Highest Order Hypocrites

And so, the National Right to Life Committee has endorsed Romney. They do so  “for the sake of unborn children, the disabled, and the elderly”. They do so because they believe the Affordable Health Care Act should be repealed, as this law “will result in federal funding of health plans that pay for elective abortion, and will lead to large-scale rationing of lifesaving medical treatments”.

I’m sorry, but it’s hard to fathom a higher level of hypocrisy. Let’s go through the evidence.

The NRLC opposed the Affordable Care Act because they believed the Medicare cost savings would endanger the lives of the elderly. So where were they when the GOP sought to cut Medicare by 14 percent in 1995 and 13 percent in 1997? Where were they when the GOP voted against protecting or strengthening Medicare nearly 60 times over the past decade? Where were they when the Paul Ryan budget sought to end Medicare as we know it?

The NRLC spread lies about “death panels” in the Affordable Care Act. So where were they when faced with real death panels in Arizona or Texas?

The NRLC keeps pushing the falsehood about taxpayer funding for elective abortion in the Affordable Care Act. So why did they actually support language in the Medicare Advantage legislation that had practically no protections against funding abortion, and which actually led to  taxpayer funding of abortion?

And on the same topic, what’s the only substantive difference between the Obama and Romney healthcare reforms, other than one being federal and the other at the state level? Yes, you guessed it – abortion. Specifically, the benefits package under Obama comes “without abortion” services and under Romney comes “with abortion services”. And remember: this came after, not before, Romney’s touted conversion to the pro-life cause.

Depravity and hypocrisy of the highest order.

 

  • Anne

    I agree with you 100%. The NRLC showed its political bias so clearly during the months leading up to passage of the Affordable Care Act that I withdrew my decades-long support and gave a piece of my mind to every poor soul who got roped into calling me. I’d had it.
    As a long-time campaigner for health care reform, I had not been amused by the several rounds of “emergency” fund-raising appeals aimed at stopping “pro-abortion Obamacare” before the Affordable Care Act had even been written. To think I’d once been foolish enough to believe it would be beneficial to both causes if Right to Life organizations, local and national, make common cause on behalf of health care system victims — esp. sick people or at least sick children denied life-saving treatments because of health insurance “loopholes” such as pre-existing conditions. If I hadn’t got the message before, the language in all those “Obamacare” mailings made it clear that health care reform was as much the “enemy” to the Republican-dominated leadership of NRLC as abortion.

  • keith

    It’s kind of naive to imply that Obama and Romney have the same policy/record on pro-life issues, but I’m not really sure your arguments deserve to be taken too seriously by Catholic conservatives in the light of your fondness for lifting liberal talking points word-for-word.

    Is Romney an ideal Pro-Life Candidate? of course not, but in comparison to Obama he is a proverbial standard barer. Did Romney make political concessions while governor of a liberal state? Sure he did, and that sit well with conservative voters as evidenced by Santorum’s otherwise incomprehensible campaign, but we’re talking about a guy whose core support is made up of Pro-Choice groups, supports partial birth abortion and resisted passing laws on infanticide because he didn’t want to give the pro-life lobby a leg up in Illinois.

    Romney is inconsistent to be sure, but Obama is consistent in his support of the universal availability of “Reproductive Services” along with the typical casual stance on bioethics. What with the recent snafu regarding Komen vs. Planned Parenthood and the Sandra Fluke debacle its clear that one of the key strategies for Obama this time around will be to emphasize these positions not to try to appear moderate like he did in his first election. Because I’m new to this site, I am not sure of your reaction to the HHS mandate fallout, but I wouldn’t be surprised if you resorted to the old “Why don’t the bishops get upset about the death penalty!” tirade.

    Your article is a perfect example of a tried and true liberal model: self-righteous partisan outrage at conservative hypocrisy… In fact, it reaches an almost comic level when you reach the final line “Depravity and hypocrisy of the highest order.”

    Politics isn’t about choosing which party/politician purely represents your interests. Is the GOP seriously deficient on many issues? I would agree with your critique of the GOP rhetoric and record on medicare cuts, for instance, and I think the general cult of Adam Smith and Milton Friedman wing of the GOP is out of step with Catholic Social doctrine falling into the same enlightenment traps, and I could go on….

    I feel like there is a certain level of pragmatism one should foster when entering the political realm. I think your indignant reaction misses that perhaps NRLC simply choose the candidate with a better record, NOT the candidate with a perfect record. If were to argue that they should have endorsed Obama, it would be a more credible less partisan post that would have deserved more thought, but to react in such an obviously partisan way in an over-inflated sense of indignation doesn’t seem to me to be a particularly sparkling example of Catholic thought.

    This is not to say the GOP follow Catholic lines of thought in their economic, social, military, and judicial positions, but to imply that the other guys do (that the liberal big state model fits into ideas of subsidiarity, for instance) or even to minimize the serious deficiencies in the pro-choice democratic platform is an unfortunate divergence into partisan politics.

    • Celeste

      The NRLC is not a pro-life organization. Like so many conservative anti-abortion, Republican supported agencies, he is pro-birth only. Being pro-life means embracing a consistent ethic of life which he does not do. He and his type support cutting programs that help the poor. The old “saw” about doing so to restore their dignity is laughable and hypocritical since they neither discuss nor care that the federal government is busy destroying the dignity of thousands of wealthy corporations [like the oil industry] through the billions of dollars they give them. If they were truly pro-life they ought to be out beating the political bushes to have this corporate welfare transferred to those who are truly needy.

      Wouldn’t it have sent a wonderful message to politician in general if they had simply said, “There is no candidate running for president who is sufficiently pro-life to earn our endorsement.” The NRLC is simply a front for the Republican party, pure and simple.

  • keith

    Add immigration to the list of on which issues that orthodox Catholics and the GOP base diverge in light of the ridiculous Alabama prohibitions on Churches wishing to aid undocumented immigrants or even administer the sacraments…

    • Mark Gordon

      Keith, you sound like a liberal … or maybe just a Catholic.

      • keith

        :) I have been all over the spectrum politically since college… Far left: Socialist, Anarcho-Syndicalism, noam chomsky etc Far right: milton friedman free market economics, interventionist foreign policy, national review…

        Now I think I’m more of a Red Tory/Distributist, but I think both US parties are seriously flawed from a Catholic perspective… It’s hard to find good politics in a protestant/enlightenment drenched society.

        I find the abortion problem bigger than global warming crisis
        bigger than economic crisis
        and bigger than health care crisis…

        I feel like the perceived differences in peace/war outcomes are illusory, the perceived differences in education are upside down (I don’t think teachers unions and public schools produce more educated individuals)

        I don’t think either party is really for economic fairness
        and I think democrats exploit minorities in the effort to increase the power of the state, in the same way the GOP abuses their power for decreased regulations in the interest of “free market” ideals that are built on anti-christian premises.

        I also am opposed to state sponsored gay marriage, which would eventually put the Church in a position we see it in today of being pressured to violate its doctrine to accommodate the whims of secular public opinion.

        that about sums up my political ideology

        • Mark Gordon

          I don’t think you and I are that far apart at all.

  • keith

    The question is really whether opposing the Affordable Care Act is the same thing as opposing expanded health care coverage, not caring about people with pre-existing conditions etc. It is possible to be for those things and be opposed to the policy and the means with which it seeks to solve the problem. The same could be said for raising taxes to increase funding of public education for instance. Supporting such a policy is not the same as supporting what the policy seeks to address. Perhaps the best way to improve education would be to divert education funds from corrupt teachers union to parents, for example. It is not politically honest to assert that because NRLC opposed Obamacare they oppose health care reform.

    There are many laws that are enacted with good intentions that end up having disastrous effects on the economy and people’s lives.

    Giving centralized control over all health insurance/coverage is at the very least dangerous and opens the door for abuses of power as seen in the HHS Mandate controversy. Obama and Sebilious have shown no qualms in redefining what constitutes “religious activities” or “essential services.”

