While it might be fun (for me anyway) to launch into a tirade against the Catholic church’s recent opposition to the government’s requirement that they include birth control in the health care they offer their employees at Catholic universities and hospitals, I’ll try not to.
But mostly I will.
A quick Google search of the church’s reasoning behind this opposition to contraception seems to be that every time a man and a woman engage in the “marital embrace” it’s to make a baby. That’s right, the only reason (which I guess in a very strict sense is true), to have sex is to reproduce.
This website even lists several biblical examples couples that “hid the miracle of the marital embrace” and were struck down by God’s wrath. God, according to Catholic leadership, really, really likes babies.
One problem I have with this is that according to a study in April of 2011 an astounding 98 percent of Catholic women support the use of birth control. So even after (presumably) telling Catholic women they shouldn’t use contraceptives, 98 out of a hundred either did so or supported the decision too. If you argument is so poorly thought out, so poorly put forward, that even your own faithful audience ignores the message, it’s like the message is not a very good (useful) one.
But really that’s between the Catholic church and their followers. Really it is. The problem I have is when the Catholic church tries to dictate to non-Catholics what contraceptives their health care plans cover (hint it’s none!).
If the U.S. Government was making the Catholic church use their money to directly spend it on contraceptives, despite their moral opposition, I would be truly offended. But what the church is doing in essence is telling non Catholic employees what they can and cannot do with their own money. If I’m hired tomorrow by a Catholic organization and the job has a health care plan that comes along with it, its part of the salary effectively. The plan is available because I have toiled through time effort and job skills for their organization. In other words I’ve earned it.
Why every woman (hell every man as well, but that’s another update) isn’t outraged by this is beyond me, but I suspect it has something to do with the Kardashians, Desperate Housewives and Jersey Shore.
Is it just a well-timed, “look at what evil President Obama is attempting to make us do,” attention grabbing political election year stunt? I don’t know, but I’ve already heard every GOP hopeful chime in about it. If the Catholic Church had been this energized about clergy molesting children there might have been a few less clergy molesting children.
I know, I know, it’s not the same thing. But it does point to an organization that is out of touch with reality in my opinion.
Even the websites listed above point out that contraception isn’t a new phenomenon (though I’d argue safe and effective contraception is).
They point out that there are references to the use of contraception in the bible (referenced as bad of course, but still referenced nonetheless). I can understand why the church might take this stance if the year was 1012. With high infant mortality rates, plague, starvation and the like, would suggest that yes, please do keep the babies coming if for no other reason than to keep the church pews (and pocketbooks) full.
However it’s 2012 and kids today generally have a very, very good chance of, well — living. Some of them in our American health care system I understand might even be healthy (and chubby if the most recent statistics are to be trusted). That fact that today’s women have a safe, reliable method of birth control is, arguably, one of the greatest medical advances of all time.
I really don’t care which parts of the bible the Catholic church chooses to support and which they ignore as long as they do it inside the church. My opinion, though, changes radically when they start to enforce that standard on their employees, inflicting their belief on those who are opposed to it. Sure they don’t have to work there, but that’s not the point. The employee has earned the right to health care and it’s not the church’s say as to whether that health care covers contraceptives. This is exactly (well one of many) reason we needed government health care reform.
Finally, I do understand that many health care companies routinely disallow certain services. Mental health and dental care are primary examples; need I bring up pre-existing conditions? Access to contraception isn’t one that insurance companies, outside of their dealings with the church were not one of them. It’s far, far cheaper to pay (from the insurance company and the from the insured’s perspective) for contraception, than it is to pay for a baby carried to term or an abortion.
The GOP and their candidates have already started to use this contraception issue as a talking point for repealing “Obama Care” ignoring the fact that this was exactly the kind of thing that regulation of our health care system can do right. In essence, it forces an employer to be fair to an employee regardless of that person’s faith.