Catholic Organizations Sue Government Over Healthcare

On Monday, the Catholic Archdiocese of Washington D.C. joined other Catholic organizations to sue the U.S. Government over a new healthcare law mandating them to provide employees with access to contraception as part of their health insurance. The lawsuit cites the First Amendment guaranteeing protection of religion.

There are already provisions in the law which bend over backwards to accommodate religious organizations, but the plaintiffs argue that these provisions don’t go far enough. The argument hinges on what can and cannot be deemed a religious organization. The law states that any institution that’s main purpose is religious in nature, such as a church or religious counseling service is exempt. It’s a complicated exemption clause, but the basic rule is that if the institution does not hire ONLY members of that religion, then it is not considered by the law to be religious.

Everything else must obey the law. This includes institutions run by religious groups but whose main purpose is not religious. This is a little easier to define: Schools, hospitals, various types of charities, and social outreach programs all fall into this category.

Cardinal Donald Wuerl, the Archbishop of Washington, thinks this is wrong.

Cardinal Donald Wuerl (via ncea.org)

For us, here in the District of Columbia, what would that mean? We operate schools. We’ve been operating schools decades and decades, caring for some of the neediest children in this community, and we’ve been very successful in educating them. The vast majority of these kids in our center city schools are not Catholic.

To be told we don’t count, they don’t count as religious, we don’t accept that. That’s why we’re going into court. Rather than have some sort of confusion as we move into the future, why don’t we get this settled in a very objective, dispassionate, non-political forum? The courts exist for that and that’s why Americans turn to the courts. We have always turned to our courts as citizens of this great country when there has been some confusion, some challenge, some attack on our constitutional rights, so that’s why we have joined institutions all across America in saying this is un-American and we need to get it cleaned up.

It would be good to get some kind of idea just how many people work for the institutions affected and ask them what they want in their insurance. There must be a decent proportion of employees who disagree with the Church’s stance on contraception. Hell, I bet a good chunk of those are Catholic. I think the Cardinal might just see how out of touch with society the church’s stance on contraception really is.

A Gallup poll published today only confirms these suspicions. The poll is across the population as a whole, and not just employees at Catholic institutions, but the numbers are remarkable.

90% of the population considers the use of birth control to be morally acceptable. When you consider only Catholics, the percentage drops… but only to 82%. In other words 82% of Catholics think their church is wrong on this issue.

(via gallup.com)

In the short term, actions such as this are damaging the lives of people across the country.  Sandra Fluke’s harrowing testimony to House Democrats in February offers a shocking glimpse of the suffering involved. In the long term, clinging to outdated dogma such as this is driving a wedge between the Catholic hierarchy and its followers — especially the younger generation. Clinging to it will only drive people away. Not that that’s a problem.

It’s difficult for me to really appreciate the ramifications of religiously mandated healthcare. My experience is very different from what you experience in the U.S.; I have access to free healthcare through the superb NHS (National Health Service). This also gets me amazing free treatment in countries with reciprocal agreements with the U.K. This includes anywhere in the European Union, as well as about 30 non-EU countries, including Russia, Australia, and New Zealand (an agreement I have had to call upon myself when in Australia). The state provides high-quality care, and I don’t have some crazy cult restricting my access to any of these services. In the U.K., objection to aspects of healthcare is a personal choice — don’t agree with contraception? Then don’t use it. Although given our high teenage pregnancy rates, it would be nice if people did…

In the U.K. press, any objection is often portrayed as the stuff of Tea Party rhetoric; Obama haters; or people stuck in the McCarthy era, terrified of communism.

It would be nice for me to get some kind of idea how popular or unpopular socialized healthcare is. Is there strong support for health care reform among left leaning voters? And if not, why not?

About Mark Turner

Mark Turner was born and raised as a Catholic in the North East of England, UK. He attended two Catholic schools between the ages of five and sixteen. A product of a moderate Catholic upbringing and an early passion for science first resulted in religious apathy and by mid-teens outright disbelief.

