The Catholic Church Wants Women Pregnant Against Their Wills

Before this week, I never thought particularly hard about the way the Catholic Church wants to enforce its policies against contraception. I think my default assumption was that they wanted Catholics to assent to such policies freely and without coercion, as matters of shared belief and conscience. The thought actually never crossed my mind that the Church had an interest in actually forcing women into pregnancies against their wills. I naturally assumed they were interested in persuasion. I thought they would want women and men to abstain from contraception by using their uncoerced wills that acted from religious and moral reasons, not against their wills and only for financial reasons. I also just took it for granted that they would not see it as their place to impose their contraception doctrine on unwilling non-Catholics either.

But this week, the vociferousness with which they insisted on their right to put up barriers to both their Catholic and non-Catholic employees getting desired contraception made it crystal clear to me that even where they know full well that their employees are not Catholic and explicitly don’t want to get pregnant, the Church actively hopes to obstruct their abilities to avoid pregnancy. The Church’s desired outcome is that the consequence of their refusing to pay for insurance that covers contraception would be that their employees will have babies they do not want to have. And that this will happen even to non-Catholics.

The full pettiness, moral childishness, and simplistic absolutist meanness of their position became most crystal clear when even after they were unconstitutionally absolved of having to pay for the contraception, they then balked at even being asked to refer their employees to others who would cover the contraception costs for them. Their response to the free wills of their employees would be a juvenile, obstinate refusal to cooperate with the exercise of those employees’ consciences in any way whatsoever that allowed them to determine the course of their own reproductive lives. These self-absorbed authoritarian absolutists cannot honor their employees’ wills even that much without “compromising a fundamental tenet of their religion”. Based on wholly abstract and formal considerations about it being wrong to ever thwart what is only one functional purpose of the sex act, they not only irrationally conclude that contraception is an “intrinsic evil” but go so far as to refuse any accommodation to others’ legal rights to it. Even though contraception harms no actual people whatsoever, even though it is actually medically vital for many people, even though they are dealing with autonomous adult employees with consciences and rights of bodily self-determination of their own, they see contraception as so intrinsically wrong that they cannot accommodate differing consciences from theirs at all, not even while making their abstract dissent known through all the normal religious channels available to them. Instead they want to paternalistically get in the way of their employees—doctors, nurses, teachers, etc.—being able to exercise their legal and moral rights according to their own consciences.

They refuse to make the minimally necessary public compromise that accepts that others are entitled to differing moral judgments on matters which incur no palpable civic harm or unjust treatment to anyone else. They worry that, like children, the employees (Catholic and non-Catholic alike) who they accommodate might take away the “wrong message” if they refer them to a place they can get the contraception they freely choose.

So, the only conclusion I am left to draw is that an essential and uncompromisable tenet of the Catholic faith is that the Catholic Church is religiously bound to put whatever obstacles she can devise in the way of Catholics and non-Catholics who don’t want to become pregnant, so that they must become pregnant anyway if they have sex and are fertile.

I am also curious about what barriers to people’s exercise of non-Catholic faiths (or atheism) that they feel entitled to put up, lest they be confused for tacitly approving of non-Catholicism in any case whatsoever.

In all the debates this week about whether or not the Catholic Church hierarchy’s conscience deserved accommodations, the content of what their conscience amounted to was never looked at logically in the mainstream media. Not once in numerous mainstream media interviews I closely followed did anyone just come out and say it: the Catholic Church is working to make sure their employees, regardless of faith, get pregnant even when they don’t want to. That is the only difference in the world that their policy they fought for could actually make. And they made it indisputable that they indeed have this desire when they whined about not just paying for the insurance but even about having to direct their employees to other federally mandated options for them.

And it is also worth noting the silence of the Catholic hierarchy about the self-professed Catholics Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich flouting the pope’s teachings that “justice requires guaranteed universal access to health care”, that at least minimal health care is “a fundamental human right”, that “justice in health care should be a priority of governments and international institutions”, or that governments and other agencies should dedicate “the equipment, resources and energy so that the greatest number of people can have access” to health care.

Amazingly, no one in the Church hierarchy, in the “liberal” media, or on either side of the political aisle in Congress has accused Santorum or Gingrich of waging war against religion for going around the country expressing gross hostility towards all government involvement in health care. Strangely, no one has suggested that their policies evidence a secret hostility towards the Church or religious people. Strangely, no one ever asks Santorum or Gingrich whether their defiance of the pope’s teachings represent a secularist hostility towards faith.

When Obama had planned to follow all sorts of state precedents which had received little to no public outcry and apply a moderate exemption policy which allowed the Church to prevent its distinctly religious employees from getting contraception coverage but not those it hired for secular purposes, it was legitimate to cast him as expressing a personal animus against Catholicism and against faith itself. It is being actually suggested that even after he entirely caved to the Church merely clearing its throat that Catholics will still leave this episode with cause for “suspicion” of him. Where are the calls for suspicion towards Santorum and Gingrich when they equate the government aided health insurance the pope calls for with a deeply immoral and intrusive socialism?

In fact, where are the Church’s deep expressions of gratitude and moral approval for Obama for so substantially advancing the cause of universal health care which the pope called for and for doing it in a way that even made it so that women couldn’t get any federal support for their legal abortions that the pope disapproves of? Where is the mobilized army of Catholic bishops and voters to support him for this or for his ending of the torture regime of George W. Bush, which also flouted Church teachings? Or for his expansion of “faith-based initiatives” to the benefit of the Church?

Apparently, the Church actually cares a little bit about the health of every individual being treated as a “precious asset” (as the pope called it). But not enough to demonize political opponents who disagree with them on the point.

But what the Church really cares about and takes as the litmus test of its full and free exercise of faith is its right to prevent those who don’t want to have children from not having them. That’s a part of the non-negotiable core of Catholicism, apparently. And anyone who stands in the way of that (or who, you know, thinks about opposing it until the Church whines for ten seconds and then gives in) is a dangerous threat to religious freedom everywhere.

In a post yesterday, Ophelia Benson rightly took to task the Obama administration’s foolish decision to cave (again) to the religio-political fundamentalist right wing. He keeps making huge accommodations so that they cannot legitimately demonize him and they keep grabbing all the concessions and just go about finding new issues to demagogue and demonize him with, so they can get more out of him—while ignoring the myriad compromises he has made and painting him rather as a left wing secular extremist.

He expanded Bush’s “Faith Based Initiatives”, he participates piously in unconstitutional National Prayer Breakfasts, he let his Republican-inspired health care reform plan give no federal help for any abortions, in a move that displayed massive, party-betraying deference to the power of Catholic bishops, and was rewarded for all of this with being accused of “warring against religion” and “giving Catholics reasons to be suspicious of him” for simply trying to insist they at least had to follow the new law and provide insurance that covers contraception.

And within a week of an angry letter from the bishops about this, he folds nearly immediately. And his reward? Stories in the media about how Catholics are walking away from the whole exchange worried about his commitment to respecting their religion, and with bishops who say it is still too demanding of their consciences to be asked to point their employees to the necessary supplemental contraceptive coverage.

Bravo, President Obama. Way to protect yourself from villainization. I’m sure you have finally persuaded Republicans of your eminent reasonableness and they will stop calling you a radical Muslim atheist secularist socialist communist Nazi at war with religion, posthaste. And I’m sure the principle of secularism will survive all these endless accommodations to religious leaders who want tax free land, government subsidies, the unfettered and unfair right to interfere with legislation while receiving non-profit tax status, the right to have laws written so as to impose their religious beliefs on non-believers, and to have special exemptions from whatever laws they do not want to follow.

Your Thoughts?

For related coverage: Libby Anne, our exciting new Freethought Blogs neighbor at Love, Joy, Feminism, is an escapee of the repressive American Christian fundamentalist patriarchy/quiverful movement. Her thoughts and her rage over this issue are especially righteous and especially poignant.

Chris Hallquist, another exciting recent addition to the Freethought Blogs stable whom I’ve yet to properly welcome, is properly scathing against the Church and baffled as to why rank and file Catholics, who clearly must see the anachronisms, obtuse regressiveness, and corrupting authoritarianism of the hierarchy’s behavior, continue to identify as Catholic nonetheless.

Also, I had many more thoughts on this issue earlier in the week in my post: Religious Privilege and Grievance-Based Catholic Identity Politics on Full Display.

I also debated a Catholic theology student for three posts:

“Should Catholic Employers Be Exempted From Paying For Health Insurance Covering Contraception?”

“What Are The Limits of Church Authority In the Public Sphere?”

and

“Must (or Can) the Religious Engage in the Secular Sphere ‘Non-Religiously’?”

About Daniel Fincke

Dr. Daniel Fincke  has his PhD in philosophy from Fordham University and spent 11 years teaching in college classrooms. He wrote his dissertation on Ethics and the philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche. On Camels With Hammers, the careful philosophy blog he writes for a popular audience, Dan argues for atheism and develops a humanistic ethical theory he calls “Empowerment Ethics”. Dan also teaches affordable, non-matriculated, video-conferencing philosophy classes on ethics, Nietzsche, historical philosophy, and philosophy for atheists that anyone around the world can sign up for. (You can learn more about Dan’s online classes here.) Dan is an APPA  (American Philosophical Practitioners Association) certified philosophical counselor who offers philosophical advice services to help people work through the philosophical aspects of their practical problems or to work out their views on philosophical issues. (You can read examples of Dan’s advice here.) Through his blogging, his online teaching, and his philosophical advice services each, Dan specializes in helping people who have recently left a religious tradition work out their constructive answers to questions of ethics, metaphysics, the meaning of life, etc. as part of their process of radical worldview change.

