New polls: Catholics favor birth control in health care coverage

I don’t think we’ve seen the last of polls like this — or interpretations of them.  Details:

The Catholic bishops, backed by conservative evangelicals, say the Obama administration shouldn’t include contraceptioncoverage as part of free preventive care options in employers’ health insurance plans.

Hence the showdown: As our editorial Monday says, religious liberties fight or, as Health and Human Services SecretaryKathleen Sebelius says, a free choice issue.

And here’s where the Catholic women come in. According to the Public Religion Research Institute poll released today,

A majority (55%) of Americans agree that “employers should be required to provide their employees with health care plans that cover contraception and birth control at no cost.” Four-in-ten (40%) disagree with this requirement.

Key breakdowns

  • 58% of all Catholics agree employers should be required to provide their employees with health care plans that cover contraception. That slides down to 52% for Catholic voters, 50% for white Catholics.
  • 61% of religiously unaffiliated Americans say employer plans should cover contraception.
  • 50%of white mainline Protestants want the coverage. However, for evangelical Protestants, that drops to 38%.

And perhaps of greater note among election-watchers:

Women are significantly more likely than men to agree that employers should be required to provide health care plans that cover contraception (62% vs. 47% respectively).

A second poll, also released today from Public Policy Polling, has similar findings. This poll, conducted at the request of Planned Parenthood, finds

…a majority of voters, including a majority of Catholics, don’t believe Catholic hospitals and universities should be exempted from providing the benefit.

…Independent voters support this benefit by a 55/36 margin; in fact, a majority of voters in every racial, age and religious category that we track express support. In particular, a 53 percent majority of Catholic voters, who were oversampled as part of this poll, favor the benefit, including fully 62 percent of Catholics who identify themselves as independents.

Read the rest.


  1. I don’t trust any poll of Catholics without qualifying what kind of Catholics we are talking about. I know all kinds of Catholics who haven’t set foot in a Church in years.

    On a sidenote: At 2PM, K. Handel, who just resigned from Komen over the PP dispute will be on Fox News Channel in her first interview since the resignation.

  2. That would be 2 PM EST – less than 10 minutes from the time of this post.

  3. This illustrates the sampled “Catholics’” ignorance of the basic tenets of the faith.

  4. Is this push-polling?

    To a scientist, the least important part of a report such as this, are the numbers. The method is everything.

    How scientific was the sampling?
    Who was sampled?
    How were they chosen?
    Where was the sampling performed (NY & LA or Lincoln, Nebraska?)
    How many are practicing Catholics?
    How frequently do they attend Mass?
    How many follow the Church’s teachings on sex?
    When was the poll taken?
    How many people were questioned?
    What was the exact wording of the questions?
    In what order were the questions presented topically?
    What sorts of allowances were made for nuanced or graded responses?
    What were the ages of those sampled?
    What was the educational background of those sampled?
    What was the marital status of those sampled?
    Who wrote the questions?
    Who paid for the study?

    There is a great deal that goes into simply defining Catholic identity, let alone establishing a representative sampling of that identity. Doubting Thomas was the original empiricist of the Church, and my patron as a scientist. I want the internals of these studies before the numbers mean anything to me.

  5. vox borealis says:

    The methodology is irrelevant. Even if the polls perfectly reflect reality, it doesn’t matter. It. is. besides. the. point. (to quote or paraphrase Ed Peters). To even address the debate on these terms is to buy into ObamaCo’s rhetorical and logical framework.

    Now, looking past the immediate issue of the HHS mandate, do these poll numbers really shock anyone? Most people in the US are split along political lines. Sooner or later all “moral” and “social” as well as “political” and “economic” and “whatever” issues resolve themselves along the same spectrum. The same 50+% who agree with this are the same 50+% that will pull the “D” lever regardless the candidate.

  6. Don from NH says:

    As this whole issue is more interpreted we will find more of these polls to come out with this type of response.

    Other than the Catholic Republicans and the Bishops that are loosing sleep over this, the 55% are more concerned with issues that directly effect brining up there family and making ends meet.

    When the Republicans and Bishops actually stand up against Newt and others believing that we dont need child labor laws and that children should be janitors in our schools…and other such inequalities, then the 55% will continue to feel that those who speak the loudest on this issue are really out of touch with the realty that goes on in the lives of everyday individual families.

  7. This is an important poll in that it explodes the myth being pushed by Planned Parenthood that “98% of Catholic women favor contraception”. Not so, according to this poll… it’s still a majority (55%) but it’s not “overwhelming, permanent” super-majority of 98% as was the stat cast around on week 1 of the bruhaha.

    Now if 55% of the public or sample opine that X is good and ought to be the law of the land and liberals insist we “listen to the eternal will of the people who will never change”…then why they fighting “the majority” in Prop 8?

    Because in the debate over Prop 8, they, the liberals stand on principle – a principle they believe exists regardless of how popular it may be.

    Interesting that these same folk can’t see that’s how the bishops see this debate hinging on…. as well as interesting that 55% in this context means everything while 55% in Prop 8 suddenly loses all value.

  8. Yes it’s push polling and yes the numbers are irrelevant. The contempt the media and Obama have for our collective intelligence is amazing.

    What if 55% of Americans were in favor of owning slaves in 1870? Would that mean the country could have turned a blind eye to claims that slavery violated the 14th amendment? Could the 14th amendment have been ignored, like the 1st amendment is being ignored now?