@markdturner

  • Gringa

    I would have to say that in general, a lot of people over here that I’ve talked to seem opposed to universal healthcare, or at least some aspect of it.  I am constantly surprised by these positions, especially from those who stand to benefit from it.  I think mainly this is due to a fear of the unknown and fear-mongering by certain “news” outlets.

    • http://dogmabytes.com/ C Peterson

      It is all part of the decline of critical thinking on the part of Americans. That decline is encouraged by special interests, which then take advantage of it. In the end, the result is irrational positions: the 99.9% defending the low taxes of the 0.1%, the lack of belief in global warming, the lack of support for universal health care, and many other things. It would benefit people to change their views, but they’re so easily programmed to act against their own best interests.

  • Marco Conti

    Americans have been brainwashed into disliking Universal healthcare. As they proclaim that their health is only between their doctor and themselves, they genuflect to the will of the insurance companies, which apply much more pressure and deny many more procedures than an national health care ever would.

    My Canadian wife and I are actually planning of moving to Canada if something is not done about health care. The Obama law is a start. A poor start, but I don’t dare criticize it or we may end up without it as well.

    Meanwhile all my Canadian relatives, even the ones that listen to conservative talk radio, love their health care. Not a single one of them is even slightly displeased about it and not one of them ever had to wait any longer than we would have to wait in a hospital here.

    • http://twitter.com/markdturner Mark Turner

      I suppose the biggest criticism of the NHS is the waiting times for non emergency procedures. Waits of 6 months or more are not uncommon, but they tend to be for things like joint replacements and other non life threatening stuff. My answer to those types of complaints is the classic ‘you get what you pay for’. There is a massive backlash against the health secretary Andrew Lansley at the moment because his reforms are seen as privatisation and a move toward a more american system.  

      • Derrik Pates

        That’s what I think is so hilarious about people in the USA talking about “Well, in Canada/the UK/other place with nationalized healthcare, I heard about people who had to wait for months for this-or-that treatment/surgery/whatever”. Like that never happens in the US. And they always call it “rationing of care”. What do you think it is when you call your doctor for an appointment, and they tell you they can fit you in in a few weeks? How exactly do you think this works?

        • RupertPupkin

          Yeah, because being told to wait by one doctor, out of thousands you could go to instead, is the EXACT same as wating six months for a CT Scan or MRI. The EXACT same. 

    • Lamocla

      I’m Canadian and my fiancé is American and it is already decided that once married, Canada will be our home. Health care and human rights are the main reason.

      • RupertPupkin

        Human rights? Like free speech? Oh ,wait, they don’t have that in Canada.  I wish you luck when you are dragged before a kangaroo court because you criticize a particular religion or say something that “offends” a minority or is deemed “hateful”.  Good luck with that. 

    • RupertPupkin

      Yes, of course, we have all been brainwashed into opposing “universal healthcare”, because obviously disagreeing with a left-wing political agenda can only be explained by brainwashing. 

  • Bill

    Let’s say I’m a Christian Scientist.  Do I get to offer health insurance that fails to cover stuff related to the practice of medicine?
     

    • Derrik Pates

      Depends. Are you a Republican? If so… then probably.

  • Miss_Beara

    These people disgust me.

  • http://northierthanthou.com/ northierthanthou

    I can think of no institution which could be more fairly described as a force for evil today than the catholic Church. Their views on sexuality are not simply wrong, but harmful.

    • RupertPupkin

      They are wrong? Says who, you?

    • Hqrv

      How could their views be harmful???

  • Fraser JH

    This is something that has occurred to me cycling around the back streets of my new neighborhood over the past few weeks in Wisconsin. I’m a little shocked when I come across signs for yard sales to raise money for someone’s breast cancer treatment, or other health concern. There  seems to be this disconnect here in the US, where at the community level people are really generous and caring, wish the best for each other, and will gladly chip in to help with others medical troubles, while the same compassion does not seem to be present at the societal level. You could say that the US has caring communities within an uncaring society (an impression only bolstered by listening to Republican rhetoric over the past few months).