  • raven

    Before this week, I never thought particularly hard about the way the Catholic Church wants to enforce its policies against contraception.

    Welcome to the murky world of the female slavers and forced birthers.

    It’s not just the Catholics. The fundies share the same misogynistic goals.

    The bright side. According to a recent US CDC survey, 98% of relevant Catholic women use birth control.

    The members have had centuries to learn to ignore the priests.

  • http://peicurmudgeon.wordpress.com/ peicurmudgeon

    It is in the naure of many religious leaders to push their concepts of morality on society at large. The Islamics and their senstive nature about criticisms or even depcitions of their prophet by everyone including non-muslims are no different than these actions of the Catholics. Freedom of expression and equal rights for all are anathema for many religious leaders, and MUST be obeyed by all members of society.

  • http://anythingbuttheist.blogspot.com Bret

    Step one: Turn women into concubines.

    Step two: ?????

    Step three: Profit!

    • http://anythingbuttheist.blogspot.com Bret

      Wait , wait, wait… I got it…

      I won’t spell it out for you guys, because I want you to have the moment of realization on your own. But consider this:

      Why would a bunch of priests want the world to be full of children? Think about it…

    • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com WMDKitty

      *shudders*

  • ‘Tis Himself, OM

    When the Catholic hierarchy decides that aiding and supporting child rapists is against the core values of their religion, then I’ll be willing to discuss whether their consciences should override non-Catholics’ consciences.

    • Marshall

      Absolutely. I’m really all out of shits to give when it comes to the ‘Catholic conscience’. They’ve had every possible opportunity to show that they care about actually existing human beings. They don’t, and everyone knows they don’t, and if not for the fact that they claim a direct line to God they would have been prosecuted for their many crimes long ago.

    • michaeld

      Yup, and hey remember some of them don’t even think they did anything wrong and that there’s still no reason to really report any of this. As that retired bishop pointed out this week.

      Frankly I don’t know how anyone can say catholic morality with a straight face without the urge to spit. The world would be a much better place if the whole institution was shut down sold off and the proceeds given to charities.

  • Erp

    The Catholic Church wants women dead rather than have an abortion necessary to save their lives and even though the fetus is doomed anyway. Even most other opponents of abortion aren’t willing to go that far.

  • http://outofthegdwaye.wordpress.com/ George W.

    I have not read Ophelia’s post on the subject yet, so this may be redundant, but I wonder if I’m not understanding how insurance works in America.

    Here in Canada, of course, we have Universal Healthcare paid for directly from our taxes. We also have employer organized health benefits that augment our health coverage, and cover things like optical, drug dispensing, dental, and chiropractic.

    Here in Canada, an employer pays into the insurance plan as part of the compensation afforded to the employee. They don’t underwrite these plans and they don’t directly pay for services. The money for services covered by the insurance is paid through an intermediary known as an “insurance company” or “underwriter”, not by the employer. Is this different in America?

    If the monies paid into an insurance plan are paid as part of an employees compensation package, then it is my understanding that this money belongs to the employee. If, for example, my benefits cover chiropractic care (they do), then I am free to decide whether or not to use those services with my insurance if I choose. I don’t, even as the person whose income pays those premiums, get to opt out of the chiropractic portion because I personally think chiropractic care is dangerous woo- and I am the one paying for those benefits. Employers may organize a group insurance plan, but they don’t pay for it any more than my boss payed for my 42″ LCD TV. The money they contribute is part of my compensation.

    Do catholic hospitals underwrite their own insurance plans? If they do, why are they allowed to?
    Am I missing something here?

    • http://outofthegdwaye.wordpress.com/ George W.

      *paid*, not payed, sorry.
      And I wrote a post about the issue over at Le Cafe that avoided talking about whether they ought to pay into insurance that covers family planning, and instead focuses on whether they ought to be able to self-identify as “Pro-Life” with any consistency given their stand on this issue.
      I might write a post today on the topic as well.

    • Jesse

      George–

      I’ll lay it out for you. In the US, you have a couple of ways to get health insurance.

      1. Via employer. Your employer pays for a plan that covers X, Y an Z. If the plan does not cover something you need you are out of luck.

      2. Medicare/ Medicaid. These are actually two different things. One is for old people, and it functions decently as a kind of single-payer system, though it’s coverage is spotty. Medicaid is for the poor. It too is spotty. The states also have some control over what they cover and what they don’t; it’s a bit of a mess trying to figure out how you do get care absent insurance. There’s basically a patchwork system that you have to contend with if you have no insurance.

      3. Private insurance. If you can afford a $5,000 deductible (the amount you pay if you need anything serious) then go for it. But you’ll pay on the order of several hundred per month for even such an inferior plan.

      So, let’s say your employer has a plan that does not cover the Pill. You could pay yourself, go to Planned Parenthood, but you will be out $20-30 per month plus the doc visit.

      There is no really cost-effective way for most people to supplement their insurance in the way you describe. (Well, it can be done, but it is hard and requires a lot of legwork).

      BTW, if you do not have any insurance — say you are poor and have a minimum wage job — and you go to the ER with a broken leg, you can expect a bill for tens of thousands. If you have no insurance and need a heart transplant, chemotherapy or even regular insulin you will probably just die.

      With the new laws in place an employer might have to provide insurance or you have to buy it. Either way, it’s a giveaway to the insurer.

      The only guarantee of care we get in the US (under the new law) is that an insurer can’t dump you for a pre-existing condition anymore.

      Does that help?

    • http://outofthegdwaye.wordpress.com/ George W.

      Why, then, are we having this discussion? If the Obama administration wants to set minimum standards for insurance coverage, and an employer doesn’t agree with those standards, can’t they just opt to not offer group insurance all? Can’t they pay “lieu benefits”?

      Why doesn’t the Obama administration change minimum wage laws to include minimum health insurance or a lieu payment equal to the market rate for a similar plan?

      The better question is why they didn’t move forward with nationalized healthcare to begin with.

      At the end of the day, it is still my understanding that health insurance, when offered to an employee,is part of their compensation package- and therefor is their money. If minimum standards exist such that family planning is covered, then that is between the person whose money pays the premium (the employee) and the underwriter.
      An employer dictating what parts of the minimum standard can and can’t be accessed with an employees premium seems as absurd as an employer paying a wage on condition that you don’t use it to travel on vacation to the Caribbean.

    • Jesse

      Now you know why the Obama administration — and IANAL – might have left this open to legal challenge.

      But I say MIGHT. Because in the US, the employer owns you. Really, they do. There is precious little that they cannot fire you for. The whole point about compensation you made just may not apply here. An employer could tell you to give a blowjob or be fired and that isn’t even a criminal act.

      The rights a US employee has and the control an employer has would be considered barbaric in every other western democracy. Oh, you can file lawsuits for certain abuses, but how many people have the time and money for that? SO think of it this way: when you get a job the minute you go to work you have no human rights whatsoever.

      That said, this may actually conflict with the health care law as written. So there’s that, and it will be an interesting discrimination case if the Church gets a health plan that doesn’t cover something vital. In fact, I could see the first suits actually coming against say, the Christian Science organization.

    • ‘Tis Himself, OM

      An employer could tell you to give a blowjob or be fired and that isn’t even a criminal act.

      In most states that is sexual harassment which would leave the employer open to some serious civil penalties. And he’d probably be fired unless he owns the company.

    • Jesse

      @Tis himself-

      IF you file a lawsuit. IF your boss takes it seriously enough. If, If, If.

      Basically, the kind of sexual harassment I just described is pretty routing in any male-dominated workplace.

      In America, an employer can do almost anything they want to you. If you haven’t the money to hire a lawyer, if you need the job, if you can’t afford to move, what rights do you have?

    • John Horstman

      At the end of the day, it is still my understanding that health insurance, when offered to an employee,is part of their compensation package- and therefor is their money.

      Yup. Unfortunately, our not-Right-wing media pundits seem to be terrible at branding and discursive engineering. Insurance coverage is framed as a perk, bonus, or privilege, not as a part of total compensation, and our major media outlets refuse to challenge that framing. It drives me batty, just like how “taxpayers” creates a false divide (everyone who spends money pays taxes) in the electorate to reinforce the idea that there are a bunch of people simply living off of public assistance programs without contributing anything useful (actually, there are, but most of them are wealthy investment/speculation bankers), and “pro-life” is simply lying in the overwhelming majority of cases. This came up previously in our ongoing fights against restrictions of collective bargaining protections for public employees, where retirement plan contributions and partial health insurance contributions were framed as special privileges and not simply part of compensation (it’s NOT “taxpayer” money, it’s my fucking money for which I fucking worked walking your ignorant offspring through using a website or reading the form sitting in front of them, you unthinking Republican-voting troll; whoops, got away from me there – I fantasize sometimes about being able to ask people calling our department for help whether they voted Republican in our state election last year and therefore implicitly backed a 15% pay cut for me for doing the job that they now appear to value so very much).