    The papal social encyclicals are not too keen on centralized power, economic or political, and a plan that was more in line with the proper separation of powers, or the value of subsidiarity, would be preferable. We could offer people tax credits, for example, or we could regulate the insurance companies more directly, or the government could expand medicaid…

    Final point: you mentioned that Ryan wants to “end medicare as we know it.” If you look at the future costs of medicare, it will be virtually impossible to continue the program as it is. We have to change it somehow. Unfortunately, people stopped having children after the baby boomers so there aren’t going to be enough people in the work force to pay into the program. Another wonderful outcome of the sexual revolution!

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/voxnova Morning’s Minion

      Let’s be careful here. The NRLC has a long record of opposing universal healthcare. It is quite shameful, and at odds with their clear mandate. After all, as many Churchmen in Europe have pointed out, what do you expect will happen when a pregnant woman with no insurance faces a choice between childcare costs of $25,000 and a $450 abortion. What an abominable position in which to put a woman.

      You also seem a bit confused on the mechanics of bringing about universal coverage, which the Church does see as a right. The ACA is the most “conservative” way possible (least change/ based on private insurance). The only real other way is single payer. Not sure what you mean by “centralized control over all health insurance”. If you mean proper regulation of insurance companies so they cannot deny people coverage, or discriminate among people, then Catholic social teaching would call for such regulation, on grounds of both solidarity and subsidiarity. Remember, CST calls for an effective governing principle to correct the injustice of market outcomes – and there is no clearer example of where such intervention is needed than health care. Of course, if you impose such conditions on insurance companies, they you need an individual mandate, or else the healthy would simply drop out.

      You seem to be under the illusion that the ACA is about centralization. It is simply appropriate regulation of the insurance market so that all get covered. That’s it, plus some subsidies for the poor and some Medicaid expansion. Tax credits will not work. They are a good deal for the young and healthy, but they cut the bonds of responsibility and solidarity. They will not achieve anything close to universal coverage.

      Medicare: yes, it is unsustainable, but that has nothing to do with Medicare, and everything with general health care costs. Indeed, since the 1970s, Medicare costs have been growing slower than medical costs in general. What Ryan seeks to do is sever Medicare costs from general costs, by giving vouchers that don’t keep up with costs.

  • keith

    Here’s a thought: what if we used anti-trust laws to break up the insurance monopolies and drug companies into smaller more locally run organizations? The only problem with that sort of path is that both parties receive funding from the health care lobby, in the same way the are all tied to big banking interests, big agri-business, and big energy.

    Our country started running off the rails once we stopped enforcing these anti-monopoly laws.

    • Charles

      Insurance companies are far from monopolies. There are large numbers of carriers in many parts of the country. In those areas that lack competition, it’s because the pools there are so small or risky that few companies see the likelihood of profit-taking.

      Re the drug companies: smaller size would likely hurt innovation without increasing competition. Pharma R&D is extremely capital-intensive and requires a significant institutional backing. No mom-and-pop drug maker is going to come up with the cure for cancer. This inevitably leads to concentration and large size, at least in the Brand Name Drug market. It may be different in generics, but they are by definition not inventing new drugs. The real problem with pharma is that the major players have captured the FDA and Congress and are able to leverage the patent laws to their advantage.

      While I agree that monopoly is a bad thing, bigness is often necessitated by the market. When that occurs, the answer is a mor muscular response by the state to protect small players and consumers from anti-competitive actions by the Big Guys. We need civic involvement in the economic sphere, not civic retreat.

  • Kurt

    The NRTL made the obvious choice based on the issues they have taken a position on, namely: 1) opposition to campaign finance reform and support for the CItizens United case; 2) support for the private market and opposition to any form of universal health care; 3) opposition to women procuring abortions while respecting the right of the private market to cause Mercury abortions.

  • Thales

    Sorry, Morning’s Minion, your post is flawed in a couple of ways.

    1. What are you trying to argue? That the Romney endorsement is “depravity and hypocrisy of the highest order”? I thought that was the point of your post, but for most of the post you just criticized the NRLC for its past actions — most of your post is an argument that the NRLC is hypocritical because it has been insufficiently concerned about pro-life issues in the past. Now that position (i.e., that the NRLC has been hypocritically “pro-life” in the past) is a valid argument that you can certainly try to make (although I disagree with it), but it’s not relevant to the argument about whether endorsing Romney is a new instance of hypocrisy and depravity from a pro-life perspective. Let’s assume that you’re right, and that the NRLC has been a horrible “pro-life” hypocrite in the past on myriad issues like Medicare funding and state death panels — now maybe the Romney endorsement is finally a more pro-life step in the right direction. If you disagree, then you have to make that argument, and you haven’t made it. The only argument that you seem to make in support of the position that the Romney endorsement is “pro-life” hypocrisy is the last reference to the difference in his and Obama’s state and federal health reforms. Which brings me to your post’s second flaw…

    2. No politician is perfect; all politicians are flawed. An endorsement is not a statement that a politician is the paragon of pro-life virtue; an endorsement is a statement that this one terribly flawed politician, who may have done many anti-pro-life things in the past, is still less worse than the alternative. Now the NRLC thinks that Romney is less worse than Obama from a pro-life perspective on a variety of issues, despite the non-pro-life things Romney has done in the past like his state health reform that you mention. Some of the issues on which Romney is less worse, or more pro-life, than Obama include the Mexico City policy, the federal funding restrictions on human embryonic stem cell research, appointing pro-life judges and justices, federal funding of Planned Parenthood, and the HHS mandate. You didn’t mention any of these in your post. Now you could try to argue (A) that these issues are minor and (B) that there are other pro-life issues that weigh in Obama’s favor, and thus a Romney endorsement is not pro-life but an Obama endorsement is pro-life….. but you haven’t made that argument. If you want to, go ahead and try to actually make the argument that a Romney endorsement is not pro-life — but you have to do it without ignoring all the pro-life issues that are relevant.

    Now to my own opinion: Personally, I think the HHS mandate is the primary pro-life issue distinguishing Romney and Obama, and I think it’ll turn out to be the deciding factor in my mind come November in pulling the lever for Romney over Obama. With the HHS mandate, Obama is saying that abortifacients are a necessary part of women’s health and thus, employers are required to provide them in their health plans, even if employers have a religious objection to this. In my mind, I think this is a horrendous non-pro-life position for Obama to take. In addition, it’s one small step away from abortions being added to the mandate. I suspect that Obama thinks that abortions are a necessary part of women’s health too, and that if it was politically possible, abortions would be added to the mandate. Can anyone give me assurances that wouldn’t happen in a second Obama presidential term?

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/voxnova Morning’s Minion

      Let’s be careful here. It is one thing to choose between two imperfect candidates on the basis of who does the least harm. But the NRLC is supposed to be the pre-eminent right to life organization. Let’s not even get into the issue of the narrow approach to the pro-life issue, and the refusal to note the connection between abortion and poverty/ lack of adequate health care. Even on this narrow turf, the NRLC falls short. In a nutshell, they have consistently hammered the Democrats on certain policies and have turned a blind eye to Republican advocacy of the same or worse. Their motivation is simple. They oppose universal healthcare, most likely because they are American laissez-faire liberals. They support Democrats. But life has nothing to do with it.

      If you really think that the HHS mandate is the biggest difference between Romney and Obama on abortion, then you are effectively admitting how close they are in positions. As for the abortifacient argument, why did Bill Lori allow such items to be used in Catholic hospitals in Connecticut?

      • http://roadgoeseveron.wordpress.com Henry Karlson

        What I find humorous and sad all in one is that Romney basically had the HHS mandate in his state for his state. So many people who are opposed to it on the federal level are ok with it on the state level, as if it changes anything of the moral question. They show their individualism in this context: they detest the federal government but love states acting alone. This, of course, explains why so many want abortion to be a states issue. It’s ok if states approve it, basically. The moral question is ignored, and the concern is state vs federal governments to all so many.

