America is a Woman

Mama’s pleased.

This whole free contraceptive mandate has the First Lady written all over it.

…and maybe we just found out the value of Valeria Jarrett.

Or not, but we know women made it possible for Pres. Obama to stand up.

The bishops’ opposition to contraception is not an argument for a “conscience exemption.” It is a way of imposing Catholic requirements on non-Catholics. This is religious dictatorship, not religious freedom. – Contraception Con Men, by Garry Wills

Nobody starts out looking to get an abortion. But it is legal. It’s a mighty heavy outcome so if we can prevent it we must.

What just occurred has been brewing for a long, long time and is what we’ve been waiting for, which is the end of the most common abortions. The whole delicious design of reproductive goo simply has to merge with contraceptive access, regardless of means.

People have sex.

For pleasure.

Only.

It’s not a coincidence that at a moment of economic breath the free contraceptive mandate would come along. It fits the rhythm.

Sen. Roy Blunt popping up does too. He’s driven by demons to close the dam. It’s so very un-Missourian of him, because like myself, he hails from the state of the mighty Mississippi, the Big Muddy. But Republicans today like to shut off streams and rivers, clog up all natural slopes and fertile ground, swap poison wolves for energy. They’re like adolescent boys of destruction.

Rep. Darrell Issa proved this point and more when he refused witnesses on behalf of women in his all-male hearing titled “Lines Crossed: Separation of Church and State. Has the Obama Administration Trampled on Freedom of Religion and Freedom of Conscience?”

Religious conservatives believe people don’t have sex.

Certainly not for pleasure.

Ever.

I lived in Los Angeles during the puritanical Reagan era and there were so many underground clubs, cocaine and pills, fast cars and yuppy mafias you couldn’t throw a g-string without hitting one. But Reagan screwed the economic pooch, because it was all built on testosterone.

Then came the Big Dawg. The other side of the track Jack.

The Clinton era was wet and fertile. Even that guy Gingrich who was targeting America’s Bubbah was screwing around, this time on his sick second wife. Everybody was making money, but they were also having lots of sex, too. The kind of sex women like, not just checking off daddy’s list. The poorest still got screwed, because America talks that game better than solves it, but for a while America’s cut overflowed. Even the Big Dawg got off.

Ken Starr wrote bad porn, so the people pilloried the prosecutor.

William F. Buckley said it to Charlie Rose — who else? — once. Conservatives are against things, they oppose, that’s what they do, who they are.

If this contraceptive mandate decision stands, with the White House saying openly they didn’t expect to get all Catholics or the bishops approval, but they’re comfortable with that because this is the right decision, then the moment has finally arrived. The very case I proffered and proved in the chapter “Is Freedom Just for Men?” in The Hillary Effect manifest.

Somewhere between creating it and having the heart to hear the women whispering in your ear you start to know what’s right. You start to learn you won’t get religious conservatives, because they’re against everything, but maybe you don’t need them.

Abigail Adams said that women should not hold ourselves bound to any laws in which we have no voice or representation.

The number of women, regardless of religion, who rely on contraception or birth control is in the 99 percentile.

People have sex.

It’s good for us.

You can’t stop it from happening. But you can come prepared.

Taylor Marsh is the author of the new book, The Hillary Effect – Politics, Sexism and the Destiny of Loss, which is now available in print on Amazon. Marsh is a veteran political analyst and commentator. She has been profiled in the Washington Post, The New Republic, and has been seen on C-SPAN’s Washington Journal, CNN, MSNBC, Al Jazeera English and Al Jazeera Arabic, as well as on radio across the dial and on satellite, including the BBC. Marsh lives in the Washington, D.C. area. This column is cross posted from her new media blog.

48 Comments

  1. Four flaws:

    1)“It is a way of imposing Catholic requirements on non-Catholics.”

    Conversely, Obama’s mandate is way of imposing secularism on religious conscience. I find that intolerable and in direct violation of the 1st amendment.

    2)“You can’t stop (sex) from happening. But you can come prepared.”

    False & true. Both are voluntary behaviors. One can say ‘yes’ or one can say ‘no.’ But don’t require me to pay for other’s licentious behavior in disregard for my conscience.

    3) NOTHING is free. To suggest otherwise is sophistry and poisons the national debate.

    If one cannot afford a condom, then please make use of the $3.9 billion in federal funds planned parenthood has received since 1987.

    D)The gub’mint needs to stay out of my religious institutions, out of my bedroom, and out of my wallet!

