Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Just Curious: Access to contraception?



So, King Obama deprives Catholics of religious liberty because the administration is "committed to giving women access to contraceptives".

Now, see, there's a head-scratcher for me.

Do any of you know of any situation where a woman does not have "access to contraceptives" unless the Catholic Church provides it for her?

Truly, I'm just curious.

Because I can't think of a single situation where that is the case.

Seems like something else may be afoot here. Hmmm….





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98 comments:

  1. I know I might be sorry for this, but I can't resist saying it any longer. The whole HHS mandate crisis can be squarely blamed on the "everyday Catholic". If Catholics actually stood up and acted like Catholics this would never be happening. The fact that over 90% of so called Catholic don't follow or believe our teaching on contraception makes the secular world feel empowered to try to take th...e right to believe it away. It is time for people to lay the blame where it belongs, on Catholics who don't take their Faith seriously. Not just the politicians, the people sitting in the pews every Sunday. We all need to pray and fast for conversion within the Church maybe then people outside the Church will take us seriously. I could cry after watching the news and hearing people rip the Church all night.

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  2. @akCatholic, You are exactly right. Catholics are subject to attack because the world sees Catholics attacking Catholics. The Church is at risk, not so much from outside the Church but from inside the Church.

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  3. I totally agree with both of you. It's time for Catholics to stand up for their faith and their church family. I have been shocked and dismayed at the number of Catholics I talk to who ABSOLUTELY believe in the use of contraceptives. And too many of them who are Pro-Choice. What is happening to our church?

    DD

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  4. There are so few even Catholic employers that do not provide coverage for contraception and yet they want to twist the arms of those that do. Its bullying.

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  5. Hopefully all this attention will be a call to conversion for those within the Church who don't currently understanding Church teaching on contraception. Acceptance of the pro-life beliefs falls right in once you understand the contraception teaching.

    And Leila, public health departments are already available to provide contraception access but we all know that is not what this issue is really about, don't we?

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  6. Actually, that 98% statistic that the Obama Administration keeps throwing around isn't accurate because the criteria Guttmacher used to obtain it is so weak as to be ridiculous.

    Regardless, it's irrelevant. 100% of Catholics sin, that's no surprise. What's astounding is that the Obama administration thinks that since Catholics sin, it's okay to force the Church to fund that sin for everyone.

    As to answering the question in the OP, I don't know of any circumstance, either. Ten years ago when I was a poor college student (and non-Catholic), it was extremely easy for to get contraception. I could walk into any drug store and buy condoms, or I went to my public university's health center and pharmacy to get contraception. Had I made the choice to attend a private Catholic college, I would not have expected them to provide me with, let alone pay for, my contraception.

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  7. I've heard the argument that many people who work for Catholic Charities are minorities and paid very little-that these people could not afford the approx. $400 per year out of pocket for contraception. I'd like to know what type of services Planned Parenthood offers to these types of people-it seems that PP wants to get people on the pill any way possible.

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  8. Once I had to buy condoms to use as an ice pack when I broke my tailbone. (tmi I know.) I hid in the gas station parking lot and made ken go buy em for me. But yeah. Easy.

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  9. Our parish had a visiting priest this past weekend to celebrate Mass and speak on NFP, which he incorporated into his homily. My husband and I were asked to give a short witness talk at the end of Mass. Nearly HALF of the people left during and immediately after communion; many continued to leave during our short talk. And I've heard that our pastor has received a number of negative comments about inviting the NFP priest to speak.

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  10. Let's call a spade a spade. When Obama says "contraception" he really means BCP or IUD. The "good stuff." Not barrier methods, which are relatively easy to get, cheap, etc. Nope. It's all about "sexual freedom" at its finest, aka (sorry in advance) raw and immediate sex with no messy preparations.

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  11. I agree with Joanna that it doesn't matter how many disobey the Church's doctrine. It is doctrine, it has always BEEN doctrine, and religious freedom depends on the government respecting said doctrine(s). There will always be people who don't follow it, but it doesn't mean that the teaching is in error or should be violated by the law.

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  12. @Joanna - I have no doubt the 98% figure is grossly inflated, but it is indicative of their general strategy, which is to imply the Church is out of touch or hypocritical.

    They have obviously calculated that in their view, eschewing birth control is a paper tiger, "pretend" virtue that the majority of Catholic voters will not care about come election time... And though it may be sad to say it, they may well be right.

    As far as sin goes, sadly again it is a meaningless term to secular institutions. While we have a form of religious liberty in the US, all liberties are secondary to "civil rights" in modern America.

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  13. @Manda - If the debate were framed in that manner, I would agree with you. However, in this debate as in ALL such debates, they have controlled the framing to put the Church position at a serious disadvantage.

    They are not looking at this as a Church issue, they are looking at it as an Employer issue.

    That frame creates two additional factors.

    1) Non-Catholic employees. They argue that if you are hiring people, you can't discriminate, and that the religious beliefs of the employer do not trump those (or lack thereof) of the employee.

    2) Is running a business, even a charitable one, covered under religious freedom? In other words, they are claiming that /direct/ Church employment is exempt, but that if a Church owns a hospital, or a day-care center, or a school, or a liquor store, or a grocery store those things don't count as being employed by a Church. Or at least that is how I am reading their argument.

    And I suspect that they are being adamant about this for the same reason that all political interests are - because they are afraid that one exception will lead to a flood.

    If the argument that the religious freedoms of the employer can exempt them, what is to stop a private business owned by a Catholic man claiming that he doesn't want to provide such coverage either as it violates his conscience?

    It is a tricky situation.

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  14. There is the large elephant in the room.

    If Planned Parenthood's abortion business is really only 3% (as they "claim") and they don't do mammograms, but simply refer people to other places, then presumably the vast majority of their business comes from providing contraceptives cheaply to women. If the mandate covers contraceptives free of charge through all insurance plans, and all Americans are required to have an insurance plan, then wouldn't that effectively shut down Planned Parenthood?

    Of course I realize that the money trail is more skewed than this, but you get my point.

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    1. No - because the mandatory payment for birth control would go directly to Planned Parenthood - at not at a reduced price they would have to underwrite but at fullprice.

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    2. Most of PP's services are the medical exams they do for gynecological problems and for annual exams that are necessary to keep getting birth control prescribed. I don't know that they get a whole lot of money from dispensing the birth control.

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  15. The only pseudo-compelling argument I've heard is the case where a Catholic University is the largest employer in a small town and obtaining other employment might be difficult. But, this is only slightly compelling if one adheres to the following beliefs: a) sexual intercourse is necessary for individual survival; b) fertility is something which must be prevented in order to preserve a woman's health; and c) the First Amendment of the US Constitution is a joke.