    My wife and I will probably leave the US (I’m originally from the UK) at the end of her contract for similar reasons to Marco Conti. Neither of us mind paying more in taxes for universal healthcare and not having to stress about, or argue with insurance companies. Going back to Mark’s question, most American friends of mine here in Wisconsin fully support the current healthcare reform or want it to go further. Mind you, none of the people I associate with here plan to vote for Scott Walker on June 5th, and they skew quite far to the progressive end of the spectrum.

    • Eric D Red

      You may end up paying more in taxes to fund health care, but your overall health costs would be lower.  Canadians pay on average half as much for health care (taxes+direct+prescriptions+insurance) as Americans, and nobody does without.  And nobody goes bankrupt.

      • Fraser JH

         That’s pretty much what I expected, I would think an increase in personal taxes may be offset with an increase in pay if employers no longer had to contribute to employee health insurance schemes. Though of course, if universal healthcare were to pass in the US, there would need to be some corporate feet held to the fire to make sure that does happen.

        • Eric D Red

          I’m not sure if that directly leads to higher salaries.  Too many variables to consider.  However, the taxes are more than offset by not needing health insurance for basic care.  In practice, most people get supplemental health insurance through work for what isn’t covered, like dental, prescriptions (although some is covered), eye care.

          And nobody is ever turned down for coverage (or a job) for pre-existing conditions.

          • Yukimi

            In Spain, eye healthcare and children’s dental care are also covered by the universal health care system which it’s pretty cool. The problem is that now with the economic crisis and the new conservative party I don’t know if things are going to change.

          • Glasofruix

            In Belgium employers pay a tax on each employee which is directly used for healthcare, dental care and eye care are part of the coverage. The thing is that EVERYONE has health insurance in here, even the non-citizens.

    • Derrik Pates

      I think it’s partly to do with certain people’s obsession about wanting to help, but being able to have strict veto control over who gets that help. They don’t want the “welfare cheats/queens” getting their precious dollars. They don’t want anyone they see as somehow less-than-deserving. And if *everyone* were to have access to nationalized healthcare – why does *everyone* deserve free healthcare? We can’t be having that. And that mindset is a problem.

  • http://gloomcookie613.tumblr.com GloomCookie613

    We’ve got idiots running around with protest signs like “Keep Your Government Hands Off My Medicare” – for my non-US friends, that’s a government run healthcare program for seniors. I think it’s safe to say the problem is mostly stupidity, ignorance, and fear of what they don’t understand.

  • http://www.facebook.com/cburschka Christoph Burschka

    In other words 82% of Catholics think their church is wrong on this issue.

    Apparently not wrong enough for them to get out, sadly…

    • DG

      That doesn’t matter.  Whether or not it violates rights does not depend upon what number of people who are affected by it happens to be.  Rights are not based upon majority or minority.  If only a sliver of Catholics felt their rights were being violated, it would be up to the courts to decide if they were, in fact, being violated.  It does no good to ask how many Catholics believe this or that.  The question is, does the mandate violate the religious rights of the Church, or of any one of its followers.  At that point, it’s a legal issue.  Or so I’ve heard.

      • amycas

        A Catholic-run hospital or school does not have rights. The people who work there have rights, and the people who use its services have rights. If I worked at a Catholic-run hospital in a non-religious function, I should not be expected to follow or believe Catholic dogma. I should be offered the same type of compensation (including the same type of insurance) as I would if I worked at a completely secular hospital. Basically, the Catholic Church is saying that they want their non-religious businesses to be able to force the church’s rules on non-Catholics. If Catholics don’t want to use birth control, then they won’t use it. But the church doesnot have a right to dictate how I use my health insurance. Just like they don’t have a right to dictate how I spend my paycheck.

        • Allison

           “Basically, the Catholic Church is saying that they want their
          non-religious businesses to be able to force the church’s rules on
          non-Catholics.”

          ^ This. If the church is going to operate businesses that aren’t churches themselves, they’re going to have to follow the same dang rules everyone else has to follow. I’m not willing to hold individuals hostage to the fact that the church is creating large non-church entities. These businesses are not the same as individuals and do not have the same rights as individuals.