  2. America might be a woman, but it is governed by men.

    If we had women governing, maybe they would fix the problems men have created.

    For one, they might not be so enthusiatic about sending men off to be killed and wounded in wars of no meaning.

    Second, they may work to keep government out of cotrolling social behaviors, allowing peoples own moral values to guide their decisions.

    Third, we all know women are much better at controlling home budgets, so the budgets of this country might be balanced over time. (It can’t happen overnight, it took men about40 years to build up the deficits and debt we have today).

    Fourth, they understand children and their needs better than men, so the education system probably would not be in the outhouse like it is today.

    And women are more adept at working together to fix problems.

    And their are many other things women are better at than men, too many to list on this comment.

  3. “You start to learn you won’t get religious conservatives, because they’re against everything, but maybe you don’t need them.”

    Amen sister!! Those who can’t be part of the solution should have the decency to get out of the way. Some of us actually believe progress is preferable to going back down roads (goat trails) that history has already shown us are dead ends.

  4. What is most important in our Constitution…individual liberties or religious liberties?

    I don’t think the President’s mandate imposes secularism on religious conscience. The Catholic Church is free to have it’s beliefs. That did not change. However, as an American woman I have the liberty not to share the beliefs of the Catholic Church. So does the Catholic Church or any church have the liberty to deny me my liberties?

  5. So does the Catholic Church or any church have the liberty to deny me my liberties?

    All the BS aside how does, say Catholic Charities of America, as your hypothetical employer, not wanting to pay for birth control as a part of their health care coverage deny you any liberties at all? Does them paying a fine and you still not getting the coverage make everything better? It’s no great victory because to those who feel BC coverage should be required you got a tiny, absurdly small, nothing number of people covered, or more likely an equally small amount of money when they still refuse to cover the women. To those who feel that Govt should not dictate that religious based organizations be required to pay for, thus directly provide services, that their religion prohibits, well to them it’s a big loss.

    Me, I find the idea of the govt mandating what is basically a benefits package, that rose to prominence because companies where trying to attract workers when govt froze wages, more than a little strange and ass back wards.

  6. “All the BS aside

    In that vein, why should reproductive health not be treated with the same degree of respect as any other health? I’ll tell you why, it’s because common sense has been politicized right out of the equation.

  7. In that vein, why should reproductive health not be treated with the same degree of respect as any other health? I’ll tell you why, it’s because common sense has been politicized right out of the equation.

    I’m sorry but I just don’t see that as the case. While you “responded” to my post you totally ignored the content and seemingly would rather hit your sound bites than have a real conversation but I’ll try. For the vast majority of the users birth control is not reproductive health so drawing a conclusion, based on the resistance of some lawmakers to force religious groups to pay for something that violates their beliefs, seems sketchy. There was no effort to ban or restrict the sale of BC just to prevent the Govt from mandating religious groups providing, paying for, things that are against their beliefs. If anything it seems the lack of respect is for those beliefs being violated not for reproductive health.

  8. Wel E, that strikes me as a rather convoluted justification for your beliefs.

    “For the vast majority of the users birth control is not reproductive health”

    Oh please. Of course it is! If they get pregnant you can bet it’s all about health, you can’t separate the two. As for your concerns about people paying for things against their beliefs? We do it all the time. We pay for unecessary wars, the salaries of stupid lawmakers, corporate welfare, pork, etc. How do you feel about your tax dollars killing women and children in the middle east? As taxpayer you have blood on your hands and so do I. Contraception isn’t killing anyone. Culture warriors need to look in the mirror more often.

  9. Well E, that strikes me as a rather convoluted justification for your beliefs.

    Huh? I’ve already said I’m not religious and I’m in no way against anyone using birth control, I just would not require someone to pay for it especially someone who has a religious issue with it. So how am I justifying anything and what belief of mine is at issue?

    Oh please. Of course it is!

    Well you told me! Or not. Look maybe we just define words different but there are other ways of preventing pregnancy and at least one is free.

    As for your concerns about people paying for things against their beliefs? We do it all the time. We pay for unnecessary wars, the salaries of stupid lawmakers, corporate welfare, pork, etc. How do you feel about your tax dollars killing women and children in the middle east? As taxpayer you have blood on your hands and so do I.

