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And in this corner, weighing in at 2,000 years, the Catholic Church
February 10, 2012 10:21 AM   Subscribe

After much protestation from religious communities, the Obama administration has compromised on its controversial contraceptive law. Non-profit organizations (such as hospitals) that are affiliated with religious institutions will not be required to provide contraceptives--but insurance companies will. But some Catholics still aren't satisfied.
posted by kethonna (225 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite

 

Catholics are never satisfied.
posted by Kokopuff at 10:25 AM on February 10, 2012 [25 favorites]


What does this mean? I work for a catholic organization and have insurance through them. Does this mean I can start asking my doctor for birth control? Will my employer find out?
posted by Tarumba at 10:27 AM on February 10, 2012


Ridiculously sad day for America, considering that 98 percent of Catholic women use contraceptives. Catholic men should stay out of women's healthcare.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 10:27 AM on February 10, 2012 [48 favorites]


So basically, women can still go to the insurance company that offers the health plan and get birth control at no out of pocket cost, correct? That seems like a reasonable compromise in the face of Catholic dogma on this issue.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:29 AM on February 10, 2012 [9 favorites]


Catholics are never satisfied.

Catholics were never the issue here. Social conservatives were and still are. Some of them are Catholic; many are not. And among Catholics, a solid majority supported the President on this, not the official position of the Church.
posted by Tomorrowful at 10:29 AM on February 10, 2012 [15 favorites]


Do you have to be Catholic to get paid for your work for/with a Catholic organization? If not, why should your work have the right to deny you a legally available contraceptives?
posted by filthy light thief at 10:30 AM on February 10, 2012 [6 favorites]


At work, it was women who encouraged us to donate to the lobbying company that wanted to fight this, so it's not only men.
posted by Tarumba at 10:30 AM on February 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


This seems fine to me. I am pleasantly surprised. It does add an extra step (talk to your insurance co. directly and probably fill out a form) for folks who work for certain organizations, so not ideal, but I think workable.

Somehow I doubt social conservatives will be satisfied.
posted by feckless at 10:31 AM on February 10, 2012


If the religious institution is being required to pay for an insurance plan that subsidizes the insurance company’s efforts to proactively spread information about obtaining contraceptives, and then also pays for the contraceptives, that still means the Church is being required to subsidize services and items it deems morally repugnant. The Church’s money would still be used to support gravely immoral activity.

What this catholic doesn't understand is why this is not an issue for catholics in other areas of life. I shop at the drugstore. My purchase supports the drugstore, which also sells contraception. I don't buy contraception, and I don't believe that I am providing material support for the purchase of contraception. Substitute "insurance company" for "drugstore" and you have, I think, the situation under the proposed rule.

My tax dollars have gone to support a war which two different popes have said was not a just war, and therefore a grave moral evil. I heard less from the USCCB on our eight years in Iraq than I've heard about the PPACA in the past eight weeks.
posted by gauche at 10:31 AM on February 10, 2012 [99 favorites]


If not, why should your work have the right to deny you a legally available contraceptives?

Because that might stifle their religious freedom to deny you the right to your religious freedom! What's so unclear about that?
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 10:31 AM on February 10, 2012 [23 favorites]


Will my employer find out?

Assuming your insurer is a separate company, nope. Your health data is between you, your doctor, your pharmacist, and your insurance company. If your insurer tells your employer literally anything about your health data without your consent, you can sue the holy living fuck out of them, and they'll be fined for violating federal law.

However, it may be possible that they have designed your plan so that contraceptives are not covered. Call the insurance company's customer service number on your card and they can tell you.
posted by middleclasstool at 10:32 AM on February 10, 2012 [2 favorites]


DEAR OBAMA

STOP CAVING THE FUCK IN.

LOVE,
GUY WHO VOTED FOR YOU
posted by EatTheWeak at 10:32 AM on February 10, 2012 [62 favorites]


Catholics were never the issue here. Social conservatives were and still are.

I don't believe you, but feel free to prove me wrong. Social conservatives surely are involved involved, but it was leaders from the Catholic church, bishops and archbishops, putting together this organized lobbying effort. The Catcholic Church has cash and the manpower.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 10:33 AM on February 10, 2012


Somehow I doubt social conservatives will be satisfied.

Well, not publicly, but in some random public men's room or in the back of the church youth group van perhaps...
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 10:34 AM on February 10, 2012 [6 favorites]


That seems like a reasonable compromise in the face of Catholic dogma on this issue.

That's how I read it. It almost seems like sleight of hand by the administration. I'd be unsatisfied, too, if I were a social-conservative asshole.

In any case, I think a good guideline is that if your answer to any "Why" question is "Because religion," you're almost certainly wrong.
posted by uncleozzy at 10:34 AM on February 10, 2012 [3 favorites]


Is this really a cave? I'm often one to get all het up about a cave, and I don't see it. All people who need contraception can get it, for free, as before. Which is awesome. Some people will need to take an extra step, which is less awesome, but I wouldn't call it a cave.
posted by feckless at 10:35 AM on February 10, 2012 [10 favorites]


But some Catholics still aren't satisfied.

The Catholics wouldn't be satisfied unless both contraception and abortion were outlawed entirely. From their point of view, this "compromise" is just one battle in a larger war, not a lasting mutual agreement. Once again, Obama has compromised without gain.

It is absurd to allow a hospital to opt out of providing legal medication. We wouldn't allow a hospital to refuse to provide blood transfusions for religious reasons. If the doctors and hospitals don't like it then they should find a new line of work: their beliefs are incompatible with medicine, and their patients should not be the ones to suffer for it.

If a Catholic institution doesn't want to pay for contraceptives, then they should stop offering insurance benefits and instead simply pay their workers enough extra to buy insurance on the open market. Then they can wash their hands of the matter.
posted by jedicus at 10:35 AM on February 10, 2012 [10 favorites]


But some Catholics still aren't satisfied.

Sure, but they're the dudes in dresses and funny hats practicing a centuries old cannibalistic tradition based on conversations with an invisible man.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 10:37 AM on February 10, 2012 [9 favorites]


The Catholics wouldn't be satisfied unless both contraception and abortion were outlawed entirely.

That's a mighty broad brush, perhaps you mean the Catholic Church, or conservative Catholics?
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 10:37 AM on February 10, 2012 [5 favorites]


STOP CAVING THE FUCK IN.

His administration is still requiring that birth control be fully covered, but yes some women will have to do a bit of extra work to get it. That's not a caving in.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:38 AM on February 10, 2012 [14 favorites]


I actually saw his little mini-speach. I happened to be walking by the TV and figured I'd watch it.

I don't see how you could really call it a 'cave'. Women get healthcare, and the churches don't have to pay for it. So what's the problem.

Hilariously though it's an example of the Washington "compromise" where if two people disagree and are politically powerful (women, and the catholic church, in this case), their problem just gets fobbed off on some third party with less sway (insurance companies)

This sort of thing crops up a lot. SOPA was an example of it, where rather then do something sensible like have people pay a fee on their cable bill that would go to artists (like the fees on tapes and 'music' CDs) they just decided to make it the tech industry and ordinary internet user's problem.

In this case, though, I don't have a problem with it because fuck the insurance companies.
posted by delmoi at 10:38 AM on February 10, 2012 [3 favorites]


Catholics are never satisfied

Maybe they're just like my mother.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 10:39 AM on February 10, 2012 [55 favorites]


Kevin Drum on why the Bishops haven't even remotely made a case for a religious exemption from this general law.

And it's not a cave when 1) women get the benefit of coverage for birth control regardless of what the Bishops say and 2) social conservative forces are reduced to arguing directly against contraception, rather than having to obstensible cover of a religious exception.

Chalk one up for Obama. Although this episode may mean that theocrats like Rick Santorum will start to press anti-contraception arguments directly as a new front in the culture war/war on Obama. You'd think that argument is unwinnable in the 21st Century.
posted by T.D. Strange at 10:39 AM on February 10, 2012 [8 favorites]


I dunno, it seems to fit the cave-in pattern. Know who handles ridiculous objections from conservative/religious groups better than the President? JC Penny. I'm tired to my bones of compromises on these wrong-side-of-history issues and dream of a world where the response to this kind of squawking is "No, that's dumb. We're doing this."
posted by EatTheWeak at 10:39 AM on February 10, 2012 [5 favorites]




DEAR OBAMA

STOP CAVING THE FUCK IN.

LOVE,
GUY WHO VOTED FOR YOU
posted by EatTheWeak at 10:32 AM on February 10 [5 favorites +] [!]


He did promise political compromise in his platform, and renewed cooperation between the parties.

It's consistent.
posted by Stagger Lee at 10:40 AM on February 10, 2012 [8 favorites]


My birth control pills are in the shape of Jesus. During placebo week, I feel guilty for taking them. But hey, a few prayers on the ol beads, then I be all well with pill #1 on a Sunday.
posted by stormpooper at 10:40 AM on February 10, 2012 [2 favorites]


If the Catholic Church were really, truly interested in reducing the number of abortions, they would be the first ones protesting and advocating for free and easily accessible contraception.
posted by raztaj at 10:40 AM on February 10, 2012 [16 favorites]


Catholics were never the issue here. Social conservatives were and still are.

I don't believe you, but feel free to prove me wrong



It's hardly proof, but Tea Partier Tim Thomas "stands with the Catholics" and quotes Niemoller over this. Seems like some people are making this out to be a religious freedom thing.
posted by Hoopo at 10:40 AM on February 10, 2012


So the insurance companies have to eat the cost? It seems more likely that they will increase premiums across the board, and probably generate a little extra profit as well. Sounds like a great deal for the Catholic universities/churches and their employees, not so great for everyone else paying into the pool.
posted by malocchio at 10:41 AM on February 10, 2012


That's a mighty broad brush, perhaps you mean the Catholic Church, or conservative Catholics?

I'm pretty sure the catholic church would be happy if contraception could be outlawed.
I dunno, it seems to fit the cave-in pattern.
Dude, no one would call me an Obama apologist, but this is not a really a cave in. The point, I think, is that women should be able to get contraceptives. And that's the result. It wasn't to force the moral issue that churches should pay for contraception. Instead, insurance companies need to pay. What's the problem?
posted by delmoi at 10:41 AM on February 10, 2012 [2 favorites]


Can anybody explain how a non profit that receives federal funding and hires Buddhist, Muslim, catholic and atheist employees is able to even show disagreement? I thought the very requirement for receiving public funds was not to proselytize or impose.

In other words: When catholic organizations that receive public funds complain that they can't discriminate, aren't they outing themselves as organizations that shouldn't be receiving public funds????????
posted by Tarumba at 10:41 AM on February 10, 2012 [8 favorites]


The Catholic Church raised a stink, but it was a bunch of Protestants -- many of whom despise the Catholic Church and consider it a cult -- who really gave this bullshit legs, not because they oppose birth control but because they oppose Obama and it was something they could swing around to rile up the morons they excite whenever they say "secret muslim". It's all about "religious freedom" they said.

