Catholics fight mandatory contraceptive coverage while at the same time giving contraceptives out
On December 3, 2011 At 4:17 pm
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In a curious catch-22, the Catholic church doesn't appear to be practicing what it preaches. Fundamentally, the Catholic Church is against any type of contraceptive, and is perhaps best known for promoting the "rhythm" method which depends on a woman's natural fertility cycle for family planning. Ever since President Obama passed legislation that requires insurance companies to cover women's contraception, the church has loudly protested over "having" to do so–yet they are already doing so anyway. NPR reports:
The Catholic Church says new federal regulations requiring employers to provide no-cost prescription birth control as part of their health insurance plans infringe on their religious liberty.
"If we comply, as the law requires, we will be helping our students do things that we teach them, in our classes and in our sacraments, are sinful — sometimes gravely so," Catholic University President John Garvey wrote in The Washington Post. "It seems to us that a proper respect for religious liberty would warrant an exemption for our university and other institutions like it."
But while some insist that the rules, which spring from last year's health law, break new ground, many states as well as federal civil rights law already require most religious employers to cover prescription contraceptives if they provide coverage of other prescription drugs.
While some religious employers take advantage of loopholes or religious exemptions, the fact remains that dozens of Catholic hospitals and universities currently offer contraceptive coverage as part of their health insurance packages.
"We've always had contraceptive birth control included in our health care benefits," said Michelle Michaud, a labor and delivery nurse at Dominican Hospital in Santa Cruz, Calif. "It's something that we've come to expect for ourselves and our family."
The reason this is so, is because Catholics don't employ Catholics in their hospitals and universities–oddly enough. Studies also show that most Catholic women in the US use birth control anyway, despite the teachings of the church.
Rather than a fight against religious liberty, some are saying that this is really about not letting the Catholic Church impose its faith and values on the population at large.
But Lipton-Lubet of the ACLU says this isn't a fight about religious liberty.
"What the bishops and their allies are asking for is the ability to impose their religious beliefs on people who don't share them," she said.