    Crap argument. If this was about Govt paying for BC then fine but it’s about actions that an individual takes which none of your examples are. Fact is a much better example would be consciences objector status for those that are drafted in the military. Truth is we have a long history of allowing and accommodating such beliefs, you on the other hand want to end that, for BC. Mind you I don’t think it’s a constitutional issue, just that in some ways it actually makes us less tolerant of others beliefs and less willing to be inclusive.

  10. EEllis:

    I think we can understand their side of this argument. “It’s my body and I have the freedom to do with it whatever I please.” It’s perfectly rational and reasonable. I agree with it, that much of it anyway.

    Anyone who suggests that there is another rational, reasonable side to the argument (that religious liberty is involved too) is usually lumped together with all the Santorum loonies. You are finding that it is next to impossible to even get a calm discussion of the matter.

  11. I had this on another thread, but I think it fits in with this conversation too:

    Can Catholic institutions refuse to pay for expenses that are specific to one racial or ethnic group? For example, since Catholics will essentially never have a child with Tay Sachs, can they refuse to cover the associated expenses? How about expenses related to out-of-wedlock STDs? Essentially this law is denying the ability of powerful institutions to discriminate against their employees on the basis of gender; so do those saying the Catholic church should be exempt also think that other institutions should be able to make similar discriminatory practices based on other church doctrine?

    And EEllis, yes, birth control is the most common way that women deal with their reproductive health. It really doesn’t matter if you “disagree” or “define” things differently, it’s just the truth.

  12. “You are finding that it is next to impossible to even get a calm discussion of the matter.”

    JDave — It’s hard to be calm when a large number of men are arguing that women’s health care isn’t health care at all. It’s pretty straight-up sexism.

    I mean, look at this argument from EEllis: “Look maybe we just define words different but there are other ways of preventing pregnancy and at least one is free.”

    As you and I have talked about before, close your legs you slut is not, in fact, an acceptable argument, ever.

  13. Can Catholic institutions refuse to pay for expenses that are specific to one racial or ethnic group? For example, since Catholics will essentially never have a child with Tay Sachs, can they refuse to cover the associated expenses? How about expenses related to out-of-wedlock STDs? Essentially this law is denying the ability of powerful institutions to discriminate against their employees on the basis of gender; so do those saying the Catholic church should be exempt also think that other institutions should be able to make similar discriminatory practices based on other church doctrine?

    One it’s faulty logic. The examples are not equal and it isn’t necessarily discriminative because they also don’t provide for men. “Oh, but women are different?” So you must treat them different? But wait a minute you were just saying you couldn’t treat them different?

    “close your legs you slut”

    You know this is a vile evil tactic and you Roro use it way to often. That isn’t even in the same realm as my opinion but you gleefully ascribe that attitude to me. Maybe because that is what you think is true are more likely because if you demonetize your opponent then you weaken counterarguments. It’s intellectually dishonest, allows you to ignore all arguments because it’s about hateful sexism only, and just plain wrong.

    As to what I do believe I don’t think there should be a health care mandate on employers at all so it is no surprise that I would from the start be inclined to support the religious deferment of BC. When looking at the issue closer it seems to me to be a overblown issue. For all the hoopla this will effect a tiny number of women for a small amount of money. Medication that provides BC but is used for a different reason would be covered anyway (just called hormone therapy when used for something elde)so the effect was only on women who used birth control to prevent pregnancy in my view limiting the argument. So we have a tiny number that are effected. Also many org will just quit providing coverage and pay the “fine” so the net effect will most likely be less heath coverage not more. So the big victory seems very small. On the other hand I see a religious belief that prohibits BC. Then the govt forcing that church or some other org to violate their religion to directly pay for something they believe is wrong. For them, monetarily speaking, is rather small but the feeling about having the Govt try and force you to something against your beliefs…….. I got to say I think it’s a bigger loss than gain. I believe it’s a step backwards in tolerance and respect of others beliefs. Sure I’m not one of them and don’t agree but forcing someone to comply isn’t me either

  14. “One it’s faulty logic. The examples are not equal and it isn’t necessarily discriminative because they also don’t provide for men. “Oh, but women are different?” So you must treat them different? But wait a minute you were just saying you couldn’t treat them different?”

    No, it’s not faulty logic, but with you I’ve come to recognize that you’ll say that to anything outside the realm of your experience. Kids have different health care needs than adults, men have different health care needs from women, white people have different health care needs from black people, ethically Jewish people have some specific health needs, vegans have different health needs than those who eat meat. Those with kidney problems have different needs than heart patients. This is a given, and most people who admit that women are people whose health care needs matter understand this. Denying coverage of a hugely important, widely-used, safe and relatively cheap medication because it’s specific to women’s health is sexist.

