USCCB Makes False Statement about Contraception Mandate Ruling


Some people took issue with my use of the word “lie” in reference to statements by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) regarding the contraceptive coverage rule under the Affordable Care Act. I think this criticism is valid, because the word “lie” implies intent and I have no way of knowing the motivation behind any statement I have reason to believe is inaccurate. And it certainly isn’t conducive to dialogue to call people liars (nor to call people promoters of “the culture of death,” but two wrongs don’t make a right).

Going forward, I will try to use more neutral language:

On Friday, the USCCB tweeted this demonstrably false statement

“Federal judge finds HHS mandate violates conscience rights of private employer.”

That did not happen. The judge barred the HHS from making the corporation comply with the regulation for three months. The order merely maintains the status quo until a future determination as to whether the regulation violates any right of the plaintiffs. 

In order to obtain this order, the plaintiffs did have to show a likelihood that their lawsuit would be successful. However, Judge John L. Kane explicitly declined to address the plaintiffs’ First Amendment claim, instead limiting his analysis to plaintiffs’ claims that the HHS regulation violates a federal statute. 

Despite the rampant allegations in the media that requiring contraceptive coverage is unconstitutional, plaintiffs should not prevail on First Amendment grounds as a matter of well-settled Supreme Court precedent. Let’s go to the caselaw.

Justice Antonin Scalia, famously conservative and Catholic, wrote the majority opinion in Employment Division v. Smith. In Smith, the Court held that a neutral, generally applicable law that incidentally burdens one’s religious exercise does not violate the First Amendment. The case concerned two Native American worshippers who used peyote in a religious service. Despite the fact that the criminal prohibition of peyote precluded so fundamental an act of religious expression as taking communion, the Court held that the First Amendment did not entitle the plaintiffs to any exception whatsoever because the law applied to everyone. 

Justice Scalia explained that the government may grant an accommodation to religious groups but the First Amendment does not require that it do so. In his view, the proper protection from laws that burden religious freedom is the political process. If you need to use a regulated substance in your religious service, you must vote for officials who will legislate such a right. Requiring religious individuals be exempted from laws everyone else must follow would be to make “religious belief superior to the law of the land, and in effect to permit every citizen to become a law unto himself.”

The problem with Justice Scalia’s approach, in my view, is that it provides too little protection to the adherents of minority religions. Leaving the accommodation of religious beliefs to the political process is likely sufficient to protect the right of Catholics to consume wine at mass. It is probably not sufficient to protect the interests of Native American adherents of a little-known faith who lack the number of voters and the political clout that Catholics enjoy.

But it doesn’t really matter that I don’t like the Supreme Court’s holding in Smith because it has been the law for over twenty years. The Court has upheld the ruling repeatedly. It is “black letter law,” the kind of not-up-for-debate rule the multi-state bar exam can test in a multiple choice question. Congress attempted to restore pre-Smith protections by enacting the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, so a plaintiff claiming that a generally applicable federal law burdens her religious expression has some recourse under that statute -– but not the Constitution. There is no use arguing how great the burden or how insignificant the government’s interest. That is the law: I have to accept that and Cardinal Dolan should as well. 

The HHS regulation is a law of general application. Courts have held nearly identical state contraceptive coverage laws to be constitutional in decisions the Supreme Court has declined to review. Given this reality, those promoting the idea that the HHS rule is “a radical violation of the First Amendment,” without any argument as to why Smith would not apply or might be overturned, appear to be either uninformed or disingenuous. 

Presumably, the USCCB’s false tweet is meant to bolster this unconstitutionality claim.  Perhaps to opponents of contraception, the HHS rule truly feels unconstitutional. But that isn’t what they are saying. They are making a legal claim. And they are using this unfounded legal claim to make extremely serious allegations. It is one thing to say, “I think this is a terrible policy.” It is something else entirely to suggest those whose policies you oppose are trampling the Constitution or persecuting the religious. 

Though the court order tweeted about doesn’t say what the USCCB says it does, the USCCB should be pleased with what it does say. For example, Judge Kane indicates that the term “a person,” as used in the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, might mean secular for-profit corporation. Also, though courts have found that improving the health of women and children and equalizing the coverage of women and men justify state contraceptive coverage laws, Judge Kane suggests the Obama administration may not be able to show a compelling interest in these objectives because it has granted too many exemptions.

The court order raises the possibility of a new reading of the RFRA that I find unpersuasive and troubling, but it leaves those statutory questions open and the First Amendment precedent unquestioned.

Let’s get our facts straight and argue about this in good faith.

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  • madisonian

    While it’s true that Employment Division v. Smith affords significant protection – from First Amendment challenge — to laws that are “neutral” and “of general application,” Supreme Court and Circuit Court decisions since Smith have clarified the kinds of features that militate against a law’s being found worthy of this label.  These cases hold, for example, that if a law grants exemptions on secular grounds but not religious ones, or if it exempts some believers but not others, it’s not “neutral and of general application,” and must withstand strict scrutiny under the First Amendment or be struck down.  I’ve been following the briefing in the 24 pending federal lawsuits with great interest, and I must say the plaintiffs point out many things about the HHS contraception-abortifacient-sterlization mandate that furnish compelling grounds for a Court to find — even under the post-Smith case law (including City of Hialeah) — that this provision is not “neutral and of general application.”  For example, it exempts from its coverage as many as 190 million Americans who are in “grandfathered” plans; it exempts some believers – including the Amish, and Catholic groups so long as they’re cloistered – but not others.  These kinds of exemptions — which Judge Kane found make the Government’s “compelling interest” claim under RFRA an uphill battle — would, it seems to me, also make the Government’s “neutral law of general application” argument under the First Amendment an equally uphill battle. 

