Posts tagged: contraception
Father Joe Maier on the issue of providing condoms, given the Vatican’s stance on it
Cue the ‘but Limbaugh isn’t really sorry’ posts. You’re just perpetuating the story. You’re continuing the filth.
Like anyone ever should take him seriously to begin with.
People are talking about religious institutions not providing coverage for birth control as if it’s something they’re taking away from people. Religious institutions have NEVER had to provide it. (And shouldn’t, because of church-state separation, religious freedom, etc.) Obama’s mandate would require them to. This is not going backwards. This is staying the way it’s always been. They’re not taking anything from you that you already had.
Also, you do realize that calling this ‘doing-something-that’s-always-been-done” a “war on women” is just as ridiculous as conservatives calling the mandate a “war on religion,” right?
Innnnnteresting. Although, the reason the headline includes “report suggests” is because they only studied hospitals in seven states: California, Illinois, Indiana, New Jersey, New York, Texas and Washington.
I guess religious freedom does include the freedom to be somewhat hypocritical.
A friend of mine is in Rome studying to be a priest. He’s nearing the end of his years of education and training and will be ordained in July. He sent me an email asking about my opinion on the birth control controversy, both from a journalistic perspective in how the media are covering it and from a personal opinion given my religious background (Catholic, Baptist & Lutheran).
I thought it might be helpful to post it here to clarify how I feel about it.
My opinion on the matter is probably leaning toward yours, but maybe for different reasons. I do happen to think that it’s a violation of religious liberty and an intrusion on the church by the state. I’m a pretty strict separationist. On a larger level, I am probably more conservative on the idea of big government than on other issues—primarily due to the fact that most of my family are small business owners. I’m not a fan of the mandate in general, even though I do believe it’s very well-intentioned.
It’s like the Komen/Planned Parenthood debacle—sacrificing funding to one incredibly important women’s health offering because you disagree with abortion, which is a minuscule part of their overall services. I’m pro-life, but I also consider myself to be a citizen of my culture. The fact is that abortion is legal, and while I may wish and pray that it wasn’t the case, it likely won’t change that fact. As such, I think it’s important to eliminate the need for abortion through sex education, women’s health assistance and readily available contraception. Instead of lamenting what isn’t, we can work toward bettering the circumstances.
I do disagree with the church’s stance on contraception coverage, but I believe in their right to have it and to “enforce” it, for lack of a better term. It’s interesting actually, because even though the Lutheran church doesn’t have the same stance on contraception, the insurance policy for pastors and their wives doesn’t cover it either. I found it mildly annoying, but nothing to complain about.
From a journalistic perspective, I find it really interesting. One larger story that has been covered a little bit, but not cohesively, is the power of “grassroots” outrage in swaying policy. We’ve seen it now from a corporate level, with Netflix and Bank of America reversing fee structures, with the Komen Foundation in how it reversed the funding decision, and now with public policy in the healthcare mandate. PR has become so important and the public has so much more power, largely due to the ability to organize through social media.
It’s also frustrating though, to see how blown out of proportion things can become. Someone with a large following and a big mouth can post a news story that may otherwise have been overlooked, and it become mass hysteria as people spread the word and threaten to boycott. Republican candidates are having a field day with the Obama-Bishop controversy, calling it a ‘war on religion,’ which I always think is a ridiculous thing to say. (Must watch: http://www.thedailyshow.com/watch/mon-february-13-2012/the-vagina-ideologues—-sean-hannity-s-holy-sausage-fest) Even with the Komen story — it wasn’t that much money, it probably wouldn’t have affected much, but the story was framed by nontraditional media/bloggers in a way to cause outrage.
The problem with the conservative story is that it doesn’t map particularly well onto contemporary mores and life patterns. A successful chastity-centric culture seems to depend on a level of social cohesion, religious intensity and shared values that exists only in small pockets of the country. Mormon Utah, for instance, largely lives up to the conservative ideal, with some of America’s lowest rates of teenage pregnancies, out-of-wedlock births and abortions. But many other socially conservative regions (particularly in the South) feature higher rates of unwed and teenage parenthood than in the country as a whole.
Liberals love to cite these numbers as proof that social conservatism is a flop. But the liberal narrative has glaring problems as well. To begin with, a lack of contraceptive access simply doesn’t seem to be a significant factor in unplanned pregnancy in the United States. When the Alan Guttmacher Institute surveyed more than 10,000 women who had procured abortions in 2000 and 2001, it found that only 12 percent cited problems obtaining birth control as a reason for their pregnancies. A recent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study of teenage mothers found similar results: Only 13 percent of the teens reported having had trouble getting contraception.
At the same time, if liberal social policies really led inexorably to fewer unplanned pregnancies and thus fewer abortions, you would expect “blue” regions of the country to have lower teen pregnancy rates and fewer abortions per capita than demographically similar “red” regions.