So now I assume they'll be cool if Jehovah's Witness-owned companies don't provide blood transfusions, if New Age companies will only sign off on crystals and homeopathic water, and if Christian Scientist owned companies won't have to provide health coverage at all.

Also, since they so want the government to not muscle in on religious freedom, I assume it's now okay for Muslims to build mosques wherever the hell they want to.

Of course, this wouldn't be an issue if we didn't have the bone-stupid health-insurance-tied-to-employment system we have, which these same dipshits fought tooth and nail to keep in place.
posted by Legomancer at 10:42 AM on February 10, 2012 [34 favorites]


So the insurance companies have to eat the cost? It seems more likely that they will increase premiums across the board, and probably generate a little extra profit as well. Sounds like a great deal for the Catholic universities/churches and their employees, not so great for everyone else paying into the pool.
Not by very much, I would imagine.
posted by delmoi at 10:42 AM on February 10, 2012


It's a smoke & mirrors compromise for a smoke & mirrors problem.

The end result is the same rabbit from the same hat, just presented in a way that keeps the show going.
posted by pokermonk at 10:44 AM on February 10, 2012 [2 favorites]


EatTheWeek

I dunno man, I'm loving this and I'm not sure the Obama team could have planned this any better.

He got the republicans to run around freaking out about something most people considered settled. They even proposed a bill to allow ANY employer to nix contraceptive coverage. Then Obama comes back with an extremely reasonable compromise (really I could give two shits if the health insurance company or the employer covers it: Birth control for all!) AND gets the head of the Catholic Hospital Association to say how awesome it is.

Seems like a good way to make republicans look even dumber for the week, while making Obama once again look like the only adult around, AS WELL AS a staunch defender of women's rights.
posted by slapshot57 at 10:45 AM on February 10, 2012 [27 favorites]


It's also ridiculous that a minor bureaucratic decision like this becomes the "major political story" when there's lots of actual stuff going on in the world.
posted by delmoi at 10:45 AM on February 10, 2012


I dunno, it seems to fit the cave-in pattern.

Insurance companies will be required to provide birth control for women, at no out of pocket costs. The Church can do preach, feel or think whatever it wants, its female employees still get birth control at no out of pocket costs.

More like a river flowing around a rock, rather than a cave in.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:45 AM on February 10, 2012 [10 favorites]


kethonna: "But some Catholics still aren't satisfied."

That really strikes me as their problem. They shouldn't be allowed to dictate to anyone but their own.
posted by zarq at 10:46 AM on February 10, 2012


delmoi, Blatcher, et. all - Fair enough, I can see that the goal is still accomplished here. Still very cool. I guess my frustration is that I'd really prefer if religious objections to contraception and women controlling their bodies would be laughed out of the room by now. It's the 21st century already.
posted by EatTheWeak at 10:46 AM on February 10, 2012 [3 favorites]


malocchio

It's much cheaper for insurance companies to have people on birth control, babies are freaking expensive. This is a no brainer for them and shouldn't translate into higher costs.
posted by slapshot57 at 10:46 AM on February 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


That really strikes me as their problem. They shouldn't be allowed to dictate to anyone but their own.

So you'd support a law requiring Orthodox Jews to buy pork products and call it their problem?
posted by Jahaza at 10:47 AM on February 10, 2012


So you'd support a law requiring Orthodox Jews to buy pork products and call it their problem?

Wouldn't this be more like a law allowing employees of Orthodox Jews to but pork?
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 10:48 AM on February 10, 2012 [11 favorites]


Seems like a good way to make republicans look even dumber for the week, while making Obama once again look like the only adult around, AS WELL AS a staunch defender of women's rights.
Eh, all it shows is how ridiculous the media and our political system have become. It's really not that big of a deal at all. The Media covers politics like the WWF. (I'm sorry "WWE") Some hype man comes out yelling and screaming, then the other side gets their turn and then someone "Wins the week" or whatever the fuck that means.
It's much cheaper for insurance companies to have people on birth control, babies are freaking expensive. This is a no brainer for them and shouldn't translate into higher costs.
Yeah that's probably true. So the premium thing is a non-issue.
posted by delmoi at 10:49 AM on February 10, 2012 [3 favorites]


Buy pork, buy. I don't know of any religion that forbids butting pork.
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 10:49 AM on February 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


Fun fact: 98% of catholic women of child-bearing age use birth control.
posted by mullingitover at 10:49 AM on February 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


That's a mighty broad brush, perhaps you mean the Catholic Church, or conservative Catholics?

As far as I'm concerned, anyone who supports the Catholic church as an ongoing institution is fully culpable in this matter. Perhaps some liberal Catholics are "satisfied" with the compromise, but their support for the existence of the Catholic church in turn supports the Church's opposition to contraception and abortion. Liberal Catholics' hypocrisy doesn't absolve them of their guilt.

"Sure, I bought a gun for the killer knowing he would use it to commit murder, but I really hoped he wouldn't go through with it and even asked him not to" is not a defense.

So you'd support a law requiring Orthodox Jews to buy pork products and call it their problem?

No, I'd support a law requiring Orthodox Jews to pay their employees in regular money rather than special money that can't be used to buy pork. Just because the Catholic church has to provide "all or nothing" insurance doesn't mean the employees have to buy contraceptives or that the church can't tell them not to. There's no religious freedom violation here.
posted by jedicus at 10:50 AM on February 10, 2012 [9 favorites]


If the Catholic Church were really, truly interested in reducing the number of abortions, they would be the first ones protesting and advocating for free and easily accessible contraception.

This isn't really about abortions or birth control. It's about the church's authority over human behavior and whether or not women are property.
posted by mhoye at 10:50 AM on February 10, 2012 [12 favorites]


So you'd support a law requiring Orthodox Jews to buy pork products and call it their problem?

Policy makes contraceptives available to all employees of Catholic institutions, many of whom may not be Catholic (and many of whom are Catholic, and use contraception anyway) ! = policy forces a Jew who keeps kosher to purchase pork for his/her own use.
posted by thomas j wise at 10:51 AM on February 10, 2012 [7 favorites]


My understanding is that women get free contraceptives, religious entities that don't want to directly pay for contraception don't have to pay for it, and the insurance companies come out ahead because providing contraception is cheaper than the alternative. In fact, it seems like in this case, the negotiations bridged the interest of two parties that wanted the same thing but couldn't really directly talk. Literally everyone involved comes out ahead — isn't that what politics is supposed to do?
posted by Schismatic at 10:51 AM on February 10, 2012 [5 favorites]


Seems to me that Catholic women, even if they have access to contraceptives through their insurer, can still just say no, right? They can still just choose not get it?

Oh, ye of little faith...
posted by Capt. Renault at 10:51 AM on February 10, 2012


I guess my frustration is that I'd really prefer if religious objections to contraception and women controlling their bodies would be laughed out of the room by now.

Understandable and I agree. The devil is in the details with this. I hope that the BC can mailed, when possible, so that women don't have to rely on a pharmacist who's against BC. We'll see.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:51 AM on February 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


No, I'd support a law requiring Orthodox Jews to pay their employees in regular money rather than special money that can't be used to buy pork.

This is more like a law requiring Orthodox Jews to pay their employees in regular money and vouchers redeemable only for pork.
posted by Jahaza at 10:51 AM on February 10, 2012


Jahaza: " So you'd support a law requiring Orthodox Jews to buy pork products and call it their problem?"

That's a false equivalency, and a red herring. No one is forcing Catholics to purchase contraceptives here. Nor are they requiring Catholics to use them. In fact:
Religiously-affiliated non-profit employers such as schools, charities, universities, and hospitals will be able to provide their workers with plans that exclude such coverage. However, the insurance companies that provide the plans will have to offer those workers the opportunity to obtain additional contraceptive coverage directly, at no additional charge.

Churches remain exempt from the birth-control coverage requirement. And their workers will not have the option of obtaining separate contraceptive coverage under the new arrangement.

posted by zarq at 10:52 AM on February 10, 2012


Came here to watch people bleat about "another Obama cave-in". You can set your watch by it. Seriously, he defused the situation and got what he wanted in the end. But that's not good enough because he didn't go to war with the people who annoy you?

Maybe someday you'll realize he's not just the President of the people who voted for him.
posted by dry white toast at 10:52 AM on February 10, 2012 [8 favorites]


but yes some women will have to do a bit of extra work to get it. That's not a caving in.

Yes, it is. There is no legal or ethical reason to force women who believe that it is moral to take birth control to go through extra work because their employer thinks they shouldn't be taking it.

If my employer is a Jehovah's Witness, can he make me take extra steps before I get a blood transfusion? How is that not a violation of my own religious beliefs?
posted by muddgirl at 10:52 AM on February 10, 2012 [11 favorites]


I should say women or trans men.
posted by muddgirl at 10:53 AM on February 10, 2012 [2 favorites]


It's much cheaper for insurance companies to have people on birth control, babies are freaking expensive. This is a no brainer for them and shouldn't translate into higher costs.

Yeah, I should probably just trust the insurance companies to do the right thing.
posted by malocchio at 10:53 AM on February 10, 2012


The Media covers politics like the WWF. (I'm sorry "WWE")

I won't tolerate this slander against the WWE, whose programming is often more nuanced than TV news.
posted by uncleozzy at 10:53 AM on February 10, 2012 [2 favorites]


My understanding is that women get free contraceptives

There's no such thing as "free." Someone is paying for it.

No one is forcing Catholics to purchase contraceptives here. Nor are they requiring Catholics to use them.

Zarq, I haven't studied the compromise yet, but the original rule did in fact force Catholics to purchase contraceptives. It forced them to purchase contraceptives for their employees.
posted by Jahaza at 10:53 AM on February 10, 2012


Came here to watch people bleat about "another Obama cave-in". You can set your watch by it. Seriously, he defused the situation and got what he wanted in the end. But that's not good enough because he didn't go to war with the people who annoy you?

Maybe someday you'll realize he's not just the President of the people who voted for him.


Tell that to the people who didn't vote for him. They don't seem to be getting the message.
posted by pjaust at 10:54 AM on February 10, 2012 [6 favorites]


I say this out of genuine curiousity but what extra work is required here?

If my wife goes to the doctor, gets a prescription and pays the co-pay at the local pharmacy what exactly changes in this scenario?
posted by Talez at 10:54 AM on February 10, 2012


So you'd support a law requiring Orthodox Jews to buy pork products and call it their problem?

