Interview with Star Parker on the HHS Mandate and the 2012 Elections

Star Parker is the President of the Center for Urban Renewal and Education (CURE) and a leading pro-life activist. A nationally syndicated columnist, she has led the fight against the HHS contraception/sterilization/abortifacient mandate, both in writing and publicly speaking out against its violations of a myriad of American rights and traditions. These speeches and columns can be found at her website,, and on her Facebook page.

This morning Star gave me her thoughts on how opponents of the HHS mandate can convince the American people that the mandate is as important of an issue as the policy debates that have long dominated the 2012 Presidential race: the economy, debt and taxes. Our discussion is below.


Dustin Siggins: How can we convince the American people that the mandate is as or more important than the economy, debt, the threat of rising taxes, etc.? Obviously, it relates to First Amendment rights…

Star Parker: We have to keep the discussion alive. That’s why the rally last week continues the focus on the HHS Mandate. It’s not just about forcing the American people to do something they don’t want to do; to give this much power to a Secretary, on a whim to declare who should do what, especially with regards to religion, is unacceptable. If we allow the left to redefine what this debate is really about, that it’s just about contraceptives, next it will be something of more importance to the individual who is silent today. It’s important for the American people to understand there really is no separation of moral and economic issues, and that’s what this fight is about.

DS: But what is the most effective way to argue that Americans should care about this issue as much as unemployment and the national debt? For example, my friend Erica Szalkowski wrote on Daily Caller that the mandate violates both the First Amendment and tradition, both of which have given religious freedom great flexibility in our nation’s history.

SP: There is not one path. Those motivated by faith will use religion to argue against the mandate, and those who are convinced by religious arguments will be swayed. Those who are motivated by economic factors will understand we can’t afford to provide funding for all choices by all people. At the end of the day, the discussion is about what we will have in the public square, who decides law, etc. To have a functioning civil society, we need a limited role of government.

DS: In your March 12 column you mocked [Georgetown Law student Sandra] Fluke’s concerns as insignificant when compared to our massive entitlement debt obligations. Why is the mandate so important to overturn, then?

SP: It’s disingenuous to say we, with all of our debt, to say that we can afford to pay for everything. People who say it’s about birth control also seem to say it’s also about us paying for everything.

DS: What religious language do you think can work? Abstinence is 100% effective for preventing pregnancy, for example, but it has religious connotations.

SP: It doesn’t matter if you limit the role of government. Auto insurance and home insurance are individualized. We need to get back to individual responsibility. We need an obligation to own and have insurance. To live more healthily. We don’t need government to micromanage people’s lives.

DS: Last question: the individual health care market is more expensive than employer insurance because of government involvement. How do we fix it?

SP: The marketplace has been manipulated into a third-party system. I own a business, and we found that providing insurance for people was less expensive, in the form of HSAs and in other ways. The fact is, I don’t go to my auto insurance for a tune-up or to my home insurance for lightbulbs. The marketplace is distorted. We need to have this discussion going into the future to have people get the least expensive policy.

Auto insurance has a wide variety of insurance options, given record, the community in which one lives, car type, etc. This is a reality that needs to be in the health insurance market as well.

If we want to recover economically and otherwise, we need to stop providing for everything through social welfare. I used to be part of that. When I had abortions, they were paid for through social welfare programs. When I wanted to have a child, it was paid for through welfare. It wasn’t until my Christian conversion that I realized these things were wrong.

This is how you solve this issue in a secular society — people pay for the consequences of their decisions. 5-year olds understand that when they discuss things around the dinner table, that they can’t get everything. Parents have options when they insure their children, and they should have choices that they individually decide.

Requiring coverage for sexual choices is like requiring someone to pay for my car tuneup. Should we have a safety net for people with birth defects or disabilities? Let’s have that discussion. The fact that we force people to pay for everything else, it’s no wonder we can’t afford to help those who need it. Get rid of the freeloaders and we’ll have plenty to help those with special needs. That’s a benevolent and compassionate society.

[Originally published at]

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