    You know what is really maddening to me is that so much importance is placed on access to free or nearly free contraception and yet those people battling with infertility (an actual disorder) are left in the cold, required to pay the full price of corrective procedures. Why is that? Is it because insurance companies don't view infertility treatment as necessary or as a threat to an individual's health? If so (which I could see as a logical argument), then there are some serious inconsistencies in that logic in regards to contraception.

    Leila, I understand your curiosity about this but I believe it may also be prudent for Catholics to heed the warning set forth by Fr. Strobl on Shameless Popery the other day lest we "somehow admit the necessity of Planned Parenthood and "preventative services." If that happens, a political victory can still be had for the Culture of Death even if the HHS mandate is repealed."

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  16. "what is to stop a private business owned by a Catholic man claiming that he doesn't want to provide such coverage either as it violates his conscience?"

    Nothing should stop any Catholic business owner from claiming he should not be required to participate in sin. Freedom of religion always trumps "sexual rights".

    The Church's teaching on contraception has been well-known for 20 Centuries, in a very established world religion. If a silly little administration can come along and try to step on that reality, then we've lost all sight of why this nation was founded.

    Ironically, there is no guarantee that America as we know it will survive another generation. But we can be damn sure that the Catholic Church will continue on unchanged till the end.

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  17. LJP, your a, b and c are exactly right. Exactly.

    And of course, my question is not really serious, and I'm not really curious. I am being facetious because of course there is no situation where contraception can only be had by having the Church provide it. It's such a joke what Obama is doing (all to appease the "sex rights"/Planned Parenthood/abortion crowd that funds so much of his campaign).

    If folks want to have someone subsidize their sex lives (and contraception has nothing to do with women's health, except to undermine it), let them do it in myriad other ways. Hands off my Church and my religious liberty.

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  18. @Leila

    I am going to have to disagree here, because I do not see providing the coverage as participating in ANY sin. It could very well be that 100% of his employees never actually use any such services, and therefore there is no sin.

    This argument is that the Church (or in this hypothetical example, ANY Catholic) is claiming the right to be exempt from any potential future sin that may or may not occur.

    What is next? We claim we have the right to pay no taxes because the Government is going to use some in ways that violate our conscience? Because that is a remarkably similar argument, and that won't fly.

    In the oft-quoted parable, I am certain that Jesus and everyone else in that room knew that "giving unto Caesar what is Caesar's" included paying for things that at the minimum violated their conscience, and quite possibly acted directly against their self-interests.

    While I am very sympathetic to conservative ideals, I think that far too much time and effort is spent hand-wringing over what other people do. Someone in the thread above me already stated it: 100% of Catholics sin. Shouldn't we be worried about ourselves and working on our own behaviors and relationship with God and the planks in our own eyes and not so much our neighbors?

    As for the Church teachings, I agree and I do not believe they should change one single iota. They are what they are and they are true. But in the end it is individual people who have to make the choice to sin or not, and the Church splitting hairs about whether providing coverage when any and all sin that may happen has nothing to do with coverage and entirely by the choices of the covered.

    When you say freedom of religion always trumps sexual rights, I think you are sadly mistaken. Not that you shouldn't be right... but that in the culture we live in that is clearly not the case. We live in a world where Zero Population Growth advocates are seen as advocating a laudable, moral goal. Secular society sees birth control as the moral, responsible approach :-p

    Even if were were to agree that the Church is correct and the secular society is completely wrong... that wouldn't change the fact that the secular society makes its rules on its own secular principles... Any time they intersect with the Church is coinicedence only.

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    1. It is a sin to directly pay for an abortion or contraceptive for some else. As taxpayers we can not always help what our tax money is spent on, but in the case of the HHS mandate, employers are required to directly subsidize the cost of contraception abortion inducing medicines/devices.

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    2. I had this exact same discussion with a friend of mine who could not wrap his head around the reality that paying in full for contraceptive services was a sin. While it is not the direct sinful act, it is on some level cooperation (formal or material... I'll leave that up to the moral theologians) with that sin. He said that providing insurance coverage for contraception to an employee has the same moral weight as paying their salary... with which they could potentially use to purchase said contraceptives... which it does not.

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  19. 1) Non-Catholic employees. They argue that if you are hiring people, you can't discriminate, and that the religious beliefs of the employer do not trump those (or lack thereof) of the employee.

    This argument doesn't hold water, and here's why: Catholic employers do not tell their non-Catholic employees that they can't use contraception. They certainly don't recommend it, but neither do they enshrine that in company policy and make it a fire-able offense. Non-Catholic employees are absolutely free to make that choice for themselves. The issue is that the Obama administration wants the Church to subsidize that choice, and that is a violation of religious liberty.

    Exercising is preventative health care, too. It promotes good health and prevents obesity, one of Michelle Obama's pet projects. But would it be fair to force my employer to pay for a gym membership, or to give me paid time to exercise every day? (Not a perfect analogy, as exercising isn't a religious issue, but you get the idea.)

    2) Is running a business, even a charitable one, covered under religious freedom? In other words, they are claiming that /direct/ Church employment is exempt, but that if a Church owns a hospital, or a day-care center, or a school, or a liquor store, or a grocery store those things don't count as being employed by a Church. Or at least that is how I am reading their argument.

    It is being employed by the Church, or an organization affiliated with the Church. Or employed by a Catholic businessperson who doesn't want to subsidize immorality. It is absolutely covered under religious freedom. The Obama administration is trying to redefine "freedom of religion" into "freedom of worship," where all it means is that no one can be prevented by the government from attending a house of worship once a week for an hour. But freedom of religion is the freedom to exercise and practice our religion 24/7, in all our daily activities -- including when we work. It's why businesses with Muslim employees can't forbid them from praying during the workday, and businesses with Jewish employees can't mandate that they eat pork at a company function.

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  20. @Joanna - I am not sure that redefinition is the right term... Since when has it been commonly held that Freedom of Religion had any connection to health coverage? Both sides here are trying to get their definition seen as the correct one.

    (Unlike the marriage issue which is far more clearly a matter of re-definition)

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  21. Nicholas - I am going to have to disagree here, because I do not see providing the coverage as participating in ANY sin

    With respect, Nicholas, it doesn't matter what you think. What matters is what the Church teaches, and the Church teaches that cooperation with sin is just as wrong as committing the sin yourself:

    1868 Sin is a personal act. Moreover, we have a responsibility for the sins committed by others when we cooperate in them:

    - by participating directly and voluntarily in them;

    - by ordering, advising, praising, or approving them;

    - by not disclosing or not hindering them when we have an obligation to do so;

    - by protecting evil-doers.


    Thus, paying for a product for the use of others that is intrinsically immoral is committing a sin.

    Also, health coverage has always had a connection to freedom of religion! That's why the Amish and Christian Scientists are allowed to opt out of health insurance coverage, for example.

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  22. @JoAnna - While it is true that I have no standing on the definition of sin, as a taxpayer and a voter I have as much standing as anyone when it comes to the most basic aspect of shaping civil law, ie I have a vote.

