Why should contraception be free for everyone? Can we talk about it?

I have trouble with allergies. My doctor prescribed Clarinex. I went to my pharmacy, but discovered the antihistamine is not covered by my insurance. A month's supply will cost me almost $200.

This is an outrage! The government should make insurance companies give me Clarinex. For free!

This is analogous to the furious debate over whether the government should order insurance companies, and by extension religious institutions, to pay for contraceptives, morning-after abortion pills and sterilizations for all Americans.

It is truly amazing how the debate over this has been successfully diverted from whether it is wise or necessary public policy to make insurance pay for every kind of birth control approved by the government. Instead, the combat has been shifted to whether those supposedly hard-right, child-abusing Catholic bishops should be able to run the country.

Yes, the Obama administration's fiat that religious institutions and now insurance companies — a difference without a distinction — must pay for contraceptives raises profound constitutional and religious liberty issues. But why government should be able to dictate whether we pay for every "preventive care" medical service that comes along has been pushed out of sight. It's accepted as a given by so many that it has taken on aspects of holy writ.

Continuing reading on the Chicago Tribune op-ed page. Join the on-going conversation there.

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