Open Forum: HHS mandate
Posted: February 8, 2013
In his Open Forum of Jan. 29, Steven Lowe argues that institutions, corporations, and organizations should be forced to provide contraception as mandated under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA, or ObamaCare), even if they object on religious grounds. Before I reply to some of the points Mr. Lowe states in his letter, I would like to review some of the reasons the Catholic Church and others object to contraception use.
In 1968, Pope Paul VI issued his encyclical Humanae Vitae, which translates “On Human Life.” In that document, he explains what will happen if the use of contraception became widespread. At paragraph No. 17, he made the point that with the use of contraception men would lose the respect of women:
“It is also to be feared that the man, growing used to the employment of anticonceptive practices, may finally lose respect for the woman and, no longer caring for her physical and psychological equilibrium, may come to the point of considering her as a mere instrument of selfish enjoyment, and no longer as his respected and beloved companion.”
Pope Paul was worried, rightfully, that women would become things rather than human beings, made in the image and likeness of God, with a certain dignity that separates them from the animals. Contraception is degrading to human beings, especially women.
Mr. Lowe states that universities and hospitals affiliated with a religion will impose “on employees the religious laws of a particular religion.” This misstates the debate. The universities and hospitals are not imposing their laws. Their employees are free to use contraception if they so desire. What these institutions are objecting to is to have to pay for the contraception, which, again, goes against their religious beliefs. In fact, the federal government is trying to impose its religious “laws” on those universities and hospitals by making contraception mandatory, regardless of an institution’s view of the morality of contraception.
Lastly, Mr. Lowe states that since Catholic universities and hospitals accept those who are not Catholic then they “must comply with the laws of the public in which they exist.” Apparently, Mr. Lowe equates morality with legality. However, not all of the laws that have been enacted in our country are moral and to oppose them does not mean that one is immoral.
If the laws equate to morality, then Rosa Parks would have committed an immoral act when she did not give up her seat to the white man on that bus in Alabama in 1955. Further, those who ran the Underground Railroad that took runaway slaves to freedom would also have been committing immoral acts, since the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 required those in the North to return runaway slaves to their owners.
The ongoing debate concerning the requirements in the PPACA and the implications those requirements have on religious freedoms should give everyone concern. For if these requirements are upheld and if religious freedoms are abridged, what other rights will be diminished?
Already, we have seen attacks on the right to bear arms and the right to a free press. What other rights will go away?
David Jaswa is a resident of Stephens City.