Thursday, July 5, 2012

On the plus side, I am fairly confident that my nine-month-old knows what HHS stands for.

Hey!  Obamacare was ruled constitutional!  That is great...kind of...
No, it is good, definitely.  I totally believe in health care for all.
Okay, I am a little bummed because I was kinda hoping that it wouldn't pass and the Dems would try to pass a bill with the public option but... health care for all!  Yeah!

     There is just this one tiny thing, that is actually kind of a big thing for the Catholic Church.  It's that Health and Human Services mandate.  See, mandating that employers cover contraception is a huge deal for the Catholic leadership, and they are just beating us lay people over the head with it.  It is kind of hard to ignore.  I mean, that is the point really is for the leadership: to get the laity to take notice and to stand up to politicians.  So they do homily and brochures and the Fortnight for Freedom, which is supposed to be a time of education and prayer and get us Catholics all engaged and in a tizzy.
     I guess the whole thing is working out for them pretty well, because I have been reading and thinking about it a lot, and despite being fairly liberal, pro-choice, and pro contraception, I do not know what to think about this HHS mandate.
     So the deal with the mandate is that Catholic institutions, like hospitals and schools, are required to provide insurance that covers contraception.  There are a couple issues with this:
     1.  First of all, while contraception is a very controversial issue within the Church, and most lay people side in favor of it being just fine, that is not the point.  The point is that Church leaders resent having to provide to their employees something that the Church officially views as wrong.
     2.  Now truthfully, actual churches are granted exceptions to the mandate; it is only the religiously affiliate organizations that would have to comply, because the state has decided they aren't really religious, just "affiliated".  The Church does not appreciate being told that their organizations are not really religious.

I have seriously been very close to obsessed with this issue to the degree that I often will be drifting off to sleep at night mumbling to myself about tax law exemptions.
It just seems like both sides have valid arguments.
  • On one hand, it is not right to make a supposedly Catholic organization do something that they are clearly against.  Regardless of whether or not I agree with the Church's stance on this, there are people who feel that some forms of contraception are tantamount to murdering your children, and if I felt that way about an issue, I wouldn't want the government forcing me to PAY for other people to engage in it.  No one should have to sponsor behavior that is against their religion.
  • On the other hand, no one should be denied a medical care they need just because their employer believes it is wrong.  That also would be an infringement on freedom of religion.
  • Then again, the Church will pay for contraception if it is a case of medical necessity for the woman in the case of hormonal issues or cysts or something.  Plus, contraception is not really that expensive, and is fairly easy to get, sometimes even free.  So the Church is not exactly preventing a person from accessing contraception just because they don't cover it with insurance.
  • Then again, a lot of these Catholic organizations take in a lot of money from the state, so if they are going to be taking tax money, they should probably provide the care that all other employers are expected to provide.
  • But the Catholic institutions argue that the money from the state is just compensation from the community for a service the state would otherwise have to provide: care for the sick, homeless, orphaned and elderly.  The Church argues that they are happy to help the state- as these efforts are part of their Christian duty- but they will be forced to stop helping if the state mandates the distribution of contraception.
  • However, when you think about it, the Church is paying for contraception either way.  They are either giving money to the insurance company who then gives contraception to the employee, or the Church is giving money to the employee who then uses some of their money to buy contraception. So, one way or another, Church money is going towards something the Church doesn't like.
I am going to be honest with you on this, and I am kind of leaning towards the Church with this one.  I know.  I know.  I feel like a bad woman even thinking about siding against anything that has to do with access to contraception, but I feel like the whole you-can-get-contraception-anywhere-for-really-cheap argument is a really good point.
But convince me otherwise.  I want to be convinced.

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