The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has distributed a letter to 108 parishes. The letter instructs Catholics how to file a written objection to an insurance law that requires health insurance companies to include birth control as preventative care. However, polls show that most Catholics are using birth control, despite the teachings of the Catholic Church.
A health reform law was passed in August of 2011 that requires all health insurance companies to cover the cost of birth control (without charging women copays, deductibles, or other fees). Birth control has officially been added to the category of preventative medicine. It includes all forms of birth control that have been approved by the Food and Drug Administration.
A previous health care law requires all health insurers to cover everything that has been defined as preventative medicine. In addition to birth control, this category includes things like mammograms, colonoscopies, childhood immunizations, and much more.
Recently, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops sent letters to 108 parishes. These letters were to be distributed to the people who attended mass.
The letters describe why the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops are opposed to the insurance law that requires insurers to cover the entire cost of birth control, without charging the patients for copays or other fees. It also gave instructions that showed Catholics how to file a written objection to this health reform law on the bishop’s website.
Primarily, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops objects to this law because the Catholic Church does not approve of the use of contraception. The church feels that the use of birth control separates sex from the possibility of procreation. Therefore, the church feels that Catholics should not be using birth control.
Another problem is that the law includes Plan B, which is a form of birth control that is to be taken the “day after” a woman has sex. The Catholic Church believes that pregnancy begins at conception, and that Plan B causes abortions.
The Food and Drug Administration has identified Plan B as birth control, which is why it has been included as preventative care. Perhaps the bishops are confusing Plan B with RU-486, which does cause an abortion to occur, (and which is not included as preventative care).
The bishops also feel that people who purchase health insurance should not have to pay for services that they have a moral objection to. They don’t want Catholics to have the money that they pay for their health insurance premiums to be used to pay for birth control at all.
Another objection has to do with employer sponsored health insurance. The Catholic Church is acting like an employer through Catholic Charities and Catholic hospitals. The bishops do not want to have to offer their employees health insurance coverage for medical practices that the Catholic Church, (the employer), feels is morally objectionable. The bishops feel that the conscience clause that is included in the law, (which exempts some religious institutions), is too narrow, and want it to be made wider.
Interestingly, polls show that 80% of Catholics are using birth control, despite what the Catholic Church teaches. The bishops are asking that 80% to fight against a health insurance law that they would personally benefit from.
Image by K Sandberg on Flickr