Birth control pill

Birth control pill (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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.

9 comments on “The Birth Control Debate and Religious Freedom – Faulty Logic

  1. The Snarkster

    I am curious – how many catholic men have had vasectomys? And, I bet they have insurance to cover that cost.

    1. julietjeske

      Exactly the bible doesn’t say much about contraception but it does mention sterilization. Only once, but it calls it an abomination. It also calls wearing clothing made of more than one type of thread an abomination so for what it is worth.

    2. julietjeske

      I also wish they would be consistent. No one ever calls them out on fertility treatments or IVF. The church is officially against anything that results in embryos made outside of a woman’s womb, and that may lead to embryos being destroyed. Yet you don’t see them outside fertility treatment centers calling anyone a murderer. A woman may have one abortion in her lifetime, whereas a woman using IVF might have to end up destroying dozens of embryos. Personally I don’t think either woman is a murderer. It has never been about babies, it has always been about controlling women.

    1. julietjeske

      I guess. But what about their molesting priests? If they go to confession all is forgiven. I get this worked up because I was raised in a strict Catholic home, so I know their mentality and I am just sick of it. For any institution as corrupt as they are to stand on moral high ground is just pathetic. Tell any victim of the child sex abuse scandal how morally superior the Catholic church is and watch their head spin. The funny thing is, the more conservative the church goes the more it is dooming its own future.

  2. Vaneeesa Blaylock

    The doctrine you’re protesting is ancient. It comes from a time when Christians were a persecuted minority that literally hid underground. If they didn’t have reproduce like freakin crazy rules, their religion would have long since gone extinct.

    Today we live on a planet of 7.01 billion people. The weight of the human herd is crushing every other living thing on this planet and driving many species to the brink of extinction.

    The ancient doctrine to reproduce like bunnies was plenty successful, but today it’s irrelevant, unnecessary, and dangerous.

    1. julietjeske

      Completely agree. I also think it is just stunning that they cherry pick the bible. There are some really disturbing passages in it. I don’t understand how one passage is the truth and something about selling your daughters into slavery…is just ignored. Makes no sense to me.

  3. Pingback: When Did Being Female Become a “lifestyle choice”? | anniegirl1138

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