    “You know this is a vile evil tactic and you Roro use it way to often”

    I do apologize if your free way of keeping women from getting pregnant referred to something else. I can only think of one. By all means, what is the free way for women to keep from getting pregnant? I’d love to know. I’m still paying my $10 copay a month for my birth control, and if there’s a free way to do the same thing, I’d love the skinny on that scoop.

  15. *Ethnically Jewish people, not “ethically” Jewish. Sorry.

  16. I’d like to point out that there are many people, particularly of Indian decsent, who do not eat meat for religious reasons. People who do not eat meat really don’t ever have heart problems, and very rarely have cholesterol issues. Can an employer who has these belief systems, and who offers health insurance to all employees who do not eat meat, refuse to cover any medications that might prevent heart or cholesterol problems?

  17. Also: since over 10% of those women who take hormonal birth control pills do so in part or in full because of health issues that are easily controlled by these drugs, would there be some system to allow them to get these drugs? Right now, there’s not. If you have endometriosis and take the pill to prevent the growth of these nodes on the ovaries and falopian tubes, as well as the huge amounts of abdominal pain and eventual infertility they cause, is that an “ok” use of hormonal birth control? Or does having a fairly common, painful disease that only strikes people unlucky enough to be born with female parts mean they’re sh*t out of luck?

  18. Hi roro,

    I understand why it’s hard to be calm. As always, I thank you for your efforts.

    Similarly, it’s hard for me to be calm too when I know that some of my political opponents would like to force me back into the catacombs. There are vile like your opponents who call you a sl*t.

    (let’s not get into the historical accuracy of catacombs, please)

    I am short on time and will only briefly comment.

    We are arguing for conscientious objector status. Go ahead and get your BC, just don’t make me help you do it. You have lots of other people who are happy to help you, please don’t make me conform to your way of thinking.

    Maybe there are some remote areas where the only health providers are Catholic. There’s got to be a practical solution that makes BC available there without forcing Catholics to participate in something they think is wrong.

  19. JDave — Can you see the connection with the vegetarian example I put up a few comments ago? It’s clearly discriminatory against the majority of people who don’t follow that particular doctrine. You can’t just decide to provide all the basic health care your male employees need, while not providing the same sort of basic care that female employees need. And this is, indeed, really a basic need for women. It’s between a patient and doctor to decide what those needs are, not the employer. If the employer can’t legally discriminate who they hire based on gender, that means they also can’t discriminate in what benefits they provide.

    By the way, Obama did announce a compromise. What is your problem with what he announced?

  20. BTW JDave, I’m not sure what you mean by “catacombs”, but it sounds pretty macabre. :)

  21. I love Obama’s compromise! I think we can both be happy about it.

    I did see your example. Later this evening I’ll try to give it the consideration it’s due.

    In the legendary version, catacombs were underground hiding places where early Christians were forced to worship because they weren’t PC at the time. Both the real and the legendary were macabre indeed.

  22. Well, great then, JDave. Since that’s where we’re at at this point, I suppose we’re all reasonably happy. Except for the Catholic leadership. And Republicans. And those of us who are pissed off that it’s brought out so many people willing to say that women’s health care isn’t really health care. (In a different thread a few days ago, one of our esteemed co-commenters indicated it was like forcing insurance companies to cover soap. I kid you not.)

    Oh, yes, I know what they are historically — I’ve been down to the ones under the cathedral in Lima, Peru, and it seems there’s also lots of, um, bones and skulls and things down there. But what I didn’t understand was what you meant when you said that you were being forced down there. I presume I’m missing some modern usage of it? Anyway, when you’ve got time.

  23. 1st the catacombs ‘cause that’s easier: most thinking, politically in-tune Christians of the non-Santorum variety (yes, there are more than a few of us) would have understood immediately. I should’ve realized that it wasn’t so obvious to secular sorts. Sorry.

    Some of our other esteemed co-commenters have said that Christians should have no voice in the public square. They want us silenced. They say we are free to say all want in church, far from them, and behind closed doors. It immediately brings to mind the catacombs. Many Christians say it is the last socially acceptable bigotry.