  • ananonymousfool

    Dear Ms. Dunlap,

    Thanks for the link to the judgement in this case.

    As for the rest of your article – you are just plain wrong (note: I did not say you lied). 

    See page 4&5 for the plaintiff’s stand. It clearly demonstrates that their RFRA rights (under Federal law, which is all that matters here) – would be affected by the HHS Mandate. The Judge’s order in providing injunction (temporary or permanent) recognizes the merit of that position.

    Read Page 9 – “Plaintiffs have adequately established that they will suffer imminent irreparable harm absent injunctive relief”. Once again Judge is clearly and unequivocally stating that Plaintiffs have established that they will suffer irreparable harm without the injunctive relief.

    Also read Page 9 (section #2). The “harm” mentioned is in reference to rights of the defendant (Sebelius) to enforce the HHS Mandate – “This harm pales in comparison to the possible infringement upon Plaintiffs’ constitutional and statutory rights.”

    Also read Page 9 (section #3). This section is about the harm to “Public Interest” – “This asserted interest is, however, undermined by the creation of exemptions for certain religious organizations and employers with grandfathered health insurance plans and a temporary enforcement safe harbor for non-profit organizations.”

    Read Page 10 – “On balance, the threatened harm to Plaintiffs, impingement of their right to freely exercise their religious beliefs, and the concommittant public interest in that right srongly favor the entry of injunctive relief.” (This is further expanded in pages 13 and 14).

    What you, Ms. Dunlap, are doing is taking a single line in the judgement – one that states that Judge Kane states, “Because Plaintiffs’ RFRA challenge provides adequate grounds for the requested injunctive relief, I decline to address their challenges under the Free Exercise,  Establishment and Freedom of Speech Clauses of the First Amendment. See, e.g., United States v. Hardeman, 297 F.3d 1116, 1135-36 (10th
    Cir. 2002) (en banc).” What you are not considering is the overwhelming references to the plainitiffs religious freedom rights and the unequivoval establishment of harm to plaintiff’s religious freedom rights because of this mandate – as determined by the Judge himself – repeatedly in the pages of his judgement. What you are also ignoring is that Judge Kane has repeatedly established that public interest and uniform establishment of the Mandate are NOT in question, since the defendants (Sebelius & Co.) have already given exemptions to millions of people and organizations.

    Hence the USCCB has made no false statement, far be it, that a question of lying even enters into this picture. You my friend, on the other hand have been careless, sloppy in researching your opinions before presenting them as fact – twice.

    I would suggest an apology to the USCCB on your third attempt at rendering an opinon on this topic to be an appropriate way to gracefully bow out of this issue.

     

    Yours In Christ

    An Anonymous Fool

     

  • bridgette-dunlap

    Madison,  I don’t see Hialeah changing the analysis.  And it predates Catholic Charities v. Superior Court of Sacramento and Catholic Charities of Albany v. Serio, both of which were appealed to the Supreme Court but denied certiori.

    Anonymous,

    Judge Kane did not rule on the merits of the case.  He granted what is called a preliminary injunction.  A preliminary injunction is an order that prevents one party in a lawsuit  from doing something before there is a final judgment in the case.  The quotes you provide go to the harm to be avoided in case the plaintiffs ultimately win.  Judge Kane seems to indicate a willingness to depart from precedent on this, but he hasn’t made a ruling yet. 

    The suggestion that I should “bow out” of this conversation is appalling.  I am not interested in who you think does or does not deserve a voice.

  • marlowe28

    @An Anonymous Fool

     

    I read the entire ruling and it simply does not say what you and the USCCB claim that it does.

    “This harm pales in comparison to the possible infringement upon Plaintiffs’

     

    constitutional and statutory rights. This factor strongly favors entry of injunctive relief.”  is from page 9 of the ruling.

     

    Do you not understand the meaning of the word “possible”?

     

     

     

     

     

  • ananonymousfool

    Thanks for your clarification. I did not mean to suggest that you have no right to voice your opinions. It is ironical, however, that you found the suggestion “appalling” when the very right the USCCB is trying to retain comes from the same First Amendment.

    Of course you can voice your opinions. But, given that you have made errors (and continue to defend your errors) on this topic – I suggested that you bow out of the discussion since your arguments are clearly not in line with what is black and white in the judgement. Of course, you have the right to continue to make errors. Just as I do have the right to continue to point them out to you. So here goes again …

    The primary motive of your headline seems to be an unprejudiced attack on the USCCB’s statement – first you called it a lie and then retracted that and called it a false statement. My motive is to defend their statement and prove that they were in the right with regard to that statement all along.

    To add to your clarification about what an injunction is, straight form wikipedia,  there are four criteria listed that must ALL be satisfied.

    1. That there is a substantial likelihood of success on the merits of the case,
    2. That they face a substantial threat of irreparable damage or injury if the injunction is not granted,
    3. That the balance of harms weighs in favor of the party seeking the preliminary injunction
    4. That the grant of an injunction would serve the public interest.

    Of course, the injunction is temporary until dissolved OR MADE PERMANENT. Just because it is temporary now doesn’t mean that Judge Kane did NOT consider the 4 criteria above. All 4 were considered as has been explained in detail in his judgement. All 4 were found to be satisfied. There is NO other conclusion to arrive at than that this injunction, temporararily (I’ll give you that), relieves the plaintiffs of having to comply with this dastardly Mandate. At the same time, it also “temporarily” acknowledges that:

    - the plaintiffs will eventually succeed.

    - the plaintiffs will receive irreparable damage or inujury if the injunction isn’t granted

    - the balance of harms weighs in favor of the plaintiffs

    - the grant of the injunction would serve the public interest.