Gee, that sure is a perfect metaphor. Nope, not a single goddamn problem with that one. I'm sure it'll be real productive to have an argument about this fucking perfect metaphor rather than the issue at hand.
posted by odinsdream at 10:55 AM on February 10, 2012 [7 favorites]


As far as I'm concerned, anyone who supports the Catholic church as an ongoing institution is fully culpable in this matter.

Jeez, really, you can't be against a policy or position of a group and still part of the group?
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 10:55 AM on February 10, 2012 [2 favorites]


Why exactly would this exemption not apply to any Catholic business owner who felt 'religiously opposed' to providing birth control to his/her employees? Is there some reason why you can't be 'religiously opposed' to any federal mandate?
posted by trojanhorse at 10:55 AM on February 10, 2012


And although it's been said, many times, many ways, FUCK the Pope.
posted by delfin at 10:56 AM on February 10, 2012 [4 favorites]


So the insurance companies have to eat the cost? It seems more likely that they will increase premiums across the board, and probably generate a little extra profit as well.

Perhaps.
Then again, providing essentially free contraception is still a hell of a lot cheaper than covering the costs of a full-term pregnancy.
posted by Thorzdad at 10:56 AM on February 10, 2012 [2 favorites]


There is no legal or ethical reason to force women who believe that it is moral to take birth control to go through extra work because their employer thinks they shouldn't be taking it.

True, but now it's out of the employers hands, completely.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:57 AM on February 10, 2012


It forced them to purchase contraceptives for their employees.

Yes, just as Orthodox Jewish bus lines that serve the general public can't make women sit at the back of the bus. If a religious organization wants to act as a corporation, they have to follow secular laws regardless of their dogma.
posted by muddgirl at 10:58 AM on February 10, 2012 [18 favorites]


I was prepared to hate the compromise, which I heard last night was coming, but I'm pleasantly surprised. Women can still get their contraceptives for free and the Church can bury its head in the sand where its head belongs. And insurers don't have to cover as many (costly) pregnancies as they would if the same women couldn't afford the pills.
posted by Currer Belfry at 10:59 AM on February 10, 2012


Gee, that sure is a perfect metaphor. Nope, not a single goddamn problem with that one. I'm sure it'll be real productive to have an argument about this fucking perfect metaphor rather than the issue at hand.

Well you could make an argument, or you could complain about people trying to make an argument...

It's not exactly shocking to find someone using an analogy to argue about a legal issue:
As a result, analogies are useful heuristic devices for deepening and sharpening reflection on the merits. It is also the case that people are often more confident in their judgements about various concrete cases than they are about abstract theories that attempt to account for their judgements, and so regard this is a more profitable way to approach a question (see Sunstein 1993, 775–7).
posted by Jahaza at 10:59 AM on February 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


I was arguing for this not being a cave-in to distinguish it from a compromise, which I think it is. You might feel that access to contraception should not be compromised on (and in fact I might agree) but there is a difference between a genuine compromise and a cave, and this feels like the former.

As for the "extra work" if I have understood it correctly it consists of a call to your insurance co. to say "hey I am one of these people in this situation". And then I'm sure you'll have to fill out a form, because always with the forms. So, not ideal at all, but also a far distance from "no contraception for you."
posted by feckless at 11:00 AM on February 10, 2012


True, but now it's out of the employers hands, completely.

Do you really think this will appease those who oppose contraceptive use?
posted by muddgirl at 11:00 AM on February 10, 2012


Jeez, really, you can't be against a policy or position of a group and still part of the group?

Eventually, this and the pedophilia, plus a few other issues actually made me realize catholicism was not for me after all. For some people, the moral dissonance is a deal breaker.
posted by Tarumba at 11:00 AM on February 10, 2012


I thought I heard on NPR that this compromise is what the religious groups expected in the first place, and Obama surprised them by not doing it, so that's what got everyone annoyed, and now they are just back to where everyone wanted to be, but with a lot more people pissed at Obama. So bravo if that is true. Brilliant politics.
posted by smackfu at 11:00 AM on February 10, 2012


So you'd support a law requiring Orthodox Jews to buy pork products and call it their problem?

Are you seriously comparing pork food products to medical and health care?!

For Muslims, if there's a health benefit to be found, there are absolutely exceptions to prohibitions (say, gelatin coated tablets or medicine with alcohol). I would imagine the same is similar for many Jews. Because you know, there are priorities. I am astounded that you're even making this comparison, and horrified at the Catholic Church's inability to trust women to have sovereignty over their own health - especially considering the many, many other health benefits that contraception (oral or otherwise) can provide.
posted by raztaj at 11:01 AM on February 10, 2012 [2 favorites]


Why exactly would this exemption not apply to any Catholic business owner who felt 'religiously opposed' to providing birth control to his/her employees? Is there some reason why you can't be 'religiously opposed' to any federal mandate?

Which is exactly the argument Anthony Picarello, general counsel for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, used to demand that the provision be removed from the health care law altogether -- not just for self-identifying Catholic institutions.

He cited the problem that would create for "good Catholic business people who can't in good conscience cooperate with this."

"If I quit this job and opened a Taco Bell, I'd be covered by the mandate," Picarello said.

posted by delfin at 11:02 AM on February 10, 2012


Zarq, I haven't studied the compromise yet, but the original rule did in fact force Catholics to purchase contraceptives. It forced them to purchase contraceptives for their employees.

No, it required them to pay for insurance that provided contraceptives if the employee wanted contraceptives. The compromise still requires the insurance company to cover contraceptives, but the money comes out of everyone else's pockets instead of the Catholic institution's.

This is more like a law requiring Orthodox Jews to pay their employees in regular money and vouchers redeemable only for pork.

No, it isn't because insurance can be used for many things other than contraceptives. It's like requiring Orthodox Jews to choose either to a) pay their employees in regular money and grocery store vouchers or b) just pay them regular money. If Catholic institutions want to absolve themselves of any direct involvement in insurance or healthcare that provides contraception, then they should stop offering health benefits to their employees, full stop.
posted by jedicus at 11:02 AM on February 10, 2012 [5 favorites]


Yes, just as Orthodox Jewish bus lines that serve the general public can't make women sit at the back of the bus. If a religious organization wants to act as a corporation, they have to follow secular laws regardless of their dogma.

But all Orthodox Jewish corporations are not required to offer bus service. They can refrain from operating a bus service and stay in business for the majority of their mission. The Catholic social service organizations (colleges, schools, hospitals, soup kitchens, etc.) probably can't stay in business without offering health insurance... especially since the new health care law requires most corporations to offer health insurance. The Catholic Church views itself as not being able to operate its mission when it's not able to operate colleges, schools, hospitals, direct service to the poort, etc.
posted by Jahaza at 11:02 AM on February 10, 2012


I wish people would realize that the second you start making analogies to make points, you are arguing the debate you wish there was rather than the debate there actually is.
posted by smackfu at 11:03 AM on February 10, 2012 [7 favorites]


Well you could make an argument, or you could complain about people trying to make an argument...

I'll be glad to argue the actual issue, not some bullshit "what if it was a car/plane/boat and you were a jewish/christian/muslim football player/green grocer/door-to-door salesman" thing.

Metaphors are useful when the issue at hand is just too complex to reasonably attack directly. This is a very simple to understand issue. There's no useful reason to resort to metaphors.
posted by odinsdream at 11:03 AM on February 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


Do you really think this will appease those who oppose contraceptive use?

Nope, but the only thing that would appease them is completely banning contraception. This does pretty much the exact opposite.

Which prompts this question: How are women without insurance get birth control, under this new measure?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:04 AM on February 10, 2012


I think that some people in this thread may not realize that a president is not a wizard-king.
posted by mhoye at 11:05 AM on February 10, 2012 [2 favorites]


Do you really think this will appease those who oppose contraceptive use?

No, but fuck those people. The danger here was that those people would be able to convince less extremist people (e.g. the typical Catholic voter that uses contraception) that there was a genuine religious liberty issue. I think (we'll see) that the compromise defuses that danger.
posted by feckless at 11:07 AM on February 10, 2012


Then again, providing essentially free contraception is still a hell of a lot cheaper than covering the costs of a full-term pregnancy.

Yeah, that's a fair point. But I'm only considering the impact of shifting the coverage of prescriptions away from the employer and into the pool, which is kind of orthogonal to the issue of availability.
posted by malocchio at 11:07 AM on February 10, 2012


If I were Rick Santorum, I would wonder if this issue was brought up this week as a sweet honeypot to tarnish my campaign as being extreme.
posted by drezdn at 11:07 AM on February 10, 2012


This only indicates that we're not nominating the right wizard princes.
posted by delfin at 11:07 AM on February 10, 2012


Metaphors are useful when the issue at hand is just too complex to reasonably attack directly. This is a very simple to understand issue. There's no useful reason to resort to metaphors.

Which is why everyone already agrees on it? Because it's simple and completely obvious. Or at least everyone who isn't opposed to contraception use in general agrees on it, right? Except they don't.
posted by Jahaza at 11:08 AM on February 10, 2012


What is the typical "real" cost of birth control? (Ie. how much does it cost to buy it without insurance).
posted by drezdn at 11:08 AM on February 10, 2012


STOP CAVING THE FUCK IN.

This is getting really tiresome. It's especially tiresome on an issue where OBAMA HASN'T CAVED. I mean, not to interfere too much with the Metafilter Obama Is a Sellout Meme, but RTFA:

But the White House changed the scheme to allow health insurers to provide cover directly if employers object.

Speaking at the White House, President Obama said: "No woman's health should depend on who she is or where she works". ...

Under the new plan put forward by the White House health insurance companies, rather than the employer, will be required to offer contraception directly to employees of religious-linked institutions if requested. ...

Women could obtain contraceptives directly from their insurance provider, free of charge, the White House said.


How is this selling out women's rights? It's a compromise that satisfies everyone's concerns and interests while respecting their rights. IT'S EXACTLY WHAT DEMOCRATIC POLITICS SHOULD LOOK LIKE, AND YOU'RE SHITTING ON IT BECAUSE IT'S NOT ABSOLUTIST ENOUGH. You need to seriously consider what it's like to actually govern, as opposed to spew words from behind a computer screen.

I say this as a rather ardent atheist: religious freedom matters. My religious freedom is only guaranteed if I respect other people's religious freedom. A lot of people feel very strongly that contraception is wrong. I think this is idiotic and mysoginystic, but that's not the point. As long as they're not allowed to prevent women who want to from accessing contraception - and this compromise doesn't do that - then the state should not be forcing religious institutions to pay for practices that are contrary to their belief system. Obama struck exactly the right compromise here. But people are too blinded by their own ideological blinders to see it.

Finally, if you absolutely can't abide the tenents of the Catholic Church, don't work for a Catholic hospital.
posted by Dasein at 11:09 AM on February 10, 2012 [18 favorites]


Which prompts this question: How are women without insurance get birth control, under this new measure?

