Former Rep. Joe Walsh (R-Ill.) told supporters this week that they should “defy and or break the law” in order to resist the Affordable Care Act. Of course, the opinions of some strange former congressman, booted out of Congress after one term, probably don’t carry much weight.
How about a man who may be elected governor of Virginia later this year?
Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, the presumptive GOP gubernatorial nominee and a rising national figure on the right, told an Iowa-based radio show Wednesday night that opponents of a federal mandate for contraception coverage should be willing to “go to jail” to fight the law.
Cuccinelli, who also addressed the Iowa Republican Party’s Lincoln Day Dinner last spring, told conservative radio host Steve Deace that he strongly supports the lawsuit by Hobby Lobby Stores against the Affordable Care Act’s requirements for contraception coverage.
In the interview, Cuccinelli shared an exchange he had with his own Roman Catholic bishop who told him, “Well, you know I told a group I’m ready to go to jail” to fight contraception access. Cuccinelli replied, “Bishop, don’t take this personally: You need to go to jail.”
The right-wing state A.G. added, “What I mean by that is, people need to see it play out all the way to its logical conclusion.”
Keep in mind, Cuccinelli isn’t saying he’s prepared to go to jail; he’s just saying people who think the way he does should be prepared to go to jail.
Here’s hoping his allies don’t take this advice.
In case anyone’s forgotten, the policy Cuccinelli finds so outrageous is actually pretty routine, and hardly worth risking incarceration over.
Under federal law, insurance companies must now make preventive care available without copays. It was up to the Obama administration to establish what counts as “preventive care,” and officials chose a variety of common-sense policies, including mammograms, HIV screenings, immunizations, and contraception.
No one will be required to have any of these services; they’ll simply be available. In terms of finances, the Obama administration exempts churches and other houses of worship from financing care they may find objectionable, and the White House also created a compromise in which religiously-affiliated employers wouldn’t have to pay for contraception directly.
That’s it. That’s the entirety of the “controversy.”
For the far-right Virginian, this policy is so excessive, people should simply ignore the law and invite punishment.
The 2012 elections offered a variety of lessons, but one of them seemed to be that the American mainstream wasn’t comfortable with the Republicans’ bizarre preoccupation with reproductive health, most notably, contraception access. Apparently, some missed the message.