  24. Hi again roro,

    The vegetarian question has many layers and we could easily shoot off in many directions. I can’t give a good answer without laying down some groundwork. Wish I could be pithy…

    I enthusiastically support legislation that restrains capitalism; without it, all but the most powerful 0.1% of us would “owe our souls to the company store.” The devil’s in the details though.

    I also think health care is a basic, basic, basic issue of human dignity. (Those bishops we all have great difficulty with say so too, btw.) Any for-profit health care puts human dignity at odds with profits, greed, and boards of directors. My political leanings tell me who I think wins in that match up. For-profit health care is very problematic in a capitalistic society.

    On the other hand, after 25 yrs in the private sector, I went to a govt contracting job 3 yrs ago – OMG, the waste and incompetence is absolutely appalling. We have good reason to be suspicious of govt-run health care. Even so, I’d rather be at the mercy of a bumbling govt that answers to voters than at the mercy of ruthless, and crazy-efficient capitalists who answer only to stockholders.

    I think the Repubs have got the health care issue dead wrong at their very core – they do not recognize the human dignity aspect. The employer mandate was the best Obama could do with the obstructionist congress. The first time govt has decided we all must buy some product, I think it is obviously, blatantly, over-the-top unconstitutional. The govt does have the constitutional power to provide health care and tax for it – that was the right answer, but Repubs blocked it.

    I am getting to your question, really.

    Employees have few rights against their employers. They have minimum wage rights, rights to organize, rights to a safe work environment, and rights to be free of harassment and discrimination, among just a few others. They do not have the right to demand how much or what kinds of compensation they receive. Outside of very broad guidelines, employers offer a compensation package and employees can choose to accept the job offer or not. If the employer wants to offer crappy health care, let the market decide.

    What might we call it… “meat-therapy”. Not offering meat-therapy to some group of people but offering to others would be discrimination. However, denying meat-therapy to all your employees is just crappy insurance.

    That answers your question I think, but probably raises a dozen more. It’s the best I could do.

    If there was a contraceptive that could be offered to both women and men, and Catholics only wanted to offer it to men, then that would be discrimination. The bishops do not want to offer contraception to anyone – not condoms, not the pill, not vasectomies, not any birth control. Good analogies are tough to find.

  25. No, it’s not faulty logic, but with you I’ve come to recognize that you’ll say that to anything outside the realm of your experience. Kids have different health care needs than adults, men have different health care needs from women, white people have different health care needs from black people, ethically Jewish people have some specific health needs, vegans have different health needs than those who eat meat. Those with kidney problems have different needs than heart patients. This is a given, and most people who admit that women are people whose health care needs matter understand this. Denying coverage of a hugely important, widely-used, safe and relatively cheap medication because it’s specific to women’s health is sexist.

    It is faulty logic because the only concrete examples you gave was for treatment for an ongoing diseases or condition. That is not the case with birth control and use of hormones to treat other conditions does not come under this exception as you seem to think. You can keep repeating that it’s the same but repetitions doesn’t change a grapefruit to an apple.

    I do apologize if your free way of keeping women from getting pregnant referred to something else. I can only think of one.

    Heck no you don’t get off that easy. I do not believe that acknowledging the fact that if you don’t have sex you will not get pregnant is the same as saying “close your legs you slut”. I refuse to believe I can (and have) tell a guy that and it be perfectly fine but it has to have some evil sexist message if ever reference in context with women.

    People who do not eat meat really don’t ever have heart problems, and very rarely have cholesterol issues. Can an employer who has these belief systems, and who offers health insurance to all employees who do not eat meat, refuse to cover any medications that might prevent heart or cholesterol problems

    Again not the same thing. There is treating a condition and prevention. I don’t think we should dictate compensation at all so yes because it’s between the owner and employee.

    To be honest it is a big deal and hard to come up with an example that is equivalent in importance. I haven’t used any because I felt all of mine would sound as if I was trivializing it and I didn’t want to do so.

  26. Also: since over 10% of those women who take hormonal birth control pills do so in part or in full because of health issues that are easily controlled by these drugs, would there be some system to allow them to get these drugs? Right now, there’s not. If you have and take the pill to prevent the growth of these nodes on the ovaries and falopian tubes, as well as the huge amounts of abdominal pain and eventual infertility they cause, is that an “ok” use of hormonal birth control? Or does having a fairly common, painful disease that only strikes people unlucky enough to be born with female parts mean they’re sh*t out of luck?

