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KOMEN: Parker confuses issues of conscience

Letter by John Laakso, Fircrest on Feb. 6, 2012 at 2:30 pm with 36 Comments »
February 6, 2012 2:30 pm

Columnist Kathleen Parker (TNT, 2-5) asserts that reaction to the Susan G. Komen foundation action and the rule including contraceptive care in health care “tread on fundamental freedoms” of “conscience and religious liberty.”

While Parker’s columns can be interesting, she has missed the mark on this one. She confuses the rights of individuals with organizational obligations.

While Komen is legally free to decide how to distribute the money it receives, that money is obtained from individuals choosing to fight breast cancer and improve women’s health. The reaction to Komen’s decision by thousands of those same individuals who choose not to give money or effort to Komen is the exercise of individual conscience and is not “rabid.”

It should be remembered that Komen is an organization whose unelected board injected a very hot political topic into what had been a nonpartisan effort for women’s health.

Regarding contraception, the rule requiring organizations offering health care to include contraceptive care should apply to all hospitals regardless of structure. Catholic hospitals that provide hospital care to one of every six patients nationally comprise a large part of the employment opportunities for health-care providers.

Those organizations do not need and should not have special treatment that effectively blocks workers from obtaining adequate contraceptive services. The freedom of religion of individual Catholics is not impacted by this rule, but thousands of workers at Catholic hospitals will benefit.

Leave a comment Comments → 36
  1. beerBoy says:

    Regarding contraception – 98% of Catholic women use it – it ain’t the government that is the problem for the Church enforcing this archaic belief that every sperm is sacred


  2. old_benjamin says:

    It is you, John, who has missed the mark. The courts have repeatedly held that the Boy Scouts need not accept gays as leaders. It is within the rights of private organizations to act according to conscience. Your distinction between individuals and organizations is specious and would do great harm were it anything but a fiction. It would put an end to freedom of religion in this country. That may be alright with you, but it doesn’t pass the smell test, not to mention the constitutional test.

  3. ManuelMartini says:

    WOW. I’m sure glad the Boy Scouts are avoiding gay adults as leaders. Now if they could just solve the real problem:

    “Stibal, 44, of Burnsville, was charged Wednesday with six felony crimes for allegedly molesting three scouts. Several parents whose sons were not the victims say that Stibal often broke the rule that required two adults to be present on all outings with scouts.”

    Talk about missing the mark.

    Since the issue with Komen and Planned Parenthood has nothing to do with anything but politics and since the constituency pretty much gave the message to Komen (sort of the way the Religious Right likes to operate), I’d say this is a mute point, other than more of the “my religion is more important than your rights as a human being”.

  4. igotdabombfool says:

    And to think…all this nonsense is over a company policy to suspend payment of monies to companies under investigation. I can’t believe this got blown up into a religious argument.

  5. sandblower says:

    Ben, religious freedom is not at risk except for stupid practises that should not and in some cases are not protected. Any church policy that adversely affects human rights, particularly health care is wrong. There is also a privacy issue in that it is none of a church’s business what a person chooses regarding contraception.
    The catholic church is still in the dark ages in 2012.

  6. alindasue says:

    When it comes down to it, Komen for the Cure is a privately run organization and its leaders can choose who or who not to share funds with. Of course, everyone else can choose whether or not to continue supporting them. There are no “fundamental freedoms” being trod on.

  7. old_benjamin says:

    Read my lips. I said the fact that an organization, rather than an individual, does something doesn’t mean the organization doesn’t have fundamental rights of conscience. I used the Boy Scouts an example. The distinction that John made was and is specious.

    Sandblower, how is it that health care is a right? How is that access to contraceptives is a right? Do you suppose I can get a new Esplanade by the same logic?

    You are free to use any form of contraception you choose. The church will never know. It is not privacy that is at issue. It is the right to act in accordance with one’s religious convictions. The law on that matter is well settled.

  8. writnstuff says:

    Aware of her tendency to lean towards the right, I’m rarely surprised when I read Ms. Parker’s columns. And once again, using hyperbolic language befitting a republican primary, Ms. Parker has missed the bigger picture.

