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Guest Column: Contraceptive mandate benefits nation

Published: Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Updated: Wednesday, July 25, 2012 22:07

The new Health and Human Services contraceptive mandate is an excellent piece of legislation. Considering the state of our economy, adding more poverty-stricken, unprepared or simply unwanted pregnancies to the mix would further cripple our nation.

Neither the Catholic Church nor any other church should have any input on what is made into law unless it explicitly infringes on freedom of religion as guaranteed by the establishment clause of the First Amendment.

As taxpaying citizens, would we rather pay for an increase in the number of children sent into the foster care system or for contraceptive options for women who want them? Babies are expensive; contraceptives are cheap.

Each year, 750,000 teens between ages 15 and 19 become pregnant. We cannot ignore this problem. Abstinence is an effective way to completely prevent pregnancy. However, nearly 13 percent of teens in the U.S. are sexually active by age 15. Wouldn't the money that goes toward placing these children in the foster care system be better spent educating young people? How about toward reducing our national debt? Paying for a woman's contraceptive method is far cheaper than paying for the cost of an unintended or unwanted pregnancy.

Lack of contraception coverage can cause an increase in fees across the board as a healthcare provider must allocate more funds for resulting pregnancies. Simply offering contraceptive options to employees lowers costs. The "Blunt Amendment" is a regressive piece of legislation intended to restrict access to contraceptives for female employees of religiously-affiliated employers by allowing employers to deny health services they morally object to. Just because a woman is employed by a religiously-affiliated establishment does not necessarily mean she shares the employer's religious beliefs. No employer should be able to force their religious beliefs on their employees.  An employee should not be denied basic health care coverage because of her employer's beliefs.

In fact, "data shows that 98 percent of sexually experienced women of child-bearing age and who identify themselves as Catholic have used a method of contraception other than natural family planning at some point in their lives," according to the Washington Post.

Birth control is not only taken to prevent unwanted pregnancy, but also utilized to improve women's overall health. Birth control is prescribed to treat ovarian cysts, to reduce the risk of endometrial and ovarian cancers and to treat a myriad of other health concerns. Women should not have to explain to their employers their need for coverage of birth control in order to acquire the medicine prescribed by their doctors.

When it comes to freedom of religion, nobody is forcing women who have religious objections to use contraceptives. The Health and Human Services contraceptive mandate merely prevents a Catholic hospital from denying its doctors, nurses, anesthesiologists and all employees of other religions access to free contraceptives. This is the issue in this debate: the rights of a woman and her doctor to choose what is best, rather than having religious officials choose for her.

Athena Mason is a junior biology major.

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2 comments Log in to Comment

Thu Mar 8 2012 13:32
"An employee should not be denied basic health care coverage because of her employer's beliefs." Birth control is not basic health care. There is nothing basic or healthy about rendering a properly functioning system within your body utterly useless. You wouldn't take a medicine to cause your circulatory system to shut down. That would be illogical and unhealthy. Likewise, your reproductive system works exactly as it should. It may have become socially acceptable to damage one's reproductive system temporarily, even permanently, but it is in no way logical, healthy, or beneficial to one's basic physical, emotional, or psychological health. It is not basic health care to use artificial means to stop ovulation from occuring on a monthly cycle as it naturally does. Nor is it basic health care for a mother to terminate the life created within her when the birth control "fails" to prevent ovulation. The birth control pill is an abortifacient; meaning it doesn't simply "prevent unwanted pregnancy." When pregnancy occurs, the pill is designed to prevent implantation of the fertilized egg in the uterine wall, thus resulting in an early term abortion. Because of the pill's abortifacient nature, a woman (with Catholic held beliefs) using the pill to treat other health concerns would need to abstain from all sexual intercourse while on the pill in order to prevent contraception, or worse, the early term abortion of her unborn child. However, if this really is about healthcare, why on earth would a woman want to use birth control anyway, instead of the numerous alternative treatments that exist for her health concerns? Birth control, while marketed as a cure-all, increases a woman's chance of developing breast cancer. Unfortunately women are duped, duped by their doctors into taking birth control to treat their symptoms instead of being offered alternatives to help heal them; and all because their doctors are getting paid more money by pharmaceutical companies to market these drugs to their patients. Women need to take a step back and realize that in trying to procure what they believe is basic health care, they are being taken advantage of and wronged, all because of greed.