        I think the HHS decision was wrong, but I think the reasons for it being wrong are far different from the GOP position. The GOP accept the morality just not the hierarchy, that is all. I think that, ultimately, is far worse a position. Alas.

      • Thales

        If you really think that the HHS mandate is the biggest difference between Romney and Obama on abortion, then you are effectively admitting how close they are in positions.

        Nope. I think Romney is more pro-life than Obama on a variety of issues like judge appointments, Mexico City policy, and federal funding of Planned Parenthood and of human embryonic stem cell research. But the mandate stands out in my mind as particularly egregious because it’s one step closer to that horrible point in the future when free abortion without restrictions will be declared as a necessary part of health care (as seen in Canada).

        Another thought I have is that I think the people in an Romney administration would tend to be more anti-abortion than the people in an Obama administration — so you wouldn’t have such strong abortion advocates like Sebelius heading the HHS Dept making pro-abortion regulations, and you wouldn’t have abortion supporters like Holder heading the DOJ bringing baseless prosecutions against pro-life sidewalk counselors. I’m not saying that Romney’s people would be all good and wonderful on all pro-life issues; just that I think, as a general rule, the administration’s culture would be less pro-abortion than it is now.

        As for the abortifacient argument, why did Bill Lori allow such items to be used in Catholic hospitals in Connecticut?

        So he was wrong and mistaken back then, and that is a horrible policy in Connecticut which should be fought against. So?

      • Thales

        Henry said, So many people who are opposed to it on the federal level are ok with it on the state level, as if it changes anything of the moral question.

        Who thinks this? I’ve never seen this.

        • http://roadgoeseveron.wordpress.com Henry Karlson

          I’ve heard it from many “conservatives” who think that everything should just go back to the states (often the libertarian/ Ron Paul type, but even those who otherwise are not libertarian try to go this route saying “some states will outlaw abortion” or the like).

      • Thales

        Henry,
        Well, sure, many argue that the issue should go back to the states. That’s not what I was curious about — I was curious about those who oppose it morally on the federal level, but are fine with it morally on the state level. Reading back over your comment, I see that I misunderstood you — reading your line in context, you’re commenting on the Ron-Paul-types who make the pure federalism argument of sending it back to the states and who make no judgment on the issue of morality.

    • Kurt

      I think the HHS mandate is the primary pro-life issue distinguishing Romney and Obama, and I think it’ll turn out to be the deciding factor in my mind come November in pulling the lever for Romney over Obama.

      By itself, this would expose a suspicion many have had about the RTL movement — that they are not just opposed to abortion but their real and secret agenda is to prohibit contraception.

      With the HHS mandate, Obama is saying that abortifacients are a necessary part of women’s health.

      That is an incredibly dishonest statement, but in charity, I think you can be forgiven. Part of the evil work of the Right-to-Life Movement is the propagation of their biased and dishonest claims designed to buttress their secular right wing agenda. That is why they are an organization to be opposed and not supported.

      In fact, the Obama Administration has said that abortifacients are to be prohibited from subsidized health care plans. It has not said that abortifacients are a necessary part of women’s health. What is has done is accepted the previous Administration’s determination as to what is and what is not an abortifacient. Only those drugs that the Bush Administration held not to be abortifcacients are mandated in the HHS rule. Those found to be abortifcacients are prohibited.

      One could, with honesty and integrity, say that a practical effect of the HHS mandate is to provide what one considers to be abortifcacients. You might dispute the previous administration found. You would find most scientists and many sincere pro-lifers disagree with you (even Bishop Lori has been not entirely with you). That is a different issue (and let’s discuss that elsewhere). But your statement shows that bashing Obama, even dishonestly, is a higher priority than protection the unborn for the RTL movement.

      I would suggest you revise your remarks.

      • Thales

        that they are not just opposed to abortion but their real and secret agenda is to prohibit contraception.

        There is a difference about seeking to legally prohibit something by law and requiring someone else against their conscience to pay for this something.

        That is an incredibly dishonest statement… In fact, the Obama Administration has said that abortifacients are to be prohibited from subsidized health care plans.

        Sigh… not this debate again. Kurt, I’m using the definition of “abortifacient” the way that the Catholic Church uses it: namely, a drug that kills a human embryo by preventing implantation. I’m not using the definition of “abortifacient” used by some in the medical profession (and by the mistaken Bush Administration apparently): namely, a drug that ends a pregnancy, which in turn is defined as the period post-implantation. You can disagree with my definition, but my underlying point remains the same: The Obama administration is saying that “drugs which prevent human embryo implantation” are a necessary part of women’s health. I don’t think this is too controversial or dishonest a position on my part, considering that Secretary Sebelius, Pres. Obama’s top administrative official in this area, has gone further on several occasions and said that abortion is a part of women’s health.

      • Kurt

        No, Thales, you didn’t use the defintion that you have of abortifacients. You put words in the President’s mouth, stated that the President said that abortifacients are to be in health care. He is clearly not saying that, even if you think that is what is being done.

        This is the ugly face of the RTL movement. I would agree with them that abortion kills an unborn life. I would agree with them that the result of the policies of pro-choice politicans results in lives being lost. But comments like “Obama says he wants to kill babies.” is one of the reasons I am not Pro-Life. The President has never said he “wants to kill babies” nor has he said he thinks “abortifacients are a necessary part of women’s health”.

        Even accepting your opinion on what is an abortifacient, there is a difference between a mistaken analysis and a knowing and willfull act.

        And finally, you raise the issue of pro-life judges. Given the drugs the Bush Administration certified as non-abortifacinets are distributed in every federal judicial district in the country, why has no pro-life organization ever appealed in cour?. They have free range to “forum shop” for a favorable judge. Is there a fear that not a single one of these “pro-life”judges would rule properly?

      • Thales

        Kurt,

        I honestly don’t know what you’re criticizing me for. The HHS mandate says that “ella is a necessary part of women’s health.” ella is an abortifacient under the definition I’m using. Therefore…. Q.E.D. Are you saying that the Obama Administration doesn’t know that ella is a pre-implantation abortifacient, and so I can’t claim that the Obama administration thinks that a pre-implantation abortifacient is a necessary part of women’s health? If that’s the case, I don’t know why this ignorance lessens their blameworthiness.

        [I’ll just add, all of this discussion is a little bit of an academic exercise, since the HHS mandate is still gravely objectionable from a Catholic perspective, because of the contraception and sterilization — and thus, Romney is better than Obama on this issue. But I won’t go away on this ella question, because I don’t like seeing the canard “ella doesn’t act as an abortifacient” propagated.]

        As for the pro-life judges issue, I have no idea what you’re suggesting — in your mind, what relief would these pro-life organizations be seeking? What would they be suing for? Not only do we live in a country where abortion is a constitutional right, pro-life organizations can’t sue to ban pre-implantation abortifacients because they’re not illegal. (Now if we’re talking about pro-life organizations challenging the mandate because they don’t want to be forced to give insurance convering pre-implantation abortifacients, half a dozen of those lawsuits have been filed already.)

      • Kurt

        I honestly don’t know what you’re criticizing me for. The HHS mandate says that “ella is a necessary part of women’s health.”

        It doesn’t. The words you put in quotes appear nowhere in the HHS proposed rule. It is very hard to not accuse you of lying, but I really don’t know what disreputable source you get your information from or why you think an honest person can put words in quote marks and attribute it to others that have never been utter by them just because that is what you think is the implications of other things they have said.

        Under the Obama Administration there is a requirement that insurance companies offer contraceptives and a prohibition that they offer abortifacients. You and others have a problem in that in doing so, the current Administration leaves unchallenged the determination of the previous administration that certain pharmaceuticals are contraceptives and not abortifacients. That determination has also been unchallenged in court by pro-life groups. If these drugs were determined to be abortifacients, it would not make them illegal, it would make it illegal to market them as contraceptives.

        As for the pro-life judges issue, I have no idea what you’re suggesting — in your mind, what relief would these pro-life organizations be seeking? What would they be suing for?

        Aspirin is not illegal. It would illegal to sell aspirins as a cure for cancer.

