Friday, June 29, 2012

Health Care, Freedom and Conscience

I'm writing this blog about something most people don't care about and some have not even heard of. I ask that you have an open mind about the perspective I'm about to share. Most people don't understand the issue and/or they have dismissed it as unimportant. I hope you will be different.

I am presenting an issue important to both conservatives and liberals, to Christians, Buddhists and Pagans. This issue crosses all political and religious lines, because religious freedom is important to us all. A great many people have heard that the issue at hand is about birth control and abortion. It's really not. The issue is about whether a person or organization should pay for things that strongly go against their conscience. Atheists out there, how would you feel about having to pay for Bibles? Orthodox Jews, do you want to be forced to offer pork in your shops or pay a tax because you don't sell pork? You may say this can never happen to you. How do you know that once a precedent is set, it can't happen to you? A regulation under the “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act” which some call “Obama-care” could open the door to make this happen. It's called the HHS Mandate.

Economic Ethics drives this issue. The goal of opposing this mandate is that people very opposed to an activity shouldn't have to pay for it. Any time a person pays a premium, co-pay or deductible, they will be partially paying for birth control and abortifacients and sterilization. Companies and organizations will be forced to offer this service, even if they believe it is gravely immoral.

So, most of you may say, “Who cares? That's dumb anyway.” I was with you, before I understood the issue. I won't lie. I now believe that life begins at conception and that using birth control that will prevent that embryo from implanting flushes away a life that was meant to happen or it wouldn't have been created. Do you have to agree? No, you don't. Can you believe I am an absolute loony to believe such a thing? Yes, by all means. Can you classify me as old-fashioned, too traditional, and a general stick-in-the-mud, square sort of person? Sure, why not!

I don't care how you view me, but don't try to take away my rights. The Amish are old fashioned and many think their ways are kind of nuts, but does the government force them to buy cars? I have a right to be weird and hokey.

One misunderstanding I've seen floating around the internet is that people who oppose the HHS mandate are trying to take away rights to birth control, abortifacients and sterilization. This could not be further from the truth. People in America have a right to these services by law. People who work for an employer who doesn't cover these things are still free to purchase insurance coverage or services elsewhere. In addition, birth control is both ubiquitous and free in many clinics already.

The HHS mandate has rightly been called a “sleeper issue,” meaning an issue that will be ignored until it causes Obama to lose the election. Many wrongly believe that Catholics don't agree with the Church's position and won't oppose the mandate. Wrong. Even Catholics I know who do use birth control are nervous about this threat to freedom. I see stats floating around that over 90% of Catholics use birth control. These stats are wrong because they are interviewing lapsed and inactive Catholics. The vast majority of practicing Catholics do not use birth control. Yet, overall, agree or not, right or wrong, their faith is critical to most practicing Catholics, who are influenced by their bishops.

And, it's not just us. The list of groups opposing the HHS mandate is quite long. Evangelical Protestants, Orthodox Jews and Catholics are opposed. Also some secularists are opposed on the logical grounds that freedom is threatened. Where are the Buddhists on this issue? My Tibetan Buddhist friend told me abortion is against her religion. If the current government wants support for the healthcare plan, they will never get it by treating religious groups like dirt. Further, HHS shows disregard for women by forcing them to purchase birth control/abortifacieant products against their will, whether they want it or not. Is this fair?

I'm not sure about the other organizations, but since I'm Catholic, I know this: The Catholic Church won't just swallow her position and go on. No, if need be, all Catholic hospitals, clinics and schools will close. I heard a woman on a radio call-in show say, “I think the Catholics should stay out of the hospital business and just handle their worship business.” The hospital business IS our worship business. In fact, the Catholic Church innovated the first hospitals shortly following the Council of Nicea in 325 AD. With the exception of a few scattered examples of primitive hospitals from 252-325, the first major hospital undertaking was largely a Byzantine Christian effort, as hospitals were added onto most churches and cathedrals. Serving the sick and poor has always been a core priority for the Catholic faith, and service IS our worship.

Under the “exceptions” of the new mandate, if a church organization hires only church members and serves only church members, it may be exempt from paying for birth control and abortifacients. What church wants to do that? What church with a conscience CAN do that? Someone comes in with a gunshot wound and a nurse has to act if they're Catholic or Evangelical before they can save their life? To use a colloquial expression, we are being “blown off.” Blown off my the government, blown off by the general public. No one really cares about us. If this precedent is set, who will care about you?

Will you help us support opposing the HHS Mandate?
Petition Here-(Against HHS Regulation ONLY, not entire health care plan.)

Note: Articles are circulating all over the web that Plan B and Ella are not abortifacients.
This is not conclusive. Read what the Mayo Clinic has to say here.


  1. Thank you! Brilliant post. We have an uphill fight to get through to the people who have been fooled by the Orwellian media about what the issues are. But blogs like this one, concise, thorough and clear without being harsh at all, can reach a lot of them.

  2. Thank you :) Problem I'm running into is I don't think most people have even a tiny "crack" of open mind when it comes to looking at this. The inaccurate bias blocks some people from looking at these issues (which don't even make up but one little part of the health care plan)! I'm NOT a Republican. I'm NOT an extreme right-winger. I'm only someone who cares very deeply about the religious freedom of my Church and religion in general. Yet, everywhere I look, I read people throwing me in the mix with people I don't even see eye to eye with. I don't know why "open minded" people don't occasionally challenge themselves in areas where there might be blinders.