    • http://verbosestoic.wordpress.com/ Verbose Stoic

      As far as I know — I’m Canadian as well — the plans work the same, but what you’re missing is because there is public health care in Canada the government has no say in what must be covered in that supplementary insurance, or indeed if that insurance is provided at all. Thus, in Canada if an employer didn’t want to provide something like birth control for moral reasons, they could do so and the government couldn’t say anything, because an employer could decide not to provide something for any reasons they wanted. That’s not the case in the original proposal; because this is replacing a public system the government “had to” set the minimum standards for the insurance.

  • unbound

    Actually, I thought the horrific stance of the catholic church was made pretty clear with the 9 year old girl in Brazil 3 years ago. Excommunicated the girls mother and the doctors who performed the abortion, but no issues with the father-in-law that was raping the girl since she was 6. I had left the catholic church long before this, but if you are not familiar with this event, this will show you how truly disgusting this organization is – http://www.feministe.us/blog/archives/2009/03/06/catholic-church-excommunicates-mother-and-doctors-over-9-year-old-rape-victims-abortion/

    • ‘Tis Himself, OM

      Of course the Catholic Church didn’t excommunicate the child rapist. The Church approves of child rape, as shown by how they handle child raping clergy.

    • ‘Tis Himself, OM

      Incidentally, it was the child’s step-father who was raping her.

  • ohioobserver

    Why is anybody surprised here? The Catholic Church? Really? Make no mistake — the Church is a DICTATORSHIP, with a strict hierarchy of control. The fact that a large number of peons refuse to obey the hierarchy is irrelevant; this is an organization that believes with all its heart that it is the TRUE RULER ™ here on earth as it is in heaven. This is the organization that burned Giordano Bruno and arrested Galileo for just thinking about the world and coming to independent conclusions; that humbled Henry V for doing what a secular ruler ought to do; that has opposed every significant scientific and technological advance for 2000 years on the grounds of “moral consequences”, by which they mean perceived threats to their power. That they want to enforce pregnancy on women as a means of control and suppression should shock no one.

  • Anat

    Based on wholly abstract and formal considerations about it being wrong to ever thwart what is only one functional purpose of the sex act, they not only irrationally conclude that contraception is an “intrinsic evil” but go so far as to refuse any accommodation to others’ legal rights to it.

    I’d amend that to ‘what is only one possible purpose of the sex act’, or even ‘what is only one of the possible outcomes of the sex act’. That was one thing that left me confused about Mary’s position in your 3-part debate, and it took me a day or two to realize where the miscommunication lay. Purpose comes from agency. The purpose of my action is my intent. One can argue whether it is reasonable of me to expect my chosen way of action to achieve this purpose and to avoid those things I do not intend to happen, or which I intend not to happen, but the mere fact that I seek to achieve outcome A and avoid outcome B means that A was the purpose of my action and not B. When a couple uses contraception then clearly reproduction was *not* the purpose of their sexual activity (though it is still a potential outcome, if their method of contraception fails for some reason).

    Of course to a believer in the Abrahamic god, or a god similar in believed involvement in the universe there are no acts without agency, there are no natural forces without agency. So the fact that engaging in sex can lead to several outcomes all those outcomes are the ‘purpose’ of sexual activity, whether the people involved seek those outcomes or their avoidance, because that’s how their god set the universe up – it is his agency that determines purpose. And for some reason the Catholic establishment decided that reproduction is the ‘primary purpose’ of sex, while all the others are relegated to secondary position, and somehow the rest follows from there – that when people do engage in sex they need to at least allow for pregnancy, and if they don’t want to do so they should have the ‘decency’ to be quiet about it, and pay out of pocket for the privilege.

  • Zebralily

    Daniel, can I just yoink this whole-cloth? Attribution to you, of course. I have a friend who just can’t see clearly on this issue, and we’ve been going back and forth a bit, with me not putting up nearly as good a fight as I’d like. And this yours the most thorough treatment of this issue’s full scope that I’ve yet seen. Whew.

    • Zebralily

      *”And yours is…” Sorry, brainfart.

    • http://freethoughtblogs.com/camelswithhammers Daniel Fincke

      Can you just pass on the link? Do you mean you want to repost somewhere else?

  • Forbidden Snowflake

    Can I ask a somewhat off-topic question? What’s with calling the Catholic Church “she”? I’ve seen Catholics do it, but I don’t know why that is, and this essay is the first time I’ve seen a non-Catholic do it.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=829665030 barbarapalaith-newson

      My best explanation would be that the Church is sometimes called the Family of God.
      This is why the Church is our mother. Jesus won our salvation for us not by persuading an otherwise disinclined God that he really should forgive us, but by putting us in contact with the non-competitive God who is already loving and forgiving us, who already accepts us no matter what our moral state.

      You have the Trinity which would include Father, son and Holy Ghost. Following would be Blessed Virgin..who gave birth to Jesus with the Immaculate Conception. Jesus and the twelve disciples began what we know as the Roman Catholic Church today. Accordingly, St.Peter became the “rock” upon which this Church was born. So Jesus, in dying for us gave us salvation via his birth to Mary, also known as Mother of God.

    • http://freethoughtblogs.com/camelswithhammers Daniel Fincke

      I was just riffing on that tradition, a little ruefully.

    • cgauthier

      I would guess calling the church a “she” is a reference to it being considered the “bride of christ”. I don’t know if that’s the actual reason in the RCC (I was raised by fundamentalist protestants), but I’m pretty sure the idea is biblical in origin.

    • echidna

      Bride of Christ is what I understand. Nuns are also known as Brides of Christ.

  • Victoria

    get the fuck out of my vagina

  • Jim Coufal

    The Catholic church has often made statements that get ignored. Here is one that I have found telling and fascinating. Pius XI, in 1906, said, “The one duty of the multitude (laity) is to allow themselves to be led, like a docile flock, to follow the pastors.” Doesn’t this say that your “free will” consists of choosing to do what you are told to do? Yet, the CC depends on the concept of free will to establish guilt and responsibility. I suggest it would be well to publicize such statements to Catholics and non-Catholics.

    A second thing I have not noticed much in the vast writing on the topic the CC has engendered with its position is that of precedent. Already in England, Muslims have asked to be able to judge their own people by Sharia Law in place of English law. Imagine the outcry in the U.S. if they asked that here, on the basis of religious freedom and conscience. Would it become impossible for courts to send Christian Science children to doctors and hospitals if they were allowed to hold to their belief that praying over them is sufficient?

    Along with pointing out the constitutional issues involved, I also think it would be fruitful to point out the lack of logic, as well as the hypocrisy, pf the basic theology of the CC on artidical contraception.

    Jim

  • howardpeirce

    I wonder how much all this has to do with Catholic doctrine, and how much of it is due to the current President being a Black Democrat?

    If Joe Biden (remember him? he’s the Vice President of the United States of America, and a Catholic) had implemented this policy (in line with the views of the Pope re health care), would we be having this conversation?

    • http://freethoughtblogs.com/camelswithhammers Daniel Fincke

      It’s hard to say. For one thing, Joe Biden was a strong influence on Obama not to have gone with the policy as he originally intended in the first place. Biden was preemptively deferent to the Church hierarchy.

    • Makarios

      IMO, it has everything to do with the President being a Democrat. Can’t say about the race issue. Consider that laws very similar to the impugned regulations are already in place in approximately half of the states. The church objected to these laws, and even took them to the Supreme Court (and lost), but now goes along with them. So far, the sun has contiued to rise daily, and not a single church has fallen down.

      Since Mr. Obama’s assumption of office, the Roman Catholic noise machine has been lambasting him as the Most Anti-Life President Evah. I suspect that they would have preferred to see good “pro-life” folks like McCain and Palin in office. The hatred of the President, expressed in the most extreme of the Catholic blogs, is visceral and personal. Accordingly, when the current administration proposed regulations what would formalize what Catholic institutions in 28 states are already doing, the foof hit the fan.

  • OlderGeneration

    What has happened to the concept that individuals are responsible for their own choices of behavior. Everything in life is a choice.

    If a life style of free sex is your choice, realize that sex is not free, children, new lives, usually are the result of this behavior. If children are not wanted, the drugstore has contraceptives available, cheap!!

    Should your neighbor, your family, your government your church be responsible for the outcome of your sexual choices? Would you go next door and ask your neighbor to provide birth control for your behaviors. This is what you are doing. I am of a generation that believes that I must earn and pay for my own “salt”.

    I say, grow up. Take responsibility for your own actions.

  • John Morales

    OlderGeneration:

    Should your neighbor, your family, your government your church be responsible for the outcome of your sexual choices?

    Such as restricting availability of sex education, birth control and abortion? Such as lying about AIDS? Such as claiming that abstinence is a better option than education? Such as teaching that non-procreative sexual activity is sinful?

    No.

    Would you go next door and ask your neighbor to provide birth control for your behaviors. This is what you are doing.

    Would you go next door and try to deny your neighbor access to birth control for their behaviors. This is what you are doing.

    I say, grow up. Take responsibility for your own actions.

    It’s not as if one can avoid responsibility for one’s actions, you know. What you are suggesting is, rather, that people who make choices with which you disagree have fewer options regarding the outcomes.