    The health insurance industry in this country has a long history of not including coverage for women’s reproductive issues. For example, prenatal care was not included in most health care coverages until 25 years ago. A 2007 study showed only 30% of major employers denied Viagra claims, while 50% do not provide basic contraceptive coverage.

    What Parker describes as the “rabid response from abortion-rights supporters” was, in reality, a valid hue and cry from women who are no longer willing to accept second class citizen status in this country.

    She ended her column with what she called the fundamental question “Who are we?” I finished reading her column and was left with the question “When are women going to have equality in this country?”

  9. ManuelMartini says:

    “When it comes down to it, Komen for the Cure is a privately run organization and its leaders can choose who or who not to share funds with.”

    Actually, it’s not quite that simple. Komen probably gets federal grants, which would require them to not discriminate. Komen also gets money from private businesses or individuals (the Gates Foundation, for instance) that might have told them to knock off the crap with PP.

    The sad part is that people like “igotdabombfool” are pretending that this is about an investigation, when Komen donates to Penn State, who is under investigation.

  10. sandblower says:

    ben, nobody is requiring anyone else to use a contraceptive. That is your first mistake. Did you ever hear of “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness?” Do you suppose “life” might include health care? There is no question that it does. A new car is a material posession. There is no right ever to something like that though I know some people on the extreme right who think otherwise.

  11. Frankenchrist says:

    A very silly argument. Abortion should be a women’s choice.

  12. ManuelMartini says:

    I wonder if these churches would like to start paying taxes now, since they want to get into the political arena.

  13. Bandito says:

    “Render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s, and unto God the things that are God’s”

  14. old_benjamin says:

    Sandblower, the right to life, liberty, etc. is a philosophical statement, not a legal declaration. Federal law is embodied in the Constitution, not the Declaration of Independence. Nowhere does the Constitution guarantee a right to health care, anymore than it guarantees a right to a new Esplanade. One wonders why it took over 200 years for someone to discover a right to health care, if such in fact was intended. It never was, and your attempt to find it is simply laughable.

  15. old_benjamin says:

    Manuel, you got it exactly backward. It is the government that wants to get into the church’s arena. Catholic hospitals have existed for hundreds of years and never condoned contraception as a matter of conscience. Recently, the government has decided that health care is it’s business and that it can tell the church how to run it. It is patently obvious who has politicized the health care arena, and it ain’t the church.

  16. The constitution is about keeping government at bay; protecting individual liberty; statism (the transformation that Obama seeks for this nation, fully realized in Obamacare) is about the state telling us what we must do. Significant difference.

    And please don’t start in on a woman’s choice to terminate the life she carries within her body. Part of the role of government is to protect the innocent which they chose not to do when they legalized abortion.

    Sorry for the seeming change of subject, but I’m trying to preempt the same tired argument about individual liberties including a woman’s right to choose.

    Abortion has always been a choice; when the government, in the name of making it safer for the mother making that choice, sanctioned it as a righteous and reasonable choice, they forgot about the human being involved who could not advocate for herself or himself. Tell me why we prosecute a woman who throws her newbon in the dumpster, but not the woman who terminates a pregnancy in the third trimester?

  17. ManuelMartini says:

    old benjamin – no one is making contraception mandatory. What is being said is that if you are an employer (a choice) and you provide health care insurance, you can’t pick and choose coverage.

    What if the Catholic Church decided that cancer is God’s will and selected to not cover it’s treatment to avoid clashing with God? Don’t say it can’t happen. You’ll force me to involk “Christian Scientists”. Unless, of course, you support religion to the point of letting people die that can be cured.

    “And please don’t start in on a woman’s choice to terminate the life she carries within her body”

    And please don’t start with religious rhetoric.

  18. ManuelMartini says:

    Lets share an abortion story:

    In the 19th week of her pregnancy, Patient X discovered during a routine exam that the fetus she was carrying had a fatal defect and was going to die inside of her. A long-shot surgery was performed that required cutting directly into the womb. It carried a high risk of infection and was performed not to save the fetus, but to reduce Patient X’s complications while she attempted to go full term.