    Note that the injunction is to prevent harm. Harm means something unjust or bad is being wrought on the plaintiffs. That harm in this case is the loss of their religious freedom. Hence, there is  absolutely nothing wrong with the USCCB statement that Judge Kane, and I paraphrase, sided with religious freedom rights, even if it is temporary.

    Finally, since you particularly called out the fact that the USCCB “lied” and then retracted that to say they made a “false statement”, it behooves me to point out that there was nothing remotely nefarious or unfactual about what USCCB said. For a detailed response from the USCCB blog – readers are directed to visit this link – http://usccbmedia.blogspot.com/2012/08/to-accommodate-caesar-or-to-follow.html. They point out that this is a temporary injunction and also describe just what it means for this fight against the unconstitutional mandate.

    God bless you

    An Anonymous Fool

     

  • ananonymousfool

    Hmmm – Let me think about that a second. ….. Yes.

    Seems like this is the season for irony.

    The “possible” is only as far as whether the criteria for injuctive relief can be satisfied. See my earlier post for a clear explanation of this. Yes, it is possibel that the injunction be dissolved. Any injunction by its very nature can be dissolved OR MADE PERMANENT. So the “possible” can swing both ways – get it?

    So if Judge Kane found that it is “possible” that injunctive relief is required – then it means that he finds – albeit temporarily – that the plaintiffs case has merit. Which means he finds that their rights are “potentially” (possibly, if you like) being infringed upon.

    Hence, it is absolutely fine to state that Judge Kane sided with religious freedom. That is just plain fact.

    And again – the recognition that this is temporary – that it is an injunction has been pointed out by the USCCB itself (see the blog post link in my earlier response). So since Ms. Dunlap has sought to point out the lying ways of the USCCB – it is only fair that I point out how completely mistaken she is.

    Ms. Dunlap is clutching at straws, so is the rest of the Sebelius crowd. Eventually, this Mandate will be thrown out and justice will prevail.

    In Christ

    An Anonymous Fool

  • tj

    You may be right on the legal aspects, I can’t really say.  But in reading your article, what stands out immediately for me is the fact that you don’t seem to understand what your opponent is fighting about.  You seem to think that for your opponents, the contraception issue is on the level of what props to use in a worship service when in fact your opponents think that contraception is a mechanism by which men can oppress women by viewing them as mere objects to be used for sexual convenience.  And, I must say that sociological data since the sixties, does not leave such a view unfounded.

     

    BTW, does contraception fall under the title “Healthcare” when the goal is not to cause the body to function normally, but abnormally?

  • ack

    BTW, does contraception fall under the title “Healthcare” when the goal is not to cause the body to function normally, but abnormally?

    Nearly all healthcare has the goal of changing the body’s “normal” function. Bypass surgery alters normal function, which would be to attmept to push blood through clogged arteries. Chemotherapy reduces tumors which would have grown “normally.” Ventilation abnormally inflates the lungs when they would “normally” give out.


    Healthcare reduces harm associated with the body’s normal progression. So yes. Contraception and abortion are both healthcare. 


  • ack

    Injunctions on laws are not rulings. Do you feel the same way about the AZ 20 week abortion ban, which was upheld and then enjoined? No one has ruled on anything.

     

    Furthermore, saying that the judge “sided with religious freedom” depends entirely on what religion you are. Personally, my moral beliefs say that women get to say who has access to their bodies and when they have access. Siding with religious freedom doesn’t mean “Siding with the version of Christianity the plaintiffs/defendents adhere to.”

  • ananonymousfool

    This is a long topic to discuss. The consistent stance of the Catholic Church for 2000 years has been that contraception is a grave mortal sin. Even if you aren’t into all of that, consider this from an “utopian” point of view. Do women really prefer contraception, that barrier in their relationship (condoms or otherwise) with their spouse? Do women really want the “freedom” to have their relationships without the “danger” of “consequences”? Let us for a moment assume that that indeed is the definition of freedom and liberty for women. What do you then expect the attitude of men that participate in that relationship to be – committed? involved? strong? close? I could go on. When there is nothing to lose, do men really stay committed? When you don’t give the relationship that chance to become ever more close – does one really have to be surprised when it fails. Sure, you can point to your own marriages, and examples of friends whose marriages have succeeded. Sure every one of them used pills and contraceptives. Lots and lots of them. That disproves all of my raving nonsense – doesn’t it? Ask yourself this question in your hearts – are those relationships really that solid. Are they as ideal as they can be? Are they really as happy as they seem to be? Is your husband as close to you as you expect him to be? 

    So you say – no one can ever have that happy a marriage, it is all utopian, a complete fiction. That is where, my friends, those of you that believe in Jesus Christ, our Savior, need to stop and think about this really hard. That’s where the strength of your belief in our Lord and Savior makes all the difference. I could go on, but it is late. 

     

    In Christ

    An Anonymous Fool.

  • ananonymousfool

    “Injunctions on laws are not rulings” – Who said they are?

    “… which was upheld and then enjoined?” – Of course, injunctions by their nature can be temporary. However, they can also be made permanent. 

    “sided with religious freedom” and “Siding with the version of Christianity the plaintiffs/defendents adhere to.“-  the criteria for the injunction that were met in the judgement provided were with respect to the beliefs of the Hercules owners. See Page 4 – “Although Hercules is a for-profit, secular employer, the Newlands adhere to the Catholic denomination of the Christian faith.  According to the Newlands, “they seek to run Hercules in a manner that reflects their sincerely held religious beliefs””. Hence, by granting the injunction, there is no way to avoid the fact that he was siding with the “version of Christianity” the plaintiffs (not defendants – that would be Sebelius) adhere to. 

