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The Blue & Gray Press | May 21, 2018

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Obama’s New Political Stunt

U.S. Catholic Bishops plan to campaign against Obama's contraceptive mandate.

For over two weeks, the political discourse in this country has been dominated by the Obama administration’s plan to force Catholic hospitals and charities to provide health insurance plans that cover contraception. This new decree is just the latest chronicle in Obama’s desperate quest to win a second term. He seems to have a malign talent for driving divisive non-issues into the national dialogue.

Now, most people are aware that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act contains a mandate that health insurance plans cover the entire cost of certain contraceptives. In late January, the administration issued an edict that all religious schools, hospitals, charities and other health care services must provide contraceptives in their insurance plans, even if it violates their religious beliefs.

This has led to an outcry from the country’s Catholic leadership, who vociferously oppose contraception. Some believe it constitutes infanticide, and now the federal government is mandating them to pay for a product that violates their religious beliefs.

Proponents of this mandate correctly assert that the vast majority of American Catholics use contraception. Current TV’s Cenk Uygur, on his talk show the Young Turks, pointed out that 99 percent of American Catholics use contraception. However, Cenk fails to realize that that means Catholics who want contraception have no problem obtaining it.
Putting religious issues aside, there are plenty of secular reasons to oppose this.

There is not a single person in the U.S. that has a job and health insurance that does not have access to contraception. Anyone who has taken a high school health class knows that the only form of contraception that prevents both pregnancy and sexually-transmitted diseases are condoms. Condoms are affordable and easily available.

The free market has produced a litany of affordable forms of contraception. Pharmacies have entire aisles dedicated to affordable contraceptive products.

Anyone who wants to work for a religious health institution should probably know whether or not contraception is acceptable to that faith. When preparing for employment a person will negotiate with their employer about their health coverage and they will know whether or not they will be provided with contraception so they can budget accordingly.

No one in America is going broke paying for contraception. So why is this non-issue dominating the news? It is because cultural and religious issues polarize and divide the American people and it’s an election year. Obama’s popularity with young people and middle class women has plummeted since 2008. If he tells them that social conservatives are plotting to take away birth control, it might get some otherwise apathetic individuals to the polls in November.

Comments

  1. Jen Soan

    “There is not a single person in the US that has a job and health insurance that does not have access to contraception.” Check your facts before you show your incredible and complete ignorance.

    In a recent survey, HALF of young adult women said that they did not use contraception as directed because it was cost-prohibitive. For women with insurance, many have to pay much higher out-of-pocket costs compared to other prescriptions.
    http://www.americanprogress.org/issues/2012/02/pdf/BC_costs.pdf

    While you’re right that condoms are an effective way to prevent both pregnancy and disease, there are many, many other contraceptive options (by the way, besides condoms you did not name a single other method, and instead used some hand-wavey BS about a “litany of affordable forms of contraception”)

    Contraceptives are not only used to prevent pregnancy, believe it or not. Many different types of oral contraceptive can be used to relieve period pain, regulate irregular or heavy cycles, treat PMDD, and help in the treatment of Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) or endometriosis. Without insurance, the costs of other birth control methods (different contraceptive pills, implants, hormonal or copper IUDs) can add up to $1,200 PER YEAR. (see the survey above)

    It’s necessary and useful to have minimum standards of coverage for health insurance providers. Contraception is incredibly important for preventative health. However, in plenty of places, the only hospitals or universities within range are those that are religiously affiliated. Secular employees of these institutions have a right to receive the same minimum standards of health care as the rest of the country, regardless of who their employer is. The government is not forcing Catholics to take or use any BC method if they don’t want to, but it is mandating that it be affordable for anyone with insurance.

    Additionally, your comment about Catholics seeing BC as “infanticide” is further proof that you have no idea what you’re talking about. While they do see abortion as infanticide, and claim that in some instances Plan B can be the death of a zygote, condoms/hormonal BC/withdrawal are not taboo because they’re seen as infanticide, but rather because they intervene with the miraculous, life-giving purpose of intercourse, and they see this as unnatural. Regardless, a Catholic is not mandated to take BC under the new legislation, so if he or she chooses to use a form of contraception (98% of them do, at one point or another) that’s on them.

  2. BotanicalWits

    “vociferously”
    +10 point for the vocab.

  3. BotanicalWits

    Cost of contraceptives is a non-issue. If a product violates a religious doctrine, the government has no right to mandate the religion’s organizations offer said product. It just so happens that forms of contraception violate Catholic belief.

  4. Jen Soan

    Cost is hardly a non-issue. If contraceptives were incredibly cheap without insurance, then mandating them as a minimum standard of coverage might seem unreasonable. As it is, it is ridiculous to expect women without insurance to pay a thousand dollars a year for contraception. Again, not that it should matter, but in many cases contraception is also an important medical treatment: It’s used in the treatment of PCOS, endometriosis, irregular, painful, or heavy menstrual cycles, and severe acne. Deciding that those people just don’t get medical care because a Catholic is against it is ridiculous and makes a mockery out of the concept of separation of church and state.

    But to address your point: Nobody is mandating that religious organizations provide “objectionable” products. Nobody is forcing religious institutions to dispense contraceptives, or religious hospitals to provide contraceptives. Nobody is getting their religious doctrines violated. The bill merely requires employers to provide health insurance that meets minimum standards. One of those minimum standards is an inclusion of birth control methods in the coverage. The insurance companies are the ones that are subsidizing the birth control.

    This minimum standard is necessary, regardless of what the employer thinks. If I’m employed by Christian Scientists, I still expect my insurance policy to cover medical visits, and medical treatment. Just because they have a religious objection to modern medicine doesn’t mean I shouldn’t have my treatment for cancer subsidized. This is no different.