    At this point we are just splitting hairs, and if it is sin it is sin, fine... But that means jack squat to Congress. So your choices are to find and elect 435 Rick Santorums (good luck) or engage in secular debate to find an argument or position that will best support the religious one that Obama doesn't care about (and isn't paid to care about.)

    But the bottom, hair-splitting line is and always will be that providing health coverage that includes contraception will ONLY result in actual sin if and only if the person being provided the coverage actually uses it.

    We are putting the cart before the horse. It wouldn't matter at all, one little bit, if abortion, birth control, or divorce were legal and free if /no one actually used the services./

    We are making the exact same mistake that the government has made for 30 years with the so-called "War on Drugs" by trying to fight the supply instead of the demand.

    I doubt you could find a single person, Catholic, Atheist, or in-between who would say that Murder was good. We have universally outlawed murder... yet there are murders every day! We cannot even get people to not commit murder and we somehow think we can stamp out birth control and abortion and the like by simply cutting off access?

    If the Church cannot even convince the majority of Catholics to abstain from using birth control, I just find the entire position to be an academic debate. We need to focus on hearts and minds rather than legal debates.

    Of course, I understand there are perfectly good counter-arguments to this. I can think of a handful even as I write this... I just tend to get frustrated by the whole thing and can appreciate points on both sides.

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  23. I work in a catholic hospital. We do not provide sterilization procedures or birth control but I hear rumors that some of the residents do write scripts for hormonal birth control all the time for things like PCOS or tell a patient that they are writing it for "medical reasons". Its infuriating. If a patient does not get their script for hormonal birth control here, there's a bus stop across the street with a big advert saying, "Scared you're gonna get pregnant? Get cheap birth control here!" and its not for PP. So, yes, I do not think that those who want to use birth control have any trouble accessing it. And, still, most abortions are performed on women who were using failed methods of contraception.

    I live in an archdiocese that requires NFP courses prior to marriage (Denver). And, while some may grumble at first, it is such a blessing and our archdiocese is VERY strong and I believe that it is because of this!

    And, further testimony to this... I was a protestant going into pre-cana with my Catholic fiance. When I heard about theology of the body, I was ready to sign the card and get my rosary. I think that all archdiocese should require NFP courses, it would change the Catholic church here in the states!

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  24. @Nicholas:

    But the bottom, hair-splitting line is and always will be that providing health coverage that includes contraception will ONLY result in actual sin if and only if the person being provided the coverage actually uses it.

    But it IS a sin according to the teaching of the Catholic Church!

    That's what you don't seem to understand. If the Church taught that there was no such thing as cooperation in sin, as most Protestant sects do, then this mandate would be no problem whatsoever. But that is not the doctrine of the Church, thus why this mandate is so problematic.

    In the Catholic Church, it is just as much a sin to facilitate immorality by paying for it as it is to engage in the immoral behavior.

    It doesn't matter if you believe that. What matters is that WE believe it, and our right to believe this and act on that belief is freedom of religion, protected by the Constitution.

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  25. @JoAnna - I don't want to belabor the point, so this will be my last gasp on the subject... can you quote me again where it says that?

    Insurance is different from buying an object. Say a Catholic Hospital pays $1000 per employee for an insurance plan. That won't change regardless of what is covered. The Church pays in $1000. No one actually buys ANY birth control products unless and until a woman asks for it. That is the point that sin would occur, no?

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  26. Fighting against a mandate that requires Catholics to provide birth control is NOT "stamping out birth control," Nicholas.

    You're obviously not getting the point.

    Whether YOU think it's a sin to provide it or not doesn't matter. The Catholic Church DOES find it to be a sin to provide it, and should not be forced to do so.

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  27. Again, from the CCC:

    1868 Sin is a personal act. Moreover, we have a responsibility for the sins committed by others when we cooperate in them:

    - by participating directly and voluntarily in them;

    - by ordering, advising, praising, or approving them;

    - by not disclosing or not hindering them when we have an obligation to do so;

    - by protecting evil-doers.


    If the Church (or a Catholic) buys insurance for its employees that covers contraception, sterilization, and abortifacient drugs, it is cooperating in sin. Cost is irrelevant. Whether anyone makes the choice to sin by utilizing those services is irrelevant.

    To use an imperfect analogy, it'd be a sin for the Church to run a brothel even if no one patronized it, because it's be cooperating in and facilitating sin.

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  28. I don't have time for a lengthy response, but just one point, Nicholas -- When you add more comprehensive coverage to an insurance plan for all your employees, the price of the premium goes up. It wouldn't "stay" at $1,000 or the current amount. Insurance is very expensive, as we all know. When we add coverage for services, the price goes up; hence, the Church is paying more for that coverage.

    If lots of people file claims in one year, then the insurance premium usually adjusts to a higher rate for the next year as well, especially for services paid for by the employer. Out-of-pocket expenses are just billed to the individual, but things included in the premium will adjust the premium when used frequently. This would force the Church to pay for people's decisions regardless of their beliefs. It's simply not akin to throwing in a "freebie" service under the same premium.

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  29. "...providing health coverage that includes contraception will ONLY result in actual sin if and only if the person being provided the coverage actually uses it."

    Nicholas, absolutely untrue!

    If I pay for and provide contraception to anyone, whether my employee or my daughter, I am in sin. Even if my employee or my daughter never uses the contraception I provided!

    Similarly, if I hand a person $400 to pay for her abortion, and she decides to buy shoes with it instead of have the abortion, I am still in grave sin for handing over that money for that intention. The gov't cannot force anyone to commit a mortal sin against their will.

    I don't know how to make it any clearer. I think JoAnna already made that clear.

    One thing we are not to "give to Caesar" is our will and our souls. Sorry, they cannot have that.

    We are not talking about general taxation. We are talking about a particular mandate, specifically forcing the hand of a particular world religion, about something that has never been an issue before this ideologue came to power.

    Let me try this: A Quaker's taxes thrown in the national coffers might be used to buy guns for the military, it's true. We all understand that general taxes generally fund things we find immoral. But if the federal government mandated that all Quaker employers must now begin buying and providing guns and ammo to all their employees (even if the employees never actually use the guns), then the government has crossed the line.

    Please tell me you get the distinction.

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  30. Nicholas - So the solution you are proposing is that all the Catholic institutions out there should just fire their non-Catholic employees so they don't have to violate their conscience lest someone "opt" to use the insurance coverage? Because the scenario of employees NOT buying birth control is completely unrealistic.

    Similar to JoAnna, my experience as a poor college student was having free or almost-free contraception shoved at me to the point where I had to actively refuse it. Then, when my Dh applied for our marriage license, we were given a huge pack of literature on contraception (Not NFP - not one mention of it), all the types, and where to get it. The State is already covering this stuff and not only covering it, selling it, advertising it, promoting it, pressuring people to use it.