    So, yes, even though the plaintiffs’ Christian Beliefs are the one in question and those religious rights were upheld by Judge Kane, albeit temporarily, it is very plain to see that he sided with Religious Freedom, albeit temporarily (or permanently in due course).  

    If you as an employer believe that women have the ultimate rights over their own bodies – then you file a motion for an injunction. Stop trying to paint a situation that has already happened as if it didn’t happen. 

     

    In Christ 

    An Anonymous Fool

  • ananonymousfool

    “Nearly all healthcare has the goal of changing the body’s “normal” function.”

    Yes – that is true. However, have you considered WHY the body’s “normal” function (as you put it) needs to be “changed”. What is the goal of that process? Is it to preserve life or to end it? Is it for better or worse?

    If you intervene in a potential suicide are you changing the “normal” course of events for the better or for the worse?

    If you refuse to assist in Euthanasia – are you changing the “normal” course of events for the better or worse?

    If you put out a house on fire – are you changing the “normal” course of events for better or worse?

    So you are free to have the OPINION that contraceptives, abortifacients and sterilization change the “normal” function of the body for the better. I am free to have the opinion that it changes the “normal” function of the body for worse. 

    Making something related to health worse isn’t healthcare. Of course, you can say that it is healthcare  – but only by your definition. Don’t enforce that definition on others as if it were fact. Contrast – “The sun rises in the east” or “A Bachelor isn’t married” – That isn’t a matter of OPINION. It is fact. Stop trying to pass off your opinions as definitions or fact. You are, as I already said, free to have your opinions. 


    In Christ 

    An Anonymous Fool

  • ack

    The consistent stance of the Catholic Church for 2000 years has been that contraception is a grave mortal sin.

    Since abortion wasn’t considered a sin worthy of excommunication until about 200 years ago, you need to read up on your history.

     

    o women really prefer contraception, that barrier in their relationship (condoms or otherwise) with their spouse? Do women really want the “freedom” to have their relationships without the “danger” of “consequences”?

     

    Yes. 

     

    What do you then expect the attitude of men that participate in that relationship to be – committed? involved? strong? close? I could go on. When there is nothing to lose, do men really stay committed? When you don’t give the relationship that chance to become ever more close – does one really have to be surprised when it fails. 

    You seem to have an awfully low opinion of men. My partner and I are deciding when it’s right to have children. We’re able to do so because of family planning.

     

    When you don’t give the relationship that chance to become ever more close – does one really have to be surprised when it fails. Sure, you can point to your own marriages, and examples of friends whose marriages have succeeded. Sure every one of them used pills and contraceptives. Lots and lots of them. That disproves all of my raving nonsense – doesn’t it? Ask yourself this question in your hearts – are those relationships really that solid.

     

    Yes. They are. The pre-marital sex rate has stayed stable at around 90% since 1950. Couples who are willing and able to talk about their sexual history protect themselves and their partners.

     

    And when those couples decide to have children, those kids are better off. Let’s face it: kids are expensive. When people have time to prepare, everyone is better off. Now, unplanned, wanted pregnacies are awesome for the people involved. Unplanned, unwanted pregnancies are a different story.

     

     

     

  • ack

    Yes – that is true. However, have you considered WHY the body’s “normal” function (as you put it) needs to be “changed”. What is the goal of that process? Is it to preserve life or to end it? Is it for better or worse?

    Abortion is safer than childbirth, so I’m not really sure where your argument is.


    If you intervene in a potential suicide are you changing the “normal” course of events for the better or for the worse?


    Disingenuous at best. Pregnant people get to decide what’s best for them.


  • tj

    The normal function of the circulatory system is to circulate blood through the body (that is its purpose).  Bypass surgery restores this function; it doesn’t stop this function.  The normal function of the reproductive system is to reproduce.  Contraception stops it from functioning “normally”.  If you prefer, I could use other words like “fulfill its function” or something else.  Surely you can see the point?

     

    How would you combat the arguement that contraception gives males a tool with which they can use females sexually and have no regard or responsibility toward them?

  • jennifer-starr

    Women having the ultimate rights over their own bodies should be a given–this shouldn’t even be in dispute. If an employer wants to have those rights that makes him creepy (and more than a little pervy). 

     

    If a woman goes to work for a secular company, should she have the right to question and screen the employer about his religious beliefs prior to employment? The employer does not have the right to do so–but it’s beginning to look like employees should.  

  • ananonymousfool

     

    Since abortion wasn’t considered a sin worthy of excommunication until about 200 years ago, you need to read up on your history.

    Wrong again. As early as Didache (Google it if you don’t believe me), abortion was considered a sin. Back in those times (first century) it was punished by a ten year refusal of the Sacraments, which is excommunication too. Second, whether it invoked excommunication (refusal of sacraments) or not was NOT my point. Surely you can see that can’t you? It is true that Canon Law 1398 for the Latin Rite does declare automatic excommunication for a procured abortion.

    But, you missed the point. The Catholic Church has for 2000 years condemned abortion and consistently declared it as a grave mortal sin. Period.

    You seem to have an awfully low opinion of men. My partner and I are deciding when it’s right to have children. We’re able to do so because of family planning.

    Ha! Again you are mistaken. I have a great deal of hope for the human race. Because it was promised. I also have a very high opinion of men and women – because that too was revealed – that we can become the Children of God. I can’t, with that in mind, possibly have a low opinion of anyone – men or women. My point though is that contraception, abortion, abortifacients and sterilization impede the development of that beautiful relationship in union with Christ that is possible. You can choose to reject that possibility and be satisfied, as you are, with where you are in your life. But, that does not change the fact that a higher joy is possible. You don’t have to believe that. But, that’s for God to grant, i.e., the grace by which you may find the faith to believe.

     

    The rest of your comments are a result of that lack of faith. It is my prayer that you will one day be given the gift of grace so you may find true joy in Christ.

