their lives, their fate and plan their future. It cannot be done without birth control.

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Al Sharpton’s smackdown of the out of touch hosts begins at around 2:30 in the video above, but what’s particularly revealing is the reading of a Peggy Noonan op-ed by Ms. Brzezinski.

“It’s a fight the President can’t win. President Obama just might have lost the election,” opines Peggy Noonan, complete with tired “sleeping giant” awakening cries.

That is religious conservatism on parade, not to be confused with political conservatism, as I wrote about yesterday, by none other than Ronald Reagan’s speechwriter. Noonan represents that moment in time where religious intrusion into the modern political fabric began its crescendo after the era of individual freedom broke out in the 1960s.

The bookend to Noonan is E.J. Dionne representing religious conservatism on the Democratic Party side of things. Part of that group is also Sen. Casey, someone willing to continue the tradition of making a woman’s body subject to government intervention, whether state or federal.

What’s been the problem with women’s autonomy and economic issues like birth control, is Democratic Party leaders have continually ceded ground to religious conservatives and fundamentalist Republicans, because they were afraid to fight on the terms that impact women. Birth control is an economic issue, as can be abortion. But make no mistake about it, when religious conservatives in both parties talk about birth control, they see abortion.

Women, especially poor women, have been made to take a rumble seat on the side car of our national discussion on individual freedoms, because the discussion is forever wound up in abortion rights. Any woman in the throes of such a personal crisis, which I talk about personally in my book through the chapter “Is Freedom Just for Men?”, is thinking about one life she’s trying to save and that’s her own.

Sebelius in USA Today:

Of the 28 states that currently require contraception to be covered by insurance, eight have no religious exemption at all. […] It’s important to note that our rule has no effect on the longstanding conscience clause protections for providers, which allow a Catholic doctor, for example, to refuse to write a prescription for contraception. Nor does it affect an individual woman’s freedom to decide not to use birth control. And the president and this administration continue to support existing conscience protections. – Secy. Kathleen Sebelius

It’s the most important conversation on women’s health to be launched in recent memory and if the American people are made to engage in it in a substantive way, which remains to be seen, something fundamentally will have been done by Pres. Obama’s decision on contraceptive coverage.

Joe Scarborough and others have said or suggested Pres. Obama’s will backtrack on his decision.

It will be catastrophic for American women and send a dangerous message on privacy if he proves them right. Because this isn’t just about contraception to religious conservatives. It’s about Griswold and the idea that women should enjoy the same privacy and freedoms as men, which no state or federal law or agency, religious institution or employer should have the right to abridge.