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  31. http://www.lifesitenews.com/news/ewtn-files-lawsuit-against-obama-mandate

    Let this be the beginning of a thousand lawsuits.

    Bring it!

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    1. I'm excited about this lawsuit!!! So proud of EWTN. We will not just sit and let the government walk all over us and our rights! Heck, we might get thrown in jail, but God will bail us out.

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  32. OK, I understand your point and relent!

    I get it :-)

    I am still somewhat skeptical on how that is going to "work" though... Insofar as if Obama agrees to that definition, the entire healthcare reform project up to this point goes in the toilet... so I suspect an impasse.

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  33. Nicholas, whew!! I'm glad you see the light. :)

    An impasse…or a total beat down of the Obama kingdom.

    Like I said, bring on the lawsuits. And in all of this, Catholics are being forced to learn about their Church's stance on birth control, which is a good thing. Thoughtful folks may actually find their way back into the Church.

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  34. Well shucks, it seems that Nicholas has relented (his words) while I was crafting my reply. I'm posting it anyway, feel free to tell me if I'm way off, if there is a weak point in the argument, or if this makes sense.

    Nicholas,

    It seems part of the hurdle for you is the fact that we are obliged to pay taxes which in part go to things we likely find morally repugnant; so how is that different from a Catholic hospital paying for a health plan that covers some morally repugnent procedures/objects?

    Maybe this line of logic will help (sort of thinking out loud here). Let's think about this in terms of Justice. We live in a country and benefit as an individual and a society from the protection and services it provides us. In order for these protections and services to exist, they must be paid for. Therefore we give the government what it is due, our tax dollars. We are providing a resource to the government, not a specific object per se. This is a just act. What the government does specifically with these resources is (for the most part) out of our immediate and individual control.

    Now, if I work for an employer I am providing a service to the employer and in turn the employer pays me a certain wage; a resource that I use to buy what I deem necessary or desired for myself and my family. This is a just act. What I do specifically with this resource is out of my employer's control and not his concern (for the most part).

    If my employer is a Catholic entity and it is providing health coverage for me, it is a direct participant in providing me, not simply a resource, but very specific services and objects for my use and the use of my family toward the just end of improved or sustained health. As long as these services and objects are truly for the purpose of improving health and preventing disease or disorder, then this is a just act; my Catholic employer is cooperating in giving me what is due: good health. If these services include procedures and/or objects which in no objective or direct way serve to improve my bodily health or prevent disease or disorder, and in fact cause disorder in my bodily functions, then this is not a just act. My employer is directly cooperating in providing me services/objects which are not due me, and in fact are a sin (procedure) or facilitate sin (object).

    Now, after writing all of this, it's starting to seem less and less just that employers should be forced to pay for any medical coverage what-so-ever.

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  35. I was able to order a big box of condoms from drugstore.com several years ago. Now I use NFP which is absolutely free. It is VERY frustrating when people keep framing this debate as a women's right to birth control blah blah blah... Like that has somehow become the right of all rights that trumps everybody else rights including religious liberty rights to the point where Catholic employers are expected to pay for so and so's right to free birth control. Makes no sense whatsoever.
    But boy, did Obama miscalculate and underestimate the Catholic Church on this. Even VP Biden allegedly warned him that he needed to broaden the exemptions. Lots of people that initially supported him have left him on this.
    I hope that it does wake up the lukewarm members of the Church to take a second look at the Church's teaching and the real beauty behind it.

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  36. I have not read any comments. I'm just going to address this to the world because this is how I feel...


    Buy your own damn contraception.


    Ok, that's all.

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  37. Obama is just genuinely unintelligent, or in simpler terms, an idiot! Sorry folks, but had to throw it out there. What he's doing to this country is UNBELIEVABLE!

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  38. And there's this:

    "Abortion: A Private Matter Between a Woman and Her Vending Machine"

    http://catholiclane.com/abortion-a-private-matter-between-a-woman-and-hervending-machine/

    Ugh. Gross. Despicable.

    It's very well written though.

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  39. It isn't condoms being discussed, it is stuff like the Pill... which regardless of the truth of the matter, is very often claimed to have health benefits beyond birth control. Again, it is all about the framing.

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    1. Oral contraceptives are classified by the WHO as a class 1 carcinogen and increase chances of non-invasive breast cancer by up to 660%, Nicholas. The risks far outweigh the benefits, but why doesn't our government pay attention to these stats? Perhaps they do.

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  40. The thing I find interesting in these debates sometimes is the argument about "the poor non-Catholics who work for Catholic agencies", as if someone held a gun to their head to make them work there.

    I had many non-Catholic teachers in my 12 years of Catholic school. Yet they had to still attend weekly Mass with the kids as part of their job; they couldn't just leave their 30 kids without supervision or expect a Catholic teacher to watch an additional 30 kids. They knew it was just part of working at a Catholic school.

    At times we asked them why they chose to work at a Catholic school instead of pursuing a job at public school. Some said it was because they got BETTER benefits than they would have at the public schools, and some sited the over-all better work environment (more discipline, "the heart of the school", the caring treatment of staff). When my Catholic high school was shut down, I heard that the teacher who took it the hardest was the Baptist math teacher who had worked there for at least 20 years.

    A good 90% of employees at Catholic institutions seek out those jobs specifically because they are Catholic or because of the benefits they expect that will be better than at the non-Catholic place of work.

    I deliver my babies at a hospital run by 7th Day Adventists. Therefore I am not surprised that they have Adventist booklets in all the waiting rooms, or that it is more work to get a priest in there than an Adventist chaplain or that they sometimes have morning prayer over the hospital intercom. And I seriously doubt any of their employees are shocked by it or feel discriminated against because of it either, because they knew who they were working for going in.

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  41. @Barbara C -

    I am not really an Obama-basher, and I often think he gets a undue bad rap... but in this case it does seem to me that this is an issue of the entitlement mentality that often comes with government programs. Since health care is on its way to being nationalized, it is inevitable that the entitlement mentality follows along.

    Someone mentioned the Amish and Christian Scientists above... Those groups are tiny enough that they can grant them exceptions without upsetting the applecart. The Amish have opted out of society almost in full. If you were to effectively exempt a group as large as Catholics, the entire system as envisioned will fail. So that appears to be where we are at the moment.

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  42. We cannot even get people to not commit murder and we somehow think we can stamp out birth control and abortion and the like by simply cutting off access?

    Sorry, I have to backtrack and address the statement above, from Nicholas.

    This HHS outrage is not about stamping out birth control and abortion. It's about preserving our religious liberty, and resisting the government's heavy-handed attempts to control a religion's institutions and dictate a church's actions.

    It's not a birth control issue.

    That is why the Southern Baptists and even non-Christians are fighting with us. They are not fighting to "stamp out birth control", they are fighting because the government has breached the First Amendment in a huge and unacceptable way, with implications that reach far past the Catholic Church.