    Obama and company don’t care for the totality of the Bill of Rights or the Constitution, they pick and choose and would really like to replace it altogether.

  9. It would be nice if people showed some respect to Catholics who dissent on the issue of contraception and not just dismiss them as fallen away or ill informed or selfish. Considering many of the arguements against artificial contraception are supposedly based on Natural Law, which is found inside each of us, you’d think it would be more obvious to people what the truth actually is. The Church also tends to lose credibility on this issue for two other reasons: the people making the decisions for all of these women are all celibate males, and the Church allows regulation of birth through natural methods but not artificial methods. To most people, the teaching which prohibits artificial contraception is unfair and nonsensical. To simply cloak yourself in God won’t cut it. To simply say this is the TRUTH, like it or not, won’t cut it. (Some people love this sort of certainty and direction from their Faith tradition, but many 21st century people do not.) You can argue all you want about the Holy Spirit guiding the Church and the Church possessing the Truth, but people apparently don’t recognize THIS truth inside themselves and they don’t trust or respect the system which is telling them what is sinful and what is not. (By the way, in my marriage, because I don’t want to be guilty of sin, but not because I ever understood or agreed with this, even though I read and studied Humane Vitae, I practiced NFP.)

  10. “It would be nice if people showed some respect to Catholics who dissent on the issue of contraception and not just dismiss them as fallen away or ill informed or selfish”
    I respect those who disagree but not their disagreement. To call any teaching unfair and nonsensical show no respect for the Church, the Pope nor the teaching. It is also calling those who assent to the teaching somewhat less intelligent than the poor slobs who obey it. If 21st century people don’t like certainty they ought to look somewhere else where things change like the wind.

  11. Well, here are your answers, and they satisfy me, as a survey researcher myself, that the study met standards for a reasonably accurate poll.

    The question, as asked:

    All employers should be required to provide their employees with health care plans that cover contraception or birth control at no cost

    Methodological standards:

    Survey Methodology
    The survey was designed and conducted by Public Religion Research Institute. Results of the survey were based on bilingual (Spanish and English) RDD telephone interviews conducted between February 1, 2012 and February 5, 2012 by professional interviewers under the direction of Social Science Research Solutions (SSRS). Interviews were conducted among a random sample of 1,009 adults 18 years of age or older in the continental United States (304 respondents were interviewed on a cell phone).
    The final sample was weighted to five different parameters—age, sex, geographic region, education and telephone usage1—to ensure reliable and accurate representation of the total adult population.
    The margin of error for the survey is +/-­‐ 3.5 percentage points at the 95% level of confidence. In addition to sampling error, surveys may also be subject to error or bias due to question wording, context and order effects.

    You may not like what this poll says, but it appears to be a fair snapshot of current US public opinion. QED.

  12. that should be: It is calling those who assent to the teaching less inteligent than those who DON’T

  13. Diane – unfortunately that doesn’t matter to the media, politicians, or pollsters. This is a matter that is going to be fought in the public square. I agree with your sentiment, but I just think that we must not be naive to think that we can define the terms in these matters. We have to admit where we have been at fault and do better moving forward.

    If someone identifies as Catholic, even those will ill-intent to skew the data, we have to make the public see that as a fraud. Right now though, it isn’t inconceivable to think that Catholics want contraception coverage, even if it is contrary to Catholic teaching. I mean, how many other places to “many” Catholics diverge from Church teaching?

    See what I mean… we have to make it inconceivable for the public to think that Catholics believe anything other than what the Church teaches.

  14. vox borealis says:

    Actually, I reject them on this issue as irrelevant. It does not matter what the majority of Catholics do or feel about a given issue. What matters is that the state is attempting to force Church run organizations to violate their own terms, which *should* be glaringly unconstitutional but somehow in the screwy new US of A it is not.

    I mean, I don’t *agree* with strict Jewish dietary laws (being not Jewish), and indeed the vast majority of my friends who happen to be Jewish do not keep kosher—I suspect that this is representative. Nevertheless, it would be wrong for the state to force delis run by strict Jews to sell pork.

  15. Not disagreeing, Joseph on owning the problem. In fact, I wrote about it last week. See this post with Bishop Slattery’s video statement, and my commentary about the bishops and teaching below that.

  16. That poll proves that this was a calculation by Obama. Of course they took internal polling. Which means they lied to Bishop Dolan’s face. They stuck a knife in his back.

  17. This is a very important point. After all, Ms. Sebelius “identifies” herself as Catholic! Up here in the Boston Archdiocese, where the latest census estimated that just under 17 percent of people who identify as Catholic attend Mass regularly, I am sure that a pollster could easily find the other 83 percent for this survey.

  18. deacon john says:

    I have worked for over twenty years with young couples preparing for marriage in the Catholic Church. Many of them cohabited before marriage even 25 years ago. Right or wrong most cohabit today.
    I am pretty sure that the vast majority of them practice artificial contraception during the time they live together before they marry.
    Given the mindset where they see little wrong with living together outside marriage, what would lead anyone to believe that they would see anything wrong with artificial birth control.
    I think our Church is right to insist that Catholic institutions do not provide artificial contraception or abortion causing drugs because it goes against the teachings of the faith, but I think we have a much further way to go to win over our own couples.