    (I note not all need for birth control or contraception is due to one’s own actions, irrelevant though you may find this fact)

  • echidna

    I am of a generation that believes that I must earn and pay for my own “salt”.

    Get off your high horse. I’ll take a bet that quite a few of the commenters are older than you, and many of them have a perspective that is not of the USA. I am of a generation and of a country that has a strong sense of the public good, something that seems to have eluded many in the USA.

  • http://verbosestoic.wordpress.com/ Verbose Stoic

    Daniel,

    Here’s another explanation for you about what’s different: they don’t want to be involved. At all. If people — non-Catholics or Catholics — want to use birth control, that’s fine, but don’t force people by law who have a legitimate religious objection to facilitate or provide or be involved. Do it yourself. Forcing referrals gets them involved. It can be seen as facilitating. Some will think that even that amount of facilitating is too much, so let them facilitate if they want to, but don’t make them. The chances are that it will have no impact on what is actually provided, because even if some few employers or insurance companies don’t facilitate, the information will be readily available and can be made readily available for free by all the people who really care about the issue and want to make sure that everyone can get free birth control if they want it.

    As for Gingrich and Santorum, what you assume there is that a public health care system is the only way to provide what the Pope was calling for. They, I imagine, would argue a) that it’s not the only way and b) that it’s a bad way to do it. Thus, their crime would be being wrong, not contravening a moral teaching of the Pope, unless there’s a quote somewhere beyond “provide resources”.

    • John Morales

      “legitimate religious objection”, eh?

      (Religion hath its privileges, and you buy into them, O accommodationist)

    • http://verbosestoic.wordpress.com/ Verbose Stoic

      Did the U.S. repeal the right to freedom of religion while I wasn’t looking?

      There’s a lot to debate here, including over whether this is legitimate or a legitimate imposition. Your response here isn’t even close to the debate.

      (Oh, and before assigning classifications to people, you really should check to see who you are, in fact, talking to.)

    • http://freethoughtblogs.com/camelswithhammers Daniel Fincke

      they don’t want to be involved. At all. If people — non-Catholics or Catholics — want to use birth control, that’s fine, but don’t force people by law who have a legitimate religious objection to facilitate or provide or be involved. Do it yourself. Forcing referrals gets them involved. It can be seen as facilitating. Some will think that even that amount of facilitating is too much, so let them facilitate if they want to, but don’t make them.

      Look, if they don’t want to get involved with the necessities of their employees which are being legislated for completely justified public health reasons, then maybe they shouldn’t get involved with employees outside their religious goals.

      When you enter the public sphere you have to respect that you can’t get your moral way all the time. You’re going to have to make accommodations for other people. Once they go down the road of trying to avoid every possible entanglement with their employees’ possible sins, they could theoretically start discriminating against their employees in any number of ways. I mean, what if they stop serving meat to their students and employees in the cafeteria on Fridays during Lent lest they implicitly condone deviation from their dietary codes? What if start mandating their employees be baptized as a condition of employment, lest they tacitly approve of their non-Catholicism? What if they start discriminating against all atheist hires in their hospitals or universities, lest they tacitly approve of atheism? What if they go start banning what they took to be broadly “Islamic” garb or Sikhs’ beards and turbins, lest they tacitly acknowledge the legitimacy of those religions?

      If you want to deal with people in the public square you cannot dictate all the moral terms of your engagement. There are some accommodations of each other we need to accept of each other to each other’s beliefs and basic needs. The government and every other secular source on the planet and the Catholic laity have all come to a moral and scientific conclusion that contraception is not only a moral good but a part of responsible health care for many people. All that judgment matters. It makes the Catholic hierarchy’s arcane arguments against it matters of sheer archaism. If they want to impose this idiosyncratic religious dogma within their religion as much as they can consistent with freedom of religion for their adherents, then sobeit. But if they are going to expand into dealing with non-Catholics and performing non-religious functions, then they have to respect the widely accepted morality of the overwhelming majority of people in America and the Western World more generally.

    • http://verbosestoic.wordpress.com/ Verbose Stoic

      Let me start with the examples first, and then go back to the first point:

      I mean, what if they stop serving meat to their students and employees in the cafeteria on Fridays during Lent lest they implicitly condone deviation from their dietary codes?

      As far as I know, this is perfectly legal and there’s nothing you could do about it, because employers have the ability to determine what they serve in their own cafeterias for whatever reason they want. As far as I know, a vegetarian employer — for example — could refuse to serve no meals that include meat and nothing could be done. This is because no one is, in fact, actually forced to eat in the cafeteria; they can always buy their lunch elsewhere or bring it from home. So the only possible exception would be if it was not reasonable to eat anywhere else but the cafeteria, and note that in the case you describe the right to freedom of religion would give a pretty good chance of having it lifted, while my vegetarian example would be harder because there’s no actual right involved.

      What if start mandating their employees be baptized as a condition of employment, lest they tacitly approve of their non-Catholicism?

      They can’t; the right to freedom of religion means that you cannot be forced to participate in any religious ritual, which baptism certainly is.

      What if they start discriminating against all atheist hires in their hospitals or universities, lest they tacitly approve of atheism?

      They can’t; the U.S. courts have ruled that having no religion counts for the right to freedom of religion.

      What if they go start banning what they took to be broadly “Islamic” garb or Sikhs’ beards and turbins, lest they tacitly acknowledge the legitimacy of those religions?

      They can’t; the right to freedom of religion does not allow you to discriminate on the basis of religious obligation. And, in light of that, let’s now look at your first statement:

      Look, if they don’t want to get involved with the necessities of their employees which are being legislated for completely justified public health reasons, then maybe they shouldn’t get involved with employees outside their religious goals.

      You seem to be arguing here that barriers to Catholics should be introduced through creating laws that violate what they see as their religious obligations. But all of my counters to your examples point out that that’s precisely what the right to freedom of religion is designed to stop, and in all of the cases you’ve given I presume you think it’s a good thing. But that right cuts both ways.

      You could try to argue that the right to freedom of religion applies on the side of people who don’t have that religious obligation, but note that in this case the only people being actually forced to do anything are the Catholics; for those who are non-Catholic, all that is being asked is that the Catholics not have to be involved in the provision of birth control, but they are not actually forcing anyone to forgo it. Which is what I liked about the compromise; it seemed a totally fair way to allow everyone to be covered without forcing those opposed to it to provide it, although the “providing information” is a little shaky, as I said, because it still means they are forced to be involved.

      If you want to deal with people in the public square you cannot dictate all the moral terms of your engagement. There are some accommodations of each other we need to accept of each other to each other’s beliefs and basic needs.

      I agree. But in the case of rights the GOVERNMENT cannot get involved in imposing them. Individuals get to choose, however, what individuals they associated with, and if some people won’t accommodate what others think are right then that business is lost. But that’s a personal choice, not a government-imposed mandate. The only exceptions would be if the government is simply recognizing a right and deciding which right takes precedence, but I don’t see a competing right here and certainly not one of equal importance.

      The government and every other secular source on the planet and the Catholic laity have all come to a moral and scientific conclusion that contraception is not only a moral good but a part of responsible health care for many people. All that judgment matters.

      Yes, it does … but the whole point of rights is to indeed protect people’s fundamental freedoms when the majority support something that would interfere with them for the minority. So the judgement matters, but doesn’t trump rights … unless you don’t want rights to matter, and want to risk a tyranny of the majority.

      It makes the Catholic hierarchy’s arcane arguments against it matters of sheer archaism.

      Quite possibly, but they have the right to be archaic, guaranteed under freedom of religion. The Amish, for example, are also archaic, and yet no one forces them to change.

      If they want to impose this idiosyncratic religious dogma within their religion as much as they can consistent with freedom of religion for their adherents, then sobeit. But if they are going to expand into dealing with non-Catholics and performing non-religious functions, then they have to respect the widely accepted morality of the overwhelming majority of people in America and the Western World more generally.

      And, conversely, the majority have to respect them. That’s why there are such things as rights, to guarantee that two-way respect. So they can’t force their religion on others, but others can’t force THEIR religions or non-religions on them. As I demonstrated, the right to freedom of religion is a pretty important right, and one that needs to be respected. And so discussions of this have to come in the context of that right, because that’s what they are standing on.

    • http://freethoughtblogs.com/camelswithhammers Daniel Fincke

      VS, you’re granting that employment law should trump any Church concerns about “tacitly” approving of atheism or non-church attendance, etc. So why shouldn’t it trump the Church’s concern about “tacitly” approving of birth control by merely referring their employees to the insurance company without paying directly? If the Church is going to interpret this tacit act of condoning as a basis for trumping others’ rights to contraception according to their own consciences, then why not interpret it as an act of condoning atheism when they can’t fire an atheist?

      Quite possibly, but they have the right to be archaic, guaranteed under freedom of religion. The Amish, for example, are also archaic, and yet no one forces them to change.

      Yeah, but they don’t run hospitals and universities with secular credibility and secular employees, now do they?

    • http://verbosestoic.wordpress.com/ Verbose Stoic

      VS, you’re granting that employment law should trump any Church concerns about “tacitly” approving of atheism or non-church attendance, etc.

      Actually, I never granted that at all. What I argued was that, in those cases, the RIGHT to freedom of religion trumped that concern. Not the law. The RIGHT. When the right and the law clash, the right generally wins. In general, only rights get to trump rights.

