On January 20, when Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius issued a final rule requiring that all women have access to free preventive care services, including contraceptives, the heat from congressional leaders, Republican presidential candidates, and Catholic groups increased. (The rule includes an exemption for churches and houses of worship, but not for other religious institutions such as hospitals, universities, and charities.)
Wednesday, the White House stood firm on it's position, as did those who stand with the Catholic organizations and the Catholic Church.
This is obviously a very emotionally charged issue. Some like Speaker Boehner even went as far to call this "an unambiguous attack on religious freedom..."
I must admit, I am a bit torn by this issue and here is why. First, I do not want any person or religious organization's religious freedom infringed upon, because they have a constitutional right to that freedom. But I must ask, is the Catholic Church being asked to provide these services? Or is this an issue regarding their employees? And if we consider this as a religious issue, then I must ask, are hospitals a place of worship? Or a place of healing? I also fear the slippery slope this could become: would a Catholic Hospital prevent a non-Catholic from saving the life of their wife over the life of her unborn child? Would a Jewish hospitals force non-Jewish employees or patients to circumcise their newborn boys? Would a Muslim hospital require it's female staff or patients to cover their heads? You see where I'm going with this.
The other problem I have is hypocrisy. I know numerous Catholics ( and yes I was one, receiving baptism, First Communion, and confirmation) who live together, fornicate, and use contraceptives. See if you're being a "good Catholic," and you're not married, you wouldn't be having sex at all. You would be abstaining and the issue of contraceptives whether in the form of a birth control taken prior to sex, or a morning after pill taken...well, the morning after, would be moot. And let's take those married Catholics. The days of the O'Malleys and their 12 children are gone, so either the rhythm method miraculously started working, married couples stopped having sex, or they just stopped using that method. (My bet's the latter.) The rhythm method didn't work. And the Catholic Church didn't and still doesn't pay for all of those lovely babies born as a result of it, whether it be here in the United States, Mexico, or Calcutta.
And another issue I have is with the use of contraceptives being a sin is that so says the Catholic Church because it interferes with the creation of life. Well aren't gluttony and drunkenness sins too? Should obese people with heart disease be treated at the expense of the Catholic Church in these institutions? Or how about an alcoholic who needs rehab or surgery on his or her liver?
The final rule issued on January 20 is not a mandate forcing birth control upon the likes of anyone, it simply asks to make it available.
I understand that the Catholic Church is footing most of the bill for their employees' healthcare, and they feel they should be able to pay for what they want and what they don't want. I have no problem with that. But I do have a problem with male politicians and male clergy members ( and those who are Priests don't have sex), telling we women what to do with our bodies!