Church of the Holy Contraception

Contraception has evolved from an optional luxury to a moral societal imperative that must be mandated.


Are you sick and tired of these moralizing moralizers imposing their morality on the rest of us? I know I am.

Though it's commonly said that social conservatives would force us to live under theocratic rule if they could, these days the group most successful in imposing its worldview on others happens to be called the Democratic Party.

Just ask more than 40 Catholic organizations—the Catholic University of America, the University of Notre Dame, the archdioceses of New York and Washington, etc.—that filed suit against Obamacare's contraception mandate. Churches and other private institutions are impelled by government to break conscience in the name of state.

Religious freedom is, of course, limited to the interests of public health, but because contraception is relatively cheap, available in five minutes wherever you happen to be standing at this moment and covered by nearly every insurance plan, the only reason the administration mandates contraception is to coerce everyone to abide by left-wing orthodoxy.

At some point, contraception was transformed from a—and I hope my Catholic friends will excuse the wording—godsend to those wanting to avoid unwanted pregnancy to a "public health" concern to a moral societal imperative that must be mandated, lest we abandon our daughters, science, decency, "choice" and freedom.

Vice President Joe Biden once claimed that this debate is about "the right of women to decide for themselves, whether or not they want to use contraception"—but not, you should note, allowing women to decide what kind of health insurance they can buy.

How does coercion become "choice"? I ran across a headline on the website of the left-wing think tank ThinkProgress that illustrates the awkward logic of this assertion: "Missouri Legislature Approves Bill Allowing Employers To Deny Access To Birth Control."

What could this possibly mean? Are these dastardly priests, archbishops and nuns forming a human blockade in front of the doors of St. Louis area pharmacies, denying men and women their "right" to purchase condoms? Does one deny access by failing to supply that something to another person? But let's transpose this logic to other areas of government that already exist.

We don't need a "State Legislature To Approve a Bill Allowing Employers To Deny Access to iPads" or a "State Legislature To Approve a Bill Allowing Employers To Deny Access to Cupcakes." For the most part, legislators are reacting to intrusions from the federal government. They aren't denying anything to anyone. (By the way, the correct headline should have read: "Missouri Legislature Approves Bill That Doesn't Allow Employees To Force Employers To Give Them Birth Control—Not To Mention Sterilization Drugs and Abortifacients.")

Perhaps the Catholic Church, which often seems to back economic "fairness" rather than market freedom, will be more sensitive to the intrusions of the state in economic choice. This episode exhibits how economic freedom is intricately tied to all other liberties. When the state creates virtual monopolies through regulatory regimes, it also gets to decide what is moral and necessary and compels everyone to act accordingly.

And though I'm not interested in having the Catholic Church dictate the moral contours of my life, I am equally uninterested in having the Obama administration do it. And the dogmatism of the left—though not driven by God and though, culturally speaking, I may occasionally agree with it—is no less intrusive, whatever you might make of contraception.


NEXT: GOP Rep. Considers Bill to Allow Adult Children to Stay On Parents' Health Insurance Plans Until Age 31

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  1. Dammit, Dave! You *had been* trending on Twitter!

  2. You suckas got disappeared!

    1. That was pretty heavy-handed by the moderator.

      Was that you Winston?

  3. BOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!

  4. Ha ha, all your swipes at me have been eliminated! I HAVE THE POWER!

  5. That sucks.

  6. Well, after spending 10 minutes typing up a “read between the lines” version of the previous post only to have it all disappear when I hit the submit button, I guarantee that not only will I never venture a comment on one of Mr Harsanyi’s articles, I won’t even bother to read them.

    1. It was for the best. Your whole post assumed that all Christians or “churchgoers” have some issue with contraception. Only Catholics do and most of them just ignore the issue anyway.

      1. Nope. My post broke down the minimalist article line by line and expanded on what the main point really was. It actually had very little to do with the church at all.

  7. So women should be able to choose to have a baby or abortion,have sex and have someone els pay for the birth control and have a man pay support if they have a child.Yeah,sounds like a war on women

    1. explain how “someone else” pays for a woman’s birth control when she pays insurance premiums. pls show ur work

      1. Government mandate = higher insurance rates = “someone else” pays for a woman’s birth control = fuck off slaver Q.E.D.

        1. so everyone is paying for “someone else”? got it thx

      2. If she’s paying the premiums, she’s not getting it from the Catholic Church. QED

        1. georgetown is jesuit. fluke pays premiums

          1. The problem is that she doesn’t pay all of her premiums; she shares that burden with her employer. If she had her own insurance, this wouldn’t be a problem.