    In Christ

    An Anonymous Fool

     

     

  • ananonymousfool

    Abortion is safer than childbirth

    What does any of this have to do with safety? You seem to be presenting the view that the morality of a course of action is constrained by concerns of safety (or any other concern). Nothing new here. It is the same old nonsense. In other words – each individual gets to decide what is and isn’t moral. According to that view point – Safety, Economics, Popularity, Majority opinion, so on and so forth can change the morality of any given issue. There isn’t any absolute “right” or “wrong”. Again, you are entitled to that opinion. But, an opinion it is. Not fact.

    For example, EVEN if your purported claim that Abortion is safer than childbirth is true – you are skirting the moral issue. Of course, you can choose to say that it is moral. Again, that is just your opinion. Not fact. But, at some point you have to make a decision – is it or is it not moral? That is the question. For example, if as a country we decide that for economic considerations all people at age 50 will be euthanized – the criteria for that decision can be purely economics. However, there is a moral question too. It is your choice to decide that you’d ignore or refuse to answer that moral question – but the question remains. Get it?

    Same with your quote on “Pregnant people get to decide what’s best for them” – an opinion at best. For example, imagine a future where ultrasound can translate  the thoughts and emotions of a child in the womb into English. Will that enhanced semblance to its personhood, its humanity change whether you choose to kill that child or not? Science and technology changes and things considered impossible become possible. However the moral question never changes. It is my prayer that the answer to those question doesn’t change either.

     

    In Christ

    An Anonymous Fool

     

  • jennifer-starr

    What does any of this have to do with safety?


    It’s good to know the regard that your ‘church’ has for the lives and health of women, which is none whatsoever. To you we’re merely livestock, containers for the all-blessed fetus. Of course, we already knew that, but it’s good to have a reminder of it now and then. 

    It must be nice up in that ivory tower, where questions that pertain to life and death  of women and childbirth are mere philosophical abstracts to be discussed in some cloistered seminary, and everything is absolute with no shades of gray. But this is the real world, and as much as you’d like it to be, it’s not always that way and every answer is not always simple. Which is why these decisions should be left up to the women, her doctor and whoever else she wishes to involve. They should not be up to politicians and certainly should not be made by any church. 

  • give-em-hell-mary

    Sociological data from the past 2000 years proves that the RCC oppresses women as disposal and despised incubators for its coddled pedophile priests.  I’d rather be a cherished sex object for a faithful husband than a cheated-on milk cow breeder of a priest-molested herd of calves.

     

    Since no straight man marries to practice decades of abstinence-only and childbirth remains deadly, disfiguring and bankrupting even in developed nations, contraception was, is and will always be maternal life-saving preventative health care.  No woman deserves being forced by pedophile priests to always risk obstetric bladder and bowel fistula incontinence, multiple organ failures and gestational trophoblastic cancers every time she has sex.  And most husbands cheat on and divorce women with such frequent bankrupting and disfiguring childbirth afflictions — I know many victims.  You should be grateful for contraception’s many benefits, like creating the developed world’s middle class and nearly doubling men’s lifespans by freeing them from having to slave 100 per week to support the 10-20 kids they ruefully fathered before contraception became mainstream.

  • prochoiceferret

    The normal function of the reproductive system is to reproduce.

     

    As well as to provide a pleasurable way for human beings to have intimate physical contact. That’s one thing that sets us humans apart from much of the animal kingdom, after all.

     

    Contraception stops it from functioning “normally”.

     

    Only if you’re doing it wrong. This is why we support comprehensive sex ed.

     

    If you prefer, I could use other words like “fulfill its function” or something else.  Surely you can see the point?

     

    Yes, you don’t like sex. Have you considered the possibility that you may be asexual?

     

    How would you combat the arguement that contraception gives males a tool with which they can use females sexually and have no regard or responsibility toward them?

     

    Easily—we’ll just have a law that says that males can’t do anything sexual with a woman, contraception or no contraception, unless she consents to it. We’ll make up a word to describe the act of breaking this law, something nice and short, like, say, “rape” (short for “Really Asshole-ish Penis Excursion”). So any man who uses a woman sexually in a way she doesn’t want will be a criminal, and will go to JAIL. How’s that for combat?

  • prochoiceferret

    Do women really prefer contraception, that barrier in their relationship (condoms or otherwise) with their spouse? Do women really want the “freedom” to have their relationships without the “danger” of “consequences”?

     

    If they don’t want to become pregnant, then YES!

     

    Let us for a moment assume that that indeed is the definition of freedom and liberty for women. What do you then expect the attitude of men that participate in that relationship to be – committed? involved? strong? close?

     

    Well, that depends on the man in question, doesn’t it?

     

    I could go on. When there is nothing to lose, do men really stay committed?

     

    Does “nothing” include a loving, committed, long-term relationship?

     

    When you don’t give the relationship that chance to become ever more close – does one really have to be surprised when it fails.

     

    About as surprised as when it fails after lots of “chances” to “become ever more close,” whether that second phrase refers to having sex, or having kids.

     

    Sure, you can point to your own marriages, and examples of friends whose marriages have succeeded. Sure every one of them used pills and contraceptives. Lots and lots of them. That disproves all of my raving nonsense – doesn’t it? Ask yourself this question in your hearts – are those relationships really that solid. Are they as ideal as they can be? Are they really as happy as they seem to be? Is your husband as close to you as you expect him to be?

     

    You know… the only thing sadder than you questioning the health of the relationships of people you don’t know and have never met, is that you seem to think that having unprotected sex even when they don’t want to have another child will somehow make their relationships better.

