The news is covering the “controversial” Administration decision to require all health plans to cover contraception. You can’t turn on a television news show without seeing a bishop thundering about how this a terrible, terrible infringement of religious freedom. That’s besides the rather cynical race by the Republicans to
pander to capitalize on this by attempting to introduce bills rolling this back. You’d think this was a major new initiative, designed to assault their beliefs. All you have to do is ignore that 27 states already have this in place, it’s been tested in courts, and some of them have had that requirement for over a decade. I might have been more sympathetic, if I didn’t know that, and a few other things that have happened in the past decade or so.
Yes, I understand the doctrine that sex is supposed to be for procreation, and contraception is against that. Really, I get it. I’d give the bishops and cardinals of the Church an ear for moral standing except that they rather torched that a while back. You see, if they want to talk about morals and actions, they should have been putting it into practice themselves. I happen to remember all those scandals – and they’re still ongoing with more coming to light – about priests molesting children and the Church’s active role in covering them up. Even to the extent of blaming the victims. The Catholic Church has never really come to grips with this, in fact, there’s been a recent meeting where they’re still resisting some of the suggested actions.
I’d also be more willing to believe them if I didn’t know that their own congregations aren’t listening to them.
Then again, it’s not clear how many people actually are offended. A national survey found that 98 percent of sexually active Catholic women use birth control at some point in their lives. Moreover, a survey by the Public Religion Research Institute reported that even among Catholics, 52 percent back the Obama policy: they believe that religiously affiliated universities and hospitals should be obliged to include birth control coverage in insurance plans.
I can also point to my own observation, although that constitutes anecdotal data. I’m a boomer. When I was young, most of the families I knew had 4 or more children. The “only child” or just two children families were anomalies. Look around today, and it’s not unusual, it’s the norm – and it crosses across most religions. I doubt that people have become less sexually active since the 1950’s, so the explanation has to be elsewhere.
Even though the President “modified” the requirement, various Republicans are still trying to make political hay out of it.
“It’s not about contraception,” Santorum said. “It’s about economic liberty; it’s about freedom of speech; it’s about freedom of religion. It’s about government control of your lives and it’s got to stop.”
Funny, I don’t see anything in the decision that forces people to accept or practice contraception. It’s simply a requirement for insurance companies that if an individual decides to use it, it’s covered by them at no charge. If they decide to not practice contraception, it’s their choice to do so. Their employer, and the government does not force them to do without it, or pay for it out of their own pocket. Which is what the Republicans are really saying – that other organizations (just not government) can force people to do things their way with government acquiescence.
The other thing you don’t see in all this? Insurance companies complaining. It turns out it’s a significant cost savings for them to offer that as opposed to paying for the costs of unintended pregnancies. I also haven’t noticed any of the religious organizations saying they’re willing to pony up the estimated 10 to 15 percent extra a plan that doesn’t cover contraception would cost. I guess their “morals” are flexible when it comes to that.