  19. I don’t think it shows no respect, nor does it call those who disagree less intelligent. Rather, it asks that the Church engage in dialogue with its people about an issue which is so obviously divisive. The Top-Down Heirarchical model may simply not be effective any more….is this the only way the Spirit can work in the world and the Church? The Church is treating its people, the majority of whom disagree with this teaching (they vote by their actions, as most studies show the vast majority ignore this teaching), as children who don’t know any better and can’t be trusted to do the right thing in this most personal and private part of their lives.

  20. What I don’t understand is why we have to “win them over.” If the teaching is so obviously true and part of Natural Law, shouldn’t most of them recognize the truth of it, even if they feel too weak to live it? Most people who have abortions realize it’s wrong, but not because the “Church says so” but because their hearts say so (Natural Law.) I honestly think most reject it because they just don’t believe or accept the reasoning that goes into this teaching.

  21. Jeff Stevens says:

    Peer pressure, culture, and constant bombardment of a message on a social animal like man can have an enormous effect on our conscience. In China, they have convinced people there is no God. In Europe, they have convinced people that abortion is fine. In pre-Columbian mezzo American cultures, they convinced people that human sacrifice was acceptable.

    There are many ways to pervert the conscience. Matters of Natural Law are self evident, but that can be shouted down by enough social influence.

  22. Personally the Church should not marry couples who either don’t understand the faith they supposedly profess or refuse to live it. And we wonder why divorce rates are so high….

  23. I thought Jesus came for the sinners.

  24. There’s much more to marriage and to the Faith then agreeing/disagreeing with the teaching on Contraception. Most of us come up short in living the Faith and in living out our marriages with the selfless giving it defends.

  25. deacon john says:

    The fact of the matter is that to follow our Church’s teachings requires sacrifice.
    As someone who has been a practitioner of NFP for many years I can tell you, it isn’t always easy to follow our Church’s teachings when the other way seems so much “easier”.
    And that’s the message of our society.
    Life should be easy.
    Sacrifice is unnecessary.
    Everyone should be able to have it all.
    Like it or not, most of our young people, and many of our not so young people dont buy it just because the magisterium says so.
    We need to evangelize our own folks by welcoming them and being in relationship with them.

  26. Not sure if they’re ignorant or simply don’t care.

    What I want to know is this: where are the bishops when it comes time to defend MY constitutional right? Why is no bishop or advocacy group protesting the compulsion looming over ME to fund via insurance these intrinsic evils?

    I’ve come to suspect the entire HHS mandate showdown is political theatre. In the end, Obama will back down, liberal cafeteria Catholics will be back on the plantation, Obama will be showered with praise for being a big-hearted peace-maker — and I, along with every Catholic in the for-profit sector, employer or employee — will be paying for contraception and sterilization. Game over. Obama wins big time, because the bishops were ready to defend their own turf but a lot less ready to defend mine.

  27. The Catholic Church is not going to reinvent itself to suit dissenters. You are close to 2,000 years late in asking to have everything put back on the table.

  28. To save them from sin, not to validate them in it.

  29. Exactly!! I love the last 2 lines of Deacon John’s post…if we ignore them, we’re in trouble. I also believe young people are open to sacrifice, if they understand why it’s necessary.

  30. Oregon Catholic says:

    NFP at it’s essence IS contraception, i.e., it is a technique that is used to prevent conception. It is an attempt to take control (away from God) and to decide for ourselves how many and how often we will have children. Once a person sees that truth it is easier to understand why good Catholics, who have given much thought and prayer on the subject, feel they can dissent in good conscience. They are not dissenting on the principle, they are dissenting on technique. If you accept that couples have a right to exercise control over their reproduction while still respecting their obligation to raise children then I think it matters far less how they do that as long as it’s not through abortive methods.

    I think a valid argument can be made that once the Church opened the door to approving the rhythm method, the Church let the camel’s nose under the tent. It has been trying to hold it back ever since.

  31. deacon john says:

    I agree with you Scout,
    our young people, are by and large very good people.
    They ARE open to sacrifice if they see the value in it.
    And they aren’t going to learn the value of it from a book or a pronouncement.
    They need to witness that value through seeing its outcome in the lives of the people who they love and respect.
    I was in Washington DC a couple weeks ago at the March for Life and I was very impressed with the energy and the vitality of the young Catholic men and women there.
    It our task, our priviledge to engage and invite them!

  32. Oregon Catholic says:

    I think we would see a different response if Catholics were asked if they thought the gov’t had a right to interfere in religion. Hopefully someone will ask that. Obama picked this topic to go after religion precisely in the hope that Catholics would argue about contraception and overlook the larger question.

  33. It shouldn’t reinvent itself to suit dissenters, but rather to be sure it’s in line with the Truth. It’s a living Church….I’m pretty sure Jesus didn’t mention contraception…perhaps as we evolve in our knowledge of biology, psychology, and all of the sciences might require us to examine things that we’ve always assumed or taught. It’s not the same as saying the Eucharist isn’t real, etc.

  34. You can always get the response you’re fishing for if you use leading questions, but that won’t change the underlying reality and complexity of how ordinary Catholics feel about contraception and the public policy implications of it. The question you propose could be used to “prove” anything. The FLDS could use it to “prove” that most Americans support freeing Warren Jeffs from prison. That won’t make it so.

  35. Well, this is nonsense. It’s like saying that the difference between a couple lovingly adopting a child who needs a home and IVF is just a matter of technique.