     

    So you say – no one can ever have that happy a marriage, it is all utopian, a complete fiction. That is where, my friends, those of you that believe in Jesus Christ, our Savior, need to stop and think about this really hard. That’s where the strength of your belief in our Lord and Savior makes all the difference. I could go on, but it is late.

     

    No need, I’ll summarize it for you: “Ignorance is bliss.”

  • give-em-hell-mary

    Something tells me that tj is OK with rape, but not consensual sex.

  • give-em-hell-mary

    Anyone with sense and grace would reject your mother-killing, child-raping genocide heresy cult, especially Christ himself who never said a bad word about the respected mid-wives/abortionists and their contraceptive herbs relied on by his followers.  If you really believed your own holy crapola, not only would you be attending “baby” tampon funerals 24/7, you’d also be slamming abortifacient coffee, tea, soy, ginger, red clover, Mexican yams and yuccas (which inspired the pill), tobacco and consecrated wine at Mass.   Your cult changes the sex rules all the time and counts on generational and century amnesia to get away with its Orwellian re-writes.  Your cult used to ban all marital sex on Sundays, Fridays, holy days and after menopause.  All birth defects were blamed on Sunday sex.  The RCC briefly banned marriages between 5th and 6th cousins to steal children’s properties, but that fiasco prevented nearly everyone from marrying anyone.  Contraception got banned to benefit pedophiles and wife-haters who couldn’t get annulments.  You don’t know your cult history.

  • colleen

    The men of the religious right regard the distinction between consensual sex and rape as petty quibbling.

     

  • give-em-hell-mary

    Fool, are you anonymous because you are a convicted pedophile priest? — enquiring scorned women want to know.  I’ll bet you support gun rights and our Treasury-looting Defense budget for “self-defense” reasons, even though both industries have been exposed as wastefully enriching corporate CEOs.  On the other hand, abortion, contraception and sterilization have been proven throughout human history as immediate self-defense for all women who would otherwise suffer fatal or divorce-causing grisly injuries and diseases.  No woman deserves the deadly autoimmune diseases, organ failures, paralysis, strokes, cancers and incontinence that fetuses inflict, and you’d never tolerate such damages yourself.  If your life, looks and love life were threatened by a tumor that turned out to be an in-utero-absorbed twin, you’d have that threatening twin removed (aborted!) immediately as self-defense.

     

    And since Christ never lectured on or commanded the Cana bride to avoid any of the Creator’s nearly 500 plant-based abortifacients (many are in your kitchen!), including the abortifacient miracle wine he served directly to the Cana bride, we can conclude that he isn’t in agreement with your unchristian attacks on our equal right to life.  You certainly aren’t “in Christ”, so get off your mother-killing high horse, Fool.

  • tj

    Your conjectures are going way beyond what I am saying; please interact with rational points.  Thanks!

     

    Large numbers of women express that they feel their full dignity is not adequately appreciated (e.g. the respondents above).  How will these righful concerns of women be addressed by giving men the tools to allow them to use women to get thier rocks off and walk away?  Your acerbic arguments about rape do not address the facts that women do consent to relationships that are harmful to them because they desire intimacy, respect, and love.  They do not get these things from men who want to use them as objects.

     

    We were discussing the reproductive system as it is a matter of health care law, not a comprehensive discussion of all its emotional aspects.  Can anyone interact rationally here?

     

    Thanks!

  • jennifer-starr

    Yes, our full dignity is not appreciated because a man is not is not going to use us as a walking incubator.  Give me a fucking break.  Has it ever occured to you that not every woman wants a baby just because she has sex? 

  • prochoiceferret

    Large numbers of women express that they feel their full dignity is not adequately appreciated (e.g. the respondents above).  How will these righful concerns of women be addressed by giving men the tools to allow them to use women to get thier rocks off and walk away?

     

    Perhaps they can be addressed by vociferously calling out misogyny whenever we see it, especially when it threatens the health and lives of women. As for contraception, that still addresses the rightful reproductive-health concerns of women, so it’s good.

     

    We were discussing the reproductive system as it is a matter of health care law, not a comprehensive discussion of all its emotional aspects.  Can anyone interact rationally here?

     

    Yes, as soon as you recognize that normal sexual functioning is part of what the reproductive system does.

  • give-em-hell-mary

    All of the men I know who remain really committed to their spouses are married to women sensible enough to use reliable contraception to keep their looks, health and financial security.

     

    All of the miserably dysfunctional couples I know had unwanted kids who destroyed their mothers’ looks and health.  If those kids were also disabled, the families became bankrupt with medical expenses.  If the couples were also “pious” Catholics, the husbands were cheating like crazy and shopping for annulments.  Conservative Catholics make the nastiest husbands.  Wife-killer and adulterer Eric Prince, rapist and polygamist Deal Hudson and wife-dumper Newt Gingrich are prime examples of pious playboys who cheat on their pregnancy-disfigured brood mares.  I’ll bet “Catholic” Call-girl-ista “Gingrich” doesn’t rely on fraudulent NFP to remain blissfully child-free after nearly 20 years of adultery and legal polygamy with Newt, who no doubt converted for the fascism and hypocrisy opportunities.

  • tj

    Where did I say that sex is exclusively for producing a baby?  Please quote.  Thanks!

    I understand: you don’t want to be a “walking incubator”.  True enough.  Do you want to be a walking sperm dumpster?  Will you not acknowledge that in our society, there is a propensity to treat women as objects for use?  Do you deny that sex has any corresponding responsibility at all?

    Whether contraception “addresses the rightful reproductive-health concerns of women” is the point in question when we can avoid the rants and name calling.

    This statement is a tautology:  “Yes, as soon as you recognize that normal sexual functioning is part of what the reproductive system does.” 

     

    Thanks for your time!

