Friday, February 10, 2012

Birth control? Yes. Forcing Catholics to buy it? NO!

    Although I am opposed to making the Catholic Church buy contraceptives -- including those which in their minds may induce abortion -- I support birth control.
    As I mentioned in my previous post, most Catholics don't agree with their church's position. Some say as many as 98 percent of Catholic women have used artificial birth control at some point, and a majority disagree with the official church position on birth control (I suspect the 98 percent figure is high).
    The fact that most members don't agree with the church's leadership is frequently cited by those who support requiring Catholic institutions to provide free contraceptives to their employees. What a dangerous precedent!
    Is the government now going to step in every time it feels a church's leadership is out of step with its members? If so, we may soon see female priests installed while escorted by federal marshals who threaten to kill anyone who tries to uphold church law. Apparently a majority of Seventh-Day Adventists don't adhere absolutely to that faith's call for vegetarianism. Shall we now require Seventh-Day institutions to serve pork chops with the threat of jail or death to those who refuse to comply.
    It simply isn't the proper role of government to pick and choose which religious liberties to trample based on the government's determination of how strongly the rank-and-file membership agrees with a policy.
    As I said before, in addition to eroding religious liberty, I think just giving out birth control pills for free is poor economic policy. It ignores the fact that many women, through forgetfulness don't finish their cycles, and would quit buying them if using their own money. And it will encourage doctors to prescribe to most expensive brands of birth control because, after all, it's free. Far better to at least have a co-pay, with a higher co-pay for the more expensive brands.
    As a matter of policy, if the government wants insurance to provide something for free, it ought to be paid for by the government, not by forcing insurance companies or churches to pay for it. If the government wants everyone to have free contraceptives, then enact a dedicated tax and use the proceeds to buy everyone free birth control -- and count me as a supporter.
    That's far more acceptable than pointing a gun at the Catholics and ordering them under threat of jail and death if they resist, to violate the tenants of their faith.


Anderson said...

So I am trying to get my head around this.

St. Dominic Hospital (say) pays, oh whatever, $1000/month for its employees to have birth control.

Those employees then have various health needs. Some don't see a doctor or get meds at all. St. Dominic doesn't get a rebate on those. The money is spent.

Some employees need various doctor visits, surgeries, prescriptions, whatever. Again, St. Dominic doesn't get charged more or less here (leaving aside the potential cost of renewing its plan).

Am I missing something?

Saying that St. Dominic is "paying for contraceptives" obtained by insurance makes just as much sense as saying it's "paying for contraceptives" that employees buy with their salaries out-of-pocket.

If I have misapprehended some fact here, please advise.

Col. Reb Sez said...

Anderson, I don't think elective abortion is covered by many insurance policies, but it certainly could be. And if it were to be, I would see a big difference in forcing the Catholic church to purchase insurance policies that covered elective abortion versus some Catholic employees going out on their own and getting an abortion.

Presumably an insurance plan that doesn't cover birth control will cost the employer less than one that does. That being the case, forcing the inclusion does for the Catholics to buy birth control.

I honestly don't see why we have to have such heavy handed federal management here. Surely there can be a little bit of difference in insurance plans.

Anderson said...

Presumably an insurance plan that doesn't cover birth control will cost the employer less than one that does.

It's just one medication among many; I would want to see proof of this "presumption."

I honestly don't see why we have to have such heavy handed federal management here.

To prevent employers from discriminating against their employees?

If you start from the premise that women can be discriminated against and it's no big deal, then yes, I'm sure this seems like a non-issue.