Jimmy was born in Texas, grew up nominally Protestant, but at age 20 experienced a profound conversion to Christ. Planning on becoming a Protestant pastor or seminary professor, he started an intensive study of the Bible. But the more he immersed himself in Scripture the more he found to support the Catholic faith. Eventually, he entered the Catholic Church. His conversion story, “A Triumph and a Tragedy,” is published in Surprised by Truth. Besides being an author, Jimmy is the Senior Apologist at Catholic Answers, a contributing editor to Catholic Answers Magazine, and a weekly guest on “Catholic Answers Live.”
Recently we peered into The Mind Of Evil in an attempt to understand what the Obama administration was thinking when it imposed its draconian contraception requirement.
Now we get a little more insight into the Mind of Evil from evil spokeswoman herself, Kathleen Sebelius, who writes an editorial in USA Today with the preposterous title “Contraception rule respects religion.”
Let’s see what she has to say . . .
One of the key benefits of the 2010 health care law is that many preventive services are now free for most Americans with insurance. Vaccinations for children, cancer screenings for adults and wellness visits for seniors are all now covered in most plans with no expensive co-pays or deductibles. So is the full range of preventive health services recommended for women by the highly respected Institute of Medicine, including contraception.
I don’t know who the generically-named Institute of Medicine is. Perhaps their offices are located next door to the Superfriends’ generically-named Hall of Justice. However, the Institute of Medicine ain’t so highly respected by me if they’re recommending contraception for women as a preventive health service.
Children are not a disease, and they do not need to be prevented the way cancer or pneumonia do. While some women might have medical conditions that contraindicate pregnancy, that does not justify contraception as a means of avoiding it, and certainly the idea of recommending contraception to women in general is reflective of agenda rather than medicine.
Today, virtually all American women use contraception at some point in their lives.
This is irrelevant to the issue at hand. Virtually all women—and men—do stupid and immoral things at some point in their lives. That does not mean these things aren’t stupid and immoral.
And we have a large body of medical evidence showing it has significant benefits for their health, as well as the health of their children.
What kind of Orwellian doublethink is this?
How does contraception—indiscriminately considered—improve the health of women or their children? The Pill, Norplant, IUD’s, condoms, etc. all work by different mechanisms and have different effects on the bodies of the people using them. The only effect they share in common is that they prevent pregnancy. If the claim is that avoiding pregnancy itself is a health benefit then it’s hard to see how that could benefit a woman’s children—since without pregnancy they wouldn’t exist. And as to health benefits to the mother, even if we set aside the idea that we’re dealing with junk science filtered through an anti-child, pro-loose-sex ideology, the same supposed benefits from not-being-pregnant can be achieved without contraception.
But birth control can also be quite expensive, costing an average of $600 a year, which puts it out of reach for many women whose health plans don’t cover it.
Well, the cost is going to depend entirely on what kind of contraception you are using. I haven’t checked the price of condoms, but unless nymphomania or satyriasis is involved, I imagine their use would not cost $600 a year.
Further, abstinence and NFP are free.
And nothing that the evil spokeswoman has said has established that contraception is a good thing or that it should be used.
The public health case for making sure insurance covers contraception is clear.
No. This is nonsense.
There is no “public health case” for making sure that insurance covers contraception because we haven’t even shown that widespread use of contraception is good or that it benefits public health. All we have are assertions without supporting evidence, and with no attention given to the moral character of the question.
Proceeding from the purely secular level, there is this fact: If people have easy access to avoiding pregnancy then a host of ills follow, including promiscuous, irresponsible sex, the treating of women as sex-objects, the juvenilizing of men, marital breakup, increased infertility, and the demographic winter caused by people having fewer children.
Even pagan Roman emperors like Augustus recognized that if you want a population to maintain itself, you can’t let it slide into declining birth rates. When this is a danger, people need to be incentivized to have more children (which Augustus did in a variety of ways). They should not be disincentivized by passing out free contraceptives!
And then there’s this: By passing out free contraceptives you create a false sense of security regarding pregnancy and thus encourage more promiscuous sex, but the very same attitude of irresponsibility leads to greater contraceptive failure (because the irresponsible don’t use the conception consistently and correctly), leading to more accidental pregnancies, leading to a greater number of abortions.