    Here’s a super-short primer on Church teaching re: marriage, children, and contraception:
    -Marriage is the total gift of self to other. The sign and reality of that total gift is the marriage act. Children are the living embodiment of the reality of their parents’ love.
    -Husbands and wives are called to a generous and self-sacrificing love in their response to God’s call to be parents (a part of the call to marriage). There are three ways for them to be generous and self-sacrificing: a) by a loving and prudent acceptance of the blessing of a large family; b) by a loving and prudent acceptance of the cross of infertility; and c) by a loving and prudent acceptance, for just reasons, of both the blessing of children and the cross of periodic abstinence such as NFP.
    -It is possible to pervert *any* of these ways of being generous and self-sacrificing, but I won’t get too specific about the ways the first can be perverted because the situations are very, very rare in a nation like America (e.g., deliberately seeking to add to one’s family when one’s existing children are at risk of actual starvation or something). The second can be perverted should the infertile couple seek to thwart God’s will and turn away from the cross by immoral means of artificial conception such as IVF. The third, of course, is perverted when the couple seeks to avoid the generosity and self-sacrifice of denying themselves the legitimate pleasures of the marriage bed for a time and adopts the practice of artificial contraception, which requires no generosity or sacrificial love at all–in fact, it encourages selfishness and the objectification of the spouse.

  36. I know Catholics who are agnostics and atheists.

  37. deacon john m. bresnahan says:

    The media really throws out a lot of bull on this issue. I frequently heard the media claim 98% of Catholic women USE contraceptives. Wow! 98% of Catholic women ARE of childbearing age according to that.
    This poll was one of the worst as far as questions. Claiming, for example “provide at no cost.” How about cost to the employer? Many Americans are into the entitlement mentality and think money for things float in from the ether zone. In this case employer’s finances are being plundered by government diktat to finance what they consider immoral.
    And funny the poll didn’t list abortion causing drugs. That very well could have made a big difference in the poll.
    And, anyway, to base the First Amendment’s power to protect a religion on whether all the members of that religion support all of its teachings is patently absurd. Polls have no place in controversies such as this. How about outlawing kosher meats because the vast majority of Jews in America do not practice kosher and are quite secular. It seems absurd, but animal rights movements (like Peta) are on the rise.

  38. Richard Johnson says:

    “Polls have no place in controversies such as this.”

    I totally agree. Civil rights should never, EVER be made subject to the whims of polling, either those made by phone or in the ballot box. Many groups have been saying this for many. many years.

  39. Oregon Catholic says:

    And when scientific instruments are capable of allowing pinpoint accuracy of ovulation in the home setting and the shortest possible time for abstinance will you still say there is a truly moral difference between NFP and ABC? Or will it be a difference without a moral distinction since you will now be in virtually complete control to separate all sexual activity from procreation? You’ll pardon me if I don’t think God sees much difference between the two.

  40. Oregon Catholic says:

    Leading question? Do you deny this rule is an infringment of religious liberty?

  41. friscoeddie says:

    The mandate is for institutions like CC and hospitals and universities that hire many non-Catholics and receive vast amounts of tax payer money; they have to include contraception in their health insurance. . If the Jehovah Witnesses ran such places they would have to include blood transfusions etc.
    Don’t blame media , and don’t believe bishops will have to pay for contraception because you should know bishops don’t own hospitals, and Universities except Catholic U [in DC]and who knows if they will be exempt. they don’t hire much non Catholic faculty .. their janitors and clerical staff is propably non catholic in the majority, Don’t rush to the barricades till next year. The anti FOCA people called for WWIII the day after Obama took office and they are still stuck on some Wash DC barricade waiting for Godot

  42. Wow, Oregon Catholic! So, you think you know the mind of God?

    In every true private revelation to any number of saints, the vision/locution/etc (of God, Mary, a saint) has always insisted that the seer or visionary take what that vision has said to the visionary/locutionist/etc to the Church so that the Church can examine it. Then, they are instructed to follow what the Church has directed.

    The hallmark of holiness is obedience to God and to his bride, the Church.

  43. Then they’re not Catholics.

  44. The only thing the Poll might reveal is that there is either a major teaching problem within the Church in regards to this issue or we have the makings of a schism. In either of these cases, it is an internal matter to be resolved by bishops and Church leadership. This poll does nothing in terms of proving cover to Obama. He and his HHS Sec are still infringing on the 1st Amendment. I think this is a carefully crafted ploy by the Administration to move he argument from one of religious freedom to a battle on birth control. Don’t fall for the ploy folks. We will need to resolve the internal issue, but that is an issue for another time.

  45. We are in this world, but we are not of this world. We give to Caesar what is Caesar’s. But, what is God’s we give to God. It is one thing to pay tax where we have no control over where and how that tax is spent. The people in Jesus’ day, some 2000 years ago, also had to do the same. It is quite another thing to be forced to violate our consciences. That’s what the early Christians came up against when they were forced to worship the temple gods. They refused to do so. Let us invoke their intercession.

  46. Oregon Catholic, in the first place it’s extremely unlikely, given how human fertility actually works, that NFP will ever involve extremely short abstinence times. I highly recommend that you read some NFP or other natural fertility websites or books–you’ll be amazed at what you’ll learn about God’s beautiful design for our fertility!

    But in the second place, just as I said above, equating NFP with artificial contraception is no different than equating adoption with IVF. Would you tell a prospective adoptive couple, “Well, clearly God didn’t mean for you to have children, and you’re going to thwart His will anyway, so why not just use IVF and manufacture your own kid?” I don’t think you would.

