Friday, February 10, 2012

Bad White House! No! No!

A few months ago, vnectar posted about the attempt by the Catholic Church to get themselves exempted from a requirement of the Affordable Care Act. Namely, that employers must offer insurance that includes "no cost" birth control.

Apparently that issue remains unresolved for them, although it appears that the White House is making appeasing noises in their general direction.

I have rants about this. Let me show you them.

  • The purpose of this requirement of the ACA is to state that every woman in this country is entitled to access to "no cost" birth control. Period fucking dot. It does not force anyone to USE birth control, but it does remove  the barrier of cost. This is especially important for low income women and families. It aims to alleviate the nightmare of not being able to afford birth control and being even less able to afford an unwanted/unplanned pregnancy, but knowing that without the first, the second is vastly more likely.
  • Religious institutions already receive a wholly undeserved exemption for employees of their strictly religious institutions (basically, employees that work in a church). The presumption behind the existing exemption would seem to be that someone working IN a church would maintain the same beliefs, have the same conscience based objections, as the official church doctrine. (This despite at least one study showing that, whatever the church leaders might want, the majority of sexually active Catholic women will use birth control). However, they want to extend that exemption to their institutions with secular functions as well (schools, hospitals, etc), and that assumption of ideological congruence obviously does not apply at their secular institutions.
  • This demand is spearheaded by the Bishops and leaders of the Catholic Church. There is not a single woman in that group*. (This is a self-selected group of male celibates!? Why does anyone listen to what they have to say about reproduction?!) This strikes me as parallel to the "No Taxation without Representation" idea that contributed to the colonial unrest leading up to the Revolutionary War. If you want to pronounce on the rights of women, at least have the common decency to include one in your debates! (I am continually amazed at the existence of Catholic women. I am completely unable to comprehend why any woman would willingly count herself a member of such an overtly misogynistic organization.)
  • Their argument is that by "forcing" them to provide the minimum legal medical coverage for their employees, the government is violating their freedom of conscience and freedom of religion. It doesn't matter that none of the Bishops will have to buy birth control, it is enough that they are enabling women to buy birth control. It goes against their conscience that their money is being used to support access to birth control. What a steaming pile of disingenuous twaddle! You know what else enables women to buy birth control? Money. Salaries. If they have such a profound objection to enabling women to obtain birth control, I suggest that they stop paying their employees. (Better stop paying the men too, cause you know those wicked, loose women will just trick the poor helpless men-folk into buying the no-baby pills on their behalf!)

This is not about "religious conscience", it is about wanting to control the behavior of women. This is about throwing up every barrier that they can to ensure that people do things the "right" way. They are required by law to pay their employees, even knowing that those employees will use that money to obtain birth control. It doesn't matter how much that offends their religious sensibilities, it is the law. This is no different. The law says that all (employed) women are entitled to "no cost" birth control**. And it is disgusting that there is even any discussion of "accommodation" from the White House.

*Not saying that there are not women, even Catholic women who support this demand. I'm sure that there are, but the fact remains that they are not part of the Catholic Church leadership.
**Unless you work at a church. In that case, you are giving up that right? For some reason?


  1. MadScutter - just making sure you've seen this.

    1. I have indeed. Very much enjoyed both Mr Fry and Mr Hitchens in that series.