    It is so crucial to understand that distinction.

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  43. http://www.jillstanek.com/2012/02/breaking-multiple-lawsuits-filed-against-contraceptive-mandate-megachurch-pastor-vows-jail/

    This just in! Yee-haw! Even Rick Warren is willing to go to jail for this.

    Sorry, King Obama, you will lose this one!!

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  44. @Leila - I understand the distinction. I was just talking about big picture... But I realize I was leaving the theology too much off the table.

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  45. Nicholas -- Maybe there is something wrong with the "system" if it has to force people to live contrary to their deeply held religious beliefs for it to work. Religious freedoms and basic rights are not determined based on convenience. In fact, laws in general are not based on convenience. It would be a whole heck of a lot easier of we could just take away freedom of speech and stop all these cumbersome exchanges of ideas, but we live in a country that was founded on certain freedoms to protect all citizens. While religious freedom cannot trump a basic human right, like the right to life (we cannot justify murder), free birth control and medications are not included in our basic human rights. In fact, that is an inherent logical flaw with abortion -- A woman's personal beliefs oddly and unconstitutionally trump the child's basic right to life, but that is a different issue from today's discussion. Birth control and other meds are available in the United States, but we don't have an inherent right to free access.

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  46. @Elizabeth -

    I am not disputing what you have stated. But obviously a whole lot of people think something else entirely, and the issue at hand is how to reconcile them.

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  47. Nicholas, we don't reconcile them. That is why we go to jail before we comply with an unjust, evil law such as this.

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  48. I simply meant that ultimately society will reconcile it one way or the other. It may be for the good, or may be for the evil. In my mind, for example the way the needs of the settlers and natives of this country was ultimately settled was not so nice, we'll see how this eventually goes.

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  49. On the not-really-bright side, this doesn't seem to be a go-to-jail type problem. Worst case scenario the Church doesn't employ people :-p

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  50. There's nothing to reconcile. Don't go against the first amendment. Simple as that. That's why it's there. And is says
    Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
    The president was warned within his own cabinet that he needed to broaden the exemptions but the voices of Planned Parenthood and NARAL won him over more I guess. I wouldn't count them as rational voices either considering what they did to Komen for merely deciding not to continue to give them money.

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  51. Suburban mom, yep. The abortion/PP crowd is like the mafia. It's seriously how they operate. And they have Obama in their back pocket.

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  52. Can you imagine if the Catholic Church shut down her hospitals and soup kitchens and schools? Think of how many more citizens will need the gov't to care for them, and how many more agencies will be needed to pick up that slack! How many more tax dollars to back that all up. And it's the poor who will suffer, of course.

    Does King Obama realize how many millions are served by the Church he is threatening with fines and closures unless we comply?

    It's breathtaking!

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  53. @Just another suburban mom -

    Umm, one of us is naive... it might be me, of course... But we have a couple of centuries of people interpreting and re-interpreting the very short and succinct Constitution in a lot of different ways. Do you really believe that with literally 10s of thousands of lawyers, if not more, that do this crap for a living, that there is only one way to interpret "or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;"?

    The great strength and simultaneous weakness of the Constitution is its vague language and the fact that the doctrine of Judicial Review allows it to be re-interpreted every generation.

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  54. Anyone who says that the Church, by not paying for contraceptives, is denying access to contraceptives, is lying.

    You can buy condoms (i.e., a contraceptive) at so many places (i.e., access), including Target, convenience stores, dollar stores. YES, DOLLAR STORES. As in, $1. Come on, you can't spend a buck for a...liaison? (Actually, more than one...liaison. You get at least a couple of condoms in one package. Fab deal.) You can also buy spermicides (i.e., another contraceptive) in many places as well. Do you really need to force a religious organization to pay for your contraceptives when they are so readily available (and cheap?) Really? Really?

    If you're super frugal, and you have some college student friends, folks, have I got a better deal for you! Just ask them to go to their campus health care center, and I'll bet they'll get you condoms for FREE. FREE. My state-funded campus provides a large assortment of condoms for anyone to take. They're on the counter and in what would have been used as a candy bowl, back in the day. "Handing out condoms like candy." Indeed. You (or your college student friend, or hey, even your college student kid) may walk in, grab a condom or two (eh, grab a few to look like a rock star) and walk out. That's it. This is probably true at most state-funded campuses, if not most private ones too.

    However, these and other contraceptives, given Church doctrine (which, seriously, so many who call themselves "Catholic" have never truly learned and are too prejudiced to do so) should not be available at Catholic campuses. That ancillary part of this whole issue deserves a separate post about the overall problem of Catholic identity, and the destruction to that identity by famous baptized Catholics such as Pelosi, Sebellius, Cuomo (pick any one), Kennedy (ditto) and Biden, as well as failures on the part of church leadership, but I do not have a blog on which to do this.

    So, those in my state, Catholic or not, who are against contraception for religious reasons, ARE paying for contraceptives at public universities, and can't do a thing about it. The least the state (meaning any level of government) can do is keep its fingers out of our faith, the faith of others with similar beliefs, and our institutions through which we wish to live that faith.

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  55. @Leila -

    I agree with you. But if the secular society insists on its agenda, and the Church by definition cannot budge on its teachings... then it seems to be a conclusion that may eventually be realized.

    I mean, look at something less nebulous than religious freedom - property rights. This country was founded with very specific ideas about property rights... and yet the government reserves the right to seize your property under quite a few circumstances... and not just for stuff like failure to pay taxes... If they just flat out want your land they have the Eminent Domain powers to take it.

    I do not have a lot of faith (no pun intended) the Government will allow freedom of religion to thwart its goals.

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  56. Nicholas, but the free exercise of religion surely means that I am free to live a life of virtue and not be forced by the government to commit a direct sin, thus risking an eternity in hell. Correct?

    Because living my religion means becoming holy and going to Heaven. And I can't become holy and go to Heaven if I am forced by my government to actively sin.

    So, anyone who can weasel a way to say that forced sin is compatible with "free exercise of religion" is a master of obfuscation and distortion (as many lawyers are).

    That sort of obvious twisting and departure from the intent of the Founders surely happens, and that is why there is no guarantee that America will even be standing in a hundred years. But the Church will stand.

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  57. Yes, but Nicholas one can study the history of the Constitution, the background of the founders, and the historical situations that led to the founding of our country. In fact, I'm reading "Novus Ordo Seclorum: The Intellectual Origins of the Constitution" by Forrest McDonald right now! It is important to read far more than one source, though.

    Yes, the Constitution is short and succinct, but it is not mysterious. We do have judges charged with keeping the laws in line with the Constitution. Unfortunately, some people have their own ideas. People who desire power are drawn to politics for obvious reasons. Some very well-meaning people think that laws exist for the purpose of social engineering, and their job is to engineer society with laws. This is part of the struggle in politics -- Understanding and studying our origins and the purpose of law, especially in this country, and maintaining those principles. If we start trying to manipulate based on our own agendas, even if we think our agenda is the best for everyone, then we start to get into trouble. Catholics do not advocate for the legal removal of free will in our society. We do advocate for the legal protection of basic rights, though, and our livelihood is at stake in this.