        Now, please explain the RTL’s support and the USCCB’s silence on the Bush Administration’s enactment of Part D when Bush “said” abortion should be a part of health care.

      • Thales

        Kurt, sorry, I don’t understand the aspirin reference, and I don’t know the circumstances of your Part D/abortion reference.

      • Kurt

        Thales,

        You noted: As for the pro-life judges issue, I have no idea what you’re suggesting — in your mind, what relief would these pro-life organizations be seeking? What would they be suing for? Not only do we live in a country where abortion is a constitutional right, pro-life organizations can’t sue to ban pre-implantation abortifacients because they’re not illegal.

        Just as while aspirin is legal but can’t legally be marketed as a cure for cancer, why has there been no legal challenge to the finding that certain drugs are contraceptives and not abortifacients? All these pro-life judges and it is not even worth a try? On soemthing you think is so clearly true you feel free to put words in the mouth of the President of the United States?

        As for Part D, the Bush Administration won enactment of a new Medicare program called Part D which covers prescription drugs including what you call abortifacients but the Bush Administration did not, thereby cirumventing the legal prohibition on government funding for abortion. Not a single objection to this was raised by either the Catholic Church nor the Right to Life Movement. Please explain this to me. Why is this the primary pro-life issue for Obama but not a word of objection to Bush?

  • keith

    “By itself, this would expose a suspicion many have had about the RTL movement — that they are not just opposed to abortion but their real and secret agenda is to prohibit contraception.”

    If you really buy all that hogwash that advocacy against a recently declared mandate that will expand contraceptive coverage is the same as a desire to “prohibit” it, there is no point in having an adult conversation with you. The bishops aren’t on the ones on offensive here, and you know that. The real key to the debate is the narrow redefinition of “religious activities.” The government does not have the right to tell the Church that its health care services, adoption services, and human trafficking services are not part of its religious mission.

    The difference between the state mandates already in existence and the HHS mandate have to do with the narrow exemption. The Church has been able to circumvent those other mandates. Another key point is that the Obama administration found it possible to give exemptions to tons of secular institutions who simply wanted to keep their old policies.

    One final note: it seems that the advocates for the Obama administration seem to be conflating positions the GOP takes on certain issues with the supposed underlying positions and motives of Catholics who vote along conservative lines. Is it not impossible to vote for a conservative candidate with qualms concerning certain positions?

    “Let’s not even get into the issue of the narrow approach to the pro-life issue, and the refusal to note the connection between abortion and poverty/ lack of adequate health care”

    I remember hearing this argument last time around. The idea that Obama would be such a boon to ending poverty that he would make a dent in abortions indirectly. Well it remains to be seen if the well meaning liberal economic policies actually reach their goals. Plenty of laws with good intentions to fight poverty end up doing the opposite.

    Another thing to note as that the connection between poverty and abortion is not incidental. Planned Parenthood targets poor communities, placing their centers within impoverished areas.

    Plenty of wealthy women get abortions too.

    The way to stop abortion is to address the situation head on, not to concede the issue and push for distributional measures that might make an impact. Getting an abortion is primarily a moral choice not an economic one that is forced on people because of their environment. When the president and his administration are fierce advocates for the expansion of abortion coverage here and abroad, based on a false prophecy of a population bomb, there is a clear moral obligation to oppose them.

    Not to say that the GOP is blameless, and I certainly agree with your critique of GOP economic doctrine and the basic philosophical hold overs of a Calvinist/Enlightenment American mindset, but the abortion issue is clear. One party has the unabashed advocacy of abortion as a natural fundamental right and sees it as a sign of the empowerment of women, the other party might not have all the facts correct, but they haven’t gone that immoral/relativistic.

    Morning Minion: You seem to think its impossible that the ACPA would lead to a centralized system. Don’t you see how much power the HHS has in dictating which services insurance companies must cover? And how much power the federal government will have by being able to mandate that, by right of birth, an individual is obligate to enter into a market? The Supreme Court seemed to be wary of such expansion of powers, even a moderate like Kennedy.

    • Kurt

      If you really buy all that hogwash that advocacy against a recently declared mandate that will expand contraceptive coverage is the same as a desire to “prohibit” it…

      Keith, I don’t by that hogwash. I was responding to the hogwash that stopping an expansion of contraceptive coverage is “the primary pro-life issue,” as one poster wrote.

      Yes, if contraception coverage is the primary pro-life issue, it suggest the RTL movement does have an agenda opposing contraception.

  • keith

    We can’t just allow the government to circumvent the constitution even if its aims are pure. What happens in the future when a president uses the ACPA as a precedent to do something objectively harmful?

    • Kurt

      That is one of the (silly, to me) arguements for Roe v.Wade. Abortion is a terrible thing but if we give the government the power to ban it, they will have the power to other objectively harmful things.

  • http://undeetmemores.wordpress.com Jordan

    Morning’s Minion, I just as disgusted as you are with the ploys of some of the American bishops and the NRLC. If the hierarchy and their Washington lobbies think that they will lose some control over health care policy under PPACA, they will lose more or perhaps even all control under single-payer.

    The bishops decided to roll the dice and see what they could get away with under “Obamacare” rather than offer to incorporate all Church property, ecclesiastical and charitable, into one taxed ecclesiastical corporation which would fall under the HHS exemption for clergy and houses of worship. The bishops would have had a much more solid argument against the HHS directive if they were willing to self-insure every aspect of the Church’s temporal mission. This would have entailed placing the hierarchy, the secular clergy, diocesan employees, Catholic Charities employees, and Catholic hospital employees (inter alia), as well as all Church property holdings, under a massive incorporated Church-owned and operated HMO. To spread risk and lower premiums, this HMO could’ve been opened to the Catholic laity and even non-Catholics who agree with the doctrine of the Church. This HMO would resolutely refuse even a penny of federal aid. This HMO would also accept Medicaid and Medicare as if the federal government were a private for-profit insurer, with the full right to refuse an immoral procedure even if the federal government will pay for that procedure.

    Incorporation of the Church would have been (and will eventually be) a massive financial burden the Church. Still, if the hierarchs value their moral positions as gravely as they contend, they should cut all ties with federal funding and accept taxation in turn for conscientious autonomy. In our secular democracy, the Church does not exercise rights similar to the Second Estate of the Ancien Regime, with special bartered exclusions for the Church simply because of its prominence. If only the hierarchs could awaken from this delusion and work towards building a independent and stronger institiutional Church.

  • keith

    Morning Minion:

    I just read your post responding to criticisms of a previous post on Santorum and his failings in regards political advocacy contrary to Catholic doctrine. I have some questions regarding your underlying political assumptions etc. It is obvious how you feel about the shortcomings of conservative politics to reconcile with Catholic thought, but where does that lead you?

    I am curious… So you oppose Catholics voting for GOP members who admittedly contradict Catholic teaching, but do you also oppose voting for DEM’s who do the same thing? What are some examples of the ideological failings of the Democratic party, and do you find ways to reconcile those failings? I hope this doesn’t come across as aggressive. I am honestly open to a coherent justification for advocacy of democratic positions on a number of issues.

    I believe you are absolutely 100% correct on the failings of the Calvanist/Enlightenment/Free Market economic pseudo-religiosity, but I am not sure a credible point can be made that the DEM’s distance themselves from such notions in the reality of most of their positions, and where they do deviate they prefer the centralization of state power (ala socialist principals) which are also contradicted by Catholic doctrine. Did not Obama receive more funding than McCain from financial institutions last election? Didn’t he bail out the banks, thereby affirming an unjust centralized system that hinders local economic growth and development in favor of multinational corporations?

    You are absolutely correct in your critiques of the failings of conservative candidates to live up to Catholic ideals, but if that is where your argument ends one cannot simply jump over to the democratic side of the spectrum. Perhaps you’re simply making the argument against a simple one-to-one attempt by some Catholics on the right to equate GOP ideology with Catholic doctrine. If that is the case, all the more power to ya!

