Proposal to pay for contraceptive cost 'radically flawed,' say US Catholic bishops

Fundamentally, they noted, the HHS contraceptive mandate “still forces us to act against our conscience and teaching,” particularly because the new proposal does not modify the inclusion of sterilization and contraceptives, including some abortifacients, in the “preventive services” mandate.

“Those falling outside the government definition of ‘religious employer’ will be forced by the government to violate their own teachings within their very own institutions,” the bishops said. “Whatever funding and administrative mechanisms are ultimately chosen, it remains that many deeply religious institutions and individuals will be forbidden to provide even their own employees — or, in the case of educational institutions, their own students — with health coverage consistent with their values.”

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8 comments on “Proposal to pay for contraceptive cost 'radically flawed,' say US Catholic bishops

  1. drummie says:

    This mandate, like the whole of Obamacare, is nothing other than an indicator of the decline and fall of the Unted States. It seems we have a man in the White House who fancys himself a soverign instead of a leader. He has not led, he has attempted a coup of the American system in an attempt to become what he envisions as his destiny, ruler (dictator) of America where he can rule by executive order (decree). I hope the Supreme Court commits the “unprecedented act” of declaring all of this law and power grab unconstitutional. Maybe then we will be free to exercise our religion without having it declared null and void by executive decree.

    [i] Slightly edited [/i]


  2. MichaelA says:

    Well, good to see that the RC bishops are having their say. That is a bishop’s job, and its heartwarming to see.

  3. Br. Michael says:

    1, indeed. Add that an awful lot of the executive branch can now pass laws (regulations) outside of Congressional control and thus are imposed on the people without the people having any say in their making. What we have here is indeed an executive branch coup enabled by the Congresses abdication of its powers. And both parties are to blame.

  4. Mitchell says:

    I am still having a problem following the theological argument. Why would it violate the conscience and teaching of an employer to pay money to an insurance company who may or may not use it to pay for a medical product or medical service it objects to (like contraceptives), but it would not violate the conscience and teaching of the employer to pay money to an employee who will use it to pay for the same medical product or procedure?

    Why isn’t the only logical position in the case at hand, we will terminate any employee we find out is using contreceptives? Isn’t that the only consistant position and does that position not make the insurance issue moot?

  5. MichaelA says:

    Mitchell, in turn I am having a problem following your theological argument.

    How do you arrive at the position that you must terminate an employee that you find out is using contraceptives? (I assume that you are yourself a practicing Roman Catholic who genuinely beleives this, and are not just adopting a position for rhetorical or mischievous purposes). Do you really equate use of contraceptives in every sense with abortion?

    As best I can tell, the Roman Catholic bishops see a big difference. They are not proposing to ‘make windows into men’s souls’ in all matters, but they do object to financing something which has one of its declared intentions as being the termination of babies in the womb.

    And one more thing – simply as a matter of logic, even if the RC bishops adopted your reasoning how would this “make the insurance issue moot”? That just doesn’t follow, unless you believe that they have some (miraculous?) means of knowing precisely and with 100% certainty who is using contraceptives and who is not?

  6. Mitchell says:

    I am not a Roman Catholic, but I am anti-abortion. I do not equate all contraception with abortion, only some. That said I do not think you need to believe any of those things to try to understand the arguments. For example, it appears you are saying that if coverage for abortifacients were eliminated the Bishops would not object to coverage for contraceptives. But that is not what I take away from this article.

    I had not really thought of myself as advocating a position as much as asking a question, but I guess I am saying that unless an employer makes it clear he is unwilling to employ a person who uses a drug our undergoes a medical procedure the employer objects to his group insurance covering, his position makes no sense to me.

    The employer would be saying, I know our employees use contraception and have abortions, but we are not going to say anything about it as long as our insurance company does not pay for it. But there is no difference between paying an insurance company and paying an employee. Either way the employer’s money is paying for the drug or procedure in question. Unless none of their employees are using the drugs or undergoing the procedure, in which case no insurance money is going for those things either.

    Why is the focus on insurance? As far as the employer not knowing what medical procedures its employees undergo, that is certainly not true of self-insured companies, and any employee could sign a release authorizing his employer to have access to certain restricted medical information. In fact, its done all the time.

  7. MichaelA says:

    Okay, but I look at this as a protestant who would probably come to the same conclusion as the RC bishops. I don’t have a problem with what my employees do in their own time or with their own money. But what I do have a problem with is me being forced to provide immoral things to them as a direct benefit of their employment, because that morally implicates me in what they are doing. And paying for insurance which I know will provide a certain benefit seems to be the same thing as providing that benefit myself.

    It would be the same for instance if the issue were membership of a racist hate organisation: Its not my business to enquire into what my employees do in their spare time, or what organisations they belong to. But if I am required by law to finance their membership in such organisations as part of their employment, then it definitely IS my business.

    Same for e.g. some buddhist sects that are vegetarian. Its not their business to enquire into whether their employees eat meat in their own private time. But if the government forces the buddhists to pay for barbecues for their employees, or e.g. put into a social club for the purpose of financing hunting trips, then I think the buddhists have EVERY right to complain.

    As a bible-believing Protestant, I share the RC belief that abortion is murder. It is not my business to enquire into what my employees believe or what they do in their spare time. But it IS my business to complain if an authoritarian government *forces* me to finance abortion as an employee benefit.

  8. Ross says:

    I agree with Mitchell — I don’t think the RC bishops’ position is consistent.

    In no case are the employers in question paying directly for an abortion. In one case (the “mandate”) the employer is paying money (in the form of insurance premiums) to an insurance company which may use it to pay for an insured employee’s abortion. In another case (no “mandate,” employees must pay for such services themselves) the employer is paying money (in the form of salary) to an employee who may use it to pay for an abortion. The two situations seem morally equivalent to me.

    If it’s no business of the employer what their employees spend their salary on in their free time, and it’s no business of theirs where their employees go on their paid vacation days, then it should be no business of theirs what use their employees make of their health care coverage.