    • Lt_Uhura

      I keep waiting for the women to stop supporting churches that continue to dismiss their interests.  Maybe this Sunday the pews will be empty.

  • DG

    The polls have, time and again, shown that the majority of folks don’t support Obama’s reform.  That does not mean they don’t support reform.  Some don’t think it went far enough, others that it went too far.  But I’ve not seen a poll that suggests the majority of Americans favor the reform measures as they were passed.

    • Baby_Raptor

      And yet when polled on the things that are actually in HCR, the only thing that comes out mixed is the mandate. Everything else enjoys wide support. It isn’t until you throw the “Obamacare” label on it that people start thinking negative. 

      Why is that? Because of made up shit like death panels, the destruction of Medicare and how the Republicans decried Socialism. 

      Your average anti-HCR voter is perfectly okay with Medicare, and if that’s not Socialist, then what is? 

  • SJH

    This issue has nothing to do with birth control nor the question of it’s morality. It has everything to do with a person’s or institution’s right to practice their religion. If I think birth control is a moral ill and my religion agrees, it would follow that I think the distribution of birth control is also a moral ill and I have the right to exempt myself from participating in its distribution.

    The problem with any exemptions provided by the bill is that they are very narrow. Basically, there are virtually no institutions that would qualify. Virtually every catholic organizations hire and/or provide services to non-catholics.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Margaret-Whitestone/100001682409207 Margaret Whitestone

       If you’re running a secular business that hires secular employees, and you receive tax monies in return, you are no longer practicing a religion.  You are running a business, and you must obey the same laws as any other business. It’s high time religious organizations stop playing the religion card every time they want to get out of following the laws everyone else has to follow while they’re still raking in all of the tax dollars and secular profits. 

    • Kevin S.

      Wrong.  The First Amendment does not give you the right to pick and choose social participation.  When you operate in a regulated industry, your religious beliefs do not exempt you from regulation.  A catholic-run hospital is not a church, it’s a hospital.

    • Stev84

      Contrary to what the Supreme Court thinks, corporations aren’t people. People have religious rights. Businesses don’t. A hospital or school doesn’t have religious freedom. Even if it had, it wouldn’t override the freedom of its employees.

      Also, company based health insurance is really just additional compensation. The employer can’t dictate how their employee’s spend their regular salary. They can’t dictate how they spend their health insurance either.

  • Eric D Red

    So, combining two surveys
      82% of Catholics think birth control is morally acceptable
      98% of Catholic women use birth control.

    We’re taking some liberties cross-referencing different surveys, and making assumptions, but despite that there are a good number of Catholics saying one thing and doing another.  And on a basic tenent of their faith, as proclaimed by the Pope.

    They’re either hypocrites, or living with guilt. 

    • http://therovingrockhound.myopenid.com/ Rovin’ Rockhound

       Not necessarily – does the 82% include men?

      • Eric D Red

        Well, presumably those women are using birth control with men.  That’s one of the assumptions I was alluding to.  Pretty safe assumption, though.  The percentage of active gays who call themselves Catholic and who use birth control (is it still called birth control when used that way) or muli-partner self-proclaimed Catholics probably isn’t enough to skew the numbers.

        Catholics doing something and and feeling guilty about it seems to be a better bet, and fits LOTS of anectodal evidence.

        Mental Compartmentalizing or simple hypocrisy seems to fit as well.

    • Brian Pansky
  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Margaret-Whitestone/100001682409207 Margaret Whitestone

    When will they sue to stop receiving our tax money?  Not soon I imagine.  

  • http://friendlyatheist.com Richard Wade

    I think the Cardinal might just see how out of touch with society the church’s stance on contraception really is.

    I think the Cardinal already fully knows how out of touch the church hierarchy is, and he and they don’t give a damn. They’re not interested in the opinions, preferences or needs of the “flock.” Theirs is a fully calcified mindset, mechanically following only one principle: To expect obedience to their authority.  The Catholic Church is not a democracy; it’s a dictatorship. But unlike most dictators, these people seem to have no trace of pragmatism. They won’t adjust their stance to what actually works. They’ll just keep parroting their dogma even after nobody is sitting in the churches to hear it.

