On today’s tough issue I’ve read a lot, talked to others, and talked to myself. Now I’ll throw it out to you – let’s talk.
It’s the contraceptive ruling that’s gotten so much news and campaign time. It’s a recently enacted part of the Affordable Care Act, a law I appreciate because health care for all will save both lives and money. This new part requires all health insurance plans to include free contraceptives. That’s good because we know that an unwanted pregnancy can result in an unwanted child, child abuse, an abortion, death or injury from an illegal abortion, nine months of distress, and/or a young mother losing the job that supports her family.
A problem arose, however, because Catholic doctrine prohibits the use of any kind of birth control device, and many Catholic leaders complained that they would be forced to act against their religion if they had to include contraceptive care in health care plans at Catholic schools, hospitals, and other institutions. The fact that 28 states have already made a similar rule work within their borders helped some, and then the rule was adjusted so that insurance companies paid for contraceptives rather than the Catholic organization itself. I wish the matter would be resolved by the time you read this; it has raised important and tough issues:
1) Within the Catholic Church where 98 percent of the women have used birth control devices.
2) On women’s health care and religious freedom. Gail Collins wrote, “We are arguing about whether women who do not agree with the church position, or who are often not even Catholic, should be denied health care coverage that everyone else gets because their employer has a religious objection to it. If so, what happens if an employer belongs to a religion that forbids certain types of blood transfusions? Or disapproves of any medical intervention to interfere with the working of God on the human body?”
3) In the campaign. It’s hard to respect any genuine religious despair when we hear Republican candidates claiming, “Obama is against religion.” This is nonsense, of course, but it clutters the mind as well as the airwaves.
4) The Affordable Care Act – “Obama Care.” This has become campaign fodder, too. We know it’s just that because the major Republican contender, Mitt Romney, helped create the model for the Affordable Care Act. As to the “over-reaching arm of government”, the debate should be limited to all who are ready to lose Medicare and Social Security
Religious freedom is precious in our democracy. I can sympathize with any whose religious conscience runs counter to the law of our land. I’ve experienced that pain personally because my own religious ideal says killing is wrong, yet I’ve had to pay taxes to kill in Viet Nam and Iraq.
It’s a tough issue. We need to obey the law of the land even when it bruises our conscience. Because pregnancy is usually the largest health care issue in a woman’s life, our health care plan must help a woman choose whether she will become pregnant. That would give us more healthy women, fewer unwanted babies, and less reason for abortion. Wouldn’t that be good?