UPDATED: HHS Contraception Mandate Not Just About Religious Liberty
When I heard the news on Friday that the Department of Health and Human Services had refused to rescind its ‘Contraception Mandate’, I was angered but not surprised. When this was originally announced last summer, many individuals, including myself, took up the battle cry, arguing that this was a major assault on religious liberty. This has once again been the battle cry since Friday. I am very grateful for Cardinal-elect Dolan and his leadership in this matter, and we must pray that other bishops, clergy, and laity will follow his lead. In 20 months, if this Rule is not rescinded, the rubber will meet the road and we will truly see where Catholic Institutions and the Faithful stand.
However, there is another aspect to all of this that I would like to point out. This fight is more than just a fight for religious liberty. The actions of HHS and Kathleen Sebelius are not just attacks on religious liberty, but this rule is also an attack on the dignity of women and men, the promulgation of bad medicine, and the furthering of the pro-abortion agenda. First of all, contraception hurts women. What our society has forgotten is that there is a difference between using someone and loving someone, and this is particularly true in regards sexual morality. Frankly, when a couple uses some for of contraception, the sexual act is turned into something less than its full potential. The couple no longer fully give of themselves to one another, and they have frustrated the natural end of the sexual act (the procreative aspect) by deliberately altering their body in one way or another. Since the sexual act is a good for man (that can be misused of course), this frustrating of the act itself cries out against the Natural Law (you can read more on this aspect here and here.) The deliberate loss of the procreative aspect through a use of artificial contraception also changes the act from one of love to one of using one another. There is no thought of deeper unity that rises out of sexual intercourse, namely the possibility of creating new life through such a profound act. Rather the act becomes one motivated by pleasure and gratification. Women become something to be used for pleasure by the man and vice versa. This objectification arises because the deeper bond associated with sexual intercourse,( ie the family and childrearing) has been thrown out. It is fairly self evident when you look out into the world and see how more and more people treat sex as an exploit or pleasure without consequences through their one night stands and such. Are culture has glorified this attitude and now are government is trying to expand this attitude by forcing insurance companies to provide free access to birth control and abortifacients.
This is where we get into the bad medicine. The underlying attitude of Sebelius’ statement is basically pregnancy is a disease that must be prevented or eliminated. Thus we have birth control, and when that fails the Plan B abortifacient, and when that fails finally abortion. Now, first of all pregnancy is obviously NOT a disease, but this is the prevailing attitude that motivates the growing desire for more contraception and abortion. Women and men have rejected the natural function of a woman’s body in childbearing as they have rejected the natural consequence of the sexual act (procreation). So now we have our government continuing to reinforce this attitude the pregnancy is a disease. How long before we are openly seeing children being vilified? How long before a population control agenda is put in place like we see in China? Do not think I am overreacting because what do you think will happen if more and more people reject the contraception/abortion agenda and return to big families? Those who are pushing the contraception mandate will then take action towards large families and children. Moving on to more bad medicine. Hormonal contraception and abortifacients are unhealthy for women. Period. There is a ever growing body of evidence on the negative effects of contraception on a woman’s body and even her mental health. Increases in cancers, depression, infertility, blood clots, heart disease, etc. And yet, the HHS does not care, and in fact probably rejects these arguments outright. They would rather have women deal with these consequences than have children. And you know what happens when woman stop having children? Apparently healthcare costs go down, hmmm, seems like maybe because this is because there are fewer people in the health care system? Wow, what a solution. Let us eradicate disease by eradicating people. This also brings us to the fact that this is bad economic policy as well. We are on the verge (if not already there) of a demographic winter and are facing the collapse of the economic system because there are not enough workers and not enough people to buy goods. Moreover, it is the eradication of culture and us as a people by shrinking our population one generation at a time until we are overcome by another people.
There are so many more consequences of having the Federal government force insurances to provide free contraception and sterlization than simply an attack on religious liberty and consciences of so many individuals and institutions. This attitude and underlying philosophy will not only destroy religious liberty but the nation as a whole through the continued degradation of men and women, the promulgation of a dangerous drug and bad medicine, and the destruction of our economic and social future. This is very much a part of the culture of death and the pro-abortion agenda. When contraception fails, there must be a back up in abortion (recent Guttmacher Institute study showed 54% of women who had an abortion were using contraception).
As we face this next attack (which seems to be aimed specifically at Catholics) we must keep in mind that this fight is not just about religious liberty, but about re-establishing what is Good Medicine, and re-establishing the importance of intact, large families in our society.
For more on the negative effects of contraception, see this talk given my Janet Smith.
Bad Catholic has an excellent post on “Why Contraception is a Bad Idea” where he address the point from natural law in a very understandable manner.