    I think eventually if you want to go to a building to find someone calling themselves a “Catholic,” you won’t go to a church or cathedral. Those will be empty. You’ll find the few Catholics left in schools, universities, and hospitals. It won’t be a religion in the sense we’re used to. It will be a multinational corporation with really archaic policies  performing entirely secular services.

    • RupertPupkin

      Yeah, they should be more in touch with the “flock” because, clearly, right and wrong should be determined by some sort of vote.  And since people who attend Catholic churches are forced to do so against their will, it is an absolute travesty that the Church doesn’t change its teachings in order to conform to the latest social mores. 

      By the way, your predictions concerning the future of the Catholic Church are nothing short of hilarious.   

    • Harv

      To be honest, look at it from another perspective. It’s not that the cardinal and Catholics are out of touch with society, but rather society is out of touch with what should really be followed aka “Jesus’s teachings”

      We as human beings selfishly look at what “we want”, not what God wants.

      Basically look at it this way, humans prefer a buffet, we prefer to pick and choose what we want to believe, rather than the truth of what it is in which we should believe, which definitely won’t get us into those white pearly gates known as heaven.

  • http://twitter.com/jamssx James Southward

    My two beautiful daughters are apparently in the eyes of the Catholic church abominations as they were born through IVF. So because of this (and the recent scandals) I’m biased and really could care less as to what they have to cover. It is interesting that fertility treatments have not been mentioned. Maybe it’s because contraception makes headlines. It’s to do with something they consider dirty. What do celibate men know about sexual relations anyway? You can’t have something that stops conception, and you can’t have something that helps conception. Have your cake and eat it too.

    • Stev84

      Most countries have multi-tier systems with a public market supplemented by private insurance. The stereotypical “single-payer” system that Americans always go on about exists almost nowhere.

  • http://lightninlives.wordpress.com/ Lightnin’ Lives

    This story inspired me to create a little comic on the subject:
    http://logicspeaks.com/the-catholic-church-and-the-contraception-issue/ 

    I wish I could say that I’m surprised or shocked. Sadly, this is just more of the same nonsense. 

  • Karen

    Everyone in my extended family is super-conservative and they flip out at the thought of government-run healthcare. I think it’s the result of many years of being told that socialism is evil and also hearing a few anecdotes from some bitter Canadian bikers they met. I spent some time in the UK and never had a bad experience with the NHS nor did I meet anyone who said anything negative about it, but they really won’t let those few bad anecdotes go. Also, apparently somebody once convinced them that government-run systems are designed to deny the elderly treatment so they die sooner.

    And as far as the waiting time, it’s not ideal, but it’s not really any different than in many parts of the U.S. I live in a big city and it is nearly impossible to find doctor’s appointments unless you call months in advance. Pretty much any medical service (GP, psychiatrist, dentist, etc.) has a waiting list (for new patients especially), so I don’t think it would be very different. At least that way medical expenses would be a much smaller worry.

    Also, many people don’t realize that the state of Hawaii has a government-run healthcare system. And from what I hear, it is very excellent and well-run.

    • Stev84

      I’d rather wait a bit longer than constantly fearing that an accident or unexpected illness could send me into debt for the rest of my life or cause bankruptcy.

      Besides, yes, the waiting time horror stories are exaggerated. They could only be fixed by adding a lot more personnel, which private hospitals are obviously reluctant to do as well. For them it’s more lucrative to specialize in certain procedures and treatments.

    • Glasofruix

       “government-run systems are designed to deny the elderly treatment so they die sooner.”

      My grandma who’s 80 got a stomach cancer a couple of years ago, she got it diagnosed fairly quickly and treated a few days later (her stomach was removed and remodeled from the remaining guts). She spent a whole month in the hospital, not to mention the control visits and the loads of meds she needed. And you know what? Government-run healthcare system, we paid maybe 600€ for the whole thing, yes that’s a six with only two zeroes and she’s not even the citizen (yet) of the country we live in.
      Reminds me of O’Reilly when he was talking about Dutch government killing of seniors….

