FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Health Care, Sex and the Church

by CHRISTOPER BRAUCHLI

Health care coverage is one horse that the Church has chosen to ride in order to protect its belief in the sanctity of its beliefs.  Sex, rather than God, is its focus. If God’s perceived commandments on how one deals with one’s fellow man come into conflict with the Church’s opinion on sex, its opinion on sex wins out every time, irrespective of the effect it may have on  fellow man.  Examples abound but two recent ones make the point and both involve health care, an employee benefit the Church will happily sacrifice in order to protect its notion of appropriate sexual conduct.

In 2010 the Council of the District of Columbia voted 11-1 in favor of a bill to legalize same-sex marriage.  The ordinance requires that same-sex couples receive the same employment benefits as are given heterosexual couples by their employers.   The Catholic Church is not a huge fan of same sex marriage and the ordinance gave pause to Catholic Charities, an organization that, according to Catholic on Line, in the District of Columbia alone,  “serves 68,000 people. . . through a range of services, including shelter, nutrition, counseling, employment and job training services, legal and health care assistance, immigration assistance and more.”  When the ordinance was enacted Catholic Charities made certain changes to its operation and, among other things, said that beginning March 1, 2010 there would be no health  benefits for partners of new hires and partners of those already employed who had not  elected to participate in the insurance program, whether heterosexual or homosexual and whether married or not.  Thus, its disapproval of the gay community’s sexual behavior caused it to sacrifice the provision of health care coverage for partners of its employees.  Now the condom’s cousins have jumped into the fray and once again health care may be placed upon the Church’s altar as the sacrificial lamb.

Prior to the passage of the Obama health care reform,  15% of the U.S. population lacked any form of health insurance.  In an attempt to improve the quantity and quality of health care available in the U.S. , the president proposed and Congress passed, legislation known as Obama Care.  Among other things, the legislation addresses the plight of those who heretofore have been without health insurance. The legislation requires that insurers include “preventive health services” in their policies and may not charge for including those provisions in their policies.

On August 11, 2011 the Department of Health and Human Services issued an interim final rule stating that insurance plans had to include contraceptive service for women without charging a co-pay, co-insurance or a deductible. The interim rule, however, allowed “non-profit religious organization that offer insurance to their employees the choice of whether or not to cover contraceptive services.”  On January 20, 2012 the administration issued  the final rule and said all insurance plans must include coverage for contraceptive services.  It made no exception for non-profit religious organizations.  It concluded that employees of non-profit organizations who are not hostile to the idea that women should be permitted to control their own bodies, should have the same opportunity as employees of for profit organization to decide if and when they will bring children into the world.  The only concession made to those hostile to birth control was postponing the effective date of the rule as applied to them to August 1, 2013.  Not unexpectedly, the Church was upset.  The idea that the government, rather than the Church, should be deciding whether women should have freedom of choice was deeply offensive to assorted prelates (and certain evangelical sects.)

According to the New York Times,  “Catholic bishops have said they would  fight the ‘edict’ from the government.”  Archbishop designate Timothy Dolan of New York is the president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.  He was quoted as saying “In effect, the president is saying we have a year to figure out how to violate our consciences.”  The conscience to which he is referring is the conscience that enables men of the cloth to tell women what to do with their bodies.  He said:  “To force American citizens to choose between violating their consciences and forgoing their healthcare is literally unconscionable.  It is as much an attack on access to health care as on religious freedom.  Historically this represents a challenge and a compromise of our religious liberty. We’re unable to live with this.”  There is, of course, no reason to think that church employees will be foregoing access to health care if the rule is enforced unless the soon to be Archbishop is suggesting that the Church would be prepared to drop all employer health insurance plans rather than comply with the requirement. Non-church members would find that a shocking way of expressing the church’s disapproval of the rule.  Given the precedent set by Catholic Charities, however,  that would not be beyond the realm of possibility.  After all, when Church doctrine bumps into human’s rights, doctrine must prevail.