    What is your desired end game? In other words, if we’re talking short term political goals, do you think it would be more or less ideal, from a Catholic perspective, for four more years of Obama than a Romney presidency? Do you advocate for Catholics to abstain from voting since both parties hold core positions contrary to Catholic teaching? Or is the argument that Catholics can logically compromise on certain issues, on either side, in a pragmatic attempt to push forward certain other causes wherein one believes the party is a credible ally?

    Again, I haven’t been reading this blog for a long time, so I am not sure about your underlying political assumptions. For instance: do you think the bishops are all falling into partisan politics by opposing the HHS Mandate? Are you upset when Obama strikes down laws banning federal funding of abortions overseas? In other words, how do you handle the other side of the coin where liberal social philosophy and the notion of individual rights to do whatever one wants come into play? Or do you simply shrug off those objections to conservative fear mongering and partisan misrepresentation?

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/voxnova Morning’s Minion

      I’ve said this many times – there is absolutely no problem with Catholics voting for whoever they choose. We seem to be raising the act of voting almost to the level of idolatry. It is merely a choice of political allegiance. Since the birth of the Church, earnest Catholics have been making accommodations with less-than-perfect rulers. Nothing is different today. You choose a person who you think will do least harm, or support the common good more. Or you choose nobody.

      My problem is not that American Catholics choose Republicans. It is that they claim that choice obliges all Catholics. As a mode of reasoning, that could not be more wrong.

      Personally, I absolutely support the Democrats. I shudder at the thought of a president who will sign onto the radical (and anti-Catholic) economic policies coming out of the Republican congress. I shudder at the thought of war with Iran. I shudder at the thought of willful inaction on global warming, the greatest crisis of our generation.

      Of course, Obama is imperfect. His worst failings, however, are not on abortion. His power is strictly limited here. It’s all tinkering around the edges. He signed a healthcare law that for the first time ever restricted the ability of private insurance companies to cover abortion, while Romney included taxpayer-funded abortion in his law. And as much as I oppose the Obama administration’s attempt to impose a Protestant definition of religious activity on the Catholic Church, I think it rather unseemly to sell out the poor, he vulnerable, the uninsured and the immigrant for the sake of an expanded definition of religious liberty in a narrow area.

      In other words, Obama will do the least harm, by a long shot. In fact, his major failings are nothing to do with abortion or religious liberty – they are his continued aggressive military policy, his continuous thuggish deportation policy, his total inaction on global warming, his failure to appropriately alter the structure of the financial system. But in each of these areas, the alternative would be worse, sometimes far worse. Catholics are of course free to come to different conclusions, but that seems hard to me, given what we see on front of our noses.

  • David Cruz-Uribe, SFO

    ‘As for the abortifacient argument, why did Bill Lori allow such items to be used in Catholic hospitals in Connecticut?

    So he was wrong and mistaken back then, and that is a horrible policy in Connecticut which should be fought against. So?”

    As a resident of CT I can comment on this in somewhat greater depth. The bishops in CT fought vigorously against a mandate that emergency rooms provide emergency contraception in the form of “Plan B”, the drug Levonorgestrel, to rape victims. When it became clear they had lost and would have to take their opposition to a whole new level, they did some soul-searching, consulted some experts and dropped their opposition.

    The basis for this change of policy was the decision, based on their expert advice, that it was not established scientifically that Plan B caused abortions, and that in the absence of firm evidence it was acceptable for Catholic hospitals to administer it. They took considerable flack from the right for allowing Catholic hospitals to “perform abortions.”

    In conclusion, there does seem to be something disingenuous about Bishop Lori’s marked change in position, unless there has been a substantial change in the scientific consensus since 2008/09 when the CT bishops made this decision. No one has brought evidence of this change to my attention.

  • Anne

    “It is not politically honest to assert that because NRLC opposed Obamacare they oppose health care reform. ”

    You obviously didn’t get the point. The NRLC was sending out fund raising letters asking for “emergency” support to help “stop pro-abortion Obamacare” before there was such a thing as “Obamacare.” The Affordable Care Act hadn’t even been written yet, and “Obamacare” consisted of Obama’s calling on Congress to come up with health care reform legislation, which had only begun to take shape. If they supported any form of health care reform, that would have been the time to advocate for it. But no. All their efforts went toward “stopping” Obamacare by labeling it “pro-abortion.” I certainly wouldn’t call such activities “politically honest.”

  • Anne

    “…there does seem to be something disingenuous about Bishop Lori’s marked change in position, unless there has been a substantial change in the scientific consensus since 2008/09 when the CT bishops made this decision. No one has brought evidence of this change to my attention.”

    Ignore science and you can continue to toss around hot button words like “abortion” and “abortifacient” when drumming up public support for your fight against insurance coverage of contraceptives.

    • keith

      Its not about “ignoring science” its about not accepting the arbitrary and deceptive definition of terms: “Religious Activities,” “Essential Services,” “Health Care,” “reproductive rights,” “Contraceptives (in regards,Thales above: “I’m using the definition of “abortifacient” the way that the Catholic Church uses it: namely, a drug that kills a human embryo by preventing implantation.” )”

      You can debate whether or not the bishops should call this or that “abortifacients,” but their opposition is to the effect of the pill on preventing the implantation of already an conceived human life, not the terminology. They have decided that this is, in effect, an abortion.

      its not possible to have a debate without an agreement of the meaning of the terms being used. The current method of the left is to load these seemingly innocuous terms with questionable and partisan moral judgments and accuse the other side of simply being dense “not understanding,” intentionally obfuscating the incontrovertible “science,” or ignoring the facts. . .

      If your only argument is that the other side is stupid and can’t wrap their mind around the intricacies of your position, as opposed to being able to advocate reasonably for it, one is clearly fighting a loosing rhetorical battle.

      The bishops aren’t stupid and they aren’t a part of some right wing conspiracy to bash Obama. As Bishop Lori is fond of saying “We didn’t ask for this fight.”

  • Anne

    <<With the HHS mandate, Obama is saying that abortifacients are a necessary part of women’s health and thus, employers are required to provide them in their health plans, even if employers have a religious objection to this. In my mind, I think this is a horrendous non-pro-life position for Obama to take. In addition, it’s one small step away from abortions being added to the mandate. I suspect that Obama thinks that abortions are a necessary part of women’s health too, and that if it was politically possible, abortions would be added to the mandate. Can anyone give me assurances that wouldn’t happen in a second Obama presidential term?<<

    As Kurt says, the Obama administration has already taken a stand against abortifacient coverage. There's also the Executive Order he signed banning any abortion subsidy and/or coverage relating to the Affordable Care Act. He has simply never done anything to indicate that he ever plans to mandate abortion or abortion coverage in any form. (What would he do, rescind his own Executive Order?)

    When you accuse him of doing so, I can only surmise you're equating abortifacients and contraceptives, which simply isn't warranted by the scientific evidence. If such a direct link were ever found, it would have a serious impact on both public opinion and public policy. But that has not happened.

    • Thales

      See my post below. I’m calling ella a pre-implantation abortifacient. My position is shared by the Catholic Church, all U.S. bishops, and by medical professionals.

  • Thales

    Anne and David Cruz-Uribe,

    The Connecticut situation involved Plan B. There is still a great deal of uncertainty as to how exactly Plan B works. It appears to do 2 things: suppress ovulation and alter the endometrium. Obviously the first is not abortifacient, while the second is (using the abortifacient definition of “prevents a human embryo from implanting”). It looks to me that Bishop Lori’s advisors said that it’s uncertain what exactly happens when you take Plan B, so Bishop Lori decided to go along with it on the basis that it might not work as an abortifacient. To me, that seems to be a gravely mistaken position to take, since we should err on the side of life — yes, it doesn’t seem that we can prove with certainty that Plan B acts as an abortifacient in Particular Woman X, but no one can prove with certainty that it doesn’t act as an abortifacient either. Finally, even if Bishop Lori went along reluctantly with the Plan B-as-contraceptive-policy in Connecticut, so? That doesn’t make a federal Plan B-as-contraceptive-policy any better or any less objectionable.

