Tuesday, February 7, 2012

A Catholic Cassandra Call Out

Kathleen Sebelius declares that her policy mandating that all institutions and organizations provide for coverage of birth control and sterilization and abortifacient medications respects religion.  It respects her religion. Kathleen is a practicing faithful Democrat. 

I've been reading the defense of this policy that drew a swift and sure response from a body of people that normally don't agree on anything, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.  This policy declares that the government shall decide which tenets of your faith you may follow and which you must abandon.  This policy declares that the government shall tell you the limits of how you shall practice your faith --i.e. you may decide for yourself it is morally wrong, but you must purchase it for your neighbor.  If it is morally wrong in my eyes, then it is morally wrong for me to aid and albeit you in an action.   This policy declares that it shall deem what is tolerated by the state.  Nothing else is permitted.   Think I overstate? 

Does anyone believe if this is allowed to pass that we shall not be made to provide additional services we deem morally wrong after the election?  Like actual abortion?  We'll get the same smarmy worthy of a 6th grader line, Don't like an abortion, don't have one.  But pay for someone else.  That's like saying, don't like drunk drivers? Don't drive drunk.  But pay for that chronic alcoholic's next round and hand him the keys.

Having read Sebelius's article in USAToday and others on Real Clear Politics, I wanted to do a bit of fact checking.

From Sebelius: "The religious exemption in the administration's rule is the same as the exemption in Oregon, New York and California. Of the 28 states that currently require contraception to be covered by insurance, eight have no religious exemption at all."

Note: That means 22 states don't require contraception to be covered by insurance and of the 28 that do, 20 have religious exemptions.  42 States don't demand religious organizations violate their core beliefs by purchasing products they deem immoral.  That's a fairly solid majority of State policies you're overriding Kathleen via bureaucratic fiat. This is an argument for a sweeping new policy? 

I started by wondering, what do the Church institutions in those 8 states do. Do they already violate their stated purpose and the Church's teachings? In some cases, regrettably, yes.  And that was the nose of the camel. I began with New York, one of the three states mentioned by Sebelius. 

Guess what? 

"Indeed, New York passed the Women’s Health and Wellness Act in 2002, requiring health plans to cover contraception and other services aimed at women, including mammography, cervical cancer screenings and bone density exams.

The New York law, which has its own religious exemption, was upheld after several court challenges. In 2007, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear the case. At the time, church-related institutions were considering whether to drop prescription drug benefits as a way to circumvent the law."
What a surprise. 

There IS a religious exemption in New York. How inconvenient a truth. But it's limited.  The Diocese of Syracuse schools uses self insurance to get around the prescription benefit issue and is exempt from the law itself.   
On to California: Back in 2004, Catholic Charities lost a court case that went to the Supreme Court of California, where they were told they had to provide birth control to their employees in the state.  The words of Mark Chopko, counsel to the USCCB at the time proved prophetic.

"This case has very, very long arms," said Mark Chopko, counsel to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, which filed a court brief in support of Catholic Charities. It raises the question, he said, of "who gets to say what's a religious organization: the religious organization or the government?"

Here, is where the HHS draws its inspiration.  California operates under the Don't Ask, Just Sell mandate of it's court, that Catholicism needn't worry itself about the taint of buying immoral things because the state has decided, they're necessary. 

Sin corrodes. 

California Catholic West Healthcare complied and thus eventually as a result allowed itself to erode its moral thinking to allow for abortions and award grants to abortion businesses and then because of the flack it got from Bishops and the faithful and the like, eliminated the name Catholic, changing their name to Dignity Health care.   So they did not turn their hearts.  And when they did not turn their hearts, they turned their name, so we'll know them by their limping.
I did a brief search of the Internet for the other six states and found this disturbingly accurate and well thought out Guttenmacher chart that lays the whole thing out on a state by state basis.  I recommend reading it all.  What bothers me is the timely execution of this clean chart that dovetails nicely with Sebelius's speech. 

The states which have no religious exemptions simply have limited religious exemptions that are extremely narrow, and which in most cases require hospitals to provide prescriptions. 

In most cases, the Catholic institutions affected opt to self insure to "get around" but that is now deemed wrong under the EEOC.  We are going to be squeezed into compliance becoming like Dignity Health Care, or forced to fight outright. 

That is the end goal.
The initial paragraph mentions how the DHHS indicates those existing exemptions that exist with respect to contraception probably will be faded out in the coming years. Why does the Guttenmacher Institute think this? How does it know?

I haven't discovered why, but I have a pretty good guess.
The alternative, to drop coverage entirely shall inflate the rolls of uninsured. The increases shall eventually require that Healthcare be a single provider coverage (for the good of all) from the government.  Welcome to check and mate, coming in 2013 when the time to live by one's moral compass in this country officially expires.
So I'm mad. I'm mad at this administration. I'm mad at the way we've allowed ourselves to believe that we could have just a bit of the apple and it wouldn't corrupt us all the way.  All it took was a bite.  It was the intent itself, it was the willingness to entertain sin, the willingness to encourage it in others, the willingness to put something between ourselves and our Creator, to put limits on our love and declare limits on our willingness to live out our Faith. 
And if the lions come, I'm going to roar back at them.


Anna said...

Sadly, within the archdiocese of San Antonio, three Catholic universities and the Catholic healthcare system already offer birth control to their employees. As Texas does have a religious exemption, there was no reason to offer BC coverage.

Since this was common knowledge among the laity in SA, I can't imagine that it was not known before by the archdiosese.

This HHS ruling has brought a lot of hidden things into the sunlight.

Anduril said...

An excellent post. Thank you for accumulating this information.

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