They're likely hosed, as they are now, until 2014 (assuming Obama wins). At which point the vast majority of them will be covered by some provision of the healthcare law and will be fine.
posted by feckless at 11:09 AM on February 10, 2012


Finally, if you absolutely can't abide the tenents of the Catholic Church, don't work for a Catholic hospital.

Not a good time in the economy to be telling people "just don't work for X".
posted by feckless at 11:10 AM on February 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


Nuns. No sense of humor.
posted by delfin at 11:13 AM on February 10, 2012 [2 favorites]


This was a fantastic move. Social conservatives are only getting what they claim to want (religious freedom!) and nothing near what they really want (no contraceptives at all). On the other side, the administration still gets what it wants (contraception for women) even though it concedes the rhetorical point from the right.
posted by charred husk at 11:14 AM on February 10, 2012 [4 favorites]


Amusing side note: During the late '60s the Vatican Bank was a majority shareholder in Serono, a company that began producing contraceptives in 1968. The Vatican sold its shares of the company in 1970. The Vatican, of course, denies this.

-A 1990 Associated Press article mentions this as does Nick Tosche's book Power on Earth (about financier Michel Sindona).
posted by blairsyprofane at 11:14 AM on February 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


Eh, it is kind of a cave. Going back to that orthodox jewish bus line, it's like they made so much noise about their religious rights that they got a free pass. So they're allowed to force women to sit at the back of the bus, but they are also required to give women a transfer to a normal bus line where they can sit where they like. Suppose a religion taught that blacks were inferior, and they operated a public bus line, who'd be defending their religious freedom right now?

The catholic church's position is immoral, and as I mentioned, totally out of step with their own community's standards (with 98% of childbearing-age catholic women ignoring the church's decree). The men (and let's not split hairs, it's men who are the vast majority of those complaining about this) who push this policy should be put in their place.

Still, it's better than just completely caving all the way.
posted by mullingitover at 11:16 AM on February 10, 2012 [3 favorites]


It's not the employees who should have to quit to avoid Catholic dogma forced upon them, it's the church that should seriously consider whether it values its educational and healthcare missions enough to comply with a reasonable legal requirement designed to ensure women have control over reproduction rather than their employer.
posted by PJLandis at 11:16 AM on February 10, 2012 [2 favorites]


So the insurance companies have to eat the cost? It seems more likely that they will increase premiums across the board, and probably generate a little extra profit as well. Sounds like a great deal for the Catholic universities/churches and their employees, not so great for everyone else paying into the pool.

Not necessarily. The VP of Finance at the Catholic college where I'm employed said it would actually be cheaper for us to have an insurance plan that covers contraceptives directly, because a) the administrative costs associated with enforcing the specific carve-out of contraception (and infertility services) for our specific institution are higher, and b) the pool for a standard plan is bigger. I don't know what this new dodge-em policy would do to that equation.

I've been super-pissed about this for a while because I'd love to go back on the pill to regulate my periods and get rid of PMS symptoms, and I can't. I already pay copays for four other medications and I can't eat another full-cost scrip. In my case, it's not even FOR damn contraception--my husband, and HIS insurance company that happily covered his vasectomy, have already taken care of that. I know there are other women out there who need the pill for reasons not specifically connected to family planning--PCOS and endometriosis, for example, far more threatening than my own basic discomfort--and it's basically "too bad" for them too.

And, of course, I'm not Catholic, despite my employment, and I know there are folks who'd say it's my choice to work for a Catholic employer--but these days, FINDING and KEEPING a decent job is hard enough, and I have to suck it up to avoid being an even bigger drain on society than people already consider a woman with no children (who's financially, physically, and emotionally responsible for two kids of a fundie mother who's an unfit parent). Doesn't feel like a choice to me.
posted by dlugoczaj at 11:17 AM on February 10, 2012 [14 favorites]


No, but fuck those people. The danger here was that those people would be able to convince less extremist people (e.g. the typical Catholic voter that uses contraception) that there was a genuine religious liberty issue

In my experience, my Catholic step-family is somehow able to back the Church's position pretty much all the time despite not living like extremists, e.g. using contraception etc. In that family there are gay couples, there have been abortions, there is contraception, there have been divorces (magically changed to annulments retroactively, but still). Yet in any discussion about politics they maintain positions where gay marriage should be illegal, abortions are immoral, and divorce and sex out of wedlock are terrible. There is no need to believe it's not just the "extremist people" who get behind these causes. A lot of the time it's normal people with normal lives thinking they're doing good by participating in a Church-affiliated cause.
posted by Hoopo at 11:17 AM on February 10, 2012


Obama via Dasein:"No woman's health should depend on who she is or where she works"

How about "Nobody's health should depend on who they are or where they work?" We wouldn't have this problem if we weren't tying health care to employment.
posted by charred husk at 11:18 AM on February 10, 2012 [22 favorites]


then the state should not be forcing religious institutions to pay for practices that are contrary to their belief system.

The state does not require any religious institutions to accept taxpayer dollars. Those dollars come with strings attached.
posted by rtha at 11:20 AM on February 10, 2012 [8 favorites]


To answer the question above, to my knowledge birth control pills cost between $30-$80-and-up a month out of pocket. Probably the actual range is anywhere from $1 to $100/month. I'm paying $30 a month now that I switched away from the $80 pills and consider myself lucky (am uninsured, woo!)
posted by bleep at 11:21 AM on February 10, 2012 [2 favorites]


We wouldn't have this problem if we weren't tying health care to employment.

Agreed. But Obama isn't King - hell, he isn't even Prime Minister. The American President, far from being the Most Powerful Man in the World, is relatively impotent within his own system in comparison to almost every prime minister in the world. The American political system is designed to impede government action and slow change. If you want a single-payer alternative, it's going to take more than 60 Democrats in the Senate and a strong majority in the house. He's working within a system that he can't just change, and doing an excellent job in the circumstances.
posted by Dasein at 11:21 AM on February 10, 2012 [2 favorites]


The Catholic Church views itself as not being able to operate its mission when it's not able to operate colleges, schools, hospitals, direct service to the poort, etc.

Tough. The First Amendment is not absolute. The law does not require Catholics to use contraceptives, so there's no religious liberty issue. The government can require religious institutions to pay for stuff they don't agree with. Even the tax-exempt Catholic church itself pays the federal alcohol excise tax on sacramental wine, which goes to fund all kinds of things the church disagrees with. And of course the federal government could remove the tax exemption for religious organizations and non-profits if it wanted to.

This was a fantastic move. Social conservatives are only getting what they claim to want (religious freedom!) and nothing near what they really want (no contraceptives at all). On the other side, the administration still gets what it wants (contraception for women) even though it concedes the rhetorical point from the right.

There are lots of downsides. For one, it opens the door to every religious institution pushing the cost of drugs and medical procedures it disagrees with onto non-members. For another, it legitimizes the view that contraception is immoral and reinforces its utility as a political wedge issue. So hooray that preserves women's right to contraception, but boo for compromising with evil hardliners who aren't actually interested in compromise.
posted by jedicus at 11:23 AM on February 10, 2012 [9 favorites]


Dasein: "He's working within a system that he can't just change, and doing an excellent job in the circumstances."

Oh, agreed. If anything, I'm hoping that his quote is a sign of him thinking (still thinking?) in the right direction.
posted by charred husk at 11:25 AM on February 10, 2012


The state does not require any religious institutions to accept taxpayer dollars. Those dollars come with strings attached.

My understanding is that this rule applies to all employers, even if they refuse taxpayer dollars.
posted by Jahaza at 11:27 AM on February 10, 2012


The state does not require any religious institutions to accept taxpayer dollars. Those dollars come with strings attached.

That's a good point, but that's the point of this compromise: you don't put yourself into a fight over all or nothing, a fight that the government can't win (what are they going to do, stop funding Medicare at Catholic hospitals?) without deeply angering Catholics.

For one, it opens the door to every religious institution pushing the cost of drugs and medical procedures it disagrees with onto non-members.

Or, because the insurance companies can't get reimbursed from the religious institution, they just make the overall rates for the religious institution higher to begin with.
posted by Dasein at 11:28 AM on February 10, 2012


For one, it opens the door to every religious institution pushing the cost of drugs and medical procedures it disagrees with onto non-members.

Except it doesn't. The insurance company merely prices it's product the same as it would to include the service and lists the service in a different place in their booklet.
posted by Jahaza at 11:28 AM on February 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


That's the kind of backbone I've come to expect from Obama. Remember kids, vote Obama or the religious right will be running things!
posted by entropicamericana at 11:29 AM on February 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


The more I think about the financial aspect of this, the more I think that organizations which do not want to pay for birth control would be foolish to quietly accept this.

Right now, Catholic organizations can fund insurance plans which do not pay for contraceptives, correct? However, those insurance plans almost certainly already pay for maternity costs. So to require insurance companies to supply birth control coverage, the government is imposing an additional cost to insurance companies that they (allegedly) cannot flow down to their plans. The theory is that insurance companies will save money because they will pay for fewer pregnancies - however, plans are paying for pregnancies, not the insurance company.

The only way this makes financial sense is for insurance companies to continue charging the same premium on plans even as the number of unintended pregnancies goes down. In effect, Catholic organizations will still be funding birth control indirectly.

a fight that the government can't win

The majority of Americans agreed with the comprehensive birth control plan. The majority of Catholics agreed with the comprehensive birth control plan. Why can't Obama win this fight?
posted by muddgirl at 11:32 AM on February 10, 2012 [3 favorites]


Sounds like a great deal for the Catholic universities/churches and their employees, not so great for everyone else paying into the pool.

Even if this is true (and I don't know what it is), I'm okay with paying the extra money to cover it.

This is not in any way a cave in. The end result is the same, the only difference is a philosophical question of agency. The church would not be responsible for providing contraception services, which, like it or not, is a fundamental tenet of the faith. That their insurance company is required to provide it, no matter what they do, is a still a problem for them, but it's not as an acute a problem, in that they aren't directly responsible for the insurance company providing it.
posted by empath at 11:33 AM on February 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


In this case, though, I don't have a problem with it because fuck the insurance companies.

Though insurance companies generally realize that birthing babies costs way more than contraceptives. They have not really been against covering contraception.

Mostly it's employers who don't want their insurance to pay for birth control, under the mistaken impression that it saves them money, unless of course you're talking about Viagra, which is treatment for a Serious Medical Issue, i.e., one affecting dudes. They're ok with that.
posted by emjaybee at 11:33 AM on February 10, 2012


That's the kind of backbone I've come to expect from Obama. Remember kids, vote Obama or the religious right will be running things!