Since abortion kills a child, there is actually a negative impact on “public health” just due to the accidental-pregnancy-leading-to-abortion effect of contraception right there.
But we also recognize that many religious organizations have deeply held beliefs opposing the use of birth control.
At least your ideology has not so blinded you that you fail to recognize this.
That’s why in the rule we put forward, we specifically carved out from the policy religious organizations that primarily employ people of their own faith. This exemption includes churches and other houses of worship, and could also include other church-affiliated organizations.
Here we have half-truth and deception.
The preceding sentence noted that “many religious organizations” have “deeply held religious beliefs opposing the use of birth control.” Fine.
But the new sentence says that the policy exempts *not* those religious organizations that have such beliefs but rather “religious organizations that primarily employ people of their own faith.”
There is a difference between the two. If you really wanted to protect religious freedom you would exempt religious organizations on the basis of their belief, not what proportion of their employees share their faith.
And this is not the only restriction Sebelius fails to mention. The exemption also requires that the institutions primarily serve people who share their faith, which leaves out a huge number of schools, hospitals, charities, etc. It doesn’t matter how deeply held the beliefs of the organization are. If they reach out to more than a certain proportion of people who do not share their faith then they are required to violate their deeply held beliefs.
And the situation is worse than that! But let this suffice to show the game that Evil Spokeswoman is playing through her selective presentation of information.
In choosing this exemption, we looked first at state laws already in place across the country.
So what? States can make law for good or ill. That doesn’t say anything about what policies the executive branch of the federal government should implement. If a bunch of states have a particular law, that’s no reason to impose it by executive branch policy on a national basis. If a bunch of states required people to jump off bridges, should the executive branch impose that nationally?
Of the 28 states that currently require contraception to be covered by insurance, eight have no religious exemption at all.
So . . . barely more than half of the states require contraception to be covered by insurance . . . and of those who do less than a third have a policy that is worse than yours . . . and all told less than 20% of states employ this even worse policy . . . and this justifies your policy how?
The religious exemption in the administration’s rule is the same as the exemption in Oregon, New York and California.
Assuming this is true (do these states all, really, use identical wording in their laws?), the fact that you’ve got 6% of the states agreeing with you is not really a particularly strong argument for your case. Not if you’re basing it on a nose-count of what state policy is.
It’s important to note that our rule has no effect on the longstanding conscience clause protections for providers, which allow a Catholic doctor, for example, to refuse to write a prescription for contraception.
So Catholic doctors aren’t required to violate their conscience. Why, then, are Catholic hospital administrators and board members?
Nor does it affect an individual woman’s freedom to decide not to use birth control.
I am so relieved to hear that the Obama administration does not favor forcing contraceptive pills down women’s throats. Even China doesn’t do that (normally). It’s perfectly happy as long as you don’t get pregnant more than once. Abstinence and NFP are okay with them. They don’t actually force you to take the Pill if you’ve already had a child. It’s so wonderful that the Obama administration isn’t proposing a policy that would force women to use contraceptives. Adding this line to her editorial sure makes Sebelius’s case more convincing.
And the president and this administration continue to support existing conscience protections.
In some minimal, Orwellian, politically convenient sense, I’m sure this is true.
This is not an easy issue.
To the contrary: This is an extremely easy issue: DON’T MANDATE CONTRACEPTION COVERAGE AT ALL, AND IF YOU DO, DON’T REQUIRE RELIGIOUS ENTITIES LIKE SCHOOLS AND HOSPITALS AND CHARITIES TO VIOLATE THEIR CONSCIENCES ON THIS POINT.
Only blind, inflexible ideology could make a simple issue like this appear hard.
But by carving out an exemption for religious organizations based on policies already in place, we are working to strike the right balance between respecting religious beliefs and increasing women’s access to critical preventive health services.
Well, you failed to “strike the balance” this time.
Next time, try not to be so nakedly totalitarian in your approach. Try actually respecting the consciences of people in general instead of the most-narrowly-construed-class-you-think-you-can’t-politically-afford-to-subject-to-the-policy.
And don’t have the evil spokeswoman talk to us like we’re idiots, either.
Those are my thoughts.
What do you think?