    While I haven’t seen the policies that would be exempted I think the idea that there is any concern at all is absurd. If there is a medical condition then it gets treated. Hormone therapy is not banned by any religion that I know that excepts modern medical care. If there is no religious reason then it would just be the insurance agencies or HMO’s policies.

  27. “Denying coverage … because it’s specific to women’s health is sexist.”

    I agree.

    But we’re saying “That’s not the reason at all! We don’t want to participate in something immoral: contraception of any sort for men or women.”

    Insisting that our true motivations are different than what we say they are… that would be an extremely weak argument.

  28. JDave — But men can’t get pregnant. If men sire children, it does not cause any health implications. Saying that you don’t think birth control is ok for men either is a totally empty statement, because birth control for men has no health impacts.

    For your second comment, I’d like to point out that there’s no such thing as magical intent. As I’ve said before, your true motivations seem to be what you say they are, but if you were to have your way, you would be essentially giving my body to your God, in whom I don’t believe. As an employer, the Catholic church isn’t allowed to do that. Neither are you. And let it be noted that based on a thousand other things, I do not in any way shape or form believe that the motives of the Catholic leadership is pure.

  29. First my comment was rejected due to being spammy, now my second abridged comment is in moderation. Sweet. EEllis — your comments are just plain wrong, and show you to be horribly and offensively ignorant. I’d explain why, but I’ve already tried twice, and I’m bored now.

  30. JDave — Also, men can’t get ovarian cysts or endometriosis.

  31. I thought we agreed that we both got our way with the compromise: you can control your body and I can exercise my religion. No conflict.

    I’m hitting the moderation thing too. doh.

    trying it in pieces

  32. I don’t know what you mean by magical intent

  33. “I know you say that, but what you really mean is…” It’s very difficult to make that kind of argument convincingly.

    Limbaugh does it all the time and it is maddening.

  34. Yes, you’re right — we do agree on that.

    Magical intent means that your motivations matter, but they’re not the only thing that matters. Even if your intent is totally pure, if the result is that you’re hurting me, your intent isn’t a magic eraser of that hurt. That’s what I meant.

  35. “It’s very difficult to make that kind of argument convincingly.”

    Not really. I understand that I haven’t actually listed the thousand reasons, so I haven’t made that argument convincingly, but doing so is a matter of time and patience, not so much difficulty. One of the thousand things: Catholic leadership and Republican leadership are not satisfied with the compromise.

  36. More on the magical intent piece, because I think I see why what I said was unclear: I was not paraphrasing my idea of what you “really” meant when I said that you were essentially giving my body to God. I was giving the real-world consequence of your stated opinion, even if your intent was different. Even if your intention is not to take away the bodily autonomy and health care of women, that would be the real-world consequence of the implementation of your opinion on birth control and abortion. You can’t separate the doctrine from the result of that doctrine.

  37. Got it. Makes sense.

    “…it’s a totally empty statement…”

    Perhaps so if health care and your concerns are the only things that matter. If religious freedom matters at all, then it is terribly important.

    But it isn’t important to me to pull on that thread.

    I think there’s quite a lot to discuss about health, women’s health, men’s health, rights, common good, what is essential and what is desireable, autonomy, agency, society’s obligations to individuals and to women, free market, constitution, human dignity, and dozens of other intertwined topics.

    But I think we’ve gotten about as contructive as we can in a combox, and I hope we can wind this down pretty soon.

  38. we cross posted there….

    I think we agree on magic intent, consequence, and results.

    In the specific case of Catholic leadership, there is so much evidence that I think you can make a good argument. I don’t care to take you up on it. I’m outgunned.

    In the general case, I despise arguing over motivations rather than actual words and actions.

  39. “If religious freedom matters at all, then it is terribly important.”

    I disagree with this. You can be all for individual religious freedoms without supporting the idea that religiously-run institutions can refuse to follow laws that protect individual rights. I think that’s where the fulcrum is here.

  40. “I despise arguing over motivations rather than actual words and actions.”

    I generally agree, although it makes it a lot easier to predict future behavior in an acquaintance or friend if you can understand what their motivations are. It usually works with politicians, too, but the motivations are so screwed up due to the over-riding desire for re-election. I do think it’s important to understand the motivations of an organization, though.

  41. Those institutions are nothing without the people that actually do the work. Those people care very much about their 1st ammendment rights. Secular people of good will should not be quick to dismiss concerns over what is foremost in our constitution.

    I don’t think I have ever been quick to dismiss your concerns.