The "compromise" here is that women who have health insurance, even when they work for Catholic institutions, will have access to contraception covered, with no additional charge. I'm really not sure what your problem is. If this is the religious right running things, my liberal soul isn't bothered in the least.
posted by Tomorrowful at 11:34 AM on February 10, 2012 [2 favorites]


As far as I'm concerned, anyone who supports the Catholic church as an ongoing institution is fully culpable in this matter. Perhaps some liberal Catholics are "satisfied" with the compromise, but their support for the existence of the Catholic church in turn supports the Church's opposition to contraception and abortion. Liberal Catholics' hypocrisy doesn't absolve them of their guilt.

I'll suggest it's the rank-and-file Catholics who are the hypocrites, for never openly challenging the Church's teachings, not the liberal ones. Liberal Catholics have made a conscious choice to remain in the Church because they believe it's the holder of apostolic succession, or whatever, and that the only hope for changing the Church is to stay in it. I quit in a fit of teenage atheism. I'm still pretty much an atheist, but sometimes wonder if I could go back. I've decided I can't in good conscience negotiate on the existence of God issue with a Church that teaches what it does. But, if I was still in the Church, I might stay, even though they categorically do not want me.

So, really, I'm objecting to the implication that 'liberal' Catholics use contraception. Catholics use contraception. Liberal Catholics try to get the Church to hand out condoms.
posted by hoyland at 11:34 AM on February 10, 2012 [2 favorites]


Birth control costs depend a great deal on the kind of medication (pill, patch, shot, IUD, cervical cap...) and the situation of the person getting the medication. Mine is name-brand because I have reactions to the generic version, and it's $30 a month. Without prescription, or if I need to buy an extra pack to cover a week if it gets lost, broken, or otherwise damaged, it's $80. If I need to refill two months at a time for a trip, my insurance will not cover the second month. It must be refilled three weeks or later from the last time with no exceptions. The patch and the shot are (I think?) more expensive, plus you have to actually go get the shot and pay for those costs. IUDs can be very expensive upfront, but if you use them for the entire lifespan of 5+ years, the costs can even out. They are often not covered. You also have to factor in visits to get them prescribed, visits for blood pressure, especially if it's been an issue in the past, and ob-gyn visits, which my doctor makes mandatory every year as a condition of refilling it.

PS: I'm Catholic. I first went on BC to control serious cramps and skin conditions. So let's just say, the concept that ladies who need hormonal control for something other than babies is one dear to my heart.
posted by jetlagaddict at 11:34 AM on February 10, 2012 [5 favorites]


On NPR last night, they claimed that Catholic Church related employers in Italy do and have been providing insurance including contraception for years. Kind of funny that they cry foul so loud in America.
posted by PJLandis at 11:34 AM on February 10, 2012 [10 favorites]


Why can't Obama win this fight?

He did win the fight. Everyone gets contraception from their employer provider insurance. The only difference is that they have to fill out one extra piece of paper work if they happen to work for the Catholic Church.
posted by empath at 11:35 AM on February 10, 2012 [6 favorites]


Except it doesn't. The insurance company merely prices it's product the same as it would to include the service and lists the service in a different place in their booklet.

You said you hadn't studied the compromise yet. I have read a dozen articles on it as well as the full text of Obama's speech, and I have seen no indication that the cost will be the same for Catholic institutions whether they take advantage of the compromise or not. I would expect that the Catholic institutions will see a small price decrease, the cost of which will be spread out amongst the rest of the insurance pool. This is implied by Obama's statement that "These employers will not have to pay for, or provide, contraceptive services." For that to be true in any remotely meaningful sense, there would have to be a price difference.
posted by jedicus at 11:38 AM on February 10, 2012


Being neither a woman, not Catholic, I have not been following this issue particularly closely.

Can someone explain to me where the authority for this rule comes from?
Is birth control required by the monster healthcare bill from 2010? Is it a new bill?
Is the administration just making things up as they go along?
posted by madajb at 11:38 AM on February 10, 2012


empath: "Why can't Obama win this fight?

He did win the fight.
"

I think it's a different fight being talked about.
Obama won "women get contraceptives."
What people wanted him to fight was, "fuck your beliefs you're paying for women's contraceptives."
posted by charred husk at 11:39 AM on February 10, 2012 [8 favorites]


On NPR last night, they claimed that Catholic Church related employers in Italy do and have been providing insurance including contraception for years.

How? Doesn't Italy have a national health service? Why would it be tied to employers?
posted by dlugoczaj at 11:39 AM on February 10, 2012


not so great for everyone else paying into the pool.

It's a great deal for people paying into the pool. Do you realize how much less expensive contraceptives are than the costs of delivering a child? It actually makes financial sense for the insurance companies to prefer to pay for contraceptives than child birth (which runs into the tens of thousands nowadays).
posted by saulgoodman at 11:42 AM on February 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


Brief Google tells me the National Health Service provides the healthcare but if your employed your employer pays for health insurance provided by the Service.
posted by PJLandis at 11:43 AM on February 10, 2012


The majority of Americans agreed with the comprehensive birth control plan. The majority of Catholics agreed with the comprehensive birth control plan. Why can't Obama win this fight?

He just did.

An answer to poll question is very different from actually having to fight the battle. Obama could still win, but why get your nose bloodied about this if you avoid it and still out doing pretty much exactly what you wanted?

What people wanted him to fight was, "fuck your beliefs you're paying for women's contraceptives."

That would be cool, but would consume energy and resources. He won on this one, now he can move on to one of the next 100 issues.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:43 AM on February 10, 2012


Why can't Obama win this fight?

To force Catholic institutions to pay for birth control? Because there's a Supreme Court that values religious liberty. Because the political cost would be enormous. And because the government can't just de-fund religious hospitals that won't go along with it.

The fight to give all women access to birth control? The government just won that fight. A lot of people seem not to have noticed. They also seem not to have noticed that under a Republican administration, no one would expend a penny's worth of political capital to give any woman who didn't already have it access to contraception.
posted by Dasein at 11:43 AM on February 10, 2012 [3 favorites]


Wait, that may only apply to employees not otherwise covered such as foreigners.
posted by PJLandis at 11:44 AM on February 10, 2012


What people wanted him to fight was, "fuck your beliefs you're paying for women's contraceptives."

Yeah, I'm not really in the mood for a civil war. We have a bill of rights for a reason.
posted by empath at 11:44 AM on February 10, 2012


Or in other words, they either have to eat the costs for contraceptives or the costs of child birth. It's obviously much cheaper to pay for contraceptives.
posted by saulgoodman at 11:45 AM on February 10, 2012


Fun fact: 98% of catholic women of child-bearing age use birth control.

Lots of Catholic men do too.

Well, I know of at least one Catholic man who does.

Let's not get into HOW I know this.

posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:45 AM on February 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


oops. preview failure. this thread's moving fast...
posted by saulgoodman at 11:45 AM on February 10, 2012


Let's not get into HOW I know this.

*pours drink, pulls up chair*

Go on...
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:47 AM on February 10, 2012


The VP of Finance at the Catholic college where I'm employed said it would actually be cheaper for us to have an insurance plan that covers contraceptives directly, because a) the administrative costs associated with enforcing the specific carve-out of contraception (and infertility services) for our specific institution are higher, and b) the pool for a standard plan is bigger.

That's very interesting...I'll chew on that.

Even if this is true (and I don't know what it is), I'm okay with paying the extra money to cover it.

Yeah, I don't disagree with this at all. If someone's dog shits on the sidewalk in front of my house, I'll clean it up. But it doesn't mean I have to like it.
posted by malocchio at 11:47 AM on February 10, 2012


To force Catholic institutions to pay for birth control?

No, to respect the beliefs of their employees when they are using tax dollars to operate their nonprofits, for example.
posted by Tarumba at 11:47 AM on February 10, 2012 [2 favorites]


Nuns. No sense of humor.

Now THAT I take exception to! Say what you will about the church or clergy, but the best (and filthiest) jokes I've ever heard have come from the mouthes of nuns! No foolin'!
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 11:48 AM on February 10, 2012 [3 favorites]


It's a great deal for people paying into the pool. Do you realize how much less expensive contraceptives are than the costs of delivering a child? It actually makes financial sense for the insurance companies to prefer to pay for contraceptives than child birth (which runs into the tens of thousands nowadays).

Yes, I responded to that point the second time it was made. I'm assuming that the availabilty of contraceptives will remain relatively unchanged.
posted by malocchio at 11:49 AM on February 10, 2012


This thread has confirmed that there are trolls on MeFi, and reminded me of just how annoying such people are.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 11:50 AM on February 10, 2012


No, to respect the beliefs of their employees

Their employees are entitled to believe whatever they want, at any time. What the original bill was asking Catholic charities to do was to fund contraception directly through payments to insurance companies.
posted by Dasein at 11:51 AM on February 10, 2012


Fun fact: 98% of catholic women of child-bearing age use birth control.

Fun anecdote: During our pre-marriage counseling Father asked about birth control. My fiance replied bluntly that she was taking a shot.
He asked, "Is there a particular reason for that?"
"I don't like being curled up in a ball of pain for a week or more every month. And there's a 50% chance that having a child would kill me and the child."
Father smiled, nodded and said, "Those are some good reasons."
posted by charred husk at 11:51 AM on February 10, 2012 [7 favorites]


DEAR OBAMA

STOP CAVING THE FUCK IN.

LOVE,
GUY WHO VOTED FOR YOU


DEAR REPUBLICANS.

START UPHOLDING YOUR END OF THE BARGAIN

TWO PARTY GOVERNMENT BY NATURE WILL ALWAYS INCLUDE COMPROMISE IF BOTH SIDES ARE LOOKING OUT FOR THE GREATER GOOD.

LOVE
THE GUY WHO VOTED FOR (AND WILL AGAIN) OBAMA
posted by holdkris99 at 11:52 AM on February 10, 2012 [5 favorites]


Dear fellow mefites, please stop yelling.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:54 AM on February 10, 2012 [2 favorites]


This thread has confirmed that there are trolls on MeFi, and reminded me of just how annoying such people are.

This confirms for the trolls that they're doing it right.
posted by delfin at 11:55 AM on February 10, 2012 [2 favorites]


Their employees are entitled to believe whatever they want, at any time.

As long as it doesn't conflict with what they think I should do with my body. I work for them. We have had urgent staff meetings urging us to support their refusal to cover family planning. I think they are not respecting my beliefs when they tell me at work that I should applaud their decision to meddle in my private life.
posted by Tarumba at 11:56 AM on February 10, 2012 [3 favorites]


This confirms for the trolls that they're doing it right.

No, it's when people continue to respond to their ersatz arguments that tells them they're doing it right.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 11:58 AM on February 10, 2012


I believe I know an equal number of men and women against birth control. Many are married but not all. Reasons range from theological to practical to personal.
posted by michaelh at 11:59 AM on February 10, 2012


I work for them. We have had urgent staff meetings urging us to support their refusal to cover family planning. I think they are not respecting my beliefs when they tell me at work that I should applaud their decision to meddle in my private life.

