Posts Tagged ‘Contraception’

Health insurance for contraception

March 9, 2012

If it had been up to me to choose a witness to testify on behalf of health insurance for contraception, I would have picked a married woman of modest means who would testify how she and her husband could barely provide for their three children and could not provide for a fourth.

If I had been allowed a second witness, I would have chosen a woman with a disabling hormone imbalance who would testify how she needed the “birth control pills” in order to lead a normal life.

Contraception: the religious divide

February 11, 2012

I can remember when opposition to artificial birth control was one of the bright-line differences between American Catholics and Protestants, and consequently good Catholics were known for their large families.

Evidently all this has changed. Survey data indicates that the main opposition to contraception in the United States comes from white evangelical Protestants.  (It would be interesting to know the survey data for black evangelical Protestants.)

Roman Catholic bishops object to health insurance coverage for contraception in Catholic hospitals, universities and charities, even when they serve both Catholics and non-Catholics and employ both Catholics and non-Catholics.  But it would appear their ruling is more in line with the sentiments of white evangelicals than it is for members of their own flocks.

I think woman have a moral right to choose whether to become pregnant or not, and children have a right to parents who want them and are able to care for them.  Teenage pregnancy and abortion rates are at 40-year lows because, in my opinion, of widespread knowledge and use of contraception.  This is a good thing, not a bad thing.  If you’re really concerned about the number of illegitimate children in the United States, you shouldn’t be trying to deny woman access to contraception.

Contraceptive use among American women who have had sex, 2006-2008.                          Source: Guttmacher Institute

Click on Women Who Use Birth Control Are the 99 Percent for more charts from Mother Jones.

Civil law, canon law, sharia law

February 7, 2012

Bishops of the Roman Catholic Church protest the refusal by the Obama administration to grant an exemption from federal regulations for certain Catholic charitable organizations.

Specifically, they say their conscience does not allow them to include contraceptive services in their employee health insurance plans, even though their non-Catholic employees might want such services.  Catholic churches, schools and other strictly religious institutions are exempt, but Catholic charities that employ both Catholics and non-Catholics and serve both Catholics and non-Catholics are not.

In other words, the bishops believe that they should not be required to obey American civil law when it conflicts with Catholic canon law.  My friend Bill speculated on what an uproar there would be if some Muslim charitable organization wanted an exemption from federal law on the grounds that it conflicted with Muslim sharia law.

Click on U.S. Catholics dismayed by Obama administration ruling and Religious Exemptions and Contraceptive Coverage for more discussion of this issue.

If it were up to me, I would have the federal government give up the effort to regulate private health insurance plans, and instead create a public insurance option.  If there was a public option, somebody who lacked insurance or wasn’t satisfied with their insurance coverage could sign up for the self-financing, non-profit government plan, which would provide all the benefits the government thinks people should have.  The public option would provide a benchmark for private insurance companies.  Either the private insurance insurance companies would provide satisfactory coverage, or people over time would migrate to the public plan.


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