    There are many nuances of our laws that do not deal with basic rights, and those are more open for leeway and discussion in the law. Most lawyers do not deal with constitutional law, but with these smaller nuances of the law.

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  58. @Leila - I do not have an issue with your definition, but I am sure other people will. It is the nature of our society and legal system.

    I am more or less just Devil's Advocate here (no pun intended).

    @Leila and Elizabeth - There is no way the Framers could have possibly envisioned a Federal Government as monumental or as intrusive as ours is today, not could they have imagined the healthcare system as it is today, or possibly predicted that those three things would converge as they have... No I am not sure you can make a clear Framer's perspective argument either.

    I am going from a gut feeling only, so I can easily be wrong. But my gut feeling is that our country is so large at this point that there is absolutely nothing the government can do that will not either harm or infringe upon the rights of at least some people. So the question becomes who is going to get shafted?

    Catholicism isn't "popular" (and historically has never been that popular in this country). So I am assuming that an outcome that gives us the shaft may well be forthcoming :-p

    I'd be more than happy to be wrong, of course.

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  59. Laura - I just read a blog post where that very point was refuted.

    http://darwincatholic.blogspot.com/2012/02/material-cooperation-and-hhs.html

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  60. I keep hearing Nicholas' argument on our local talk show. People keep saying it is not the Church's sin if they provide it because each individual is making a choice. That is like saying if our administration bought a bunch of assault rifles for the drug cartel it isn't our fault if they're used to murder people, including our own border control. Or if a parent stores porn under their bed it isn't their sin if the children look at it. Or if you give a recovering alcoholic a bottle of whiskey for his birthday it is not your sin if he drinks it. Or am I missing something?

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    1. oops! birth control, border patrol :)

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  61. Nicolas, if common sense goes completely out the window then I suppose anyone could find a way to go around the first amendment and force religious employers to pay for something they find morally objectionable so that their employees could have free access to it.
    I mean, if a Jehovah's witness employer morally objected to paying for insurance that included blood transfusions which would actually be something that could be necessary then I suppose the first amendment would come into question but even then, I would say their religious views need to be respected and the employees who work for Jehovah's witness' are not forced to work for them and could purchase their own separate insurance to cover blood transfusions.
    But we're not even talking about that. We're talking about something that people already have easy access to so if we botch that up then anything is up for grabs and the Constitution becomes a worthless piece of paper and we're in for a world of trouble.

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  62. @JASM -

    I do not disagree... except perhaps for "easy access" - this isn't about condoms, it is about perscription birth control.

    The problem is that secular society has already defined that stuff as part of health care. We always seem to wait too late to start complaining :-)

    Our country has a completely F'ed up healthcare system, which is the real driver of this initiative.

    @Lucky7 - No you have it right... What you are missing is that secular society has a world view that bears no resemblance to the world view of most participants in this blog. General society holds out medical contraceptives as a tremendous public good and that it has incredibly advanced the rights and empowerment of women.

    General secular society enshrines and applauds promiscuous sexual activity, and holds Zero Population Growth as a laudable goal.

    General secular society is holds marriage to be a simple matter of legal recognition and convenience to be afforded to all, regardless of gender or sexual orientation.

    General secular society holds religion in contempt.

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  63. Call me crazy, but what if this is some elaborate ploy by the Obama administration . This mandate is pretty much political suicide. He really can not be that stupid. I envision he holds his ground, outrages all of us uniting liberal and orthodox Catholics alike. Then, he does the good ole switch a roo. Liberals will praise him for being such a man of integrity for hearing their plight and also many others, just in time for election. Then he gets another 4 years and pushes it anyway. DON'T let our guard down. This president is a liar and must never be trusted!

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  64. But they want more than "easy access" they want free access. Obviously, it isn't free and someone has to pay for it whether they object morally to it or not. And yes, the prescription stuff is what's being fought for and somebody stands to make lots of money forcing the purchase of their products onto unwilling consumers. I don't doubt there's more to this than just easy access of hormonal contraception for women.
    But I think common sense is ruling the day. This has become a huge problem for Obama.
    http://thehill.com/blogs/healthwatch/health-reform-implementation/209553-white-house-struggles-to-contain-uproar-over-birth-control-mandate

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  65. To Nicholas,
    Yes, I know they think of it as a good. However, we are not talking about them. Can they make the connection that if somebody sees something as immoral, then making that thing available, or paying for it would also be immoral? If they cannot see that, then they need to quit praising PP for making it available and praising schools for giving it away free because the opposite should logically follow: providing a good is not an honorable action because the person has to choose whether or not to use it.

    Again, they cannot have it both ways!

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  66. Contraception (aka "healthcare") first. What's next? Because if they win this one, they won't stop here. It doesn't take Jesus himself to see that. Abortion? Homosexual marriages? Polygamy? Under-age partners? Limiting the number of children per family? Where will it stop if it doesn't stop here and now? Honestly, are there no limits to the sex god of this country? People these days are for the most part seriously no better than animals. Flat out animals. Why people think they can't and shouldn't ever control themselves is beyond me. I've said it before and I'll say it again - I'm not planning to go to hell for an o_____m! They are never THAT wonderful to spend an eternity in hell! Ugh!

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  67. Nicholas, I agree that they don't see it our way. The maddening thing is that the founders did foresee such a thing. You have to remember that they were educated in the classics, ancient civilizations up to modern governments of their time. The issues in the United States are not terribly new. We have a special system for dealing with it, but we are increasingly willing to compromise our system and revert back to older and less desirable forms of government. The issue of birth control may be new in a technological sense, but "family planning", abortions, even sexual infidelity and homosexuality, are all old problems -- ancient problems. Sometimes we like to think that we are special and more advanced than our ancestors, but we wrestle with the same stuff, and we've seen prior outcomes. Maybe we have better technology, but the heart of the issues are still the same. We've seen the impact of an overreaching and overbearing government in history many, many times, and the outcome is awful.

    Our founders warned us about many things -- warned us against a two-party system for one thing. They understood that we would disagree on many things and, hence, the protection of certain freedoms to prevent persecution.

    Obama is of the social engineering mindset. He is a smart guy, but he likely thinks that he is so smart and so moral that he deserves overreaching powers. The "good" that he can bring to the country outweighs the bad of breaking the rules. And he's smart enough to spin it, but we're also smart enough to get that he's spinning it. It is a classic ends-justifies-the-means mentality that pervades our society and has invaded and destroyed many lives and societies before ours. It isn't very confusing. It's just that many people have justified their vision of society has higher than our historical roots despite history showing the contrary.

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  68. I want to know where are all these poor helpless women that can't get birth control?