    You and I agree that society should somehow strive to provide health care widely. It is a common good, but you won’t find it mentioned as a right in the constitution.

    We will disagree on how providing health care may or may not conflict with other common goods or rights. I suggest we leave it at that.

  42. We agree on the motivation thing too then.

    What makes these combox convos so difficult is that you don’t know me from Adam, nor I you from Eve. My atheist friends know me well enough that “sl*t” isn’t part of my reasoning ever, for example, and I know they won’t push me into the catacombs.

    It takes much less effort to have a constructive conversation when there is a bit of trust.

  43. I am sorry if you feel my arguments are dismissive; I had to be brief due to the commenting issue. I do have a different opinion on the meaning of the first amendment, evidently. I know that Citizens United changed this in the eyes of the law in some ways, but I still think that the Bill of Rights applies to people, and not necessarily to organizations or companies or institutions. I don’t think requiring a religiously-run institution (which is separate from a church itself) to follow the same laws as non-relgiously-affiliated companies in similar lines of business is trampling on individual freedoms.

  44. I understand brief. We’re good.

    Citizens United bothers me too.

    Requiring Catholic hospitals to play by the same rules as other hospitals does not necessarily trample rights. But, for example, if the rules require devout Catholics in those hospitals to help other people euthanize, abort, or contracept, then the rules would conflict with their 1st ammendment rights. Obama’s compromise avoids that conflict.

    BTW, in a letter last Sunday, our bishop expressed only concern over the compromise, not outright opposition.

  45. “if the rules require devout Catholics in those hospitals to help other people euthanize, abort, or contracept, then the rules would conflict with their 1st ammendment rights.”

    I would agree with this. I think that since these hospitals do serve the public, it should be part of policy to have someone who is not morally averse to these activities on staff, though, to deal with emergency situations. Luckily, these same institutions can’t discriminate based on religion in their hiring practices, so there’s no reason to think that devout Catholics who will not provide these types of care would be any more represented than the overall devout Catholic population in the area. I do have to wonder about people who get into certain types of health care while being unwilling to perform some of the basics, and why those people would be hired in the first place. I’d also wonder about why a person who feels that eating meat is wrong would apply for a job at a deli.

  46. Good. I hope EEllis sees that there is hope for people of good will to understand one another even while disagreeing. We did it while being respectful too. I don’t think he’s as bad as you pegged him.

    My 19 yr old daughter is a nursing student. Of our 4 children, she is probably the most orthodox Catholic. She wants to be a nurse for the same reasons as any other nurse. She’ll likely go her entire career without being forced to help with an abortion or a euthanasia (even if those who would push us back into the catacombs continue gaining political power). She is much more likely to dispense contraceptives, but probably doesn’t mind that notion too much. That leaves an awful lot of very useful health care to do.

    There are some kinds of engineering I’ve avoided in my career. You probably have too. We can love some aspects of our career without having to do them all. Doctors can avoid doing health care they dislike. Nurses have less power, but they usually manage to steer clear of the things they dislike most.

    In spite of people avoiding some things, contraception is in no danger of vanishing.

    Fewer and fewer doctors though are willing to train for abortions. Some no doubt, for the reasons you would emphasize, others for reasons pro-lifers would emphasize.

    But I’m not eager to broaden this discussion very much.

  47. Oh sure — not that a pro-life person shouldn’t go into any field of medical care, just not the ones where they’ll have choose whether to put their religious beliefs over the safety and needs of their patients. Your sister probably shouldn’t go get a job at Planned Parenthood or a small ER, but there are tons of other places where good nurses are needed that don’t have to deal with any of those situations. That’s all I meant — I do apologize if I implied that pro-life people shouldn’t be allowed to go into health care at all.

    The stats on doctors training to perform surgical abortions are an interesting topic. I agree it’s probably a poor idea to go into it on this thread. Maybe some other time. I would like to point out that surgical abortions are often really necessary in emergency situations, not just for the health of the mother, but sometimes for her life.

    As for EEllis, we’ve been a few rounds in the past. Trust me, this is hardly a single-thread pegging. I definitely appreciate the respectful conversation with you, as per usual. I don’t expect I’ll ever get something similar out of him.

  48. My goodness is there ever broad agreement then.

    Catholic teaching allows abortion for saving the life of the mother. I think it was always that way (after being chastened on quickening and one or two other items, I am qualifying my statements more often now)

    Too bad about your past rounds.

    I appreciate the respect too.

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