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HEALTH: War is on women, not religion

Letter by Paul Levy, Federal Way on Feb. 2, 2012 at 12:39 pm with 10 Comments »
February 2, 2012 1:40 pm

Columnist Michael Gerson, in a particularly hyperbolic screed, contends that by forcing Catholic institutions to purchase health insurance policies that include contraception, President Obama has declared war on religion (TNT, 1-31).

Except for the fact that the right wing in this country has done an excellent job of vilifying the Affordable Health Care Act, the fallacies in this argument are so patently obvious that they are hardly worth discussing.

The law requires that employees be covered by health insurance that includes contraceptive services. Nowhere does it require the use of those services.

Catholic institutions hire non-Catholics for many positions; according to studies, 98 percent of Catholic women have used birth control at some point in their lives. So the real war is against women’s rights.

Insisting that religious employers comply with the law does not violate their religion. Organizations like the American Friends Society (Quakers) oppose war, but adherents are required to pay taxes which support the military. Some religions (Christian Science) eschew medicine. Should an employee of a Christian Science business be deprived of health care?

Laws and rules concerning workers’ health and safety must apply to all employers. We cannot allow them to pick the rules they like and ignore the others. That’s called anarchy.

Paul Levy

Leave a comment Comments → 10
  1. Publico says:

    Excellent letter Mr. Levy. The church needs to stay out of our private lives just as the government should.

  2. surething says:

    I used to work for a Christian non profit, don’t even get me started…………

  3. menopaws says:

    The leaders of the Catholic Church—all of whom are men………Yeah, I’m real interested in their take on this…..what a joke!!!!

  4. roussir says:

    Thanks to Mr. Levy for teh eloquent explaination.

  5. Birth control is a choice, not a medical condition. Health Insurance is intended to cover preventive health office visits, surgeries, procedures and medical conditions. If we cover birth control, what’s next – coverage for elective plastic surgery? Coverage for Viagra?

    There’s too many people today who want “everything” given to them, but paid for by others! Maybe “birth control” coverage could be an extra “rider” for those who choose it as an option – much like a Dental Care rider for those who choose to pay extra for it?

    The more elective items we add to healthcare coverage, the more we all pay for our insurance. Let’s help keep healthcare affordable for us all and stick to what it’s intended to do!

  6. muckibr says:

    I agree with Paul Levy that the Michael Gerson article is a “hyperbolic screed.” It’s obviously politically motivated to create an issue some can use against the Obama reelection campaign. Fair enough, but it’s still a poorly written article. (If this guy was a Bush speech writer, well, I guess that explains why Bush was such a great speaker. Not!)

    However, I do disagree with The Obama Administration if the following statement that appeared above the byline is accurate.

    “On Jan. 20 – three days before the annual March for Life – the Obama administration announced its final decision that Catholic universities, hospitals and charities will be compelled to pay for health insurance that covers sterilization, contraceptives and abortifacients.”

    The First Amendment is supposed to protect religious organizations foam undue influence by the government. It is supposed to have erected a wall of separation between church and state. If that text above in quotes is true, then The Obama Administrations seems to be punching a hole in that First Amendment wall, and that’s not right.

    But, let’s just forget about religion and the First Amendment for a moment, okay?

    Let take the case of smoking, and how the government and employers deal with that, for a moment shall we.

    Every employer in the United States is allowed to discriminate against people who smoke, by refusing to employ smokers under the guise of merely wishing to reduce their employee healthcare insurance premiums, therefore…

    Why can’t any employer in America, including churches, be able to NOT include certain coverages in their employee health-care plans, like those that may be considered birth control services, in order to reduce the cost of premiums the employer and employee must pay the insurance carrier for the overall benefits package?

    Birth control, like smoking, is an individual VOLUNTARY choice. Birth control is not something a person must do to maintain good health. Smoking is not something a person must do to maintain good health. Since when are employers REQUIRED to cater to employee’s VOLUNTARY choices?

    So, with regard to both smoking and birth control, an employer should be able to NOT include those kinds of coverages in the employee health-care benefits plan in order to reduce cost to the company and all other employees. If the employer make all potential new-hires fully aware that those things are just not covered in the plan before the potential new-hire accepts the job, then what’s the problem?

    If the employee or potential new hire does not want to accept either of those situations, they have a options.

    In the case of a smoker, there are really only two choices. They can 1. quit smoking and take the job, or 2. continue to smoke and refuse the job.

    In the other case they have at least three options: 1. They can buy their birth control products out-of-pocket, 2. buy private insurance to cover birth control that is not covered in the employer plan, or 3. refuse to accept the job and go elsewhere.

    There is no good reason for allowing the federal government to force any employer to provide birth control coverage in its employee health-care plan. There’s even less of a reason to force a religious organization to do so, when it is clearly in contravention of their deep-rooted religious beliefs.

    The religious organization is not forcing anyone to not use contraceptives, or not have abortions. In this case they are simply saying, people can do what they want, but don’t force us to help pay for it, and by paying for it to tacitly endorse something that is completely contrary to our religious beliefs.

    P.S. Just to be fair to everyone, let’s also say the employers don’t have to pay for Viagra or other male-enhancemnet drugs or procedures in the employee health-care benefits plan. Guys don’t like it, they can go get a job somewhere else right? That’s fair.

  7. birth control is preventative womens health care. so you dont have to get the abortion these evangelicals are so afraid of (since when is this a theorcracy?) since people WILL have sex regardless of their affiliation (even those catholic priests cannot resist carnal temptation). viagra is not preventative. 40 years ago our supreme court finalized their decision on a womens right to choose. these righties are stuck in the 1950’s and it is pitiful. hate science, hate minorities, hate choice. just go on and follow newt up to the moon…please…

  8. Birth control is a choice, not a medical condition.

    Birth control is a choice to have a choice to prevent a medical condition.

  9. Blazerd says:

    It really amazes me the hypocrisy of liberals. They scream bloody murder if Christians try to practice their beliefs of prayer or worship within 500 yards of any government building. If anyone wishes Merry Christmas to someone in the public school sirens will sound and they will be led off the property in handcuffs. Now they are trying to infiltrate themselves into private Catholic Health facilities dictating policies that are contrary to our moral beliefs. Those that don’t agree with our values are free to go/work somewhere else. Just a suggestion, if you want an abortion or the morning after pill you can always go to planned parenthood but keep your hands off my religion. We won’t tell you what to do if you don’t tell us what to do.

  10. Blazerd, you will note from my comments above that I am opposed to the Obama Administration forcing Catholic or other religious denominational churches to pay for contraception drugs and services. So we are kind of on the same side right. Okay? You see that, right?

    But your comment, “If anyone wishes Merry Christmas to someone in the public school sirens will sound and they will be led off the property in handcuffs.”

    That’s total BS and you know it. That’s what starts stupid arguments, and puts an end to reasonable discussion.

    I wish you and all the rest of the people who over-exagerrated so grossly would just knock it off, so that sensible people can discuss the issues and possibly come up with reasonable compromises that might make everyone a winner, instead of making everyone an enemy.

    You are NEVER going to make anything good happen by demonizing those who merely disagree with you. You have to show them that your view is right and their is wrong, and get them to change their minds. They are NEVER going to change their mind in your favor if you simply attack them with exaggerated lies. Do you see that?

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