    But let’s set aside Plan B. Let’s talk about ella, because I think it’s clearly worse than Plan B. When I had this conversation on Vox Nova a couple of months ago with David Nickol. I did a bunch of research into the medical studies and literature about ella. Here’s what I found:

    -Chemically, ella is different than Plan B, and is more similar to RU-486, and has similar properties to RU-486, the abortion drug.
    -Plan B is only recommended up to 3 days after intercourse. But ella is approved up to 5 days after intercourse. This is so because ella was found to be effective on women 5 days after intercourse.
    -Fertilization of an egg can happen as soon as 30 minutes after intercourse.
    -ella prevents ovulation, but it’s also been proven to alter the endometrium. In fact, p.22 of ella’s medical trial report stated that ella is better at altering the endometrium than inhibiting ovulation (I accessed the medical trial report through ella’s wikipedia article).
    -ella has been proven to cause post-implantation abortions in animals; but because ella has not been tested for causing post-implantation abortions in women, it has not been approved by the FDA as a post-implantation abortifacient.
    -when ella was tested on women, they estimated when intercourse happened in relation to ovulation. The trials included women who they estimated had intercourse after ovulation, and ella was effective at reducing the pregnancy rate of these women (and thus, logically, it had acted in an abortifacient manner).

    From this, I think the abortifacient nature of ella is pretty clear. Don’t be afraid of science, Anne! :)

  • http://www.religiousleftlaw.com David Nickol

    Thales,

    Here is some additional research material for you that contradicts the conclusion that ella inhibits implantation.

    Should we “err on the side of life” only when it comes to emergency contraception, or should we prevent women of childbearing age from smoking, drinking alcohol, or doing anything else that might interfere with implantation and increase the risk of miscarriage?

    • Thales

      David,
      I’m not sure what you’re thinking of in that study when you say it “contradicts.” The study pretty much supports what I’ve said:
      -ella is a “antiprogestin” which makes it chemically related to mifepristone, the drug used for abortions (RU-486). (p.2)
      -ella alters the endometrium (p.6)
      -ella “may at times inhibit implantation of a fertilized egg in the endometrium” (p.7)

      Yes, we should always err on the side of life. Of course, the devil is in the details, for what policies are implemented.

      And as I said below, setting aside Plan B and ella, because of contraception and sterilization, the HHS mandate remains a strike against an Obama vote for the Catholic voter weighing all the issues.

    • johnmcg

      David,

      I’ll stop with banning the use of medicines *whose purpose is to prevent pregnancy* that are effective at doing so after conception.

      Your position is like saying that gun control advocates, to be consistent, must also ban cars, because cars can also be used to kill people.

  • Thales

    Anne and Kurt,

    I mentioned this above as an aside in one of my comments, but I thought I should highlight it here. Let’s set aside the “Plan B and ella are/are not abortifacients” argument, because my point can be modified and I don’t want to lose focus on my criticism of MM’s post.

    With the HHS mandate, the Obama administration is saying that contraception and sterilizations are a necessary part of health care and thus, employers are required to provide them in their health plans, even if employers have a religious objection to this. In my mind, I think this is a horrendous non-pro-life position for Obama to take. Thus, on this particular issue, a Romney vote is better than an Obama vote. Now whether other considerations tip the scale in favor of Obama over Romney is another question: MM thinks there are but I’m very doubtful.

    • http://www.religiousleftlaw.com David Nickol

      In my mind, I think this is a horrendous non-pro-life position for Obama to take.

      Thales,

      It is my understanding that the major pro-life organizations take no position for or against contraception. I really don’t see opposition to contraception and sterilization as “pro-life.” It is agreed even by the Church that “artificial” contraception is permissible in some circumstances (rape, for example) and that all married couples have a right to space and limit children. If artificial contraception is “anti-life,” then so is Natural Family Planning. The goal is the same. It’s just the methods that differ. The Catholic Church doesn’t take the position that people must pretend they don’t know how pregnancies occur and, as a result, have as many babies as they would if they didn’t understand their own fertility.

      I will grant that the contraceptive mandate, particularly in its initial form, raised questions of religious liberty. But it is not a “pro-life” issue. A great many people who consider themselves pro-life have no objection to contraception. A “pro-life” position can be perfectly consistent with limiting the number of children conceived.

      • Thales

        David,

        From the Catholic Church’s perspective, artificial contraception and sterilization are pro-life issues also. It seems that you don’t fully understand how the Catholic Church understands these issues (in short, no, NFP is not “anti-life” and it is not equivalent to artificial contraception). I suppose that we could have a long discussion about the Church’s understanding of these matters, but that’s probably a discussion for another post and comment thread. Suffice it to say that to the Catholic voter who views these issues with the understanding of the Catholic Church, artificial contraception and sterilization are important pro-life issues.

        (Another thought: maybe this is simply a semantic dispute about what is a “pro-life” issue. Fine. Don’t call it a “pro-life” issue. Call it an ethics issue. And group it alongside with the ethics issue of the Mexico City policy, and the Planned Parenthood ethics issue, and the federal stem cell funding ethics issue, and the judges ethics issue. To the Catholic voter, all these issues remain strikes against an Obama vote.)

      • keith

        I think you hit on something very important in that last parenthetical Thales. It seems David thinks that “pro-life” is a homogeneous group of individuals who all who precisely the same views, or that their is a standard “pro-life” platform that he can evaluate and decide for you that your definition of “pro-life” is incorrect.

        Unfortunately, his same rigid standards don’t seem to extend to his view on other political affiliations/labels. If they applied, say to the definition of the platform/political goals of the democratic party, then one would have to conclude that by supporting a Democrat one is thereby affirming his pro-choice positions. I assume, since this is in the comment box of a Catholic blog, that he has at the very least have serious disagreements with “pro-choice” policies and positions.

        So why is it possible to have your cake and eat it too in this instance and not as regards the political/ideological affiliation “pro-life”? Political action is based on a consensus of individuals who share certain goals, not a mass of people who strive to have an identical mindset. That’s religion.

    • Kurt

      Thales,

      At least on this thread, I’ve not argued that Plan B and ella are not abortifacients. I’ve called you out for putting words in the President’s mouth that he never said.

      I’ve stated that declaring opposition to contraception the primary pro-life issue of this moment exposes the claim of some that pro-lifers have an anti-contraception agenda. You now seem to agree to the linkage of those issues.

      I support legal contraception. But I defend the right of the Church to state its position and have no objection to them using the public square of the upcoming presidential race as an opportunity to insert the contraception issue. Go to it bishops!

      • Thales

        I’ve called you out for putting words in the President’s mouth that he never said.

        Kurt, then it looks like our dispute looks like it was a just a big misunderstanding because I wasn’t speaking clearly! When I wrote “with the HHS mandate, Obama is saying that abortifacients are a necessary part of women’s health,” I didn’t mean that the President literally said those words. I meant that he and his administration is presenting a policy with the premise that ella-as-abortifacient is a necessary part of women’s health.

        I’ve stated that declaring opposition to contraception the primary pro-life issue of this moment exposes the claim of some that pro-lifers have an anti-contraception agenda.

        Yes, you’ve uncovered the badly-kept secret of the Catholic Church! The Catholic Church opposes contraception because it thinks it is contrary to the sanctity of life and detrimental to the common good!

      • Kurt

        I wasn’t speaking clearly!

        No, Thales, it wasn’t unclear. It was wrong and untrue. You wrote that the President said something he didn’t say and wouldn’t say.

        Both President Obama (with ACA) and President Bush (with Medicare Part D) have expanded access to prescription drugs. The law prohibits abortion causing drugs in both of these programs but allows contraceptives. Neither president went picking and choosing the inclusion or exclusion of any drugs. They left unchallenged the previous determination as to what was an abortion causing drug and what was not.