But that isn’t what the data show. Instead, abortion rates are frequently higher in more liberal states, where access is often largely unrestricted, than in more conservative states, which are more likely to have parental consent laws, waiting periods, and so on. “Safe, legal and rare” is a nice slogan, but liberal policies don’t always seem to deliver the “rare” part.
What’s more, another Guttmacher Institute study suggests that liberal states don’t necessarily do better than conservative ones at preventing teenagers from getting pregnant in the first place. Instead, the lower teenage birth rates in many blue states are mostly just a consequence of (again) their higher abortion rates. Liberal California, for instance, has a higher teen pregnancy rate than socially conservative Alabama; the Californian teenage birth rate is only lower because the Californian abortion rate is more than twice as high.
These are realities liberals should keep in mind when tempted to rail against conservatives for rejecting the intuitive-seeming promise of “more condoms, fewer abortions.” What’s intuitive isn’t always true, and if social conservatives haven’t figured out how to make all good things go together in post-sexual-revolution America, neither have social liberals.
At the very least, American conservatives are hardly crazy to reject a model for sex, marriage and family that seems to depend heavily on higher-than-average abortion rates. They’ve seen that future in places like liberal, cosmopolitan New York, where two in five pregnancies end in abortion. And it isn’t a pretty sight.
Ummm, I mean really?
According to a 2011 Guttmacher Institute survey, “only 2% of Catholic women rely on natural family planning.” A 2002 survey found that Catholic women in the United States were more likely than American women as a whole to use the birth control pill, and only slightly less likely to use a condom. In a 2000 poll that strikes even closer to the heart of this debate, 90% of American Catholic women surveyed said they wanted to see access to birth control services at community hospitals.
That’s all well and good. But there’s a big difference between what members of a certain religious denomination do in their own homes (and beds) and church teachings.
We’re talking about the institution—the church, the Catholic organization, etc.—being required to provide something they categorically disagree with on religious grounds. A government mandate is forcing the ones who teach this stuff to be true to violate their teachings.
It’s one thing for one Catholic woman to decide she will take birth control because she disagrees with that tenant, but it’s another thing for the ones who teach the tenant in the first place to be forced into breaking it.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 20, 2012
Contact: HHS Press Office
A statement by U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius
In August 2011, the Department of Health and Human Services issued an interim final rule that will require most…
Honestly, I am shocked by this because it seems like an incredibly, incredibly dumb thing for an administration to do before an election.
It could be argued that the few Catholics who actually are against birth control aren’t voting for Obama anyway, but it’s not really about that—I have to imagine there’s a lot of Catholic swing voters and Democrats (who use birth control but don’t ask the Church to pay for it) who will be pissed about this.
Interesting take from the Catholic point of view. My insurance plan (through The Preacher) doesn’t have contraception coverage and it kinda pissed me off. My Baptist undergrad school didn’t offer birth control prescriptions through its health center, and it kinda pissed me off.
But as religious institutions, I think it should be their prerogative. (Even though it sucks.)
Maddow took issue with what she saw as Romney’s failure to accurately answer a young woman who questioned the Governor’s stance on birth control at an Iowa town hall. Romney—a favorite target of Maddow’s— assumed the woman was referring to his stance on abortion, which he said he was against. But the woman was actually referring to what Romney has previously said he supports: a so-called “personhood amendment” that codifies life as beginning at conception. Many fear that the language of such amendments, which are currently on the ballot in some states, could lead to a ban on birth control.
After she played the clip of the exchange, Maddow said, “Romney apparently does not understand that this is what he supports.” She said that the exchange reminded her about the male domination of politics and the media, and of the fact that those men often find themselves talking about women’s bodies. “Sometimes, I’m not sure they really get it!” she almost shouted.
She then had her producers change her usual blue background to a room with a bar, large TV screen and big leather sofa. Maddow turned what she called her “man cave” into a special Romney-themed cave, so her producers included a graphic of a Harvard flag and the Salt Lake City 2002 Olympics logo. She popped open a beer and told the ladies to leave so she could talk “just to the fellas.”
“It’s very simple,” Maddow said. “This-is-how-a-baby-is-made.” She then launched into a full description of the baby-making process and even put up a diagram of the female reproductive system titled the “man cave’s not-too-upsetting guide to down-there parts.” She mockingly went through three beers in the process of explaining to men how babies were made, how birth control worked, and that sometimes people engaged in sexual acts that could lead to pregnancy even though they don’t want it to. “This is how the birth control works that Mitt Romney told Mike Huckabee he would like to make illegal!” she cried, criticizing government involvement in “litigating the second-by-second legal status of what is happening in some guy’s girlfriend’s uterus on a Friday night.”
“I know it’s awkward to talk about these things sometimes,” Maddow concluded. She also said that she knew this was “very upsetting” but felt it was warranted to talk sense into men. “Criticize away,” she told her viewers.