     

  • jennifer-starr

    I understand: you don’t want to be a “walking incubator”.  True enough.  Do you want to be a walking sperm dumpster?  Will you not acknowledge that in our society, there is a propensity to treat women as objects for use?  


    Again with the mischaracterization of women who use birth control, which is the majority. Think of ten women you know, TJ–about 9 of  them have used contraception. This is not my opinion, but a fact.  

    Do you deny that sex has any corresponding responsibility at all?


    And using birth control when you don’t wish to have a baby is responsible. For both married and unmarried people.  Are you saying that it’s not?  

     

    You got very defensive, TJ, when someone brought up Catholicism, but the idea that you seem to be pushing –that every sex act must be ‘open to life’ BS is almost exclusively Catholic. 

  • leemd

    What if the Newlands, owners of Hercules Air Conditioning, were Christian Scientists, believing that any medical condition can be healed through prayer?  Would the Colorado Court give the Newlands the right to have no health insurance coverage for their employees, since medical care is a violation of their religious principles?

  • ananonymousfool

    Repeating my response from another thread …

    Yeah – what about it?

    Sure an employer can choose for NO Medical health insurance. This might be news to you, but Health Insurance isn’t a right. Neither is Long term diability coverage, Life insurance, 401K, Vision coverage, dental coverage, Supplementary Health Insurance, Long Term Care Insurnce, Employee Stock Purchase Plans, Stock Options, Free Coffee, Free parking, etc. etc. etc. None of these are in the bill of rights or enshrined in the consitution. Health Insurance as a concept is a 20th century innovation!

    This is a capitalistic, free market based economy. An employee has the right to decide where they work. They can’t dictate the terms of that employment. The employer has a right to offer what they wish in terms of benefits. They can’t force any employee to remain there. If the employer is finding it difficult to run the business because she isn’t providing “adequate” benefits and can’t hire good employees – then she runs out of business. Period. The government has no business telling the employer what they should or should not offer as benefits. Absolutely none. 

    Chief Justice Burger’s words “. . . only those interests of the highest order and those not otherwise served can overbalance legitimate claims to the free exercise of religion.”

    Note Justice Burger’s words on this front – those interests that cannot otherwise be served … 

    Are you saying that the 2 Billion dollars in Title X (2010 numbers, source: Guttmacher institute), every corner drug store, most public rest rooms, most 7-11s, grocery stores, gas stations … in other words, the absolutely widespread, inexpensive availability of contraceptives is somehow an interest that is NOT “otherwise being served”. 

    Also you are, of course, I might add mistakenly, depending on what you believe to be the lynchpin of your argument – Justice Scalia’s words in Employment Div v. Smith. Here are his words for reference:

    It may fairly be said that leaving accommodation to the political process will place at a relative disadvantage those religious practices that are not widely engaged in; but that unavoidable consequence of democratic government must be preferred to a system in which each conscience is a law unto itself or in which judges weigh the social importance of all laws against the centrality of all religious beliefs. (underlines and emphasis, mine)

    The HHS Mandate supporters have gleefully proclaimed the words of Scalia as the ultimate weapon against the various suits brought against it. And they will be sadly mistaken. Pay attention to his words. Yes, he has always maintained that “leaving accomodation to the political process” is better than the anarchy that will result from “each conscience is a law unto itself” . But, note the other phrase I underlined – “not widely engaged in“. The government has given 190 million people and myriad organizations (religious and otherwise) exemptions throwing out their own defense based on “compelling interest”. The “law” itself was never passed by a political process and is the result of pure fiat. Finally, this isn’t a case of any single conscience creating a law unto itself. There are 58 plaintiffs in 24 cases across spectrum – probably the largest set of suits in the history of the United States against any one issue. That ought to give some indication of the number of people that are collectively and conscientiously objecting to this unconstitutional mandate. 

    Between the precedent set by Burger’s words and the true import of Scalia’s words – this Mandate has the same chance of surviving as the legendary snowball in hell. 

     

    In Christ

    An Anonymous Fool

  • give-em-hell-mary

    I can just see you criminally charging Christ with “stealing” from your for-profit medical business with his free-of-charge miracle cures of the “undeserving sinful” poor!

  • cc

    “Are you saying that the 2 Billion dollars in Title X (2010 numbers, source: Guttmacher institute), every corner drug store, most public rest rooms, most 7-11s, grocery stores, gas stations … in other words, the absolutely widespread, inexpensive availability of contraceptives is somehow an interest that is NOT “otherwise being served”

    FYI, the birth control mandate does not cover condoms. That is an outright lie being peddled by the anti-choice movement. Birth control pills are available, with a perscription, from pharmacies some of whom have nice Catholic pharmacists who refuse to fill the perscriptions. Not all women have convenient access to Planned Parenthood especially those in rural areas – and you folks are doing your best to defund PP which will cause closures of clinics now funded.  Also, IUD’s are not available at the corner store. For those women who cannot take birth control pills they are an option – but a very expensive one. Not that you care. 

    “None of these are in the bill of rights or enshrined in the consitution. Health Insurance as a concept is a 20th century innovation.” 

    Neither is NASA and the highway system. The abolition of child labor is also a 20th century innovation. I   guess, in the interests of the “free market,” you want to abolish that? We have this thing called a social compact (which Pope Leo XIII embraced, in part) which allows us to do these things, not enshrined in the Constitution, for the betterment of society. 

    “There are 58 plaintiffs in 24 cases across spectrum – probably the largest set of suits in the history of the United States against any one issue.”

    Several of these cases have already been thrown out. There are probably more plaintiffs and cases against a defective Canadian roof shingle than those against the HHS.  

    “The “law” itself was never passed by a political process and is the result of pure fiat.”