      I don’t see the competing right here, and I don’t see how not essentially paying for birth control for their employees could, in fact, violate any right. But arguments on the basis of “that’s what the law says” are, as I have said, the wrong sort of argument. You have to engage at the level of rights, and if all you have to say is “The law says” then my answer will be a continuous “The whole reason for rights is so that you can’t make or enforce a law that infringes on them.”

      If the Church is going to interpret this tacit act of condoning as a basis for trumping others’ rights to contraception according to their own consciences,

      Except they aren’t. They’re simply saying that if you choose to take it, you can pay for it yourself because it is seen to be violating their religious principles to get involved in providing it. Rights generally do not demand that others pay so that you can exercise it (although that is debatable).

    • http://freethoughtblogs.com/camelswithhammers Daniel Fincke

      The right here is to health care. That’s the justification of the entire Affordable Care Act. People have a right to affordable care. Also, scandalously, contraception was not regularly enough covered in health care packages where comparable prescriptions were. This was a tacit prejudice against the rights of women to equal treatment. If health care is a right and women’s rights to contraception are (justifiably) deemed central to their health care rights, and if the health care system makes it onerous to ask individuals to get insurance beyond or without their employers’, then there is a right women can demand for their employers (or at least their employers’ insurers) to cover their contraceptive health care needs. This in this case trumps the religious right to “not tacitly condone” their employees acting in ways the Church thinks is immoral.

    • http://verbosestoic.wordpress.com/ Verbose Stoic

      See, this is the level where the debate should start and, actually, end. My objection has been to the “Religions have to follow the law!” starting point, retreating into this one only after a brave holding and rearguard action (forgive, I just finished watching a documentary series on WWII [grin]).

      I’m not convinced about that right to health care, that it trumps the right to religion, that it requires that birth control be funded, or that not funding birth control really should count as discrimination, but I’m not going to argue on that point since, honestly, I don’t care that much about it and care more about the principles (shocking, I know). So I will only add this:

      There can also be an issue if a government selects a policy that infringes on a right to provide or defend another right when there are other policies available that would provide the right without infringing on the first right. That’s actually why I think the compromise was right and reasonable, since it respected the rights you are talking about without infringing on the right to freedom of religion. To me, rights also mean that a government can’t set up a direct clash over rights so that they can argue that they need to infringe on the one to respect the other. The government must first try any and all policies that can respect both, and only at the point where they clearly cannot respect both should they infringe on one of them. I don’t think this case was anywhere close to that; there were many other options that would respect both, as the compromise demonstrated.

    • John Horstman

      Institutions don’t have freedom of religion, people do. Beyond that, making “religiously-affiliated” employers – And really, where does that end? Can I run a Catholic bakery if I want to legally discriminate against women working at my bakery? – follow the same rules as everyone else in the labor market doesn’t infringe on religious freedom in any way. The “religiously-affiliated” employers are not being forced to use, purchase, or distribute birth control, they’re being required to provide insurance policies that cover birth control as a necessary part of doing business (If they complain about minimum wage laws, do they get an exemption there? They clearly believe in slavery…), wherein the insurance companies are the ones actually buying the medication and the pharmacies are distributing it. This entire thing is a bullshit demand for theocracy, on every single level.

    • michaeld

      Can you force a muslim owner of a store to give his employees a lunch break in the month of ramadan? Its the same idea here. As a public institution they can’t just go around infringing on the rights of their employees because they have a problem with it. Plus the insurance plan is really just another form of payment to your employees. Could Jehovah’s witnesses say they don’t want their health plan to cover blood transfusions? It’s a very slippery slope you’re painting.

    • Jesse

      @Verbose

      What if the employer is a Christian Scientist and doesn’t want to pay for medical care? S/he has a legitimate religious objection to it. But if you get cancer or even salmonella and say “I need to go to a hospital” but your employer won’t provide insurance, what then? You do understand that this shit is expensive, that you can’t shop around for health care (because unlike buying say, shoes, I can’t compare products because if I need it I might you know, DIE so I might not have any reasonable way of comparing them before I buy).

      Gingrich and Santorum have two problems.

      1. They do not believe women are people. Period. Women are baby machines and concubines, in their estimation, and they have made that patently clear with their public statements. Especially Santorum. I wonder if he thinks rape is even a crime.

      2. Because they have always been privileged enough to have health care, they figure the same applies to everybody. The idea that the market would provide adequate care is belied by the fact that it never has when there is nothing like insurance available. (This is why health insurance was invented). The reason is that one side of the transaction has basically infinite pricing power. If you need treatment for something serious, you can’t just go to another seller, you can’t evaluate whether it works, and you only get one chance. That throws the whole idea of a market out the window. Providing bad care wouldn’t hurt sales because dead patients can’t tell anyone what went wrong. This is one reason why snake oil salesmen of the 19th century did such a brisk business.

      In light of those two things, the deal is simple: you provide a health plan, and it provides certain standards of care. If you as an employer have religious objections to any non-job-related behavior of your workers, tough titties. If you want to live in a civilized society with the rest of us, you just have to deal. I might have a religious objection, being a New Age nature woo-meister, to an employee mowing the lawn or something, so I can’t say “I won’t provide a plan that covers you if you get hurt with a lawnmower.”

      It is OK to provide space for people to practice their religion. It is not ok to prevent people from practicing theirs or coerce them into following your religion’s precepts. Why is this hard to get your head around?

    • Jesse

      sorry i think i hit the wrong reply

    • http://verbosestoic.wordpress.com/ Verbose Stoic

      Jesse,

      Are the Amish going to be forced to provide health insurance? Why in the world would we do that?

      Anyway, you, Dan, and michaeld have all used a variation on the same slippery slope argument to argue against this, but since these are rights and rights are not absolute this won’t wash. Either we will, in fact, find a way off the slope or, alternatively, we’ll accept the logical conclusion because RIGHTS ARE THAT IMPORTANT. If you don’t think rights are that important to allow the Christian Scientist to opt out of providing health insurance and those who don’t like that being forced to seek employment elsewhere, well, then you don’t. But others do. And all of these decisions are TOUGH.

      I don’t see the birth control case as being that tough a decision. An exception should be granted. But if you do, then argue for it in the light of rights, not in light of what you think your opponents are thinking.

      It is OK to provide space for people to practice their religion. It is not ok to prevent people from practicing theirs or coerce them into following your religion’s precepts. Why is this hard to get your head around?

      It isn’t. I’m the one arguing, remember, that not allowing the exception is coercing Catholics to follow your religion’s precepts, or at least to abandon theirs. Why do you think that a law forcing them to do something isn’t that sort of coercion? Or do you just not care?

    • http://verbosestoic.wordpress.com/ Verbose Stoic

      Well, first, I don’t see a right that’s being trampled here. Second, your example is about an employer forcing something on employees, and you can’t do that because of the same right I’m appealing to: the right to freedom of religion.

      As for it being just another payment, that makes it worse, not better, because that would be direct provision, and about the only decent counter is that this is in no way forcing a direct provision. As for it being a slippery slope, since no rights are absolute we do have a place to stop. I’m not sure if the JW case you list is one or not. I personally don’t think that the case of birth control is the place to stop, and would like to see an argument from you as to why you think that is the place to stop. Start with the specific right you think that’s being trampled here.

    • Jesse

      Verbose, I’d buy your argument if the following were true:

      1. Employee could switch jobs with no cost
      2. Nobody was working in a situation where they needed a job (that is, they could do without it)
      3. Health care was available to everyone at less cost and crucially, not employer-dependent

      In the US, you need to have a job to get anything like adequate insurance. If we had some system a la Canada or Switzerland or Germany, or even the UK or France, none of this would be an issue.

      You DO understand the huge, honking, gigantic power differential that exists between employer and employee? You have had to find a job once or twice in your life?

      The Catholic Church — or any of its institutions — aren’t being asked to provide birth control. They are being asked to provide plans that offer it as an option. Big difference.

      Now, as a sort of abstract principle its great to say that anyone could just seek employment elsewhere. But that is so stupid whenever anyone says it that I can hardly believe anyone trots it out as a real argument. The only people who say it, IMO are those who have never had to look for a job in the US and contend with all the crap you need to actually DO to live your life in a way that doesn’t involve turning tricks in the Port Authority and hoping a charitable institution will keep you alive when you get sick.

      Again I ask: do Christian Science organizations have the right to not offer insurance at all? And can they do anything to keep their employees from seeking care? Not funding it has that effect, you know.

  • Sarah

    Good God what a load of bullshit. The Catholic Church doesn’t want people having sex using contraceptives. That’s it. They don’t mind you not having sex, they don’t demand women are forcibly impregnated, they are just against contraception. You’re just another Moral Majority shill trying to whip up moral hysteria with innaccurate lies.

    “Atheists have no morality!” “Leftists hate America!” “Muslims just want us bound by Sharia Law in the New Islamic Caliphate!” “Feminists just want a femocracy!” “The Catholic Church wants Women Pregnant Against Their Wills!”

