It’s Not About Birth Control

I ask you for a moment to put aside your opinions on whether or not women should have access to birth control via insurance and to separate yourselves from all the emotions this may stir, and consider the principle of what has happened over the last few weeks.

The Federal Department of Health and Human Services recently issued a directive that results in requiring religious institutions to provide insurance which covers birth control pills, morning-after pills (for early stage abortions), tubal ligations, and more.

I understand why most people’s first reaction is, “that’s good because women need such services”, especially when the news media focuses on birth control pills and doesn’t even mention morning-after pills.  But let’s go deeper and explore this further.

Did our Founding Fathers believe that the government should be telling religious institutions that they must provide insurance for things that violate their most basic religious tenets?  Stop for a minute and don’t think about whether you want women to have access to such pills via insurance, or whether you think the Catholics are out of date, because that is not the issue.  The issue is, should the government be able to require religious institutions to pay for such things?  The President counted on the press and the people focusing on the issue of birth control pills, not on the issue of government’s role and reach.  The President’s gamble was mostly right on that front, they focused on the former and not the latter.  And he was deliberately deceitful on this, as were his spokesmen.

But it gets worse.  In response to the uproar, particularly from Catholics (it should have been from all faiths and from agnostics, saying “the government has no jurisdiction here!”), the President offered an “accommodation”.  And if you don’t think the government had over-reached yet, think about this one.

The HHS accommodation said religious institutions don’t have to pay for insurance for birth control pills, morning-after pills, etc.  Instead, the insurance companies must provide these medications for “free”.

First, since when is the Federal Government allowed to tell a private business that they are REQUIRED to provide a product for FREE?  Talk about government over-reach. This is such a dangerous precedent, and an example of liberalism run wild.

Second, President Obama knows that there is no such thing as “free”, but he is more than comfortable saying that this is.  And the media eats it up, and the left views the President as so accommodating and they love to see him “telling an insurance  company what they have to do”.  But seriously, does anyone believe these insurance companies will just eat these costs and take it from their bottom line?  Of course not.  They will charge more for other services to make up for the lost revenue and profit from providing the birth control medications.  Said another way, absolutely nothing will change from the original policy except the way the accounting spreadsheets categorize costs and revenues.

Many in America need to wake up and see what is happening here at a strategic level.  The government is getting larger and larger, and getting more and more involved in everything we do.  It does so under the guise of trying to provide “justice”, “equity”, and “rights”.   But make no mistake, as long as we keep feeding this insatiable beast called government, we will imperil our future, and one day that beast will consume us.

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One Response to It’s Not About Birth Control

  1. Aleah says:

    I think you make a good argument, but I want to ask about the moment where you ask readers not to think about whether or not we believe women should have these pills. I think a big, important part of this conversation is whether access to birth control is seen as a mere convenience or as an absolutely essential part of women’s health (and a whole other host of issues related to unwanted pregnancies). Personally, I believe it lies somewhere in between those two extremes, and I think most would agree with me, but the government’s ability to mandate such things should depend on how vital they are, regardless of the way they might offend any religious group. The government IS and SHOULD BE allowed to condemn certain behaviors, even when religion is involved. For example, sati/suttee should absolutely be illegal despite the fact that it was an important religious tradition. So, I think it is important NOT to forget how you feel about the necessity (or not) of birth control in order to come to a better understanding of how the government should interact with religious institutions with regard to providing birth control.

    On the other hand, saying a private company or religious institution HAS TO PROVIDE something is different from saying they CANNOT provide it. Again, I think the question is how essential you think it is, but I’m struggling to find an analogous situation. Are there certain services that institutions or insurance companies have to provide? Maybe there aren’t any, in which case this is 100% unprecedented.

    Thirdly, and I think this is the most difficult question that the Catholic church faces today, is the question of what makes something a central religious tenet or even just a part of church doctrine. If the vast majority of people of a certain religion believe something (e.g. that a woman can use birth control and still be a good Catholic), can the opposite belief truly be said to be a part of the religious doctrine? Personally, I believe it should not be, as this presents a pretty tyrannical form of leadership within a religious community. Is the church hoping that people’s minds will eventually change to better suit the doctrinal belief of the church as a whole? Do they feel that people have been corrupted or misled or are confused in their morality? And how do we, as a democratic nation whose decision-making processes are centered so strongly on the opinions of the majority, determine what claims to morality the church makes and whose word to take for it?

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