  • Renshia

    When you think of the arrogange that has sprung up from the cesspool of the vatican over the last few hundred years it is not surprising that they think they have the authority to decide what the defininition  of religious is.

    Yeah, lets think of the children. If they’re not poking them in the bum, they’re parading them around using them to dictate privledge.

    Someone please explain why we can’t feed them to the lions. Think of how much better this world would be.

    • Glasofruix

       Think of the lions, they don’t deserve such a cruel treatement.

  • Stev84

    I wonder how long it will take until a company claims that they only believe in faith healing and thus refuse to offer any kind of health insurance

  • Deven Kale

    Personally, I’m unapologetically for “socialized healthcare,” although I prefer to call it what it is, a government funded single-payer system. Just look at the evidence worldwide. Those countries with single-payer systems have overall better health (or equal, in some cases) and pay less than we do here in the US. We could even have a hybrid system where all basic care is covered by the government system, but if you have private insurance you’re allowed appointment priority and/or unrestricted access to the more expensive diagnostics and treatments.

    I doubt it will happen though, not in the current political climate. Even if it does, and we decide to implement some sort of hybrid system, it will take a LOT of time and effort to find a balance that doesn’t create some sort of second-class citizen, if that’s even possible to avoid at all. Either way I see no reason why a single-payer system should be avoided by itself, and plenty of reasons otherwise.

    • http://twitter.com/markdturner Mark Turner

       The hybrid system is in operation here, but for some reason there isn’t too much of a sense of second class care. People who can afford to often go private, but usually for fairly superfluous reasons. The same care is available on the NHS as there is privately, it’s just that private hospitals tend to be nicer places to stay, you get seen quicker and they tend to use more expensive drugs when needed. I wouldn’t say that those who cannot afford private care feel like they’re recieving second rate care though.

  • http://www.facebook.com/sally.strangest Sally Strange

    I don’t have the polls right at hand, but IIRC, if you ask specific questions about health care policy, you find widespread support in the American public for things very very similar to single payer. The left was definitely disappointed when Obama took single payer off the table. I think there is strong support, but there are two main problems: first that the media are captured by the status quo, and second, that American governance has become completely disconnected from the will of the people. Just add health care to the list of things that have widespread support among the American public but are considered politically untouchable by Beltway insiders. 

  • Keulan

    The Catholic Church doesn’t seem to understand what freedom of religion means. It definitely does NOT give you the right to force others to follow your ridiculous religious rules about contraception, abortion, etc.

    • Jeb

      Perhaps if you knew anything about the Catholic Religion, other that what you read in the papers you may not find it so ridiculous.  In any event the fact that it is a religion is protected by the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights is not ridiculous.  The Church is not saying you have to follow us it is saying we cannot follow you.  Catholics that do are not really Catholics.  The religion is not a democracy you do not get a vote.   To be Catholic includes the tough parts.

      • Kevin S.

        By attempting to deny services they would be legally obligated to provide, they are saying you have to follow us.

      • Stev84

        People have freedom of religion. A business doesn’t. Catholic schools and hospitals also employ many non-Catholics, so their religious rules can’t apply to them.

        • RupertPupkin

          What silly nonsense. So if I apply for a job at Catholic school, I should be able to force the Church to accede to my demands?  What bullshit. 

      • Frank Mitchell

        You’re right, Jeb: I find the Catholic Religion ridiculous, but I suppose after eight years of Catholic grade school, four years of a Jesuit high school, first communion, confirmation, several years as an altar boy, and sporadic study of all religions including Catholicism over the subsequent twenty-eight years I must not know much about it.

        Oh, and I like the bit about the Church not saying I have to follow them, but saying it cannot follow me.  Is that anything like how God — a being that gives absolutely no indication of its existence save in the unsupported* and mutually contradictory writings of two thousand year old misogynists and the dogma of a multi-billion dollar organization** claiming absolute authority over all matters of faith and morality based on those writings — has not abandoned me, I’ve abandoned Him?  Because that shit cracks me up.