    What’s the common thread between these lies? Moral hysteria. It doesn’t matter that Atheists do have morality, Leftists don’t all hate America, nor do all Muslims want a Caliphate and Sharia Law, nor all Feminists want a Femocracy, or that the Catholic church doesn’t want women pregnant against their wills, because it’s just so bad!, it’s what some of them say!, it’s what we’ve worked out from what they say given our tendentious reading of their words, it’s the “only” “logical” outcome of what we claim are their beliefs!

    It’s lazy, it’s stupid and it’s borderline bigotry.

  • Tony

    Sarah:
    I fail to see the bullshit here.
    In the United States, the primary use of contraceptives is to prevent unwanted pregnancies {1}(that isn’t the *only* positive use of contraceptives, however {2}). The Catholic Church is strongly vehemently opposed to any form of birth control {“Contraception is defined as “every action which, whether in anticipation of the conjugal act, or in its accomplishment, or in the development of its natural consequences, proposes, whether as an end or as a means, to render procreation impossible.” Contraception so defined is intrinsically evil{3} }. The Raping Children Church (RCC for short) believes that sex is for the purpose of procreation, and that said procreation is to be done solely in the context of a traditional heterosexual marriage (“Observing the Natural Law means that each and every marital act must of necessity retain its intrinsic relationship to the procreation of human life”{4} ). Sure, they don’t mind if hetero married couples don’t have sex, but they sure don’t want anyone who is unmarried to have sex (and they certainly don’t want anyone engaging in homosexual sex). Finally, one of the central teachings of Christianity is to ‘…be fruitful and multiply’{5}. Denying women access to birth control, while championing the ‘make more babies’ crusade definitely equals the RCC wanting women pregnant against their wills. They just don’t want to openly admit their misogyny. At least the Quiverfull Movement is honest about women being baby makers {6}. Of course the Roman Catholic Church is the last organization I’d expect honesty from. After all, they seem fond of protecting child raping priests {7}.

    “…or that the Catholic church doesn’t want women pregnant against their wills, because it’s just so bad!, it’s what some of them say!, it’s what we’ve worked out from what they say given our tendentious reading of their words, it’s the “only” “logical” outcome of what we claim are their beliefs!”

    It isn’t so much that some of them say (though certainly that’s an element). Rather, it’s the fact that this is part of the central tenets of their religion. The bible is a great source for some of the most twisted morality I’ve ever seen.

    Sources:
    {1,2} http://womenshealth.about.com/cs/thepill/a/otherbenorcontr.htm
    {3}http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catholic_teachings_on_sexual_morality#Natural_law
    {4} http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catholic_theology_of_the_body#Limited_rights_over_the_body
    {5}King James 2000 Bible (©2003)
    “And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moves upon the earth.”
    {6}”Quiverfull is a movement among some conservative evangelical Christian couples chiefly in the United States, but with some adherents in Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Britain and elsewhere. It promotes procreation, and sees children as a blessing from God, eschewing all forms of birth control, including natural family planning and sterilization.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quiverfull
    {7}http://www.nbclosangeles.com/news/Catholic-Churtch-Los-Angeles-Archdiocese-Priests-Accused-Pedophile-Molest-Children-139129294.html
    http://www.rollingstone.com/culture/news/the-catholic-churchs-secret-sex-crime-files-20110906
    http://www.baylor.edu/lariat/news.php?action=story&story=73215

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/apr/21/boston-globe-abuse-scandal-catholic (“That’s certainly true: within two years of the first of the Globe’s 800 articles on the scandal appearing in January 2002, Rezendes notes, Cardinal Law had resigned, 150 priests in Boston stood accused of sexual abuse, more than 500 victims had filed abuse claims, and church-goers’ donations to the archdiocese had slumped by 50%.”)

    Oh, and to the Pope, and every other individual who helped enable, or cover-up these heinous crimes against humanity, you and those like you represent the worst humanity has to offer (which makes it so much more puke inducing that they hold themselves up as a ‘moral authority’).

    • Sarah

      “I fail to see the bullshit here”

      That’s because you’re not trying very hard or you’re not that bright. Let me lay it out for you simply:

      The Catholic church actually wants: People not to have sex, or have sex within marriage without contraception.

      Camels’ title: The catholic church wants women pregnant against their wills

      Can you see how “The catholic church wants people not to have sex, or to have sex within marriage without contraception” is not the same as “The catholic church wants women pregnant against their wills”

      Now it’s not rocket science, but you’re obviously not smart, since you just posted a bunch of quotes that support my contention (that the catholic church is against contraception) but none that supported his contention (that the catholic church wants women pregnant against their wills) and then you’ve acted like you haven’t agreed with me, so I’ll ask you simply… do you understand how those sentences are not the same thing??

      p.s. you may think that it makes your point stronger to repeatedly mention child abuse, but it really reveals that you are so angry about that that you hate the Catholic church enough that you do not care about being accurate in your attacks on them. As shown by your essential “conspiracy theory” that the Catholic church is sekritly the same as the quiverfull movement but is “hiding it” by “saying they’re against contraception instead of admitting they sekritly want women to be brood mares”
      You’re a bigot (RCC eh? What do you call Muslims? Islamabombers? How about Jews?) and an idiot, and a paranoid/partisan conspiracy theorist.

    • http://freethoughtblogs.com/camelswithhammers Daniel Fincke

      The Catholic church actually wants: People not to have sex, or have sex within marriage without contraception.

      And the Catholic church wants those married people who want to refrain from having children to not have the contraception they want because they can’t afford it, thus having children they don’t want via women pregnant against their explicit intentions.

    • Sarah

      Nope. They think they should use contraception whether they can afford it or not. They do not want to pay for the contraception if the women are going to use it. If they do not want children they can either ignore the Church or not have sex.

      At no point is the Church demanding women get pregnant against their will.

      You’re being deeply dishonest here Daniel.

    • Sarah

      Damnit. *should not use contraception*

    • http://freethoughtblogs.com/camelswithhammers Daniel Fincke

      No, it’s the Church that’s being deeply dishonest. As usual.

    • Sarah

      Catholic church: Don’t use contraception

      Daniel: You want women to get pregnant against their wills

      Catholic church: Nope, we just don’t want you using contraception. No-one is saying you have to have sex.

      Daniel: No. You want them to get pregnant against their will. You are lying. Not me. Can you not read what is written above, where you say “We want you pregnant whether you like it or not”??

      It’s in black and white Daniel. They say “We don’t think you should use contraception”, you say that they actually say what the Quiverfull movement says “You should be pregnant all the time like brood-mares” but you are wrong, and are verging on being intellectually dishonest in repeating your mistake without researching it.

      What you’re doing is taking one thing people disagree with (You shouldn’t use contraception) and eliding it with something much worse (Wanting women pregnant against their will), to make a rhetorical point.

      It’s just like taking one thing people disagree with (Teaching neutrally or positively about gay people) and eliding it with something much worse (Turning kids gay with their evil propaganda), to make a rhetorical point. It’s wrong and it’s either deeply mistaken or deeply dishonest. It is when they do it, it is when you do it.

      If you disagree with an anti-contraception stance, then disagree with that. Don’t use your moral outrage at something that no-one teaches or believes to try and cover them both and make anti-contraception stance seem worse than it actually is. (Why would you bother? There’s enough to call it on for what it actually is without lying.)

    • Joanne

      Having sex = Potential pregnancy

      For every action, there is a consequence. If you don’t want to get pregnant, don’t have sex. It’s that simple. If you murdered someone, don’t be surprised that you have to go to jail.

      I don’t know how we can see children as something we have to protect ourselves from. The world is becoming a scary place. What benefits has this sexual revolution created? As far as I’m concerned, cheap meaningless sex where women are to be used for their bodies and where babies are unwanted does not consitute a benefit.

      Tony: “Contraception was not invented to prevent pregnancy. There already existed a perfectly safe, infallibly reliable way of doing that; it’s called abstinence. Upon deeper reflection, it becomes clear that contraception was invented to indulge sexual instinct.” I think the bigger question is, what are the consequences to indulging sexual instinct? What is the impact of that on society?

      I have a lot of respect for the Church saying that they will not pay for contraception for employees. They are acting in line with their beliefs. They are to be commended for having the integrity not to succomb to outside pressures. As a practicing Catholic, I would be very upset to find out if their words and actions did not conform to each other. It takes a lot of courage to stand up for your beliefs in the face of criticism, especially uneducated ones at that.

  • Zarron

    Sarah,

    The reason many of us believe that the RCC wants women pregnant against their wills is because we are looking beyond their public statements, which are carefully engineered to be inoffensive, and we are looking at the intended results of their actions, which speak much louder than their words.

    Let’s look at the possible outcomes that may occur when a Catholic organization exercises their “conscience”, and denies a woman access to contraceptives without co-pays as part of their insurance benefit.

    1) That woman buys contraceptives on her own, and continues behaving as before. However, they have succeeded in imposing a financial punishment on that woman, on the order of $30 a month. (The insurer would have otherwise provided it for free, since contraceptives are cheaper than covering the costs of childbirth)

    2) That woman cannot afford to buy contraceptives, and stops having sex because of it. The Catholic church has succeeded in forcing their religious beliefs on a non-Catholic through financial extortion. This is disrespectful of that woman’s free will.

    3) That woman cannot afford to buy contraceptives, but has sex anyway. And in this scenario, they may become pregnant against their will.