    Where are they???

    Certainly not at the Catholic Church I work at. No one has had a baby in the last 6 years I have worked there and there are many women of child bearing age. Well, except me!

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  69. Trying to catch up on everything, such interesting comments, but first:

    "Let this be the beginning of a thousand lawsuits."

    As Pat Robertson would say, "Amen, and A-men!" (Remember those days before Catholic radio and TV? Thank God for those wonderful Protestants for keeping praise of Jesus on TV!)

    As far as the availability of birth control, this definitely falls under the category of the devilish brilliance of PP's public relations. Example: how many times have you heard that PP does mammograms, even though they absolutely, positively, do not? A friend of mine just repeated that one to me yesterday! Example two: "If PP offices here close, NO ONE will be left to serve the poor women of this area." Ummm..... hello.... what, exactly, does PP do that your local general practitioner can't do? Absolutely nothing! Where, in that God-forsaken corner of the world, may I ask, do the men and children go who need medical care? Is there really a place in the USA where the only medical care available is from a place that specializes in the gynecologic treatment of women? And the biggest problem we are supposed to have with that is that PP would close? Should we maybe be concerned about the lack of care for men and children in this non-existent hypothetical place? Man oh man! PP gets away with the biggest lies, all with the lovely complicity of so-called journalists, who put their profession to shame.

    Nicholas, is your point that we've already lost, more or less, on a societal level? Oh, but we can't give up hope! We all have to argue for the truth, from the truth of the First Amendment to exposing the lies of PP.

    You are right on here, Nicholas: "General secular society enshrines and applauds promiscuous sexual activity." That is so true, and it is so pervasive. I had the sad experience last night of reading pages from a couple of teenagers' FB pages, and these poor kids are so vulgar. They make constant crass sexual references, and every pretty little teenage girl uses the "f" word. Ironic how that word in particular has become so common in our hyper-sexualized society. And yes, the Obama administration, so beholden to PP and NARAL, thinks that promiscuity is a virtue. I guess we need PP because our general practitioners will not be able to handle the flood of STDs that need treatment in our happy little paradise.

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  70. Do we really have too few bishops and priests and lay administrators to start administering excommunications. I think we should publish in NCR or something those "Catholics" who are actually excommunicated and not allowed to receive the Sacraments until they are sincerely penitent and seeking to amend their lives as confessed to the priest assigned to their case. While I am so glad Cardinal Elect Timothy Dolan is using his standing, and other bishops as well, following in the line of Cardinal Burke, it is late in coming. Keep it up, and for Pete's sake, take it up a notch. If this is war, let's start being very clear--"excommunicated themselves" isn't enough. Send them or call them, and then publish their names weekly until they reform.

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  71. Cnn website says polls show that most Catholics support the mandate to offer contraception to employees.

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  72. Johanne, that's sad but irrelevant. It doesn't matter if all the Catholics in the world want free contraception. The Church says that providing it is a mortal sin, and for the government to mandate that a Church violate her own doctrine is against our Constitution.

    Also, I would be wary of a CNN poll about anything having to do with the Church and abortion/contraception. I am sure I could word a poll in a way that would bring quite the opposite results.

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  73. Not holding my breath...

    http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2012/02/white-house-to-announce-accommodation-for-religious-organizations-on-contraception-rule/

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  74. Interesting article coming from a secular journal.

    http://www.businessinsider.com/time-to-admit-it-the-church-has-always-been-right-on-birth-control-2012-2

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  75. My oldest is attending a state college. as a parent trying to pay this without support from my AWOL husband this was the only option.
    as someone else said- the student health center on any state run school gives condoms out. like candy. Im pretty sure they provide birth control pills too for little/or no cost. its not like the 20 year olds are limited in where they can get contraception. Not that I approve nor think they should be participating in activities that should only be reserved for husband and wife.
    just saying..
    one doesnt have to force Catholic institutions to provide contraception.

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  76. My point isn't we've already lost, but more that we have go back to the basics if anything is to change.

    It is kind of like education. If you wait till a kid is a senior in High School but can't read or do math at anywhere near grade level, and has no hope for the future... it is a little too late. You have to help kids much earlier than that to succeed.

    I am suggesting that there is a huge gulf between being right and being successful in getting the message across.

    A society that sees the difference between a heterosexual marriage and a homosexual marriage as a mere aesthetic choice will be incapable of even comprehending the Church position, let alone embracing it. And the same is true for this contraception issue, which is probably even more nebulous to the average American.

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  77. @LJP - Unfortunately for us I believe that the underlying political drama that will cause this issue to be judged not on its merits but for politics is Obama's health care reform.

    Obama has (to use one of his camp's favorite phrases) "doubled down" on the Health Care Reform Act.

    ANY precedent which allows for large and sweeping opportunities to "opt out" of insurance mandates -- even for religious or conscience reasons -- could potentially open the door to cripple or kill Obamacare.

    It is kind of the same reason that an NRA has to vigorously oppose even the most mild and sensible forms of gun control... because their 2nd Amendment platform is so tenuous that any cracks in it could tumble the entire thing.

    We will now see this played out as a proxy war between Pro and Anti Obamacare supporters.

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  78. Nicholas, maybe you could answer the question I posed on the more recent thread:

    If there can be no "opt outs", then why has Obama already granted thousands and thousands of ObamaCare waivers to companies friendly to the administration? I think they hand waivers out like candy to their supporters and to those in liberal districts!

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  79. or clarity's sake, since there's a lot of talk upthread about public university health centers and federally-funded low cost clinics: you don't approve of contraception being offered at those places, right? Put another way, do you oppose all public funding of contraception?

    Also, out of curiosity, do you agree with Rick Santorum that Griswold v. Connecticut was incorrectly decided and that states should have a right to pass laws banning contraception? And would you support a law banning contraception if it came up for referendum in Arizona? What if the law banned contraception that some people consider abortifacients, like IUDs and the pill?

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  80. Pedro, of course I do not want to have any tax dollars going to fund contraception. Why should I subsidize others' sex lives? I am pretty sure that Planned Parenthood's temper tantrum and fundraising (after the Komen thing) shows that they and other groups are able to get private funding for their Pill and abortion pushing, no? ;)

    Also, if one can afford a cell phone, one can surely afford to buy one's own contraceptive devices and Pills.

    As far as Griswold, here is a paragraph from another post of mine:

    Roe v. Wade was the 1973 Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion nationwide. A "right to privacy" legal argument was used as the basis for that tragic decision. However, most Americans are unaware that the "right to privacy" (words not found in the Constitution) did not originate with Roe v. Wade, but with Griswold v. Connecticut in 1965, and Eisenstadt v. Baird in 1972. What were those cases? Griswold was the case that legalized the sale of contraception to married people, and Eisenstadt was the case that extended the same "right" to unmarried people. The "right to privacy" regarding contraception cleared the way for the "right to privacy" regarding abortion. The legal road from contraception to abortion was natural and easy.

