Louisiana College’s Stunningly Stupid Lawsuit

Screen Shot 2012-02-21 at 4.18.57 AM

Yesterday, Louisiana College filed suit against the federal government, seeking to prevent the government from enforcing a policy that mandates insurance companies to provide for birth control and contraception medication.

I don’t want to get into the nitty gritty debate. Suffice it to say, I think the Obama Administration struck a fair compromise on this issue, allowing religious institutions the flexibility to maintain their own autonomy while, at the same time, ensuring that vitally important contraceptive coverage is still guaranteed for those women in need, including the nearly 98% of Catholic women who use or have used birth control.

For Louisiana College, in my opinion, this is nothing more than an attempt to grab at the headlines. And truth be told: I’d be cool with Louisiana College’s lawsuit about this if they weren’t the beneficiary of tens of millions of dollars in public subsidization, mostly tax-free. They are, essentially, suing the federal government for requiring that someone else (their insurance provider) pay for birth control for their female employees, because Joe Aguillard and the Dean of their new law school– whatever his name is– don’t want to pay, even indirectly, for birth control. This has nothing to do with abortion, got that? Nothing.

Two men telling women what they can and cannot do with their own bodies, pathetically acting like their beliefs are being assailed, both full of sound and fury but signifying nothing.

To them, I’d say: I have a religious and moral objection to having my tax dollars subsidize your institution. To them, I’d say: There are much worse things than knowing that your money may possibly help someone get birth control. For example, there could be rumors about people engaging in behavior that contradicts Levitical law. But who knows if this is true, right? It’d simply be dangerous, scandalous, disastrous rumors involving someone’s personal life, and after all, that should be beyond the pale.

Yet if LC has to pay, even indirectly (through a private insurer), for someone’s birth control pills, then the administration wants to know about the personal lives of their employees. Apparently, they’re really worried that their female employees could, secretly, be exploiting their own insurance policies to abort babies. (After all, that’s what birth control coverage is about, right? It means aborting babies, right?).

The simplest explanation is this: Louisiana College wants a headline. We’re going to give it to them. They want to be culture warriors. They want to raise money for their ill-begotten law school. That also may happen. They may raise a few bucks off of this ploy.

I recognize that my contribution is indirect, but nonetheless, it exists. So, until you refuse to accept my money and the public’s money to help keep your institution afloat, you can either feign righteous indignation OR you can begin to actually pay proper taxes, like the rest of us, and contribute to the very system from which you disproportionately benefit.

And to the City of Shreveport, Louisiana, to Mayor Cedric Glover: If you are giving Louisiana College a single penny to help them launch their “law” school, then the people of Shreveport need to know that you’re handing their money to these people– politicized cultural “warriors,” zealots who think their religion somehow makes them above the law– because, somehow, they are more “moral.”

I have an ax to grind, to be sure. My grandfather, a medical doctor who is currently a resident of an assisted living facility in Alexandria, helped to invent the birth control pill, when he was a researcher in Michigan during the 1950s. He didn’t make a dime off of it, and I have nothing to gain either by speaking out. But Joe Aguillard and Louisiana College, they’ve been the beneficiaries of taxpayer money for years and years.

To Mayor Glover: With all due respect, drop the funding. I realize it may be difficult (I doubt Governor Jindal has the courage), but if LC is as earnest and as righteous as it claims to be, it can surely survive without being paid by people who are morally opposed to its mission. At the very least, Mayor Glover, you’d force LC to be consistent. And man, that would be awesome.