    HHS health care policy is not legislative. It is done by a process in which the government and the private sector meet and resolve issues. That was done for this policy. It’s only the bishops and the fundies who are upset.

    The fool’s religion seems to be one that has no problem with people having no health care. I guess Jesus says screw you if your nice, Christian employer decides to eliminate coverage for any number of things that he or she objects to – on a biblical basis. Just die in the streets and as long as you’re right with supply side Jesus, it’s all good.

    Should there any question as to why the enlightened rest of the world doesn’t see America as an “exceptional” country? 

  • ack

    Attempting to utilize the construct of “women as objects” is completely and utterly disingenuous. Anti-choice politicians and activists are guilty of the worst kind of objectification: the women and girls in question literally lose all of their human rights in favor of a fetus. I’m 29. If my kidneys fail, I can’t force my mother to give me one, even if I’ll die. I can’t force her to give blood. Yet you want me to donate my body to a fetus for 9 months of gestation, followed by literally the worst pain a human can experience. I’ll risk breaking pelvic bones. I’ll risk hemorraghe. I’ll risk death.

     

    Talking about “walking sperm dumpsters” is simply a coopt of language anti-rape campaigns have been using for years. The use of the term is dispicable because men assign it to both consenting and non-consenting women in real life. The fact that you’re willing to assign it to women who have consensual sex in your “ab-only fantasy land” quite frankly ranks you with “Well, it’s their fault for having a vagina.”

     

    I can 100% guarantee that my compassionate partner doesn’t see me that way. Neither do the others. Yes, I’ve had several commited, sexual realtionships and I know that’s going to BLOW YOUR MIND but it’s the reality of the vast majority of women in this country.

    So honestly, check your facts. And while you’re busy checking in with the real world, respectfully talk to some women outside your social circle who have actually had consensual sex outside of marriage. 90% of us do (GASP! Including women in your social circle who can’t say anything because the environment is too hostile!). Chances are, a lot of women who you think were virgins when married weren’t.

    I don’t generally get this hostile. But as a sexual assualt survivor and a woman who has used contraception in consensual relationships, you really need to defer to the people involved instead of judging from afar. Women as cum dumpsters? I’ve heard it before, from 21 year old frat boys who didn’t know any better. We can teach them about relationships with women.

     

    What’s your excuse?

     

     

     

  • ack

    Attempting to utilize the construct of “women as objects” is completely and utterly disingenuous. Anti-choice politicians and activists are guilty of the worst kind of objectification: the women and girls in question literally lose all of their human rights in favor of a fetus. I’m 29. If my kidneys fail, I can’t force my mother to give me one, even if I’ll die. I can’t force her to give blood. Yet you want me to donate my body to a fetus for 9 months of gestation, followed by literally the worst pain a human can experience. I’ll risk breaking pelvic bones. I’ll risk hemorraghe. I’ll risk death.

     

    Talking about “walking sperm dumpsters” is simply a coopt of language anti-rape campaigns have been using for years. The use of the term is dispicable because men assign it to both consenting and non-consenting women in real life. The fact that you’re willing to assign it to women who have consensual sex in your “ab-only fantasy land” quite frankly ranks you with “Well, it’s their fault for having a vagina.”

     

    I can 100% guarantee that my compassionate partner doesn’t see me that way. Neither do the others. Yes, I’ve had several commited, sexual realtionships and I know that’s going to BLOW YOUR MIND but it’s the reality of the vast majority of women in this country.

    So honestly, check your facts. And while you’re busy checking in with the real world, respectfully talk to some women outside your social circle who have actually had consensual sex outside of marriage. 90% of us do (GASP! Including women in your social circle who can’t say anything because the environment is too hostile!). Chances are, a lot of women who you think were virgins when married weren’t.

    I don’t generally get this hostile. But as a sexual assualt survivor and a woman who has used contraception in consensual relationships, you really need to defer to the people involved instead of judging from afar. Women as cum dumpsters? I’ve heard it before, from 21 year old frat boys who didn’t know any better. We can teach them about relationships with women.

     

    What’s your excuse?

     

     

     

  • ack

     I can’t, with that in mind, possibly have a low opinion of anyone – men or women. My point though is that contraception, abortion, abortifacients and sterilization impede the development of that beautiful relationship in union with Christ that is possible.

     

    Quite frankly, you’ve clearly demonstrated your opinion of both women and men. It’s not pretty. In your view, men are often, but certainly not always, animals incapable of meaningful relationships, and in your view, women who have sex outside of marriage, or even those who use contraception within marriage, are “semen dumpsters.”

     

    But many of us believe that we don’t need the promise of divine reward or punishment. We just try to be good people, and know that if we leave the world better off than when we got here, we performed well. And in the grand scheme of things, regardless of religion, family planning is a universal good supported by mountains of empirical evidence. It allows women to advance education and careers. It allows women to recover from previous births. It allows the children those women birthed better chances at health and education. And yes, it decreases abortions. It’s the ONLY way to do so.

     

    There’s a reason there’s only a handful of verses in the New Testament addressing extra-marital sex. But of all the “omg sex” and “omg contraception”…

     

    Jesus just didn’t care. He was far more interested in socioeconomic disparities. If you believe that he’s the Son of the God from the Old Testament, it’s even clearer. That’s why helping the poor is mentioned over 2000 times in the Bible. Social conservative issues are mentioned only in hotly contested passages, where the common translations have been so distorted that the best scholars on the planet disagree about the interpretation of words.

     

    Honestly, he’s a Teacher I could get behind, if his teachings weren’t used for such illogical and immoral purposes.

     

  • give-em-hell-mary

    Bravo! Bravo!  And I’ll bet fetal idolator Fool and his sock puppets are priests with sex offender records who also view already born children as “semen dumpsters”.