        * Josephus, yeah, yeah … http://jesuspuzzle.humanists.net/supp16.htm
        ** plus hundreds of smaller competitors with similar claims but subtly different dogmas

        • Reade Selle

          “A person refusing birth control and abortion out of religious conviction is freedom of religion. An employer denying coverage of birth control and abortion even to non-Catholic employees is a tyranny of religion.”

          Tyranny of religion is an interesting phrase. However, as you were (by the sounds of it) raised Catholic, I think you’ll agree with me, that to help someone commit a sin is, in the Roman Catholic faith, a sin itself. Employers are people, and if they aren’t forced to provide contraception to their employees, it seems that they would be sinning if they did so. 

          If an employee wants contraceptives they can go buy them, if they want an abortion they can go have one, but why should their employer be force to provide those things for them?

          • Frank Mitchell

            One could get Jesuitical and argue the insurance company subsidizes employees’ whore pills and baby killing, not the employer.  If both the whore-enabling and whore-denying versions cost the same, or the latter is unavailable due to government restrictions, then the employer can wash his hands of the whole thing.  (And yes, I know the origin of the phrase.)

            My main problem, though, is that the justifications for regarding contraception and abortion as sins are irrational, based on dogma not fact.  As such, religious groups have no right to write them into law.  Just as children are free to say their own prayers during school, the 20% of Catholics who believe abortion and contraception are sinful are free to abstain, and even free to encourage others to abstain by exercising their First Amendment rights.

            We cannot allow religious groups to deny legal rights to people who don’t follow their religious views, including the right to choose insurance that covers contraception and abortion.  If affordable health care in the U. S. didn’t depend so heavily on employer plans, this wouldn’t even be an issue.  What next, employers only contracting with insurers that do not cover contraceptives for *any* clients?

            And do we want a world where only the rich can afford birth control and the poor or the State must raise surplus children?  (Unless a mother-to-be dies first because doctors can’t terminate a pregnancy that’s killing her.  Or a child incapable of surviving long outside the womb mercifully but expensively expires.)  Or are the consequences Not Our Problem?

        • RupertPupkin

          Your comment is simply, ridiculous. So, refusing to subsidize your lifestyle choices is “tyranny”?  You certainly have an odd definition of tyranny.  Only in an alternative universe does forcing private organizations or individuals to violate their principles constitute tyranny whereas the opposite doesn’t.

          Your shockingly lame argument reminds of the claims made by various imbeciles who argued before the Supreme Court that the government’s refusal to pay for their painting supplies or theater productions was a violation of their First Amendment rights.  Not surprisingly, the Supreme Court rejected such nonsense.   If you want to have an abortion or purchase birth control, fine, but there is no Constitutionally-protected right to a free abortion or free birth control. 

    • RupertPupkin

      But freedom of religion does mean that the government should be able to tell a religious institution that they have to violate the tenets of their religion? If you don’t want to adhere to the tenets of the Catholic Church, DON”T APPLY FOR A JOB WITH THE CATHOLIC CHURCH.  Imagine that.  And refusing to pay for an abortion or birth control is not forcing anyone to follow various beliefs, but forcing them to pay certainly is. 

      Some people’s view of what constitutes freedom of religion is hilarious for its sheer stupidity. 

  • Frank Mitchell

    1. If the CEO of Domino’s Pizza were a Catholic (again), would the Cardinal consider Domino’s a religious institution?

    2. FWIW, I believe in socialized health care, but then I’m a pinko commie America-hater (especially by Texas standards).  I might even vote for Obama … again!  Seriously, the one proposal in “Obamacare” that made the most sense to me — a non-profit government-run insurance program open to every citizen — was the first thing pitched over the side when the Republicans and big business (but I repeat myself) threw their massive hissy-fit.  What we ended up with was a small number of necessary reforms and a “mandate” to buy insurance from the Champions of Free Enterprise that feared competition from the government.  Plus, Congress may revoke even those meager band-aids because it’s apparently a bigger threat than our massive deficit (mainly paying for two ill-advised wars and tax-cuts for the rich) or our jobless recovery (also arguably a product of tax-cuts for the rich instead of investments in infrastructure, education, and middle-class entrepreneurship).  Not that I’m bitter.  No, we live in the bestest country ever.  U! S! A!  U! S! A!  Wolverines!!