You work for a religious organization and you're surprised that they want their employees to share their beliefs?
posted by Dasein at 12:02 PM on February 10, 2012


Because here at the Church, Minding Other People's Business is our most important product!
posted by Twang at 12:03 PM on February 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


EatTheWeak: "DEAR OBAMA

STOP CAVING THE FUCK IN.

LOVE,
GUY WHO VOTED FOR YOU
"

Can you say Compromise? I knew you could. Unlike most of the U.S. House of Representatives.
posted by jgaiser at 12:03 PM on February 10, 2012


Dear fellow mefites, please stop yelling.

WHAT?
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 12:04 PM on February 10, 2012


Dear fellow mefites, please stop yelling.

BUT CAPS LOCK IS HOW I FEEL INSIDE RICK

ALL THE TIME
posted by delfin at 12:07 PM on February 10, 2012 [8 favorites]


How many people do you know that are against the use of birth control? Not just declining to use it, but actively against its use by anyone. That's a distinctly minority position in the US.
posted by PJLandis at 12:07 PM on February 10, 2012


BUT CAPS LOCK IS HOW I FEEL INSIDE RICK

ALL THE TIME


Spend more time masturbating.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:09 PM on February 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


How many people do you know that are against the use of birth control? Not just declining to use it, but actively against its use by anyone. That's a distinctly minority position in the US.

How about a guy who's running for President and is, arguably, the #2 guy in line for the Republican nomination right now?
posted by delfin at 12:11 PM on February 10, 2012


This shouldn't even be about "beliefs". This is about half of the population being told they can't have the same kind of access to legal medications as the other half, for reason of being born in the wrong half. I can't respect that.
posted by bleep at 12:12 PM on February 10, 2012 [6 favorites]


You work for a religious organization and you're surprised that they want their employees to share their beliefs?

I don't understand how this is wrong or surprising. Any organization that receives federal funds commits to not proselytize. We have people who openly adhere to a great variety of religions and non religion in the office.
posted by Tarumba at 12:14 PM on February 10, 2012 [3 favorites]


One guy. I live in PA where he lost an incumbent seat by the largest percentage in our states history. Likely because of non-mainstream ideas such as that.
posted by PJLandis at 12:14 PM on February 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


Spend more time masturbating.

Not possible.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 12:15 PM on February 10, 2012 [2 favorites]


Any organization that receives federal funds commits to not proselytize.

That's a much broader statement than the actual legal prohibitions. Religious universities, for instance, accept federal funds in the form of student aid and they can still pay professors to teach apologetics and chaplains to preach religious views.
posted by Jahaza at 12:17 PM on February 10, 2012


When I'm sure the Catholic hierarchy has been purged of pederastic pedophiles and their perverse protectors, then I'll have one ounce of consideration for their views on other people's sexuality.

By the way, that 98% figure people are tossing around here is a bit misleading. I looked at the original Mother Jones article from which it is sourced, and that includes *all* forms of contraception, including condoms, rhythm method, sterilization, and withdrawal, not just hormonal birth control. So yeah, some of that percentage involves the agency of "male partners of Catholic women" (Catholic or not). Also, it's 98% of Catholic women *who have had sex,* so there may be one or two holdouts who have remained resolutely chaste rather than risk the Wrath of Rome.

Sorry, those who see this as some kind of cave in by Pres. Obama, I'm not seeing it. It's a masterful bit of needle threading that seems to me to preserve the interests of women completely in a practical (if not ideological) sense, while genuinely solving whatever genuine moral objection the church could have if it's not going to be utterly hypocritical (it's still plenty hypocritical, of course, as someone says above the RC Church has not demanded that no tax dollars go to the Iraq war or financing the death penalty and it's allowed Catholic institutions to do basically what the plan originally entailed all along).

Meanwhile, deliciously, Pres. Obama has just made sure that the opposition of the Republican candidates and their party to *contraception* is a widely know fact. I keep thinking of Terry Schiavo. This was and continues to be a huge political blunder by the right, and Pres. Obama set the trap pretty perfectly.
posted by spitbull at 12:19 PM on February 10, 2012 [4 favorites]


Fun fact: 98% of catholic women of child-bearing age use birth control.


This keeps being repeated, yet the number, 98%, seems too high. Is this supposed to be in the US? Or worldwide? I'd think 98% is too big a number, even for other sets of the population who don't even have such hangups about birth control.

In other words, is there a cite for this?
posted by CrazyLemonade at 12:19 PM on February 10, 2012


Oh, should have previewed, spitbull explained a bit of what I was wondering about.
posted by CrazyLemonade at 12:20 PM on February 10, 2012


Students receive federal aid and choose accredited religious institutions, so there is a technical disconnect. A catholic hospital or University using federal grants can't spend them on Sunday school teachers.
posted by PJLandis at 12:22 PM on February 10, 2012


Do porn stars in Catholic schoolgirl outfits count in that tally?
posted by delfin at 12:22 PM on February 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


Cite for this.

Deliciously, the article is entitled "Women Who Use Birth Control at the 99%."
posted by spitbull at 12:22 PM on February 10, 2012


ARE the 99%
posted by spitbull at 12:24 PM on February 10, 2012


Metaphors are useful when the issue at hand is just too complex to reasonably attack directly. This is a very simple to understand issue. There's no useful reason to resort to metaphors.

Grar! It's an analogy, not a metaphor! It's a stupid, flamebaity, utterly ridiculously irrelevant analogy, yes, but it's not a metaphor.
posted by yoink at 12:26 PM on February 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


And this is the CDC report that article is citing and 98% is off because I believe in the infinite wisdom of the Vatican, rythm or temperature methods have been deemed not-evil.

CDC Use of Contraceptives in the US: 1982-2008
posted by PJLandis at 12:28 PM on February 10, 2012


I think it's a smart political move--they can't claim to be forced to provide something they're opposed to.
Tell me--do they oppose medical insurance if a woman has her tubes tied? For a vasectomy?
posted by etaoin at 12:29 PM on February 10, 2012


Going back to that orthodox jewish bus line, it's like they made so much noise about their religious rights that they got a free pass. So they're allowed to force women to sit at the back of the bus, but they are also required to give women a transfer to a normal bus line where they can sit where they like.

Not really. More like this:

Some law somehow requires an Orthodox Jewish community to hire a bus company to run a bus line. The Orthodox want women to sit in the back.

This compromise allows the Orthodox to write a deal with the bus company that says "We will pay you $X to run our buses, and also women have to sit in the back. This is a special women-sit-in-the-back bus line so full of holiness that it is about to burst."

But the compromise also requires the bus company to allow women to sit wherever they please.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 12:31 PM on February 10, 2012


Hello, Metafilter, God here.

Yes, it's me. The one and only, though you know me by many names.

I created not just you, not just your world, but the entire infinities of the universe that you know, and the many that you don't. I created the stars that light your night skies, and I created the atomic fusion that power them. I created the beautiful nebulae that stretch across distances that you cannot even imagine, and I created the beautiful genetic material that makes you you. When you see a sunrise, that's my work, when you hear the mighty crash of the waves, that's my work, everything you are and everything you do, everything there is from the most giant of stars, to the tiniest of bacteria, that's down to me.

But pretty much exclusively these days, I'm interested in this one galaxy, this one remote arm, this insignificant sun and this tiny planet and this one species and well, how you fuck each other.

More than interested, the Holy Ghost says, it's obsessional, but then I get him in a headlock and shout 'who's god the father? eh? eh?' until he shuts up.

I mean yes, obviously, I'm bothered about famine and war and millions of children dying through dirty water yadda yadda yadda blah blah blah, but what really stirs my wrath is when you put things on your penises or the ladies take those damn tablets and I know it sounds petty coming from the creator of the universe and everything in it and beyond it and timeless and ever-present and a love everlasting, but men, you know, touching each other...ewwww! It's not like this is all I care about, of course, there's also other vital things like whether hair is covered or uncovered or legs are covered or not and which meat you can eat and which meat you can't eat and meat which you can eat but on certain days you can't and shit, even I get confused sometimes and I made up the the rules.

My son says I'm getting crotchety and I ought to make a bigger deal out of all his hippy love and forgiveness and humility nonsense and honestly, I do try, but then I think about this whole fucking business and when I do it's all I can think about and it makes me so angry.

So I know you might think that my messengers here on earth care far more about where one drop of semen does or doesn't land than about the fate of a thousand starving, dying children, and my son keeps stocking up on millstones and muttering but you've got to understand, this whole fucking business is as important as it gets.

Now sorry, got to go - was going to do the whole blessed be the meek thing but I've just spotted a teenage boy thinking about touching himself and I've got to fire up some Wrath.
posted by reynir at 12:31 PM on February 10, 2012 [21 favorites]


> Catholics are never satisfied

Maybe they're just like my mother.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 10:39 AM on February 10 [18 favorites +] [!]


This would be really cool if your name was Purple Raining Florence Henderson.


posted by mmrtnt at 12:33 PM on February 10, 2012 [2 favorites]


Can you say Compromise? I knew you could.

Compromise is a wonderful, wonderful thing that we find utterly admirable and that proves you're a broad-minded adult: unless, of course, you're talking about our guys, in which case it's shameful betrayal of our most sacred bedrock principles.
posted by yoink at 12:33 PM on February 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


This compromise allows the Orthodox to write a deal with the bus company that says "We will pay you $X to run our buses, and also women have to sit in the back. This is a special women-sit-in-the-back bus line so full of holiness that it is about to burst."

Even better: it's a compromise where the Orthodox issue a rule that "women must sit in the back of the bus" and the bus company runs circular buses which rotate as they move forward, so it doesn't matter where the women sit.
posted by yoink at 12:36 PM on February 10, 2012 [3 favorites]


The 98% number comes from this Guttmacher Institute Report.

But it's not true that, "98 percent of Catholic women use contraceptives" or that "98% of catholic women of child-bearing age use birth control" it's that 98% of Catholic (self-defined) women who have had sex have "ever used a contraceptive method other than natural family planning".
posted by Jahaza at 12:37 PM on February 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


Grar! It's an analogy, not a metaphor! It's a stupid, flamebaity, utterly ridiculously irrelevant analogy, yes, but it's not a metaphor.

Actually, Analogy, Synecdoche, Metonymy, etc., are all different special cases of the more abstract category of Metaphor. In programming terms, Metaphor is an abstract class; the other more concrete forms of Metaphor (including Analogy and the others) are very much subclasses of Metaphor. So--your grar is a little misplaced here...

(Puts away tweezers and takes off language pedant cap.)

posted by saulgoodman at 12:38 PM on February 10, 2012 [2 favorites]


You're right, I misread it slightly. All Catholic women who have had sex who have ever used non-natural family planning of any sort, so *not* including rhythm/withdrawal.