    NFP respects God’s plan for fertility and the integrity of the relationship between husband and wife. Contraception disrespects nature and breaks apart that relationship, as either one or the other spouse becomes a deliberately-sterlized sexual object instead of a fully human person–and it’s done primarily for convenience and selfish pleasure. The difference is huge and important.

  47. Elizabeth Scalia says:

    This poll bugs the heck out of me, b/c it is being attached to this HHS matter and it gives the impression that people answering the questions were aware of the fact that this is not about “the pill and condoms” but about sterilizations and abortifacients, and — much more importantly — it’s not about any of that, at all, but about the freedom of our consciences. But the headline is all they need, and it will be effective.

  48. The People of God, The New Hebrews, The people of the New and Everlasting Israel are rebelling and worshiping the golden calf again, just like the older brothers in the ancient days. Take head and remember how Almighty God deals with his people when they rebel against him and you Catholic are his Family now as Israel continued on and is today called the UNIVERSAL CHUCH…

  49. Don’t lose heart yet. Yes the Administration is definitely going to try and use this poll for cover, but we are ready for them. The bishops, Catholic leaders, and most importantly the Catholic press and even more importantly the Catholic bloggers MUST keep the focus on the main issue which is the attack on the 1st Amendment. If someone brings the poll up, tell them “so what”! It has nothing to do with the issue. Use it as a teaching moment to move the argument in the right direction. Perseverance and Fortitude.

  50. pagansister says:

    Those Catholics who favor birth control in health care coverage are facing reality. I expect many may work for non-Catholic businesses etc. and if they choose to use birth control (and not depend on the natural method) they have a health insurance plan that covers their purchase of family planning methods. I have known many Catholic women who attend Mass on a regular basis, who are raising their children in the Church, who chose to make 98% sure they didn’t continue to be pregnant, after they had the number of children they wanted. This poll is indeed interesting, since the Church itself is unhappy with the proposal.

  51. 98% of Catholics have also reportedly experimented with alcohol to the point of becoming ill at some point in their lives.

  52. first, 90%+ Catholics use contraception-an intrinsic evil; almost no one goes to confession and everyone goes to Communion and no one says anything about it-for years. What’s up with that? fear, lack of conscience formation, preaching repentance and conversion, rebellion, lack of faithfulness
    second: this could be the best thing that ever happened to us because we will be forced to take a stand for or against the Lord.

  53. Of course it’s an infringement of religious liberty. Every law on the books is an infringement of someone’s religious practice, in one way or another. The question in law is whether it’s an infringement which is allowable under the Constitution, and that will eventually be considered by the appropriate courts.
    The poll, like any poll, is just a snapshot in time which asks people if they support the proposed policy. The question you propose is of course a leading question. It decides for people that it was an unreasonable infringement and then asks them if they support unreasonable government actions. Asking people in the abstract whether they think “government should have the right to interfere in religion?” is meaningless.
    You can make the case that people’s responses were based on an incomplete understanding of the implications of the contraception mandate. That said, the fact that many Catholics are not in line with the bishop’s position is not a figment created by the liberal media or pollsters.

  54. we would not be here today with the HHS mandate in place if Catholics all along didn’t want it – Pelosi herself said she stands with all Catholics who want contraception – tragically the people of God stand with Pelosi and not the Episcopate – we’re LOST….

  55. Scout you wrote “To most people, the teaching which prohibits artificial contraception is unfair and nonsensical. To simply cloak yourself in God won’t cut it. To simply say this is the TRUTH, like it or not, won’t cut it. (Some people love this sort of certainty and direction from their Faith tradition, but many 21st century people do not.) You can argue all you want about the Holy Spirit guiding the Church and the Church possessing the Truth, but people apparently don’t recognize THIS truth inside themselves and they don’t trust or respect the system which is telling them what is sinful and what is not.”

    I am so sorry that you do not believe the truth that JESUS himself left for us, through the Church. “Those that hear you (the church), hear me.” I am sorry you do not believe what Jesus said about the Holy Spirit who will always be with us, guiding us. I am sorry you do not believe in the creed you profess every Sunday. I will pray for your conversion. For me personally, I learn something new and beautiful about my faith all the time. I hope my conversion never ends.

  56. Issue of birth control within Catholic teaching is settled. Read Humane Vitae. since that Papal encyclical has proven to be prophetic on all that would follow if we started utilizing birth control in large percentage, it seems something the Church would be foolish to change. It would be like endorsing abortion, the devaluing of women, porngraphy, the attack on marriage and family, and so much more.

    This is a strong teaching moment. I would bet the vast majority of Catholics do not fully understand Church teaching and NFP to any extent or have been educated on the predictions so accurage in Humane Vitae. Also the wonder Theology of the Body should be brought into every parish for education with very strong push by the priests and Bishops.

  57. Scout, do you support abortion? Teaching is clear. 54 million babe have been slaughtered. Do you support pornography? One of the fastest growing industries and we are now seeing what would have been totally unacceptable in 1960 anywhere in our society now showing up on broadcast channels. Divorce has exploded. Excuse me, but at this point in time, only those in total denial cannot see this experiment in leaving God out of our lives and marriages has been a massive failure. Many do not think through the issue because so many were led in dissent by priests who were not stopped on day one of their dissent and because our culture has grown so weak and perverse.

  58. Scout, you seem to be arguing for discussion to change church position on birth control above. And frankly, many of the young are learning a lot about Theology of the Body from priests who are young and came in under the leadership of Blessed Pope JP II and who are not afraid to speak out on this grave sin. Teaching is always important for if true Catholics are open and willing to learn, the Church in its teaching always leads us to Christ and dissent leads us the other way.

