Tuesday, February 7, 2012

The Catholic Contraceptive Controversy: Where's the Health Care Part?

Effective August 1, thanks to a provision in the Affordable Care Act, most working women will have their contraceptives fully paid for, without a co-pay. That's the good news. The bad news (you knew there had to be bad news, right?) is that the unenlightened among us see it as nothing more than an unconscionable threat against virile manhood.  Especially Catholic virile manhood.

The U.S Conference of Catholic Bishops, all male at last count, have decided amongst themselves that they will not be pushed into reversing their age-old hoo-haw laws forcing Catholic women to have as many babies as their wholly-owned bodies can produce. (The laugh's on them:  Most Catholic women use artificial birth control.  The Guttmacher Institute says it's as high as 98%.)  When was the last time you heard a Catholic woman talking about the rhythm method, except to marvel at how crazy that whole notion was?

Cardinal-designate Timothy Dolan, president of the USCCB, sharply criticized the decision by the Obama administration in which it "ordered almost every employer and insurer in the country to provide sterilization and contraceptives, including some abortion-inducing drugs, in their health plans....Never before has the federal government forced individuals and organizations to go out into the marketplace and buy a product that violates their conscience. This shouldn't happen in a land where free exercise of religion ranks first in the Bill of Rights."

We're talking about birth control here.  We're talking about a woman's right to choose when the time is right to carry and bear a child.  This is not baby-killing, it's responsibly managing an event as life-changing as it's ever going to get.  It's the smart, sane way of controlling the use of our own bodies and, oh, by the way, preventing the birth of unwanted children.

We're talking about birth control products already approved and already a part of most insurance policies. The only mandate is that insurance providers will now be required to provide those products without additional cost to all women who want to use them.  The mandate isn't for the use, it's for the availability and the cost.

This is a manufactured Right wing controversy designed to kill yet another positive outcome of "Obamacare", and the Catholic Bishops are more than happy to become the spark that creates yet another phony firestorm.

Mitt Romney, Republican candidate for President and a Mormon who, until now, apparently had no problem with that particular provision in the Affordable Care Act, has jumped on the bandwagon and is now on the side of the Catholic Bishops, taking this grand opportunity to rail against his opponent, Barack Obama. about an issue he clearly doesn't even begin to understand:

"I’m just distressed as I watch our president try and infringe upon our rights, the First Amendment of the Constitution provides the right to worship in the way of our own choice,” Romney said to nearly 3,000 people gathered in the gymnasium of Arapahoe High School, in Arapahoe County, an area known as a so-called “swing county” that Obama won in 2008.

“This same administration said that the churches and the institutions they run, such as schools and let’s say adoption agencies, hospitals, that they have to provide for their employees free of charge, contraceptives, morning after pills, in other words abortive pills, and the like at no cost,” Romney said. “Think what that does to people in faiths that do not share those views. This is a violation of conscience.

“We must have a president who is willing to protect America’s first right, our right to worship God according to the dictates of our own conscience,” he said.
 In addition to Romney, two other manly men candidates for Obama's job, Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich, are outraged that women should be able to get free birth control. (It only adds to their outrage that women should have the audacity to think they can control their own bodies):

Andrea Saul, a spokeswoman for Mitt Romney, said in an e-mail that he regarded the administration’s rule requiring religious employers to furnish birth control as wrong. “This is a direct attack on religious liberty and will not stand in a Romney presidency,” she said. Mr. Romney has also pledged to end a federal program, Title X, that provides family planning services to millions of women

Mr. Santorum has taken the position that health insurance plans should not be required to cover birth control. He also favors allowing states to decide whether to ban birth control. He and Mr. Gingrich both support “personhood” initiatives that would legally declare fertilized eggs to be persons, effectively banning not just all abortions but also certain contraceptives, including IUDs and some types of birth control pills. 

Mr. Gingrich wants to withdraw government money from Planned Parenthood because it performs abortions in addition to providing contraceptives, though the federal money cannot be used for abortion.
A lie dressed in Pink

I wonder how they feel about Viagra and other male enhancement "medications"? Say there was a group who believed with their whole entire hearts that workplace insurance coverage of male sex tool enhancement was not only outside any notion of "health care", it was maybe even "unconscionable".  Should that group be exempt from providing it?

And if those bishops had wombs would they be open to letting someone else tell them what they could do with them?  (It's a rhetorical question.  No, they wouldn't be open to letting someone else tell them anything.)

Addendum:  Catholic hospitals and universities already provide contraceptive coverage:  Here it is.  What's their excuse now?


  1. So if a priest wants to use viagra to molest a young boy thats his right.Its his business. but a woman using birth control to stop unwanted pregnancies is his business also.And every other man not connected to this woman and her circumstance.Its always been a problem for right wing zealots to mind their own business.And if you eliminate birth control do you help with feeding and clothing those unwanted children.NO because once their born they become that womans problem, not the church, not the right wing, and the right wing certainly doesnt want welfare to help her.that would raise their taxes.

    1. That is part of their considerable hypocrisy. The same guys who are dissing Obama for his policies favoring reproductive freedom routinely commit the crime of obstruction of justice, using their Vatican diplomatic status to avoid showing their books, which would reveal their movement of pedophile priests to new parishes and their stonewalling of lawsuits designed to redress the grievances of young people who had their childhood taken from them. The Catholic Church is an international terrorist group.

  2. I think you've hit all the bases. It's a man's world over there at the Far Right Wing and we little ladies ought to just shut up about it.

    Right. THAT'S gonna happen!

  3. Timothy Dolan is a fat, dogmatic asshole who comes on with an avuncular demeanor that only serves to hide his hatred for women and the sexual minorities. There is no place for dogma in our political arena. The U.S.C.C.B. should be labeled a hate group.

  4. Dolan also defended quite a few priests involved in the sex abuse scandals in Milwaukee and St. Louis. I don't care if he's a supposed "man of God." I think he's a pig.


    I was discussing this with someone just today. This new provision isn't FORCING anyone to use contraceptives if they object to it. It's requiring institutions providing health care coverage to provide contraceptives, in accordance with non-discrimination laws.

    Yet another "war on something" attributed to the President, this time on religious freedom. It's laughable. One good thing, though...I'd say that it's gotten plenty of women, young and old, fired up and ready to protect our own control of our bodies. Talk about awakening a sleeping tiger...! Rowwwwrrrr!

  5. Hi Beth, their argument (lame to me but then I'm not Catholic) is that since birth control goes against the tenets of their religion it goes against everything holy that they should be required to pay for it as part of an insurance premium.

    A woman argued today that as long as there was a co-pay the Catholic church wasn't actually paying for contraceptions so it was okay. I mean, really!

    So we all know it's the usual war on women, it's just that they've found a new and better way to fight it. And they can stick it to Obama at the same time. A twofer.

  6. And if the Catholic Bishops had wombs and could get pregnant abortion would be a sacrament!!!

    1. Don't you just know it? How they ever let supposedly celibate men make decisions about women and birth control is another one of those mysteries of the ages.

      (Another mystery is why Catholics still let them get away with it in the 21st Century.)


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