Although they could make it easier and just say "the percentage of Catholic women who do not have 5 or more children like Mrs. Santorum." Who had an affair with the doctor she worked with before taking up with Rick. Wonder what they used?
posted by spitbull at 12:47 PM on February 10, 2012


Actually, Analogy, Synecdoche, Metonymy, etc., are all different special cases of the more abstract category of Metaphor.

Well, yes and no. That is, there is a rather specialist lit-crit use of the term "metaphor" that allows it to encompass all tropes (and when we use it that way we'll often find ourselves in the awkward position of having to contrast metaphor-as-tropes-in-general with metaphor-as-a-specific-type-of-trope, because metaphors in the ordinary sense are markedly different from all those other forms). But in ordinary usage metaphor is strongly contrasted with analogy (as with simile, metonymy, allegory etc. etc.). Metaphor asserts the exact equivalence of two things, analogy explicity recognizes the differences while drawing our attention to the similarities.

Still, I'm glad someone agreed with me that this was clearly the Most Important Issue in this thread.
posted by yoink at 1:01 PM on February 10, 2012


You're right, I misread it slightly. All Catholic women who have had sex who have ever used non-natural family planning of any sort, so *not* including rhythm/withdrawal.

It's unclear, but in another context in the Guttmacher report, withdrawal doesn't count as natural family planning and does count as birth control:
The category of “other” methods mainly consists of withdrawal but also includes less common methods, such as suppositories, sponges and foams. Natural family planning includes periodic abstinence, temperature rhythm and cervical mucus tests.
posted by Jahaza at 1:01 PM on February 10, 2012


Last I checked, the Church was down with the rhythm method (endorsed it even), but not, I think, down with withdrawal, as that involves intentionally placing semen in places that aren't vaginas. I'm a fairly literal sort, but I have to admit I've never understood why it's okay to use the rhythm method, given that, if you're doing it right, it'll result in semen somewhere where you believe it has a very low probability of encountering an egg. I suppose there's got to be wiggle room for miracles, but expecting a miracle to occur outside a body is a bit much.
posted by hoyland at 1:11 PM on February 10, 2012


Still, I'm glad someone agreed with me that this was clearly the Most Important Issue in this thread.

Of course it is. The actual outcome here is almost violently non-controversial.

(And I still maintain my position on the more substantive matter, as a former lit crit student and fellow Persnickety-American.)
posted by saulgoodman at 1:13 PM on February 10, 2012


You can't have sex unless there is a chance that you will produce a child otherwise the sex is evil. Hence, the rythm method limits the possibility but doesn't eliminate it, whereas pulling out if done correctly eliinates any possibility of pregnancy.

To my mind, this is a logic that could only be developed and applied by an order of celibate males.
posted by PJLandis at 1:20 PM on February 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


but not, I think, down with withdrawal,

Onanism.
posted by empath at 1:21 PM on February 10, 2012




Onanism.

Yup, coitus interruptus: joining the long list of things in the Bible punishable by death.
posted by Dasein at 1:26 PM on February 10, 2012


Which is why everyone already agrees on it? Because it's simple and completely obvious. Or at least everyone who isn't opposed to contraception use in general agrees on it, right? Except they don't.

As a society, we're at a point where some social goods, such as science-based education and science-based medicine, are going to inevitably be at odds with religious dogma of a variety of types.

That doesn't change anything about the fact that these social goods are very simple to understand on their own terms.

That Catholic dogma is irreconcilable with modern social goods is certainly a problem, but it won't be solved by metaphorical argument.
posted by odinsdream at 1:36 PM on February 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


That those things are social goods is not a science-based determination.
posted by Jahaza at 1:39 PM on February 10, 2012


Oh, really. Do you care to provide all your science-based documentation that lack of access to contraceptives promotes social welfare?
posted by odinsdream at 1:42 PM on February 10, 2012


Odinsdream, the problem is that you can't use SCIENCE! to decide what constitutes social welfare in the first place.
posted by Jahaza at 1:49 PM on February 10, 2012


apologist whine> Oh why are you atheists so angry? Why can't you just live and let live? </apologist whine
posted by Decani at 1:53 PM on February 10, 2012


Odinsdream, the problem is that you can't use SCIENCE! to decide what constitutes social welfare in the first place.

You can't use religion to decide it either, so what's your point?
posted by saulgoodman at 1:54 PM on February 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


You can't use religion to decide it either, so what's your point?

This is why we have elections and we don't decide these things by induction.
posted by empath at 2:21 PM on February 10, 2012


PJLandis: "You can't have sex unless there is a chance that you will produce a child otherwise the sex is evil. Hence, the rythm method limits the possibility but doesn't eliminate it, whereas pulling out if done correctly eliinates any possibility of pregnancy. "

No, it doesn't.

The only things that "eliminate any possibility of pregnancy" are abstinence or total hysterectomy with oophorectomy.

The withdrawal method is statistically far less successful than condoms or other types of "barrier" birth control. When done incorrectly, withdrawal fails about 25% of the time. When done correctly (as you mention,) it still fails about 5% of the time.
posted by zarq at 2:35 PM on February 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


Though insurance companies generally realize that birthing babies costs way more than contraceptives. They have not really been against covering contraception.

Insurance companies have realised that many women will buy their own contraception if need be, because they'd prefer to do that than to have unwanted children, even if many of the medical costs of the pregnancy would be covered by insurance.
posted by jeather at 5:11 PM on February 10, 2012


withdrawal method is statistically far less successful than condoms or other types of "barrier" birth control.

Withdrawal is about half as good as condoms in ideal and real use. Either will probably stop you having baby in a year's use (which is how failure rates for birth control, including the ones you mention, are measured), neither should be used as a sole method of birth control unless you can deal with a mishap in some way or other. Barriers methods are hugely important, but not for birth control per se.
posted by howfar at 5:12 PM on February 10, 2012


I dunno, it seems to fit the cave-in pattern.

There isn't anything to complain about with this compromise. Religious institutions have a thing for arbitrary rules so Obama just allowed them to sidestep it in this case without changing the outcome.

There was plenty to complain about with his morning after pill decision, and that is where you should direct your anger because it was a decision with real consequences.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 5:16 PM on February 10, 2012


The majority of Americans agreed with the comprehensive birth control plan. The majority of Catholics agreed with the comprehensive birth control plan. Why can't Obama win this fight?

Because the majority of Americans are fickle and panicky, and easily riled up into serious indignation over things that they actually support are in their best interest. You can't trust polls. Remember Health reform? For all of my adult life the common wisdom was that the people hated the insurance companies, HMO's etc. and were clamoring for some sort of reform to the system. The second someone comes along and tries to fix it, all of a sudden half of those people went all "nazi socialism death panels hands off my beloved health plan or we're watering the tree of liberty with your BLOOOOOD!".

Welcome to the United States of Crazypants.

Basing policy solely on public opinion is like asking runners at the starting line which direction they're running. Of course, they all point to the finish line. But as soon the starter pistol is fired someone yells "gun!" and everyone panics and runs in 8 different directions.
posted by billyfleetwood at 5:29 PM on February 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


Obama Punks the GOP on Contraception via XXFactor on Slate
posted by the man of twists and turns at 5:54 PM on February 10, 2012 [2 favorites]


This was another example of Political Jujitsu by the President. He got Romney and Santorum to come out against contraceptives, something that 99% or women in this country have used.

Someone (Super PAC) will use this to peel off support for the eventual GOP candidate come November.
posted by Mick at 6:21 PM on February 10, 2012




There's no such thing as "free." Someone is paying for it.
That's not true. The insurance company pays more if women don't take birth control, because unplanned pregnancies cost more then. So if a pregnancy costs $X and birth control costs $X/Y so long as more then Y pregnancies are prevented, the cost is actually negative. Remember, a lot of these women already have kids and just don't want more. Pregnancy is a lot more risky when you're older.
How about "Nobody's health should depend on who they are or where they work?" We wouldn't have this problem if we weren't tying health care to employment.
Exactly. Is there any other country in the world that works that way? It's completely ridiculous.
There are lots of downsides. For one, it opens the door to every religious institution pushing the cost of drugs and medical procedures it disagrees with onto non-members.
Well, the cost is negative in aggregate, so actually it should lower premiums overall.
The only way this makes financial sense is for insurance companies to continue charging the same premium on plans even as the number of unintended pregnancies goes down. In effect, Catholic organizations will still be funding birth control indirectly. -- muddgirl
That doesn't really make any sense. If a women working for a catholic company chose to buy birth control on it's own, they would still be funding it 'indirectly'. In fact, by your logic it sounds like you're arguing that if women chose to take birth control, and don't get pregnant and therefore save the insurance company that their not getting pregnant is somehow the responsibility of their employer? That doesn't even make sense.

It's the women, who by not having unwanted pregnancies, pay for the birth control.
Is birth control required by the monster healthcare bill from 2010? Is it a new bill?
Is the administration just making things up as they go along?
Yes, it was in the bill.
To force Catholic institutions to pay for birth control? Because there's a Supreme Court that values religious liberty. Because the political cost would be enormous. And because the government can't just de-fund religious hospitals that won't go along with it.
Oh come on. Why does everyone pretend like the catholic church is some monster political power? They have no power over their members. I'm not saying there is anything wrong with the compromise, it's fine. But let's not pretend there was some major political risk just forcing them to pay like everyone else. Let's not pretend like these idiots have some kind of deep reserve of political power. They won in 2010 because people were unhappy with bank bailouts and high unemployment not contraception ffs
DEAR REPUBLICANS.

START UPHOLDING YOUR END OF THE BARGAIN

TWO PARTY GOVERNMENT BY NATURE WILL ALWAYS INCLUDE COMPROMISE IF BOTH SIDES ARE LOOKING OUT FOR THE GREATER GOOD.

LOVE
THE GUY WHO VOTED FOR (AND WILL AGAIN) OBAMA
If you say you voted for Obama, then why should the republicans care what you think? I know I don't care what they think. Our political system has a messed up structure where the incentive is against compromise, because if you can prevent the other side from fixing problems, then you can benefit from that. I think the republicans have taken that too far this time around and will probably suffer for it in congressional elections. Most Americans now think the republicans are purposely screwing over the country to make Obama look bad. But really, we need to change the system, and get rid of the filibuster and other senate bullshit.

If you want an example of Bipartisanship, look at SOPA. Or the Iraq war resolution. On the other hand, if you want an example of 'hyper partisanship' look at Obamacare. Zero republican votes, 100% of democratic votes in the senate and almost every single dem in the house.