  59. Friscoe, you make the point on why people need to scream loud and long now. When Obama was elected, people hearing what he was saying called for WWII the day Obama took office and it did not see the light of day. We need to look to everything this socialist partner of planned parenthood is doing and approach it for what it is, WWIII on America and faith. Thanks for pointing out the need to act just like we have done since day one to try to save America from this crowd.

  60. Forgotten in all this talk of religion and politics is the fact that it is only recently, thanks to state intervention and liberal judicial activism, that contraception began to be covered by health insurers at all. Car insurance only pays out if the car is damaged and the same principle used to guide secular health insurers.The logic was that healthy humans are fertile so why should insurance policy-holders be forced to pay for chemical and/or surgical interventions that render a person infertile? If it ain’t broke, you don’t “fix”it and if you do want to “fix” it, you can darn well pay for it yourself.

    I call BS on the poll question because it uses the phrase “at no cost”. Mandating free Pills, tubal ligations, abortifacients and vasectomies drives costs and premiums up. Activists in various states have loaded one mandate after another onto health insurers: IVF, minimum post-partum hospital stays, viagra, contraception etc etc.( What’s next? Free porn and smokeless cigarettes?) They have also pushed the idea that “preventive care” measures save money and improve long-term outcomes. The numbers tell a very different tale.

    I like to ask liberals: What was the original stated goal of the birth-control and sex-education movements? Its adherents, (and I used to be one), would say that it was to reduce unintended and out-of-wedlock pregnancy and to reduce the incidence of STDs. I then ask them to Google the statistics for all of the above before and after Griswold / Roe and check back with me. They never do. Hmm.

    Time was, only the reckless 10% engaged in pre or extra-marital sex and a few got caught. We’ve spent 2 generations telling kids that sex is “safe and healthy” and that the only risk is that they might not get enough of it. They did our bidding and about 10% of this much larger pool of players got sloppy and got caught and here we are today with STDs abortions and fatherless babies galore. Ah, progress!

  61. How are these folks not censored by their Bishop?

    On Oct. 7, the president of Catholics for Choice, Jon O’Brien, publicly scolded his counterpart at the Catholic University of America (CUA) for interfering “in women’s capacity for moral decision making,” simply because the university wants the Obama administration to exempt Catholic colleges from morally offensive regulations.

    Frances Kissling, founder of Catholics for Choice, also accused CUA of being “intolerant” and “politicizing some of the most sacred decisions people make about sexuality and reproduction.”

  62. I would like to think you could be a Catholic who uses birth control, but still not favor such insurance programs be mandated of Catholic Hospitals or Universities. I wouldn’t mandate Mormon or Jewish colleges do things I feel are good that they don’t.

  63. Excellent points, John.

  64. I’ve suspected this all along. The heirarchy is making a big deal about something that most Catholics, even Mass-going Catholics, openly dissent. It is telling that Evangelicals are aligning themselves more with the Bishops than Catholics. Evangelicals have no prohibition on contraception yet they see this issue for what it is; an affront on religious liberty. Our Bishops are now waking up to the reality of politics. For years they have chanted the left’s mantras, hopefully they now know better. As to the faithful, unless Bishops urge their priests to preach about NFP and life issues (and actually enforce their requests) Catholics will continue to be American Christenmdom’s largest liberal faction. Notice how it is usually “Catholic” politicians that are at the forefront of the “Gay rights” movement and are the biggest backers of gov’t mandated healthcare.

  65. Joseph Baldoral says:

    This poll only says that 55% of Catholic women support that *insurance companies cover birth control.* It doesn’t say anything about their support for birth control overall. My guess is that if I took an anonymous poll of the women in my church, particularly those of child-bearing age, I’d get at least 75% and probably a lot higher support for the concept of birth control. What’s more, I’d bet that the majority of couples are using some sort of non-sanctioned birth control. My wife, her sisters and everyone one of her similar-aged church friends are. Every one of those women knows it’s against doctrine. But you know what, these families are at the heart of our parish, and we’d be lost without them.

  66. deacon john m. bresnahan says:

    I have yet to see a list in the media of all the other religions that are supporting the Church’s defense of the First Amendment. Yet there are many non Catholic and non-Christian religious organizations which have come out stongly in favor of the Catholic, pro First Amendment position.(Like the whole Orthodox Christian canonical bishops organization.)
    I strongly suspect the O Admin wants to have their allies and boot-lickers in the liberal media to frame the issue as a Catholic case of bullying (as one Obama anti-Catholic called it on TV) and only a “contraception” issue.
    BUT it is MUCH, MUCH more than that. Between the courts,liberal activists and the O Admin, the First Amendment is slowly being guttted, ripped to shreds, disemboweled.

  67. Deacon Greg Kandra says:

    That’s why Chris Matthews’ reaction is, I think, significant. He sees this for what it is, and even called it “frightening.”

  68. Is there a poll that shows how many Catholics refuse to take money from people (employers and State and Federal governments) that support contraception? I’d like to see that one.

    Because to be a perfectly practicing Catholic it’s not just about saying “You can’t make me pay for someone else’s birth control.” It has to also be about “I won’t take money from institutions or employers” who support these practices.

    I mean, doesn’t it start there — at the heart of the Catholic?