    Two days later, she became severely feverish. She was rushed to the hospital and placed on intravenous antibiotics, which reduced her fever and bought her some time, but could not eliminate the source of infection: the fetus.

    Patient X was going to die if her pregnancy was not ended, if the fetus was not removed from her body. So, at 20 weeks, one month before what doctors consider ‘viability’, labor began as a result of the antibiotics and the infected fetus was delivered. It died shortly thereafter. Once the Santorums had agreed to the use of antibiotics, they believed they were committing to delivery of the fetus, which they knew would not survive outside the womb.

    The event is obviously tragic, especially for Patient X, who, like her husband, opposes any and all forms of abortion, even when it saves a woman’s life. As her fever subsided, she realized what was happening and asked for drugs to stop the labor, saying, “We’re not inducing labor. That’s abortion. No way.” But it was too late.

    Today, hindsight being 20/20, Patient X says she would have authorized the procedure after all, justifying the saving of her own life by explaining that her other children would have lost a mother.

    Now, lets give Patient X a name – Karen Santorum

    Abortion is a medical issue between patient and doctor.

  19. yabetchya says:

    Now, lets give Patient X a name – Karen Santorum

    it was already given in the story……day late and a dollar short.

    Once the Santorums had agreed to the use of antibiotics, they believed they were committing to delivery of the fetus, which they knew would not survive outside the womb.

  20. ManuelMartini says:

    I put this in bold type the first time, I guess someone missed it. Sort of like I missed the one edit.

    Today, hindsight being 20/20, Karen Santorum ( I filled in the name this time) says she would have authorized the procedure after all, justifying the saving of her own life by explaining that her other children would have lost a mother.

  21. ManuelMartini says:

    More to the point – the Santorums, in particular, Rick Santorum, are great at saying what people should do in terms of abortion, but they don’t seem to follow their own advise.

    Leave the decision up to the woman, her family if necessary, and her doctor.

  22. old_benjamin says:

    MM: Working for the Catholic Church is a choice. It isn’t unreasonable to assume those who work for it are comfortable with its views on contraception. If they aren’t, they can make a choice to work elsewhere.

    The Catholic Church was an employer long before the government decided that all aspects of health care fall within its purvue. Shall it now choose to cease it’s involvment in health care because the government has changed the rules of the game? How unfortunate that would be for all those who are well served by its facilities.

    If the Catholic church decides not to cover cancer treatment, that is most certainly its right. Those who want such coverage can work elsewhere. That sort of choice is no less reasonable than the sort you suggest–that the church cease its healthcare operations. The principle of religious freedom is well establised in law. That one has a right to cancer coverage, or any other coverage, paid for by the church is a fiction promoted by the Obama regime.

  23. BlaineCGarver says:

    Baby killers have lost their souls…

  24. ManuelMartini says:

    Santorum and wife lost their souls??????

  25. ManuelMartini says:

    Old Benjamin – there is no seniority in the rights of Americans. If you are going to try to involk the seniority of the Catholic Church as an issue, you’ll negate all of the Protestant movement.

    Since we are talking “choice”, why doesn’t the Catholic Church remove itself from the United States of America and these terrible laws that they disagree with so much. I don’t recall the Protestants who founded this country inviting the Catholic Church here.

  26. ManuelMartini says:

    Old Benjamin – you might want to beat the dead horse somewhere else:

    “78% of Catholics say they believe the Church should allow Catholics to use birth control”

    Instead of a bunch of allegedly celebate men deciding, the participants have decided.

    As we all know, this is a wedge issue, probably financially supported by the Republican Party, to attack the health care reform legislation. Funny what a nice donation will bring in terms of “offical statements”.

  27. ManuelMartini says:

    Oh and Ben – just to illuminate your “beliefs” stand – if the Catholic Church gets to involk “belief” on this issue, why can’t other churches ignore the laws on forced child marriages in the United States?

    Where does “belief” stop and compliance with laws begin?

  28. beerBoy says:

    OREGON CITY, Ore. – A couple who prayed and rubbed olive oil on their sick infant rather than seek medical care for the dying boy was convicted Thursday of manslaughter, becoming the latest members of an Oregon faith-healing church to be blamed in their child’s death.