Furthermore, "her employer" is a United States citizen as well; guaranteed certain unalienable rights; one of these being the free practice of religion. "Neither the Catholic Church nor any other church should have any input on what is made into law unless it explicitly infringes on freedom of religion as guaranteed by the establishment clause of the First Amendment." This mandate absolutely "explicitly infringes on freedom of religion." A Catholic who is in commmunion with the Church holds the belief that abortions, sterilizations, and contraceptive use for the purpose of preventing pregnancy are morally objectionable. It is against one's free practice of religion to be forced to pay for these "services" for others when these services are in direct contrast with their religious beliefs. Freedom of religion cannot be limited to freedom of worship. Religion is not simply what goes on behind the closed doors of one's church; religion should inform every aspect of one's life. In standing by one's beliefs and in openly practicing one's faith, a Catholic employer is in no way violating the unalienable rights of another human being. Again, birth control is not basic health care; birth control is not an unlienable right.

Thu Mar 8 2012 13:01
Your comment babies are expensive and contraceptives are cheap is incredibly self-centered. Tell that to the next child you see, sorry you're just too expensive I would rather pay for medication that prevents you from being born. Or next time you see a teen mom are you going to look at her precious child with disgust thinking you are such and expense and waste on our economy? I find your comment completely offensive. I have relatives who were adopted who more than likely they came from unintended pregnancies. But I don't see them as too expensive or a waste and neither does any parent who can't have children for one reason or another. Look outside of yourself there is a whole world of people, babies, who deserve love and not to be told they are too expensive.
Look ABSTINENCE is the answer! Yes actual self-control over your body and your emotions and desires may be harder than just popping a pill. I'm sorry that abstinence is too hard for you and you'd rather opt for the easy way out. The pill does not solve the underlying issue. For one yes I agree with you that we should all be better educated about sex and such but that kind of education is not the business of the government. That education is natural and FREE, not expensive at all, and should come from the home. That is a responsibility that the family has. Unfortunately many families do not uphold these basic responsibilities and educating your children on virtue, chastity, and morals requires discipline and true love for your family.
The issue is that because of the pill women are being used, women are being told that their fertility isn't natural that it's a bad thing. Fertility is the only natural function of our bodies being attacked like this. Our beautiful gift to be able to bring life in this world is being marred and defaced by contraception. Contraception tells us that there is something wrong with us because we are fertile and babies are a "consequence" of sex. Because of contraception men and women have the mentality they can have sex for their pleasure whenever they want and as long as she's on the pill there are no consequences. Well what about emotions? What about the commitment that sex is supposed to mean? This just makes sex a completely selfish act rather than an act of love. This carelessly having sex because you have a contraceptive to prevent pregnancy leads people to being okay with having affairs. Think about it...if contraceptives of any sort didn't exist do you think people would still be having so many affairs and cheating on their spouses? Contraceptives make sex outside of marriage seem like it's safe and has no real consequences(no one will find out). Thus we have a disintegration of marriage and families due to unfaithful spouses. If you think contraceptive fixes this issue you need to look at the facts, look at history, look at the trends since this pill was first introduced on the market. It doesn't solve anything it creates more problems. My question is...why is abstinence "too" hard? Why is it too hard to ask and encourage people to remain abstinent until marriage? Why is it too hard to ask people be responsible? Why do people have sex outside of marriage, why do young teens think they need to be having sex now? Why not abstinence?

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