            If I were the employer in this case, I would do the following (which I think is an acceptable compromise):

            1. Inform the employee of how much money I’d be willing to put towards their insurance plan.

            2. Give them at least one option of an insurance plan.

            3. Inform them that, if they want additional service or coverage, they are free to negotiate with the insurer individually, and pay whatever additional premiums come with that.

            A lot of people don’t know it, but point 3 is really an option for most people. However, additional coverage will be more expensive relative to the existing coverage. This is because you aren’t able to take advantage of the employer negotiated rates.

            1. ^^ This. If Fluke wants contraception coverage, go buy it herself.

      3. Ignoring for the moment the fact that if she is actually paying the premiums it defacto means the insurance is not provided through her employer you have to look at what Insurance is doing.

        In the instance of Birth Control it is not an insurable “event” in the traditional meaning of insurance. There are no risks to mitigate and it’s use is a matter of choice and it’s need is in theory perpetual.

        Therefore since it is not insurable that means in the case of Birth Control the “Insurance” is acting as a group purchasing plan. However if birth control coverage is a mandatory feature of insurance as a result of government fiat that means that even those who do not need it and will never use it must pay for access to the group payment plan. This has the effect of making the product cheaper for those who use it at the cost of requiring others to pay for a product they do not need and will never use.

        Therefore regardless of whether she has private insurance or employer provided insurance mandating contraceptives be covered is forcing Men, the elderly, those who have been sterilized, and others to pay for a portion of the birth control of others.

        Were Birth Control not mandated then certainly Insurance companies could offer to cover it as a rider, and with the group purchasing power could probably offer it cheaper than buying it over the counter, however the woman in question would be paying the full cost of it one way or the other.

        1. QED Mandating Birth Control coverage be provided with all health insurance policies is requiring someone else to pay for at least a portion of the cost of the birth control.

          1. So you would rather have a bunch of children on welfare? That costs more you know.

  8. We must safeguard the right to choose, which means that people should be free to choose whatever outcomes the mandarinate has foreordained for them.

  9. http://www.washingtonmonthly.c…..037510.php

    Ed Kilgore bitches about a pro-liberty, Rand Paul-backed candidate winning a Republican primary because he had the support of a Super PAC, which is unfair to the establishment Republican candidate he beat, or something. It’s kinda hard to parse an actual point from this fearmongering rant.

    1. And I posted that so I could post this. Cognitive dissonance gold from the comments section:
      “DisgustedWithItAll on May 23, 2012 10:05 AM:

      @stormskies: It wasn’t that long ago — perhaps a year — that I thought it was possible to change minds with facts and reason. I understand the economics of our situation very well and can explain it. I understand climate change very well and can explain it. I tried. I tried very, very, very hard to convince Useful Idiots of the Wingnut Cause. And it just doesn’t matter. There is nothing — and I mean NOTHING — that you can say to convince them of anything. NOTHING.

      I’ve never been more pessimistic of just basic human potential and goodness. It’s essentially to the point that I’ve give up and the last hope is that the conservative virus hasn’t infected enough people to allow Obama and his bungling team to squeak through with a victory. It’s our only hope.

      In the Fall, Democrats are not going to know what hit them when the Tea-publican machine rolls out it propaganda machine. They’ll be sitting there as dumbstruck and mouth agape as ever while they get steam-rolled. And the press plays its willful stenography and false equivalence act.

      “Corporate 1984″ is just around the corner.

      Ignorance is Strength”

      Astounding. And he can’t even get the 1984 quotes right.

      1. That’s because he hasn’t actually read it.

      2. Not that I’m a huge fan of the Reagan (if I was I’d pay my mortgage with a credit card), but he did have a few good quoteables. Like this one:

        “Well, the trouble with our liberal friends is not that they are ignorant, but that they know so much that isn’t so.”

        1. didnt reagan say that when he was a union prez?

          1. How is that relevant to the content of the statement?

            1. its relevant to ur ideology

              1. Google “ad hominem”.

                1. I’ll even link it for your stupid ass.


        2. “It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble. It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so.”

          The Mark Twain original.

    2. He also doesnt know what buying votes means.

      The KY-4th voters voted of their own choice, based on their own decisions. They werent bought. The money merely gave them information about a candidate that they otherwise wouldnt have known. Did some of it veer into propaganda? Probably, but party insiders whining because they got out maneuvered in the propaganda war is really really funny.

  10. Can we have a policy that every post Vannemen craps on can disappear?

    1. Via Alan Vanneman: Sherlock Holmes and the Giant Disappearing Posts of Sulawesi.

  11. Well, just imagine that you just read the most entertaining and insightful comment ever. ‘Cause that’s what I just wrote and had disappear.

    1. I would expect nothing less from the inimitable Zeb.

  12. That picture, it was the Olympic symbol for the Salt Lake City games, right?

  13. It would have been a better metaphor if this article had been about erectile dysfunction drugs, considering how it magically grew in size.