    So it seems to me that Catholics who get paid by State governments should be able to carve out that portion of their pay that comes from tax dollars contributed by abortionists and contraception users. That way, no taint of sin. Catholics who get paid by, say, pharmaceutical companies, medical facilities, Universities. These Catholics shouldn’t have to be associated with “blood money” and they should be able to forego a percentage of their pay so they can separate out their Catholic beliefs from the contamination of secular laws.


  69. Joseph, this is not about individual Catholics not following their faith. This is about the ability of the federal government to abridge the constitutional rights of a religious body to practice its faith and act according to its beliefs and dogma. The fact that individual Catholics, even if they be 100% of the Roman Catholic Church membership roles, do not adhere to the basic doctrine of their faith does not imply that our government can mandate that this institution of faith change its basic doctrine or sin against its basic doctrine. The Constitutional right to freedom of religion, to freedom of conscience, is the issue here, not individual faithfulness.

  70. pagansister says:

    But Thomas R., do Jewish and Mormon colleges deny birth control products to their students? Don’t know if Jewish hospitals would refuse to issue those products, (guessing not) and I’m not aware of where the nearest Mormon hospital is (perhaps Utah?). It is known that the Catholic hospitals, and universities do refuse. What does that say to the non-CAtholic personal who work for those institutions? You can have health insurance BUT we will interfere in your life by saying we will not allow you to purchase certain products because we disagree with you using them (even though you don’t happen to be Catholic.)

  71. Oregon Catholic says:

    Better to take it and then give it to a pro-life respecting charity.

  72. Pagansister…are you serious? This is a “choice” issue. You know full well when you go to work for an organization like a catholic hospital or cath charities that you do NOT have to work there. AND that you accept certain realities – like seeing a cross on the wall or being wished Merry Christmas. Birth control is 100% a choice. You do not NEED to take it. That’s also part of the equation here. Why are we not talking about it more? (another story for another day.). It’s not as if the church is saying you wont get treatment for cancer or well baby care. You do not have a “right” to get this medication for free and I don’t want to pay for it. I’ll accept the fact that I will pay for certain things that I don’t agree with in being part of a group insurance for keeping costs down, but I won’t accept the church giving up their teachings because someone (not a doctor or even elected) decides that this is about women’s rights. This is about a clear teaching of the church and it’s right to exercise that right as guaranteed by our constitution. Don’t throw hypotheticals out there to challenge it. It’s crystal clear catholic teaching and this medication is not needed in the same way that an antibiotic or blood thinner is needed for someone that is ill.

  73. No, it says you’re working for a Catholic organization who is influenced by Catholic things. Although, so far as I know, Catholic organizations aren’t banning their employees from buying contraception on their own. If I work for a Baptist school, and they don’t serve meatless meals on Lenten Fridays, I might have to order from Long John Silver’s (or a vegetarian place) instead. That’s an inconvenience, but it’s an inconvenience I chose.

    Now part of your objection seems to be that Catholic organizations are too common. That whatever restrictions a Mormon or Jewish hospital would do aren’t pertinent because those are relatively uncommon. That by not mandating this of Catholic institutions you’re allowing too many institutions to go by Catholic thought. But I don’t think this country is ran under the presumption that every church be the same size or run the same number of institutions. Although if you want to set up pagan schools go for it!

  74. pagansister says:

    Gee, if I wasn’t retired, Thomas, I might consider setting up a Pagan school!:o)
    The reference to what Jewish or Mormon organizations would do in this discussion only means that if they too denied their employees the option to have birth control methods covered by their insurance, I’d be against that also and has nothing to do with either the number of hospitals, colleges or whatever of those organizations. Why would it? Yes, a non-Catholic can buy birth control on their own, but if insurance is offered, then it should be covered just like insurance for surgery, doctor’s visits etc. IMO.
    FYI, I did spend 10 years teaching in a Catholic elementary school—-but didn’t need their insurance so the question here would have been moot for me.

  75. pagansister says:

    Yes, as a matter of fact, DeaconRob, I’m totally serious. Yes, it is a choice issue, both to work for a Catholic organization and whether to use birth control or not. However many non-Catholics and Catholic women CHOOSE to use birth control, and I personally believe it should be part of insurance coverage. The Catholic women can choose to follow the Churche’s teaching and not use that part of the coverage. A non-Catholic can also choose to or not. As I have mentioned many times, I spent 10 years teaching in a Catholic school. I accepted the cross on the wall in every room, the Kindergarten level religion I was teaching the little ones, attending Mass every month (held for the students) and all that went with being in a very pleasant Catholic environment. I most certainly would not have been there 10 years if the principal(s) didn’t like what I was doing or if I didn’t like the environment. In my case, I didn’t have to worry about birth control as time took care of my reproductive abilities and I was covered by my husband’s insurance if I had needed it. You claim it is not a needed item—that would be determined by a doctor as those products are sometimes needed for conditions other than birth control.
    You mentioned that you will accept having to pay for certain things you don’t agree with—well, perhaps that might be something the Church has to do too. How many employees, from the people who clean to teachers, doctors etc. would the Church lose if everyone who wasn’t Catholic decided not to be their employees because of this? Would there be enough to fill positions in all areas? My guess? No.

  76. “What does that say to the non-CAtholic personal who work for those institutions? ”

    They could look for a job in a non-Catholic instution?

  77. pagansister says:

    Went into all that earlier, and is below if you wish to read it, RomCath. But it also says “we (the RCC) are not an equal opportunity employer—regardless of race, color or creed, or whatever the line is that many companies use.