    In May 2005, shortly after taking office, the pope made his first pronouncement on Aids, and came out against condoms. He was addressing bishops from South Africa, where somebody dies of Aids every two minutes; Botswana, where 23.9% of adults between 15 and 49 are HIV positive; Swaziland, where 26.1% of adults have HIV; Namibia (a trifling 15%); and Lesotho, 23%.

    This is continuing. In March 2009, on his flight to Cameroon (where 540,000 people have HIV), Pope Benedict XVI explained that Aids is a tragedy “that cannot be overcome through the distribution of condoms, which even aggravates the problems”. In May 2009, the Congolese bishops conference made a happy announcement: “In all truth, the pope’s message which we received with joy has confirmed us in our fight against HIV/Aids. We say no to condoms!”


    The vatican (sic) and the catholic church (sic) ignore scientific research that shows that if latex condoms are used properly they can prevent the transmission of HIV and other diseases. They make prehistoric statements such as: “Morality is the only prevention for AIDS…” and “Anyone who ignores the teachings of the catholic church (sic) and contracts AIDS has only himself to blame.”… Certain religious and spiritual practices in history have involved human sacrifice… the vatican’s (sic) and the church’s (sic) activities… amount to the same thing.

    (Wojnarowicz 132-33)

  29. old_benjamin says:

    MM, most Americans don’t want Obamacare. Shall we follow the Democratic process in this case, or just in the case of the “78 percent of Catholics” who “say they believe the Church should allow Catholics to use birth control”?

    I’m not invoking the seniority of the Catholic church or any other church. What I am invoking is the Constitutional protection of religious belief and practice. Come to think of it though, that does predate the Obama regime by a couple of hundred years.

    You raise the issue of “forced marriages.” “Force” is the key element that is prohibited in existing law. In the case of children they are presumed to be incapable of rendering consent or entering into marriage. Nothing new here. What is new is the Obama regime’s foray into health care wherein it presumes to replace well established law with an unconstitutional invasion of church prerogative. Notice in this case who it is that is using force to break down historical tradition long sanctioned by existing law.

  30. beerBoy says:

    Interesting that JFK almost didn’t get elected because of fears that he would take orders from the Vatican and now we insist that the President has to set policy based upon orders from the Vatican (that 98% of Catholic women disobey)

  31. ManuelMartini says:

    “MM, most Americans don’t want Obamacare.”

    Most Americans DO want access to health care. Most Americans DO want their children to be able to enjoy their policies until age 26. Most Americans don’t know what “Obamacare” is until someone asks them about a specific issue of the reform, then they respond favorably.

    Thus – the campaign to demonize health care reform has been successful with the low information voter, as usual.

  32. beerBoy “now we insist that the President has to set policy based upon orders from the Vatican”

    Very wrong interpretation. We insist the president set policy based on the First Amendment of The Constitution of The United States of America, which he is required to do by law and by oath of office.

  33. beerBoy says:

    muckibr – I have already commented about this on another thread.

  34. ManuelMartini says:

    I’m not convinced that the intention of the First Amendment was for supporting the Catholic Church’s decision to not allow employees the right for birth control as part of their health care benefits, since heath care benefits weren’t even considered in 1776.

    I am wondering how the Catholic Church can involk the First Amendment here, and then complain about homosexuals protesting their churches.

  35. Manuel, now you seem to be channeling a certain someone else with your reference to “since heath care benefits weren’t even considered in 1776.” Of course they weren’t. But Churches and Religion were considered in 1776, hence the First Amendment, which was meant to cover this country in perpetuity, not just in the late 18th century.

    What homosexuals are protesting The Catholic Church? Don’t know what you are referring to here, and it’s not really relevant to health-care benefits is it. So, let’s not go there, and just stick to the subject, okay?

  36. “most Americans don’t want Obamacare”
    This dishonestly includes the people who do not approve of Obamacare, because it is too much Romneycare, and too little of truely efficient, universal, single payer, Medicare for everyone.

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