    All three of these outcomes disgust me, on a moral level, and I think you should be disturbed as well. What is the motivation here? Why would anyone want this?

    • Sarah

      and we are looking at the intended results of their actions, which speak much louder than their words.”

      Where have I heard something like that before? Ah yes, in my first post: “[they will justify their claims with] it’s the “only” “logical” outcome of what we claim are their beliefs!

      Lets have a look at your consequences:

      1) There is no financial penalty, she pays for contraception if she wants it. Claiming that not having your contraception covered is actually a penalty is the same as saying “men have a financial penalty because insurance doesn’t cover their contraception”
      Not being bought something for free is not the same as being penalized.

      2) The woman’s “free will” has not been tampered with, nor has religion been forced upon her. If she does not like the package of benefits that particular employer offers she is free to work somewhere that pays for her contraception.
      I don’t get a free company car because my boss is a Green. Have I had his beliefs “forced on me” or my free will abrogated? It’s financial extortion I swear!

      3) If you have consensual unprotected sex then you are consenting to potentially getting pregnant. If you don’t consent to that possibility don’t have unprotected sex.

      “All three of these outcomes disgust me, on a moral level, and I think you should be disturbed as well.”

      It may disgusts you morally but your arguments do not support that disgust. What you describe is not that bad.

      You think I should be disturbed that women either a) have to pay for their own contraception (like men do) or b) choose not to use contraception and then choose whether to have unprotected sex or not?

      I’m not.

      “What is the motivation here? Why would anyone want this”

      Why would anyone want this? Really? That’s your question? Up until now your post has been sensible (though incorrect IMHO) arguments. This? It’s rhetorical bullshit. “Why would anyone want this?” How about… they don’t think contraception is moral, and they don’t want to be forced to pay for it?

      Wow. That was hard! But answering rhetorical bullshit is always easy, because the bullshitter (you, in this instance) always leaves the field plain for their intended implication “Because they’re evil, there is no good reason so it’s because they hate us, etc, etc” and that always leaves you space to put the obvious answer in. (That of course many people will not accept because what they really want is to hear how evil the ‘other’ is)

      p.s. just for a little hilarity, lets have a look at what counts as “Forcing your religious beliefs on someone”, in your eyes.

      Women being able to legally buy their own birth control if they want it, the Church not being forced to pay for it, and some women choosing not to have sex when they can’t afford birth control = “The Catholic church has succeeded in forcing their religious beliefs on a non-Catholic through financial extortion”

      The Catholic church and Catholic people being forced to violate their religious beliefs by force of law, all women being entitled to free birth control = “Totally fine, definitely not the non-Catholic majority forcing their religious belief that birth control is fine onto Catholics.”

      Truly, the logic is breathtaking.

    • Sarah

      p.s. here in England we have “socialised medicine”, the horror!, and yet still, both men and women are “penalized” by not having their elective contraception covered!

  • Joanne

    The Church does not want women to get pregnant against their will. Before making such a statement, you should look at the Church’s stance on contraception and why they are opposed to it.

    A great website to get more information on the Church’as position against contraception can be found here: http://onemoresoul.com/featured/why-contraception-matters.html

    The Church understands that there are points in all women’s lives where she will not want to have a baby. But the solution to that isn’t to go on contraceptives, but to practice Natural Family Planning, which involves abstaining during periods of a women’s fertility, if the married couple does not want to get pregnant. For more information, please see this website: http://chastity.com/chastity-qa/birth-control/natural-family-planning-nfp/whats-

    I hope this better clarifies the Church’s position and I hope you can see that the title of this article is inaccurate.

    I want to end off with a quote from Christopher West, who does talks on Theology of the Body, which is a way of life that incorporates faith with sex. He said “Contraception was not invented to prevent pregnancy. There already existed a perfectly safe, infallibly reliable way of doing that; it’s called abstinence. Upon deeper reflection, it becomes clear that contraception was invented to indulge sexual instinct.” I think the bigger question is, what are the consequences to indulging sexual instinct? What is the impact of that on society?

  • Joanne

    One other point. Some Feminists have been against the contraceptive mentality. See this link: http://chastity.com/chastity-qa/birth-control/morality/why-catholic-church-again

    Some argue that the Church restricts women’s freedom by opposing contraception. However, the sour fruit of contraceptive “liberation” is manifested most clearly not by arguments but by the lives of those who accept such false ideas of freedom. Consider the following question that one young woman sent to Dear Abby: “I am a twenty-three-year-old liberated woman who has been on the Pill for two years. It’s getting pretty expensive and I think my boyfriend should share half the cost, but I don’t know him well enough to discuss money with him.”[5] In the words of Christopher West, “If the real problem behind women’s oppression is men’s failure to treat them properly as persons, contraception is a sure way to keep women in chains.”[6]

    The earliest feminists opposed contraception for this reason, and some modern feminists still realize that contraception is the enemy of women’s liberation.[7]

    [5]. Abigail Van Buren, The Best of Dear Abby (New York: Andrews and McMeel, 1981), 242. As quoted in Donald DeMarco, New Perspectives on Contraception (Dayton, Ohio: One More Soul, 1999), 42.
    [6]. Christopher West, Good News About Sex and Marriage, (Ann Arbor, Michigan: Servant Publications, 2000), 122.
    [7]. Donald DeMarco, “Contraception and the Trivialization of Sex” (https://www.cuf.org/Laywitness/Online_view.asp?lwID=670).

    • Nepenthe

      Ah, this would explain the amazing strides made by women since the advent of hormonal contraception. If we had stayed chained to our biology, unable to plan our futures, we would be truly liberated.

    • Joanne

      I never mentioned anything about not being able to plan. In fact, it is called Natural Family PLANning for a reason. With modern science, women are now more educated about their bodies and fertility, which is a great aid in planning when is or isn’t a good time to get pregnant. The decision lies with each and every woman. Women do NOT need to resort to contraception to plan to have or not have a baby.

    • bevtoastily

      That “Dear Abby” question was obviously fake. It was written by some anti-abortion fanatic who clearly hates women (especially young women) and has the compulsion to characterize them all as “sluts”. No real woman fucking describes herself as “a liberated woman”, and the little bit where the supposed 23 year old woman says that she doesn’t know her boyfriend of two years well enough to talk to him about money? Hilarious.

  • Tony

    Joanne:

    With modern science, women are now more educated about their bodies and fertility, which is a great aid in planning when is or isn’t a good time to get pregnant.

    Are you talking about the same modern science that helped refine contraceptives?
    As for for the “best time” to get pregnant, when exactly is that? Are husbands and wives (we know it’s supposed to be *just* married heterosexual couples having sex, and no one else, according to the vile tenets of the catholic church) supposed to forego sexual interaction until they decide they’re ready to procreate? That sounds preposterous that two people who make the decision to have sex, but also don’t want kids, *can’t* because the catholic church doesn’t like contraceptives. It’s even more preposterous that the church hierarchy is so quick to call religious discrimination (which this isn’t at all) when they want to deny contraceptive access via employer healthcare packages purchased by non-catholics. That’s religious bigotry, arrogance, and privilege rolled into one.
    In addition, through all the current cry baby antics of the catholic bishops, I’ve yet to hear any ongoing denouncing of condom use by men (and I’ve sat through catholic radio, listening to some of the misogynistic crap they spew–on a regular basis). I *know* it’s been done before, but the vast opposition to contraceptive use is disproportionately directed at women. Yet the bishops (as well as the depraved rantings of politicians) say the contraceptive issue isn’t about women’s health. Perhaps someone should remind them that the onus isn’t only on women when it comes to decisions about family planning. It should be up to and the choice of the individuals involved. They should have access to any and all options they may desire, as well as be educated on contraceptive use.
    Moreover, this ridiculous battle over women’s reproductive rights (or attack on religion, as too many people believe and I can’t even fathom why, as no one is being *forced* to violate their beliefs) focuses so damn much on abortion (which birth control would help lessen the desire of, since it y’know can be used to prevent women from getting pregnant) and to a lesser extent birth control that people continue to forget that contraceptives have uses above and beyond stopping pregnancies. For instance:

    http://www.youngwomenshealth.org/med-uses-ocp.html Adolescent girls and young women are frequently prescribed birth control pills for irregular or absent menstrual periods, menstrual cramps, acne, PMS, endometriosis, and for Polycystic Ovary Syndrome. Girls who are diagnosed with PCOS are often prescribed oral contraceptives to lower their hormone levels and regulate their menstrual periods.

    Having gone through my teen years with bad acne, and dealing with the horrible self esteem I had, I’m happy to know that options are available for women seeking to deal with acne.


    Women do NOT need to resort to contraception to plan to have or not have a baby.

    You’re right. Men could take some damn responsibility and use a condom. Or pull out. Or get a vasectomy. Or abstain*. Heck, I heard a politician (or maybe she was a comedian; or both) recently say (in response to the contraceptive ‘controversy’) that women could stop having sex and see how long it takes for men to show support for contraception.
    You also don’t seem to include men in the discussion. Women don’t have to use contraception. What about the men involved in the sexual activity? What if *he* asks if she’s on the pill? What if he won’t have sex with a girl if she’s not on the pill because he doesn’t want to wear a condom (I don’t think this is a good line of reasoning, mind you)? Finally, what about all the people out there who believe sex is a healthy, natural aspect of human existence (propenents of which, you’ll find among believers, humanists and probably every other philosophical system of belief), and if two consenting adults want to have sex–married or not–they should be able to without having to worry about “will the she get pregnant”?

