Catholic institutions sue over contraception rule

Posted from the La Times:

"WASHINGTON-- The battle between the Obama administration and some prominent Catholic institutions intensified Monday when 43 Catholic groups, including the archdioceses of Washington, D.C., and New York, and Notre Dame and Catholic universities, filed suit across the country challenging a federal mandate requiring them to provide contraception to their employees.
The organizations say the administration’s contraceptive requirement would compel them to violate church teaching. Some employers are exempt from the federal mandate – but many are not, including schools, hospitals and charities that offer their services widely.
Timothy Cardinal Dolan, the archbishop of New York, said the suits reflect frustration with the administration and Congress."

Check out the full story here.

Here are my "2 cents" worth:

As I reflect upon this issue, I am reminded of the Thomas Jefferson quote:
"To compel a man to furnish contributions of money for the propagation of opinions which he disbelieves and abhors, is sinful and tyrannical."
(from: The Jeffersonian Cyclopedia, p. 663, by Thomas Jefferson, Edited by John P. Foley, Funk & Wagnalls Company, New York and London, 1900)

As I have listened to the coverage on NPR news (which I do every day, even though it is uniformly leftist in its perspective on political issues), I have heard again and again commentators saying things like "How horrible it is that women still have to fight for access to birth control."  But this sort of commentary distorts the issue since this is not about "access" - no one is being denied access to birth control, it will still be available at every single pharmacy in America and in numerous truck-stop bathrooms for 75 cents - the question is who will pay for it.

Unfortunately, Catholic (and other) Christians are now compelled to pay not only for the propagation of opinions contrary to their faith, but are compelled to do so by paying for the very practices that they find objectionable.  In essense, from the Catholic Church's point of view - and that of other Christian groups opposed to artificial birth control for theological reasons - the government is forcing the Church to pay money to help individuals sin, and by extension, the Church is being forced to implicitly legitimize a practice that they consider contrary to the will of our Creator, since actions and beliefs are always connected.  Surely the Administration can see how perverse this is from the Catholic point of view, even if they do not share this point of view? 

I also cannot help but think how utterly unnecessary this fight seems to be, when we actually get past the slogans being thrown around by all sides to some of the actual details involved.  While it is true that some birth control drugs can cost as much as $100 per month, a month's supply of some generic birth control pills can run as low as $20-35; a box of condomns can be had for about $4.  Surely, even the lower-wage employees of Catholic institutions can come up with this kind of money; and let's not forget (as some commentators seem to have done) that it is employees of Catholic institutions that we are talking about here, not every employee of every business in the country.  Surely these employees can come up with a few dollars for "protection" if they are determined to be sexually active - and we must also remember (as often seems completely neglected by some in this debate) that sexual activity is a choice not a necessity. 

So, considering that we are only talking about a few dollars, why are the politicians determined to have this fight?  In the early days of this dispute the Administration's position was, "Ooops, we didn't consider Catholic Church's objections when crafting the legislation, so let's find a way to accomodate them."  But that has not happened, and I have to wonder: why not?  It begins to look distressingly like an ideological issue to me.

While I do not share the Roman Catholic theological objections to artificial birth control, I am deeply distressed by the Administration's apparent disregard for the deeply held religious beliefs of a huge number of Americans, and so I do hope that this litigation succeeds in blocking the contraception rule. 

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