  14. Could somebody explain most of the comments, because I didn’t understand what they were referring to. Thank you!

    1. There was a comment thread when only the summary of the article was up. It was wiped-out when the full article was posted.

      1. You all had to rebuild all your snark from scratch? Bummer!

  15. Missouri Legislature Approves Bill Allowing Employers To Deny Access To Birth Control

    That’s kind of the bitch of having an employer-provided insurance plan. The EMPLOYER determines the plan, not the employee.

    However, if you’re that deadset on getting orthotricyclen, toddle on down to your local pharmacy and buy some.

    1. Why does the media keep up the meme about “denying access”? No one is denying anyone access to anything. The only “denying” going on is an employer “denying” to purchase an employee a service.

    2. employment is a contract where both parties can decide whether the terms offered/demanded by the other side are acceptable or not when they enter into the contract.

  16. I have no problem with churches doing whatever they want with their own money, i.e., money that was donated to them by their members. That includes making religious affiliation or compliance with religious conduct rules a condition of employment. I also think Obamacare is a bad idea.

    However, the “religious” organizations we are talking about here often receive large amounts of public funding, and/or they operate as businesses. Any organization that receives public funds should comply with the non-establishment clause and operate in a religiously neutral way. And any organization that operates a business should be held to the same rules as all other businesses. Churches have the option of giving up public funding and/or ceasing to operate businesses, or complying with the necessary rules.

    If we don’t impose these kinds of conditions, we end up giving churches an unfair advantage over regular businesses, and we end up forcing people to pay for religious organizations that they may not approve of. That is exactly the situation in some other countries, where religious organizations have essentially taken over the health care sector, have much lower costs because they are not only subsidized but also free from costly regulations, and regular businesses simply cannot compete.

    1. Or you could just exempt all employers from having to cover contraceptives in their insurance plans, or from having to provide an insurance plan in the first place, and then there’s no unequal treatment. Religiously-affiliated businesses shouldn’t get exemptions from oppressive regulation because they are religiously affiliated. The problem is the oppressive regulation.

      1. It’s not an “either/or”. The fact that Obamacare is a bad idea and intrusive government doesn’t change the fact that churches are indirectly receiving billions in federal subsidies that they are effectively using for establishing religion.

        Furthermore, the Catholic church was in favor of imposing Obamacare on others; they simply want an exemption for themselves because they don’t like some of the provisions. And if they could, they wouldn’t hesitate to use health care regulation to push their agenda on all Americans.

    2. “we end up forcing people to pay for religious organizations that they may not approve of.”

      While we’re fixing this we can also handle the other problematic areas that involve forcing people to pay for govt bullshit they don’t approve of too. I propose a more comprehensive “opt out” system than yours… where taxpayers can choose on tax day to not contribute money towards programs they don’t like and agree not to use.

      1. You’re missing the point. The principle that people in the US should not be forced to support religions they do not approve of isn’t a whim, it is constitutionally enshrined. And it is a principle that is specific to religion. We should probably end all public funding and support for church-run businesses and non-profits; but to the degree that we still give them public funds, we, the public, certainly have a right to insist that these organizations do not impose religious rules as part of their operation.

        The US government certainly has the right to make you pay for lots of other things you may not approve of and you may find morally objectionable.

    3. “Churches have the option of giving up public funding and/or ceasing to operate businesses, or complying with the necessary rules.”

      The mandate is not tied to receiving government money. The mandate applies to all employers regardless of whether they take subsidies or not, you cannot opt out of the mandate by not taking subsidies. You throwing out a red herring, there is no connection and is an easy way to tacitally approve the government’s coercion.

      1. “The mandate is not tied to receiving government money. The mandate applies to all employers regardless of whether they take subsidies or not, you cannot opt out of the mandate by not taking subsidies.”

        Religious organizations like churches and convents are exempt from the mandate. So while it is true that you cannot avoid the mandate merely by not taking public funding, you could avoid it by moving your employees to your religious organization and them have them provide the services.

        The reason we have the current situation is because churches wanted to do an end-run around the non-establishment clause by establishing subsidiaries that fall under secular law but are still controlled by the church. And now that they have created all those organizations, they want to change the rules and get religious exemptions from the rules that all other such organizations have to comply with.

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  18. When the state creates virtual monopolies through regulatory regimes, it also gets to decide what is moral and necessary and compels everyone to act accordingly.

  19. are reacting to intrusions from the federal government. They aren’t denying anything to anyone. (By the way, the correct headline should have read: “Missouri Legislature Approves Bill That Doesn’t Allow Employees To Force Employers To Give Them Birth Control –

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