Wagging the Dog--Still!

Watching the Catholic Church since the birth control pill came to civilization has been an Olympic caliber gymnastics act as the Vatican has tried to vault, twist and slither over and under science, common sense and the desires of its followers. 

Recently, the government made concessions to religious institution allowing them to opt out of birth control programs because of religious beliefs. Personally, I don't give a tinker's damn about it, other than watching the laughable hypocrisy of the overwhelming majority of American Catholic women submitting to the tail wagged by the American Catholic Bishop's Association.

Catholics for Choice president Jon O'Brien harshly criticized today's proposed rule from the Department of Health and Human Services, which would broaden the definition of religious employers entitled to an exemption from providing contraception coverage under the Affordable Care Act. Calling the proposed rule "appalling," O'Brien said that providing such exemptions gives "carte blanche" to "religious extremists" to "trump the rights of others. . . even if those beliefs are contrary to science and even the beliefs of their co-religionists."[1]

Being fruitful and multiplying has left hell holes around the 

world and in Africa where the Catholic Church has particularly strong links, which have helped contribute to overpopulation, poverty and the AIDS epidemic. As usual and unsurprisingly, the Catholic Church is centuries behind reality and living in ancient Vatican City, insulated from even it's own constituents.

Nearly 90% of American Catholic women use some type of birth control. Is it a money argument? That's understandable, but trying to tie morality to the issue makes the discussions irrelevant. Reciting the litany of effective contraception changed life for women, men and the world cannot be overstated.

According to Catholics for Choice's Domestic Program Director, Sara Hutchinson, the new definition of religious employer expands exempt employers from just houses of worship to organizations that are operated or financed by houses of worship, including Catholic parishes or dioceses. As a result, said Hutchinson, many Catholic elementary, middle, and high schools, in addition to some Cat

holic charities and social service organizations, would be exempt from providing the coverage.[2]

Despite good intentions, the new concessions leave the the door wide for abuse in the form of denying women choice in the matter of birth control, which despite the overwhelming use and support of birth control, a few within the Catholic Church have managed to set themselves up as spokesperson for all of Catholicity in the United States.


Much like Christian evangelists of today, a decided minority speaks for larger groups while the corporate media ignore the protests of mainstream religious followings to publicize the minority rants of the far right. Personally, I don't care if it's done or not because I am not affected. However, as an observer I am struck by the unfairness of the deal, but I have come to expect as much from THE CHURCH.

[1] Sarah Posner, Catholics for Choice Blasts New Proposed Contraception Coverage Rule, Religion Dispatches Magazine, February 4, 2013

[2] Sarah Posner, Catholics for Choice Blasts New Proposed Contraception Coverage Rule, Religion Dispatches Magazine, February 4, 2013

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  • jay H

    For all of my adult life I have had medical coverage. I eventually got a vasectomy some years ago, but until that point, birth control was NEVER covered by any of our plans. It's just something we budgeted for. As someone pointed out, you don't get oil changes paid by car insurance, regular background expenses you pay yourself. Obama should have saved that fight for something more meaningful (in the sense that people are actively being denied critical access), like the abortion issue. Providing financial help to people too poor to afford birth control would have effectively bypassed this employer squabble.

    Unfortunately Obama inadvertently made things worse by providing the religious 'exemption'. The dilemma is this: Buy legitimizing religion as a grounds to bypass this rule, there is a disconnect. If a priest or a minister need not meet that requirement, why not any other person who is just as devout? Why do only clergy get a conscience pass, and not others? Does their 'conscience' count less?

    So this thing will continue to be fought, with the sides squabbling over an indefensible dividnng line.

  • Donald R Barbera

    Some of my concerns are covered in the original language, but it doesn't go far enough. First, it is biased toward women as far as birth control is concrned, but the avenues for obtaining birth control until recently have been numerous. Inadvertantly, I think the language of the propsal allows a few to speak for many. In this case religious leaders and so-called conscientious objectors. Wether the government forces it or not it is a topic that needs a public forum. Were 310 million and growing. We don't need any more people here imported or otherwise. Space has been one of out biggest assetts and out of control birthrates threatens the fine balance. That's a harsh judgement especially from a person that believes in the freedom of people to seek a better life.
  • Donald R Barbera

    I attended Catholic School before the days of Ecumenicalism. We were forbidden to attend any other church aside from a Catholic Church as all other Churches were considered illegitimate especially the Lutheran Church. The reasons for this were murky at best especially for a child, but by the time I was a teenager I understood that Martin Luther was the reason for Protestantism and the geometric split of the Church which continues to this day. Also, the Catholic Church has been continuously on the wrong side of science and reason for centuries. They don't get out much at the Vatican.