  78. As I said earlier, why work for a Catholic institution? If you knew when being hired that Contraception etc would not be covered then you work elsewhere. Simple. No one is forcing you to work at a Catholic institution. No one forced you did they?
    The whole bit about this being a health issue is a lot of bunk anyway.

  79. pagansister says:

    RomCath, it is your opinion that it is a lot of “bunK”. To many, the issue isn’t. Equal opportunity employers should offer equal insurance to all they hire. Simple. :o)

  80. Getting pregnant isn’t a disease. Contraceptives are available at any drugstore. There is no need for any Church to have to provide it. Go buy them yourself. It is bunk to anyone who has any morals but I guess you wouldnt grasp that concept. Simple. Get it?

  81. Oregon Catholic says:

    The Church is not against any woman using BCPs for non-contraceptive reasons and would not refuse to cover it to treat a medical illness.

    What if condoms are a woman’s preferred choice of contraception? I am not aware of any insurance company that covers those. I assume they are probably pretty expensive too. What about contraceptive creams, etc. Again, not covered. Aren’t women who choose those contraceptive methods being discriminated against because they have to buy their own? Especially when the gals who want the latest cool patch that’s super expensive are getting it for free.

    The reality is that insurance coverage differs dramatically from employer to employer. There is no uniformity in either covered services or costs. The notion that contraceptive coverage has to be mandatory for every insurance plan and at 100% payment is outrageous, onerous, and purely a political ploy.

  82. Wow! Do any of us really think that if any of our agencies (charities, hospitals, etc) did not cover FREE contraception as part or our health plans people would be quitting left and right? This is insane! Only in the new America, where we all think we are entitled to something, do we feel we have a right to something that has PROVEN side effects that can harm you! As someone who has a friend that could have died due to taking the pill (because of getting blod clots), I am still shocked at how people think this is some kind of right and a good thing. #1 NFP works and does NOT harm a woman’s body and treats it as a temple of the Holy Spirit. #2 the pill is NOT needed to prevent pregnancy – abstinence ALWAYS works. God forbid! #3 check the stats on how STDs have grown exponentially since the pill came around and has helped the spread of disease (but somehow that’s a good thing?!). #4 You can buy the drugs for yourself with the pay check that you are given from the catholic institution. No one is keeping you from doing that. Insurance won’t pay for Tylenol when you have a headache and want to go to the drug store. The same can be said that you can buy contraceptives with YOUR OWN MONEY.
    The church isn’t always right about everything since it is made up of human beings. However on this one, it’s 100% right. The government has no right to intrude on our beliefs and make us PAY for something that is against them. Again, this is about religious freedom and the government telling our church that it has to pay for one of its employees CHOICES. It’s not about health or women’s rights. Women still have the right – and they can pay for it on their own.

  83. pagansister says:

    The Church isn’t providing it, RC. The insurance company that the Church hires is issuing that as part of a contract with the Churche’s group coverage. No one from the Church actually hands the woman a birth control pill. It is only treating all it’s employees fairly, IMO. Bunk? I think not.
    Have a Blessed Day.

  84. Why should the Church have to provide it even through an insurance company? Let those who wish to use it buy it themselves or stop sleeping around.

  85. pagansister says:

    Yes, DeaconRob, I will admit that wondering if some Catholic agencies would be short employees if they weren’t offered free contraception was a stretch. Howver I’m still for the coverage. Question: Does the Church call itself an equal opportunity employer, defined as an employer that doesn’t discriminate due to race, color, creed, religion, national origin, sex, physical or mental ability or age ? If so, in my opinion (and most certainly not knowing any law) by not providing birth control coverage for all employees because the Church disapproves of everything except NFP, that would be a form of discrimination. Just a thought. I also agree that NFP is probably harm free for the woman. I took the pill and I was fine as were many of my friends. I also had a mother who almost died having my sister. Does that mean women shouldn’t get pregnant? Life can be a gamble. And most certainly not having sex at all is not only baby free but probably disease free too. No arguement there.
    Thanks for this discussion. I appreciate the polite responses.
    Hope you had a good day.

  86. Good question, pagan sister, for the lawyers to talk about – being an equal opportunity employer. My guess is that health insurance has nothing to do with it. Ultimately the church could just decide not to offer any insurance and pay the fines. What I keep hearing is that it’s still cheaper to pay the fines than offer insurance. Let’s hope we don’t get there. Then they will definitely not be able to find enough employees. Which leaves an interesting question…what if the church got out of many of the social businesses (due to not wanting to violate beliefs beyond the current one that we are talking about) that it has gotten into over the centuries (education, hospitals, adoptions, etc)??? I would think the cost to society would be astronomical. And maybe we need to point that out more. Just a thought…

  87. pagansister says:

    DeaconRob: I agree with you that the cost to society would be huge if the Church got out of the social businesses you mentioned. Will be interesting to see how all this plays out. As I said before, Thanks for the discussion. Good night.

  88. pagansister says:

    Why shouldn’t they?

  89. O Catholic:
    Just read the above (little slow sometimes) and I agree with you that there isn’t much difference in NFP and artificial means, as both are a deliberate method that are used to not get pregnant, as you mentioned. I also agree with your statement that the Church basically gave permission to couples to prevent pregnancy when it said that you can use the “rhythm” method. Yes, there is the argument that NFP is safer than artificial methods, but both have the same purpose. Excluding abortion as a birth control method, (which I do not agree with) I have no problem with the others.

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