      • Thales

        Kurt,

        Um, did you just ignore what I just wrote? I said that I wasn’t literally describing the words that came out of Pres. Obama’s mouth; I was describing the policy of the Obama administration. And with the HHS mandate, the policy of the Obama administration is that ella is a necessary part of women’s health — so necessary that it must be covered without co-pay in (almost) all health plans.

        In fact, I don’t know why you think that Pres. Obama personally wouldn’t say that ella is not a necessary part of women’s health: Obama gave the final approval of the HHS mandate; he personally defended the mandate in press conferences; and he personally told Cardinal Dolan in a phone call that the mandate would not be changed with regard to what it covered despite objections to it. He’s responsible for what the mandate covers.

        My point is that with the HHS mandate, the Obama administration is saying that ella is a necessary part of women’s health. And setting aside ella, the Obama administration is also saying that sterilization and simpler contraceptives are also a necessary part of women’s health. These policies of the Obama administration, in my opinion, are gravely antithetical to the common good (not to mention, actually contrary to women’s health). A Romney administration would be better on this particular issue, hands-down, than an Obama administration (which is something that I think even MM would have to agree with).

        As for Pres. Bush, I don’t know why you keep on bringing him up. On this blog, I’ve said before that he was foolish and mistaken on some issues. If he thought that ella, Plan B, and simpler contraceptives were a necessary part of women’s health, he was gravely mistaken, and I denounce his position.

      • Thales

        Sorry, a typo, too many negatives, delete the “not”. It should read….. “In fact, I don’t know why you think that Pres. Obama personally wouldn’t say that ella is a necessary part of women’s health

      • Kurt

        Um, did you just ignore what I just wrote? I said that I wasn’t literally describing the words that came out of Pres. Obama’s mouth;

        Your latter claim doesn’t justify your prior untruth. You won’t find me posting “Thales says he supports free love.” and then follow up with a claim that I didn’t mean you literally said that, I was just describing what NFP leads to.

        I was describing the policy of the Obama administration

        No, you are not. If you want to claim you are describing what you think are the results of the policies of the Obama Adminsitration, fine. The policy of the administration is that contraception should be covered and abortion (surgical or chemical) should not be covered.

        Your problem (if you were being fair and accurate with this) is not with the Obama policy, it is with the pre-existing policy that classifies certain drugs as contraceptives.

        To use an example, President G.H.W. Bush in his thousands points of light initiative gave federal employees leave time to volunteer for a charity of their choice. The Nixon administration deemed groups that provide abortions as charities, a definition unchanged as of today.

        You and I might not accept that non-profit abortionists are charities. I (I can’t speak for you) would not say that President GHW Bush says federal employees should go help people get abortions.

        Lastly, Mitt Romney has not said that he would re-evaluate any drug currently deemed to be a contraceptive.

        • Thales

          Kurt,

          Ooh, boy. It’s hard to argue with you sometimes, because sometimes you’re not clear on what you’re criticizing me for. Now I think your criticism goes back to the issue of whether ella is an abortifacient or not. In other words, I don’t think you’re criticizing me for when I say ” with the HHS mandate, the Obama administration is saying that ella is such a necessary part of women’s health that it must be covered without co-pay in (almost) all health plans.” Have I stated things correctly? Do you have a problem with me saying that?

          If not, then we can stop the back-and-forth, because our dispute is now based on our competing definitions of what an abortifacient is (and what pregnancy is): You (and Pres. Obama) apparently think the definition of pregnancy is the time post-implantation; I think the definition of pregnancy is the time post-fertilization; you and Pres. Obama apparently think an abortifacient only describes a drug which interrupts a post-implantation pregnancy; I think an abortifacient describes a drug which kills a human embryo, regardless of whether that be before or after implantation. That’s fine. We disagree on our definitions. Let’s stop the back-and-forth.

          As for Romney, I don’t know how he would classify ella (whether it be as a contraceptive or an abortifacient). I do know, however, that regardless of how he classified ella, he would say that ella and every other lesser contraceptive is not such a necessary part of women’s health that it must be covered without co-pay in (almost) all health plans. And for that reason, Romney is better than Obama on this issue.

        • Kurt

          Have I stated things correctly? Do you have a problem with me saying that?

          You have not stated things correctly and I do have a problem with you saying that because it is incredibly dishonest.

          The President’s policy is that contraceptives and not abortion causing drugs should be part of health insurance plans. He promulgated no new rules or definitions as to what drugs are which or neither. Under his rule, if tomorrow the FDA (which makes continuing reviews of drugs) found Plan B or Tylenol for that matter to cause abortions, it would be immediately dropped from the HHS mandate.

          You could honestly make the point that the effect of the President’s policy is to include drugs you find to be abortion causing to be in the mandate. But you keep dishonestly insisting that it is not the effect but a stated policy of the current Administration to include abortion causing drugs.

          And no, Romney has not said that contraception is not a neccesary part of women’s health. He actually said it was when he was Governor, but I admit Romney’s statement have a limited shelf life.

          All he has said in the current debate is that any employer (secular or faith based) should able to exclude any drug or treatment the employer claims an objection to. The boss would not need to prove the validity of the claim (i.e, he could say all drugs cause abortions) nor limit the claims to abortion. He could say no AIDS treatment because that endorses immorality. The boss’s claims would not be subject to anyone’s review.

        • Thales

          Kurt,

          You clearly didn’t understand my last post. When I asked you whether I had I stated things correctly, I was asking you to comment on my restatement that “with the HHS mandate, the Obama administration is saying that ella is such a necessary part of women’s health that it must be covered without co-pay in (almost) all health plans.” This was an attempt on my part to clarify where we were disagreeing. But you completely ignored my purpose, and then accused me of being incredibly dishonest.

          You are now approaching the land of the trolls, and so I suggest we end our conversation.

        • Kurt

          I was asking you to comment on my restatement that “with the HHS mandate, the Obama administration is saying that ella is such a necessary part of women’s health

          And I answered you that the White House has not said that. They have said that contraceptives and not abortion causing drugs are a neccessary part of women’s health. That is what they have “SAID.”

          If I ask you to hand me a box of screws and bolts and the box unknown to me has a snake in it, I have not “said” hand me a snake.

          You have a reasonable case for your position that the misclassification of certain drugs by a previous administration has a practical effect on the contraception mandate that is troubling to you. But you can’t stop there. You have this need to promote hysteria against the President.

          You can’t limit yourself to an insistance that you know you are right. You insistant they everyone else knows you are right. That the President and everyone else know full well that Plan B iand ella are abortion causing drugs and therefore he and others are knowing pushing abortion.

        • Thales

          If I ask you to hand me a box of screws and bolts and the box unknown to me has a snake in it, I have not “said” hand me a snake.

          Kurt,
          I had restated my point to be about the fact that ella is covered by the mandate. So you’re saying that the fact that ella is covered by the mandate is unknown to the Obama administration? Weird.

          But let’s set the ella issue aside, since it’s such a sticking point with you. Here’s the larger point I’m making:

          With the HHS mandate, the Obama administration is saying that contraception is such a necessary part of women’s health that it must be covered without co-pay in (almost) all private employer health plans. This policy is (in my opinion) gravely antithetical to the common good. It’s not a policy that the Bush administration held, and it’s not a policy that the Romney administration would hold. Therefore, on this particular issue, Romney is better than Obama.

        • Kurt

          Thales,

          Thank you. I appreciate and respect what you stated in the third paragraph. I happen to hold the opposite view. I believe that contraception is a basic health service and should be provided in health care plans. Now, from that standpoint, I would hope that the American public could have a respectful conversation and debate on that topic.

          Lastly, not to belabor the other point (and ignore this if you want), the draft text of the mandate never says anything about ella or Plan B. It simply says “contraceptives.” Why shouldn’t an objector exclude ella and Plan B from its contraceptive coverage (explicitly and by name), and, assuming a feminist group then sues them for violating the mandate, respond with the defense that the mandate says contraceptives and prohibits abortion causing drugs and it is objectively and undeniably true that these drugs are not contraceptives? Once proven in Court, it would have benefits far beyond exemption from the HHS mandate, I would think.

