The Catholic church has already spent upwards of $2 billion on child sex abuse scandals so I guess spending money on lawyers for this is nothing new for them. I read an article yesterday about how some Catholic institutions are suing the Obama administration over the proposed birth control mandate. As it stands, religious organizations will get exemption that requires health insurances companies to pay for birth control so religious organizations do not have to pay for it directly. Health insurance companies are not against this, as birth control is more cost-effective than pregnancies. Birth control is also cheaper than a ruptured ovarian cyst or other complicated medical problem that hormonal birth control is sometimes used to treat.
The thought of my grandmother and other relatives giving money every Sunday to their local Catholic parishes to pay for lawsuits like these, when there are poor and needy people in their local communities is baffling to me. Not to mention that although there were primitive forms of nearly every type of birth control except hormonal during the time of Christ, it is never mentioned in the bible. Even though the bible includes restrictions on diet, clothing, worship, and nearly every aspect of life including restrictions on masturbation and sterilization yet female birth control and abortion are not even addressed.
Religious organizations, such as the Catholic church cry foul claiming that this mandate will force them to endorse lifestyle choices that they believe are morally wrong. The current position of the Catholic church is that all forms of artificial birth control are sinful as are many fertility treatments including IVF. And of course they are staunchly against abortion the only exception being if a pregnancy puts the life of the mother in jeopardy.
That being said, what are they getting so worked up about? I fail to see their logic. The vast majority of American women are already using some form of artificial birth control. A recent report by the Guttmacher Institute found that up to 98% of American women have used artificial means of birth control including nearly 98% of Catholic women. Currently a woman can purchase birth control with nothing more but a prescription from her doctor. She can do this if she works for a Catholic employer, institution or hospital. She simply has to pay for the medication out-of-pocket. Many other forms of birth control are available over the counter at a drugstore, without insurance, the cost being burdened by the individual with no health insurance, or employers involved.
So again what is their point? If the Catholic church doesn’t have to pay for birth control directly, and the women in question are already using birth control, are they just upset that someone other than the woman using the birth control is paying for it. Because that is the only real difference here. No one is forcing anyone to use birth control. And the Catholic church is not paying for it directly. Women will still use birth control whether the Catholic church likes it or not. I guess the church just doesn’t want a health insurance company to pay for it. If birth control was currently only used by a fraction of women, and this new mandate would cause an explosion in its use I might see their point. But now nearly every American woman uses birth control of some kind, so the mandate only shifts the costs to either an employer or in the case of religious organizations the insurer. 98% of women is nearly all women, so there will be absolutely no change in behavior.
Any woman who is a devout Catholic can still reject any form of artificial birth control and try her luck with natural family planning. Natural family planning has a much higher failure rate than hormonal birth control and it limits the days a couple can every sex every month. But it is every woman’s decision to make that choice, this mandate does not change that basic truth.
The only thing that changes with the proposed mandate is who pays for the birth control, not who is using birth control. An employer does not have the right to force its employees to not use certain medical devices, treatments or prescriptions because the employer doesn’t morally agree with the moral ramifications of those choices. Religious institutions should not trump the basic rights of anyone including their employees. Would this even be an issue if the Catholic church was declaring that any medical treatments that might help a woman become pregnant should also not be covered. After all, most fertility treatments, at least any that fertilize an egg outside of a woman’s uterus are strictly forbidden by the Catholic church. For the past three decades fifteen states have enacted laws that require at least some insurance coverage for infertility treatments. Interesting how the Catholic church wasn’t making a fuss over state mandated fertility treatments, but they act as if birth control is a matter of religious freedom.