    There is no "right to privacy" in the Constitution. To base anything on that non-existent "right" is bad law. Roe is also bad law. Many pro-abortion legal folks agree with us on that.

    Do I want it made illegal? I think I will go with Thomas Aquinas (correct me if I am wrong) that not every vice can or should be made illegal. It's not practical or possible.

    I do believe that every abortifacient should be illegal, yes! There are few things that the federal gov't actually is supposed to do for us (enumerated in the Constitution), and one of them is to protect our inalienable right to life. Inalienable. So, protecting the life of all human beings, from conception till death, is something I'd support with laws that outlaw abortifacient drugs (human pesticides), and devices that kill the unborn (IUDs).

    Those things are incredibly unhealthy for women anyway. Which is why it's so crazy that the Obama Admin. frames this in terms of "women's health". What is so wrong with women's bodies that we must chemically alter them, fit them with devices and such, make them act against what they are made to do, and then we call it "health"? What do we think is so wrong with the body of a woman?

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  81. Thanks, Leila! That's a clear, helpful response.

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  82. Pedro, because I want to be even more clear, I don't have any idea if the Church has a position on whether or not abortifacients should be illegal.

    Things like IUDs and morning after pills are actually designed to be abortifacient in nature. They really are nothing more than human pesticides, so they do not need to exist.

    The Pill can actually be morally licit for treating certain conditions (menstrual irregularities), although there are always better options. It think it's bad medicine, and there are many doctors who think so too. However, the Pill seems to be the one tool in most docs' toolboxes to fix (well, mask) female problems, and yet there are better options out there. We can't get to them because of how this culture views the Pill (cure-all, probably even brings about world peace!).

    It's really almost weird, this love affair the culture has with the Pill.

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  83. What gets me is how Obama keeps saying "well 99% of women have used contraception at some point" who cares! 100% of people use food, that isn't free. He has no clear, good reason for providing free contraception that I have heard. It does not make sense morally, logically, economically. It really seems like he just wants to turn women into sexual objects, control and abuse them and manipulate the church. Sounds power hunger to me and a lot like a Nazi. I have more thoughts on my page, just throwing that out there though. Love your posts always Leila!

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  84. Catholic Mama, great point! Why is this the "thing" that needs to be totally free? Not food, not asthma meds, not gym memberships, etc.

    It is so frustrating. We live in a crazy, fallen world that is confused and dulled and darkened by sin. But then, the Church has been saying that since forever. :)

    Makes me feel a little better that even Jesus said wondered if there would be any faith left on the earth when he returned?

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  85. Yes, I agree, don't put much stake into the polling. I completed a poll over the phone, it was a push-poll. It did not even attempt to ask unbiased questions. For example, something to the effect of "the Republicans are introducing legislation to stop women from receiving the birth control benefit. Do you think a church's belief should over-ride women's rights to birth control." All of the questions were like that. The question is a lie because nobody is taking away their right to use birth control. I also find it frustrating because they are already stating it as though the benefit is being taken from them...like it is already an entitlement.

    You can make a poll show whatever results you desire just by how you word the questions.

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  86. Thanks for that last clarification, Leila. Do you have time for a couple more questions?

    Do you think the court's conclusions on Griswold were wrong, or just the grounds? In other words, do you think a consenting, adult married couple has the right to choose to use a condom?

    You've said you wouldn't ban contraception, for practical reasons, but that's not the same thing. And I noticed you put "right" in quotation marks in the passage you self-quoted.

    Also, Lawrence v. Texas, which overturned state sodomy laws, builds on Griswold. What do you think of that decision? (Santorum doesn't like it) Do you think a consenting, adult married couple has the right to perform, in their own bedroom, a non-procreative act? Say, fellatio?

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  87. Edit: Looking again, the "right" you put into quotation marks was the right to privacy. But I'm curious how you'd respond to the rest.

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  88. Pedro, I am sort of caught up in another debate, and I must homeschool now, but I promise I'll be back! Thanks!

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  89. Pedro, I'm back!

    I'm going to make the distinction between types of "rights".

    Morally, no one has the right to sin. No one has the right to do evil of any kind. God does not give us permission to sin. So, in that sense, just to be clear, their is no "right" to contracept the marital act, nor is there a right to sodomy (oral-genital contact as part of foreplay is certainly allowed within marriage, though!).

    Now, onto legal rights. I absolutely believe that there is no Constitutional "right to privacy". None at all. If so, then I could cook up some meth in my own home and feed it to my kids. But the "right to privacy" not only became the basis for striking down the contraception-commerce laws, but also the right to kill a child in the "privacy" (?) of the womb. Because you still can't legally kill a child outside of the womb, even in the "privacy" of the home.

    Anyway, all of that is quite bizarre and legally untenable.

    As to your other questions: I am not an attorney, and I have not studied these issues, so my answers are based in… nothing more than my opinion as I sit here, off the top of my head.

    Sometimes laws are on the books to make clear what our values are, even if there is no real desire to enforce them (for example, how often, when sodomy laws were in place, did the authorities forcibly enter and check the activities of a married couple -- or a homosexual couple -- in bed?). The society at the time obviously did not see acts of sodomy as something compatible with generally-held values, and laws were on the books to reflect that (sodomy was seen as very filthy and unhealthy… and frankly, the anus is filthy, no?). I think there were laws against adultery, too, weren't there? Maybe there still are?

    I just don't know. I don't think in this day and age those types of laws would be heeded anymore. Do we waste time and energy going in that direction, when no one would accept it, outside of a few folks who still hold to traditional Christian teaching on those issues? I think not.

    Like I said, not all immorality should or can be legislated. Lying is a sin, and yet not all lying is illegal. Hatred is a sin, as are evil words, and yet those things (aside from thought police pushing "hate crimes") are not illegal. So many things that are immoral are not illegal.

    I would not put my energy into outlawing these things again. It's a matter of prudential judgment. There are ways to fight the agenda of the Pelvic Left without legislating in the way we did when most folks -- black, white, rich, poor, Christian, Jew or other -- believed in the same general morality. When it was easy to agree on common sexual decency.

    So, as best I can answer: I am not interested in working towards legislation that would outlaw contraception again. It would be completely futile. Until hearts are turned back to right order and the higher things, there is no effective route legally on that front. Right now, we are just working to stop the wholesale legal slaughter of American babies. We've been flung far afield, a bit past the contraception question now, haven't we?

    As for sodomy laws, heck, we are far past that question, too -- now it's not a matter of sodomy merely being legal, it's that we are pushing to say that same-sex sodomy should have the status of Holy Matrimony! Yipes, how far we have fallen in a short time! So, protecting authentic marriage, legally, is where we are at today. We focus on the here and now.

    I hope that makes sense. If not, you might want to go to a Catholic legal scholar for a real answer! :)

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