        • Thales

          Kurt,
          Fair enough. I understand your position that contraception is a basic health service and should be provided in health care plans. That’s fine. But that’s not the position of the Catholic voter seeking to vote according to Catholic social teaching and pro-life principles. Now, I’m not saying that you personally have to agree with this Catholic position, and I’m not trying to convince you personally of its merits (that’s another discussion for another day) — I understand your differing position, and I respect it. I only got into this whole discussion because Morning’s Minion was talking about the Romney endorsement presumably from the perspective of a Catholic voter seeking to vote according to Catholic social teaching and pro-life principles, and called it hypocritical and depraved while (in my opinion) ignoring other relevant issues. And on this particular HHS mandate issue, Romney is better than Obama (though I suspect that MM thinks that this issue is minor and/or is outweighed by other issues in favor of Obama).

  • keith

    So your zeal comes out when the president is unfairly misquoted, and then you state, as a matter of fact, that the aim of your bishops’ opposition to the HHS Mandate is to further its “anti-contraception agenda”?

    In the real world, the Church is not trying to ban the sale of contraceptives. They are simply resisting the demand that they participate in their sale and use. This is not a complicating concept, but the media and the democrats seem determined to act as if it were.

    “have no objection to them using the public square of the upcoming presidential race as an opportunity to insert the contraception issue. Go to it bishops!”

    You have a deep misunderstanding of the factual course of events. Unless you think the bishops are lying, they were blindsided by the mandate. They didn’t choose to use this unfortunate event “as an opportunity to insert the contraception issue.” The “issue” with contraception is closed, at least for obedient Catholics, and the bishops are doing their job protecting the doctrinal integrity of the Church by refusing to acquiesce to a diktat from the president demanding Catholics participate in immoral practices. It’s so simple. The fact that you have to resort to mocking their plight is unfortunate.

    • http://www.religiousleftlaw.com David Nickol

      . . . . diktat from the president demanding Catholics participate in immoral practices

      keith,

      What are the immoral practices the president is demanding Catholics participate in?

      • keith

        By mandating that Catholic institutions cover contraceptives and reputed abortafacients (drugs known to prevent implantation of already conceived human life), the administration (with full approval of the president) is attempting to coerce them to participate in immoral practices.

        I thought that would be clear. According to Orthodox Catholic ethics it is not permissible to directly participate in grave sin, in knowledge of the gravity of the sin, without incurring guilt to one’s self.

        It doesn’t matter how benign the culture thinks something is, the truth of the matter relies on doctrine.

  • Bruce in Kansas

    I don’t kow if there is a hierarchy of hypocrites, but even if so, this one seems pretty low order.

  • http://www.opinionatedcatholic.blogspot.com jh

    Small point. Since we called the the Right to Life peope “Hypocrites” it seems of the highest order ( I personally think for a variety of reasons Hypocrites should be used with caution) how about giving a post or shout out to what happended in Nebraska yesterday and how people stood up for Justice on not one but two issues . ( The prenatal care of unborn children of illigral immigrants)

    I think it might be fair since it appears many perhaps are like Kurt that think “the evil work of the Right-to-Life Movement is the propagation of their biased and dishonest claims designed to buttress their secular right wing agenda.”

    Fraternal correction is great ( when Fraternal) but a little bit hey good job is nice too

  • Greg

    Minion,

    I know we do not see eye to eye very often as you favor really big government solutions.
    Matter of fact it is fair to say you think the Federal government can solve all our healthcare problems.. I feel healthcare and the economy as a whole should be left to the states or even a smaller unit……… The family or individual and the Federal government should get the hell out of the way.

    Would you kindly discuss the hyprocracy of the Republicans and especially the Democrats ignoring the principal of subsidiarityin light of Pope John Paul II’s Centesimus Annus # 48?

    Here I will kindly reprint Centesimus Annus #48 for you.

    ……These general observations also apply to the role of the State in the economic sector. Economic activity, especially the activity of a market economy, cannot be conducted in an institutional, juridical or political vacuum. On the contrary, it presupposes sure guarantees of individual freedom and private property, as well as a stable currency and efficient public services. Hence the principal task of the State is to guarantee this security, so that those who work and produce can enjoy the fruits of their labors and thus feel encouraged to work efficiently and honestly. The absence of stability, together with the corruption of public officials and the spread of improper sources of growing rich and of easy profits deriving from illegal or purely speculative activities, constitutes one of the chief obstacles to development and to the economic order.

    Another task of the State is that of overseeing and directing the exercise of human rights in the economic sector. However, primary responsibility in this area belongs not to the State but to individuals and to the various groups and associations which make up society. The State could not directly ensure the right to work for all its citizens unless it controlled every aspect of economic life and restricted the free initiative of individuals. This does not mean, however, that the State has no competence in this domain, as was claimed by those who argued against any rules in the economic sphere. Rather, the State has a duty to sustain business activities by creating conditions which will ensure job opportunities, by stimulating those activities where they are lacking or by supporting them in moments of crisis.

    The State has the further right to intervene when particular monopolies create delays or obstacles to development. In addition to the tasks of harmonizing and guiding development, in exceptional circumstances the State can also exercise a substitute function, when social sectors or business systems are too weak or are just getting under way, and are not equal to the task at hand. Such supplementary interventions, which are justified by urgent reasons touching the common good, must be as brief as possible, so as to avoid removing permanently from society and business systems the functions which are properly theirs, and so as to avoid enlarging excessively the sphere of state intervention to the detriment of both economic and civil freedom.

    In recent years the range of such intervention has vastly expanded, to the point of creating a new type of state, the so-called “Welfare State.” This has happened in some countries in order to respond better to many needs and demands, by remedying forms of poverty and deprivation unworthy of the human person. However, excesses and abuses, especially in recent years, have provoked very harsh criticisms of the Welfare State, dubbed the “Social Assistance State.” Malfunctions and defects in the Social Assistance State are the result of an inadequate understanding of the tasks proper to the State. Here again the principle of subsidiarity must be respected: a community of a higher order should not interfere in the internal life of a community of a lower order, depriving the latter of its functions, but rather should support it in case of need and help to coordinate its activity with the activities of the rest of society, always with a view to the common good.[100]

    By intervening directly and depriving society of its responsibility, the Social Assistance State leads to a loss of human energies and an inordinate increase of public agencies, which are dominated more by bureaucratic ways of thinking than by concern for serving their clients, and which are accompanied by an enormous increase in spending. In fact, it would appear that needs are best understood and satisfied by people who are closest to them and who act as neighbors to those in need. It should be added that certain kinds of demands often call for a response which is not simply material but which is capable of perceiving the deeper human need. One thinks of the condition of refugees, immigrants, the elderly, the sick, and all those in circumstances which call for assistance, such as drug abusers: all these people can be helped effectively only by those who offer them genuine fraternal support, in addition to the necessary care……….

    • Kurt

      Matter of fact it is fair to say you think the Federal government can solve all our healthcare problems..

      I don’ think that is at all fair, in fact it is totally off the mark.

      I feel healthcare and the economy as a whole should be left to the states or even a smaller unit……… The family or individual and the Federal government should get the hell out of the way.

      Would you kindly discuss the hyprocracy of the Republicans and especially the Democrats ignoring the principal of subsidiarityin light of Pope John Paul II’s Centesimus Annus # 48?

      And the ACA does get the hell out of the way for families,indivuduals and states that are successful in providing health care for themselves.

      What it acts on is that (growing) portion of the population that these units have failed. And it does so without coming anywhere close to trying to solve all health care problems. It tackles one problem, the unaffordability of health care for tens of millions of Americans. And it does so by tax credits and deductions to help people obtain health care from the private sector. It leaves substantial roles for consumer choice, the private market, states and community based organizations.

      In fact, it is less centralized than those European health care systems that were designed, implemented and enacted by Catholic Action and is more decentralized than the socialized medicine scheme of the Vatican State.

      I think it perfectly reflects Catholic thinking and John Paul’s vision.