    • RupertPupkin

      “a non-profit government-run insurance program open to every citizen — was the first thing pitched over the side when the Republicans and big business (but I repeat myself) threw their massive hissy-fit.”

      Wow, Mark Pryor, Mary Landrieu, Joe Lieberman, Blanche Lincoln and Ben Nelson must have all switched from Democrat to Republican and then back again without anyone noticing. 

      As for “paying for tax cuts for the rich”, the government doesn’t pay anything when people keep their own money.  But given your political leanings, it doesn’t surprise me that you think money people earn is actually on loan from the government. 

  • David McNerney

    Don’t be so certain about the EU…  (particularly Ireland)

    My wife needed a serious operation to deal with a life threatening condition last year.  The senior consultant indicated that it was serious and she was immediately prepped for surgery.  On her way into the theatre a nurse noticed that a pregnancy test hadn’t been performed.  Even though my wife assured them that there was no way she was pregnant (she had been in agony for 2 months), she was brought back to her ward while the test was done and we had to wait 4 hours for the results – while knowing that at any time her bowel could have ruptured, killing her.

    I need no further justification for getting these sick f**ks as far as away from hospitals and schools and anything else for that matter, as soon as possible.

    • Stev84

      Well, that’s probably specific to Ireland (and maybe Poland). They have by far the most restrictive abortion laws in Europe. Though it’s still weird to hear. Technically, abortion is legal if the woman’s life is in danger. I guess the danger wasn’t immediate enough for them – only “potential”.

      Even Portugal and Spain, which traditionally had similarly restrictive rules, legalized abortion on request in recent years.

    • Deven Kale

       Things like this also happen here it the US as well, and I’m sure they also happen in other countries. While it’s not necessarily idea, in some cases I completely agree that testing for possible pregnancy or other conditions would be prudent before going in to surgery.

  • Fsq

    Here is the thing, i have read each if the bills they claim is mandating contraception. There is not one mention of contraception in the legislation. The whole thing is a canard.

    The bills simply say that any insurer must provide access to orescription drugs. The fucking catholic retards take this to mean that they are somehow being persecuted.

    The Catholics are one of the main evils in the world and they continue to show why.

    They cant even read a legislative bill without making some shit up.

    • Hqrv

      “Catholics are one of the main evils in the world” lol bro Catholics follow Gods teachings which is nothing but love, and not hate.

      I noticed you didnt site anything in your post or put quotes which leads me to believe you made up
      “The bills simply say that any insurer must provide access to orescription drugs.”
      This is what you believe it says, not what it may really say.

      Btw for as evil as you say Catholics are, why is it that we tend to me more forgiving than any other religion? Look it up.

  • Leon

    Is there strong support for health care reform among left leaning voters? And if not, why not?

    I’m strongly in favor of it, but I’m part of the majority here.   I would guess that socialized medicine (usually euphemized here as “single-payer health care”) is supported by somewhere around 30% of Americans, sadly.

    • Leon

      Minority, not majority, sorry!

  • Allison

    There are a fair number of non-Catholics working at Catholic institutions. I used to work for one, and I’m an atheist. My entire department was atheist except for one person, who was a nun. The nuns running the institution were on the liberal, social justice oriented side of the church, and they’re the sort of group getting a lot of flak from the church heirarchy at the moment. 

    And, um, yes, I want contraception. I suspect the nuns I worked with would support it as well.

  • RupertPupkin

    Sandra Fluke’s harrowing testimony? Is that some kind of joke?  A shocking glimpse of the suffering involved? Yeah, boy, having to pay $9/month for birth control is a level of suffering unseen since the Holocaust. 


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