Christopher Brauchli is a lawyer living in Boulder, Colorado. He can be emailed at brauchli.56@post.harvard.edu

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

June 28, 2017
Diana Johnstone
Macron’s Mission: Save the European Union From Itself
Jordon Kraemer
The Cultural Anxiety of the White Middle Class
Vijay Prashad
Modi and Trump: When the Titans of Hate Politics Meet
Jonathan Cook
Israel’s Efforts to Hide Palestinians From View No Longer Fools Young American Jews
Ron Jacobs
Gonna’ Have to Face It, You’re Addicted to War
Jim Lobe – Giulia McDonnell Nieto Del Rio
Is Trump Blundering Into the Next Middle East War?
Radical Washtenaw
David Ware, Killed By Police: a Vindication
John W. Whitehead
The Age of No Privacy: the Surveillance State Shifts into High Gear
Robert Mejia, Kay Beckermann and Curtis Sullivan
The Racial Politics of the Left’s Political Nostalgia
Tom H. Hastings
Courting Each Other
Winslow Myers
“A Decent Respect for the Opinions of Mankind”
Leonard Peltier
The Struggle is Never for Nothing
Jonathan Latham
Illegal GE Bacteria Detected in an Animal Feed Supplement
Deborah James
State of Play in the WTO: Toward the 11th Ministerial in Argentina
Binoy Kampmark
The European Commission, Google and Anti-Competition
Jesse Jackson
A Savage Health Care Bill
Jimmy Centeno
Cats and Meows in L.A
June 27, 2017
Jim Kavanagh
California Scheming: Democrats Betray Single-Payer Again
Jonathan Cook
Hersh’s New Syria Revelations Buried From View
Edward Hunt
Excessive and Avoidable Harm in Yemen
Howard Lisnoff
The Death of Democracy Both Here and Abroad and All Those Colorful Sneakers
Gary Leupp
Immanuel Kant on Electoral Interference
Kenneth Surin
Theresa May and the Tories are in Freefall
Slavoj Zizek
Get the Left
Robert Fisk
Saudi Arabia Wants to Reduce Qatar to a Vassal State
Ralph Nader
Driverless Cars: Hype, Hubris and Distractions
Rima Najjar
Palestinians Are Seeking Justice in Jerusalem – Not an Abusive Life-Long Mate
Norman Solomon
Is ‘Russiagate’ Collapsing as a Political Strategy?
Binoy Kampmark
In the Twitter Building: Tech Incubators and Altering Perceptions
Dean Baker
Uber’s Repudiation is the Moment for the U.S. to Finally Start Regulating the So-called Sharing Economy
Rob Seimetz
What I Saw From The Law
George Wuerthner
The Causes of Forest Fires: Climate vs. Logging
June 26, 2017
William Hawes – Jason Holland
Lies That Capitalists Tell Us
Chairman Brandon Sazue
Out of the Shadow of Custer: Zinke Proves He’s No “Champion” of Indian Country With his Grizzly Lies
Patrick Cockburn
Grenfell Tower: the Tragic Price of the Rolled-Back Stat
Joseph Mangano
Tritium: Toxic Tip of the Nuclear Iceberg
Ray McGovern
Hersh’s Big Scoop: Bad Intel Behind Trump’s Syria Attack
Roy Eidelson
Heart of Darkness: Observations on a Torture Notebook
Geoff Beckman
Why Democrats Lose: the Case of Jon Ossoff
Matthew Stevenson
Travels Around Trump’s America
David Macaray
Law Enforcement’s Dirty Little Secret
Colin Todhunter
Future Shock: Imagining India
Yoav Litvin
Animals at the Roger Waters Concert
Binoy Kampmark
Pride in San Francisco
Stansfield Smith
North Koreans in South Korea Face Imprisonment for Wanting to Return Home
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail