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War On Contraception

I actually feel insulted that I wasn’t called for this war on religion that Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum keep talking about. Although that’s probably because it isn’t happening, but nevertheless I should have been contacted. When long shot Gingrich talks about how, on day one (skipping his inaugration ceremony he pledges) he’s going to repeal every anti-religious bill the Obama White House has passed* I would like to ask him a question: Could you name two laws? That’s all I ask: two. One is an anomaly, two, while not representing anything close to an agenda or a pattern could at least be recognized as a burgeoning trend. I, however can’t think of one.

Sure, one might be tempted to stop reading this post and scroll down to the “comment” button and let me in on the birth-control provision of the healthcare bill. A bill, that again, was approved by Republicans as well as Democrats. This provision which has been on the books since the law was passed is only now starting to gain some attention. I suppose one might be tempted to think that the uproar was only held off until it was an election year, but you would have to be a cynical person to think that. That cynical person would have to wonder why no one made any stink about it prior to the bill’s passing, or wonder why it is so egregious that a bill requiring insurance providers to cover what most insurance companies already cover is going to become active?

I digress.

While I am an atheist, I was raised Catholic. I understand the Catholic tenet that says sexual intercourse is only for procreation. So it should make sense that they would be against it. Not exactly. This is going to get a little tricky but here’s why they are wrong. True believing Catholics should have no problem with this provision. If they follow the Church’s teachings it doesn’t matter whether the birth control that is automatically covered by almost all insurance companies because the real true believing Catholics won’t be using it anyway. It’s a hair split but that’s what the Roman church is all about (see the Doctrine of Double Effect, Just War Theory, etc.); it’s not immoral to have contraception, it’s not immoral to employ a person that provides contraception, it’s immoral to USE contraception. The good Catholics should just chalk this up to another one of those temptation tests that they always talk about overcoming.

It’s ridiculous that this is even a controversy. How come the Bishops haven’t been in an uproar about the number of Catholic hospitals and colleges in this country that actively hand out contraception (in both pill and condom form) to people? Isn’t that much more dangerous or immoral than having an insurance policy that covers it if a person freely chooses to avail themselves of the service?

I suppose that the adherence to the rule of fun sex=sinful while reproductive sex=moral is a leftover by product from the fact that Paul couldn’t get laid.** Even if we disagree on this interpretation couldn’t we at least agree that this is something which should have been dealt with several years ago? I’m sure the recently adjudicated ministerial exception rule of the Supreme Court attaches anyway so it’s not really a problem.

This whole debate is also an interesting study in the “framing of a question.” If you ask most Americans if they support religious freedom in light of this law they’ll agree. If you ask most Americans if they want access to contraception they’ll agree to that as well. Despite the contradiction in the two positions on this issue, if the Obama administration wants to win it they should just start asking this latter question and not let the debate be run by the former.

*That also the Republican House approved and the barely Democrat–not fillibuster proof Senate–sent up: but that’s not important right now.

**Citation needed. Although Paul is responsible for a lot of the church’s teachings on celibacy and the dangers of sex. See: 1 Corinthians 7: 1-2, 8-9, Matthew 19:12. I can quote the bible too.

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