Monday, February 06, 2012

Obama/HHS/Birth Control

by Edd Doerr

This letter was published in the conservative Washington Examiner on Feb 6, 2012 ---

"HHS regulations are a good compromise"

"Donald Devine and the bishops ('Catholics can't, and won't, comply with Obamacare.' Feb 2) discount the fact that Catholic hospitals, universities and charities serve and employ large percentages of people of all faiths -- and receive generous public funding for doing so.

"If these institutions are exempt from the Health and Human Services regulations dealing with birth control, they will be infringing on the religious freedom of many of their clients and employees, including a great many Catholics who do not agree with the moral teachings of the bishops.

"The Obama administration's HHS rules are actually a good compromise, as they exempt institutions that are primarily religious.

"Edd Doerr, Silver Spring"


Anonymous said...

The only flaw in the argument is that those Catholics who don't agree with the Bishops - along with others who might work there of different faiths - choose to work there and/or choose to use those facilities/services. Under the proposed HHS regulations the employers have no choice in whether or not to offer the services that are currently considered by some to be against their faith.

Will said...

True, Anonymous. People do choose to work there or choose to use those facilities. The main counter-point to that fact is omitting the reality that part of the funds of these non-profit Catholic charities and hospitals are from federal grants.

If they choose to not accept such money, then they should be able to choose to ignore the requirements. If they still choose to receive the money, then they should expect to follow federal regulations that follow.

Explicit Atheist said...

People need employment. It isn't true that people have the choice to turn down job offers. In the real world many people don't have choices regarding who hires them and therefore where they work. People are constrained to work where particular members of their family, such as a spouse, live and work, where they can afford housing, provide good schooling for their children, go to houses of worship that they are comfortable with, and the like. Traveling for job interviews can be expensive. Alternative employment, if available for any given person to claim, may be non-competitive with that person's current employment for various reasons. Changing jobs tends to reduce retirement income.

Furthermore, I disagree that it is employee's burden or the customer's burden to comply with the religious preferences of the employer. The employer has the same rights as everyone else to promote their religious beliefs non-coercively. An employer, simply by virtue of being an employer, should not be able to coerce their employees or customers to follow the employer's religious practices as a condition of employment or completing a commercial transaction.

People who choose to follow a faith have the primary burden associated with observing that faith, including avoiding employment or business ownership that is incompatible with practicing their faith. Vegetarian Hindus avoid working in, or owning, meat businesses. Employers are responsible for accommodating the religious beliefs and practices of their employees, not the other way around. If individual employees have objections to receiving contraception coverage then maybe that should be accommodated, but employees who want the full health insurance coverage shouldn't be denied that coverage because the employer refuses.

Don Wharton said...

@Anonymous There are so many ways in which your claim is just outragous. I went to Holy Cross Hospital with a broken leg. I had no choice in the matter. I went with Kaiser Permantente because it had good reviews and competitive pricing. I most certainly did not want to support Catholic evil pretending to be goodness. KP had a contract with Holy Cross because they provided the services at a reasonable price at a convenient location. The are institutional decisions outside my chosing.

Many smaller communities have only one hospital. If you need that service again you have no choice.

Catholic women differ very little from other women and the vast majority of them use birth control at some point in their lives. It has been richly documented that the Catholic heirarchy does not represent the values of Catholics.

Moreover, the Catholic church could expand their neo-fascist abolition of women's rights in a great many areas if all they have to do is buy up unrelated enterprises and enforce their appalling values.

This was an excellent compromise and the noise from right-wing crazies should be either ignored or contradicted by the facts.

Edd.Doerr said...

Will, EA and Don are right. Further, when the claims of conscience of a handful of church leaders clash with the claims of conscience of vast numbers of their employees and clients of all persuasions, who have the better claim? And certainly accepting public subsidies should override the narrow claims of those fortunate enough to run these institutions.

I have received good medical care in Catholic hospitals, but women in need of certain forms of reproductive health care are told to get lost.

lucette said...

The problem of health insurance being controlled by the employer would not exist if we had the single payer health insurance. The current system is perfectly medieval.