Why don't people get that bipartisanship is a bad thing promoted by people like Joe Lieberman and the DC lobbyist core who want to make it easier to pass bad laws?
Can you say Compromise? I knew you could. Unlike most of the U.S. House of Representatives.
Eh. I just saw an Obama campaign spokesperson on TV earlier saying it was not a compromise, just an implementation of a rule. Honestly this is actually a really minor issue. The fact that it's been blown up to this 'national debate' is just absurd. There are major things going in the world but the press is obsessed with random crap they can put in a left/right spin zone and get WWF style screaming heads to yell at each other about.
posted by delmoi at 6:42 PM on February 10, 2012


GOP Ups The Ante, Introduces Legislation To Allow Any Employer To Deny Any Preventive Health Service

You know, if the GOP feels that strongly about this, they should make it part of their platform and actively run on it.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:56 PM on February 10, 2012


We're living in strange times. The same GOP that accused President Obama of attempting to deny us our ability to choose our own health care during the health care reform debates is now literally introducing legislation that would give employers the power to deny us whatever health care services they see fit.

Is the GOP trying to set a new record for logical inconsistency, or what?

Grar! It's an analogy, not a metaphor!

Actually, on second thought, yoink was right. Only I'm not sure the original remark even amounted to a coherent analogy. If I'd followed the thread leading up to that comment more closely, I might have realized I was talking out of my ass. I assumed the analogy in question had been made using some species of figurative language, like simile, qualifying it as a use of metaphor in the broadest sense. Well, it wasn't. It really was just a plain old argument by analogy, with nary a taint of figurative language used in the telling. Sorry, yoink.

posted by saulgoodman at 7:42 PM on February 10, 2012


Justice Scalia solves the contraception debate: Conscientious scruples have not, in the course of the long struggle for religious toleration, relieved the individual from obedience to a general law not aimed at the promotion or restriction of religious beliefs. The mere possession of religious convictions which contradict the relevant concerns of a political society does not relieve the citizen from the discharge of political responsibilities.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 7:45 PM on February 10, 2012


I say this out of genuine curiousity but what extra work is required here?

If my wife goes to the doctor, gets a prescription and pays the co-pay at the local pharmacy what exactly changes in this scenario?

______________

The fight to give all women access to birth control? The government just won that fight.

______________

There's a considerable difference between having the insurance to pay for something, and having access to the thing. A number of states (and the province of PEI, in Canada) don't have a single abortion service provider, for example. That means that any woman seeking an abortion in those areas who does not have the funds to travel out of state to an in-system health care provider who does provide abortions effectively has no access, regardless of whether she has health insurance that covers abortions or not. Are Catholic hospitals/pharmacies/etc. required to provide the actual physical contraceptives to women with prescriptions? Are Catholic doctors allowed to refuse to prescribe contraceptives? My understanding is that this varies a little by state, but that Catholic hospitals do regularly refuse to provide emergency contraception, for example. Given that many people don't have a choice of hospital due to their location and income, their insurance plan, or where they get taken by emergency services personnel, that's a very serious access issue that the principle set in this compromise would seem to actually support -- allowing public health care providing organizations funded in part by public money to opt out of any portion of the process of providing accepted medical care.
posted by eviemath at 8:22 PM on February 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


The insurance company pays more if women don't take birth control, because unplanned pregnancies cost more then.

But, again, the insurance company pays the least if women take birth control which they pay for out of pocket. This is pretty much what happens. If insurance companies paid out less by covering birth control then they would all cover birth control. If they have to be legally forced to cover birth control, it's not because a few religious companies don't want it, it's because they don't want it.
posted by jeather at 8:26 PM on February 10, 2012


If they have to be legally forced to cover birth control, it's not because a few religious companies don't want it, it's because they don't want it.

Or, you know, they're too short-term oriented in their outlook to realize it's costing them more. Like maybe their calculating their profits and losses on a quarterly cycle, instead of in terms of decades.
posted by saulgoodman at 8:53 PM on February 10, 2012


oops. "they're calculating..."
posted by saulgoodman at 8:54 PM on February 10, 2012


1st Amendment > pills
posted by republican at 9:39 PM on February 10, 2012


1st Amendment > pills

...Which is why we should let individual Catholics exercise their individual religious freedom under the 1st Amendment by allowing them not to buy contraceptives, instead of giving their employers/churches the power to make that choice for them while perversely justifying such an abridgment of basic human rights in the name of "freedom."
posted by saulgoodman at 10:21 PM on February 10, 2012 [6 favorites]


Here is an interesting glimpse (intentional or not) over the internal politics of it

http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2012/02/policy-and-politics-of-contraception-rule-fiercely-debated-within-white-house/
posted by ivancho at 12:19 AM on February 11, 2012


I want freedom *from* religion, and I assert strongly that this right is no different than my fellow, believing citizens' freedom *of* religion. It's my individual right under the constitution to live in a free society in which churches don't dictate policy for non-members, let alone non-believers like me.
posted by spitbull at 6:04 AM on February 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


See, you get it. This is one of the reasons that the deal-breaker in the 2000 election was not Ralph Nader, but rather Joe Lieberman, because if Gore hadn't selected a tone-deaf Droopy-faced moral-crusading Torah-thumper as his running mate, the Green-for-a-Day Democrats wouldn't have been nearly as numerous.
posted by delfin at 6:10 AM on February 11, 2012


Coming soon to a Fox News panel near you: The "Abortion Mandate".

This shit really needs to stop.
posted by Talez at 1:24 PM on February 11, 2012


Odinsdream, the problem is that you can't use SCIENCE! to decide what constitutes social welfare in the first place.

The scientific method is literally one of the most incredible things our species has ever invented. It's a process, not a result, and it's an extremely useful way to explore things despite our inherent mental biases. It allows us to continually renew our base of knowledge with new discoveries. Please share why you think this wouldn't be an excellent way to tackle social problems, like, for example, whether access to birth control increases or decreases overall social well-being.

One could tackle that question systematically by comparing overall social health in areas with different levels of contraceptive access. Or, I guess, you could throw up your hands and hope God whispers the answer to you.
posted by odinsdream at 5:22 PM on February 11, 2012


I think the scientific method is an excellent means of getting where you want to go, no matter where you want to go. I don't think it's particularly good at telling you where you want to go, though. Science isn't even going to tell you to care about social well-being. It's as value neutral as a screwdriver. You can use it just as well to subjugate and enslave the planet as you can use it to liberate and enlighten people.
posted by empath at 6:39 PM on February 11, 2012 [3 favorites]


Please share why you think this wouldn't be an excellent way to tackle social problems, like, for example, whether access to birth control increases or decreases overall social well-being.

Because the scientific method won't and can't tell you what "social well-being" is. Until you define "social well-being" the scientific method can't tell you if something contributes to it.
posted by Jahaza at 8:10 PM on February 11, 2012


Social well-being is something societies have to define for themselves on strictly social terms. Religion has a long history of teaching and imposing definitions of "social well-being" that societies eventually decide they don't need and actively choose to reject (belief in a geocentric universe, subjugation of women, for just a couple of examples).

So viewing these problem strictly in terms of either faith or reason (or worse, in terms of some deep, irreconcilable conflict between faith and reason) is likely to just be counterproductive and pointless. Religion and science aren't competing for the role of defining the social good--neither of them are anything more than vessels through which societies channel their existing shared values and various ideas about the social good.

That's how the so-called "Prosperity Gospel" came about in America. We've redefined what for much of its history was a religion of the poor and oppressed in terms better suited to a consumer culture driven society in which most everyone aspires to material prosperity. In this latest reawakening of Christian faith in the US, we've channeled our cold-war-hardened, dogmatically capitalist social values into an empty shell of the Christian belief system in order to put our faith in service to our existing social order. Religion, like science, doesn't actually help us define what the social good is or should be; both just work to reflect and serve our existing ideas about the social good in various ways. That's how it appears to me from my particular vantage point in society anyway.
posted by saulgoodman at 8:40 PM on February 11, 2012


Question: Does birth control have a positive effect on society?
Characterization: A "social good" is defined as having a positive overall effect on society. Birth control affects the health and well-being of individual women and children. Women and children make up at least half of any given population. That which impacts many women and children has an impact on society. Therefore womens' access to birth control has some overall effect on society.
Hypothesis: Access to birth control has positive overall effects on society.
Procedure: Scientific studies show that access to birth control has positive overall effects on society.
Conclusion: Access to birth control has positive effects on society and is therefore a social good.
posted by bleep at 8:42 PM on February 11, 2012


The trick is defining "positive effects," and in most cases, the meaning can change over time.

If you're a small, nomadic desert tribe, you might find more positive social benefit in having lots of children, to keep your tribe from dying out entirely. On the other hand, if you're part of an island-dwelling population, on an island with only enough natural resources to support a population of a certain size, strict social rules limiting reproductive opportunities might offer more social benefit. On the other hand, that same island society might instead choose to focus its collective efforts on getting off the island and pillaging resources from other nearby island dwelling populations. Only the shared values of a society can determine which approaches to tackling its collective problems make more sense. The pure scientific analysis will always leave us with an array of options to choose from, rather than dictating any clear choices to us. Religion, meanwhile, will always offer us stories and prophecies subject to an infinite number of shifting interpretations that we can use to muster up the resolve to do the hard things we already believe deep down are necessary, or to justify the collective and individual choices we've made along the way in service to our preexisting social values. But it seems to me neither will ever be useful tools for divining what our collective conception of the social good should be.

For that, we'll always just have to use our brains and hearts in less rigid ways, I imagine.
posted by saulgoodman at 9:13 PM on February 11, 2012


Bishops Reject White House’s New Plan on Contraception. Okay, I was in favour of compromise upthread. Now they're rejecting the compromise. It's not enough that they don't have to pay - they apparently don't want contraception in any way associated with any insurance plan offered by their institution.

Enough is enough. Fuck these guys. Bunch of geriatric virgins trying to punish women for having sex. Assholes.
posted by Dasein at 9:29 PM on February 11, 2012


Faith is powerful. I have faith. I have faith that the people in charge of organized religion are not in any way motivated by my well-being, spiritual or otherwise. I would like to see my government implement some initiatives based on my faith. Eliminating tax exemptions for religions would be a good place to start. Forcing everyone to subsidize religions is a violation of the First Amendment.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 4:37 AM on February 12, 2012 [2 favorites]




The Daily Show: The Vagina Ideologues
posted by homunculus at 9:12 AM on February 14, 2012




The Colbert Report: Contraception Crusade
posted by homunculus at 9:12 AM on February 15, 2012




Top ten Catholic Teachings Santorum rejects while obsessing about birth control, including a discussion on instances where secular law trumps religious law in the US. (Some listed are peyote for unspecified Native American religions, turban-but-no-hardhat for Sikhs, and Sharia law for Muslim divorce settlements.)
posted by jeather at 12:25 PM on February 17, 2012


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