    *just joking about the last one. Only someone unable to do a proper search online for the failure rate of abstinence only programs would think this is a practical form of birth control.

    P.S. none of this even begins to touch on the idea that no one should be listening to the catholic church about any “moral” issue. Given the systematic child sex scandals that have rocked the church for a good chunk of the 20th century (and beyond), the church is in no position to issue edicts about morality. If you can’t see that raping boys and girls is wrong, you don’t get to say “don’t use contraceptives because they’re immoral”.

  • Joanne

    Tony: Contraception refers not only to birth control, but to condoms, the withdrawal method, having vasectomies, etc. And yes, I am against all forms of that. You’re right, it’s not only the women that need to be educated, but the men as well. Thank you for bringing up that point.

    The best time to have or not have a baby is up to each individual married couple. When you don’t want to have a baby, you abstain for the few days where the wife is fertile. Couples abstain periodically for good reasons all the time. Maybe you have guests over. Maybe one of them is sick. Maybe they don’t want to have a baby now. What is so hard to understand about that?

    Do you know how a woman’s reproductive cycle works? A woman’s egg can only live for 24 hours, but a man’s sperm can live for 48-72 hours. If you, as my husband, can’t take control of your sexual urges for 3 days a month because we know it’s not a good time to have a baby, I would seriously quesion your self-control on any other serious matter, as well as your concern over our well-being as a couple. http://bodyandhealth.canada.com/channel_section_details.asp?text_id=4442&channel_id=2048&relation_id=43233

    If you are so against the employee benefits when working for a religious organization, maybe you shouldn’t work for them in the first place? Why would it be surprising that they wouldn’t support contraceptives? They are only being consistent with their beliefs.
    If you believe it to be important, you probably wouldn’t like working there anyway, as appears to be the case. You chose accepted that job knowing what benefits there are. If you didn’t like it, you didn’t have to take it.

    Actually, there is a correlation between the increase in contraception and the increase in abortion. Please read the following article, since it articulates the points better than I can: http://chastity.com/chastity-qa/birth-control/safe-sex/isnt-using-birth-control-

    Yes, there are other medical uses for birth control. Yes, it has been known to fight acne and regulate irregular periods. If birth control were prescribed for only those particular purposes, I have no problem with that. But the fact is that most women are using birth control for it’s exact purpose – to contracept. This is where the battle rages.

    You mention the medicinal benefits of birth control, but there are also negative side effects which should also be mentioned. Unfortunately, they far outweigh the benefits. See this link: http://www.medicinenet.com/oral_contraceptives_birth_control_pills/page2.htm

    SIDE EFFECTS: The most common side effects of the birth control pills include nausea, headache, breast tenderness, weight gain, irregular bleeding, and mood changes. These side effects often subside after a few months’ use. Scanty menstrual periods or breakthrough bleeding may occur but are often temporary, and neither side effect is serious. Women with a history of migraines may notice an increase in migraine frequency. On the other hand, women whose migraines are triggered by fluctuations in their own hormone levels may notice improvement in migraines with oral contraceptive use because of the more uniform hormone levels during oral contraceptive use. Uncommonly, oral contraceptives may contribute to increased blood pressure, blood clots, heart attack, and stroke. Women who smoke, especially those over 35, and women with certain medical conditions, such as a history of blood clots or breast or endometrial cancer, may be advised against taking oral contraceptives, as these conditions can increase the adverse risks of oral contraceptives.

    I too believe sex is a healthy, natural aspect of human existence. After all, none of us would be here without the sexual act of our parents. I just believe that it is a gift that should be used in certain circumstances. I refer again to this great website to get more information on the Church’as position against contraception can be found here: http://onemoresoul.com/featured/why-contraception-matters.html

    Also, please note that the pregnancy rates of couples who practice natural family planning have great statistics when it comes to preventing pregnancy. The question is, are you willing to get more information and are you open to learning something new? See the following: http://www.woomb.org/bom/trials/index.html

    Teenagers face a great deal of sexual pressure these days. I’m not oblivious to that. To abstain takes a great deal of restraint and strength. Teenagers need encouragement about the benefits of waiting until marriage. If we are honest with ourselves, we all want love, not just sex. As a woman, being used is a very real concern with men these days. The true test of whether he is worthy of us is if he will commit to us permanently = marriage. If he can’t wait until then, he isn’t someone worthy to make love to in the first place. As a man, I don’t know if you can fully understand this, but for a woman, it’s innate. If you have a daughter, how would you want her to be treated? How can she maintain self-respect and love for herself if she lets herself be used by men who don’t really want anything from her except her body?

    Lastly, the Church has made mistakes in the past. But this does not change that the Church’s teaching on contraception is wrong. Does that mean we shouldn’t listen to the Church when they say it’s wrong to murder, steal, cheat or lie? No, one has nothing to do with the other.

    If you’d like more resources to get all the information, I’d be happy to send you more.

    • bevtoastily

      You don’t get to decide when and why other people have sex. You’re delusional.

  • Tony

    For anyone interested in the actual benefits to having contraception more readily available, Ed Brayton has a new post up with a link that provides properly researched, non biased, non religious evidence: http://freethoughtblogs.com/dispatches/2012/03/19/birth-control-saves-money-again/

    As for any individual who feels the catholic church deserves respect for anything…I can’t stress how it saddens me to hear something that atrocious. They can’t denounce the priests that raped children. They’re complicit in coverups. They shuffled around guilty priests instead of turning them over to the authorities. They railroaded various law enforcement officials. The catholic church in spain sold newborns to families they deemed more worthy than their birth parents. The catholic church continues to denounce the evils of condom use in Africa, which could help dramatically stem the tide of STI’s and the uncontrolled birth rate (of which abstinence is no help). Yet, they have the audacity to say they have the moral high ground when discussing abortion and birth control (never mind the fact that access to adequate contraceptives would lower the abortion rate). Anyone supporting the catholic church…just…I can’t wrap my brain around how someone could support the leading contender for “World’s Most Evil Institution”.

    • Joanne

      Tony: Increasing access to contraception will not reduce the number of unplanned pregancies. Please read this: http://chastity.com/chastity-qa/birth-control/safe-sex/isnt-using-birth-control-

      In terms of why the Church says shipping condoms to Africa will not reduce the spread of the AIDS epidemic, find more information here: http://www.firstthings.com/article/2008/03/002-aids-and-the-churches-getting-the-story-right-27

      For a study on abstinence vs. sex education, this is an insightful resouce: http://thf_media.s3.amazonaws.com/2004/pdf/67539_1.pdf

      I think it’s sad that you’re generalizing the Church based on mistakes made by a small subset of that group. There is good and bad in every group, as well as every person. For every bad act committed by the Church, there are so many unnoted good acts by other members of the Church. I pray that you find it in your heart to learn more about the Church’s perspective without bias or prejudice. May you find the Truth for what it is, not what you want it to be.

      Just a little info about myself. I’m 32 years old and have come to embrace the Church’s teaching on contraception. I have been used by men who were not worth of laying a finger on my body. In following my faith, I have been blessed with a wonderful husband who respects and loves me in my entirety, flaws and all, fertility and all. We have a beautiful daughter who is 2.5 and we have another one coming. I have lived out the Truth and have had so many blessings because of it. I pray you will too.

    • bevtoastily

      “The Church” is wrong on all those points. Sorry.

  • DavidM

    Wow, Daniel, more ignorant anti-Catholic vitriolic garbage! You do some good work – this isn’t it. For someone with an intelligent understanding of this issue, read Kristen Walker:

    http://liveactionnews.org/opinion/u-s-out-of-my-uterus-but-first-buy-me-stuff-for-my-uterus/

    • bevtoastily

      Criticism isn’t bigotry. Get over it.

  • TraceyP

    No. The Church is saying that not only is lifestyle choice not “medical”, which it is NOT, but that employers shouldn’t have to provide lifestyle choice medicines. You’ve got to understand “medicine”, you see: it’s to make a sick person better, not to advocate a lifestyle choice. The Church (and insurance companies!) have traditionally allowed hormone pills for women in need for MEDICAL reasons (hot flashes, slowing down menopause after hysterectomies). But society shouldn’t REDEFINE MEDICINE and medical care to include lifestyle choices, because the woman wanting birth control is horny, NOT SICK. Or are YOU saying that being horny is a physical malady?

    Furthermore, if one expands the definition of medical care to lifestyle choices, then one will have to provide cigarettes to addicts, children to pedophiles, and (YOU KNOW IT’S COMING) “sexual reassignment” surgeries to those who feel like they’re in the wrong body?

    • bevtoastily

      Yeah, well, they’re not concerned with Viagra being covered, you hypocrite. Old men don’t NEED sex, they want it, and that is a lifestyle choice. Oh, and also, it is medically necessary for a woman who doesn’t want to be pregnant to avoid pregnancy. AND how do you expect employers to know whether hormonal birth control pills are prescribed as contraception or to treat a medical malady? Is the employee expected to divulge that info to their boss? Do employees have ANY privacy? You’re an idiot and a hypocrite.


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