I am writing this with some hesitation, but I've been thinking about it for a while and I feel like I need to say it. My biggest concern is not that I will offend people politically, but that I will come across as anti-Catholic, which I most assuredly am not. I have many Catholic friends and deep respect for the religion.
A friend posted this on Facebook. It's a story about a Catholic-owned family business who sued to get out of the aspect of health care reform requiring businesses to offer contraceptive or abortion coverage. He prefaced it as a win for the First Amendment, so of course I had to read it, since, you know, I have a thing for those 44 words.
I've gone back and forth on this contraception coverage idea. I get why strict adherents to any religion would be concerned about the government requiring them to pay for something with which they don't agree. (There may be other religions, but I've only heard the discussion with Catholics, and my understanding is that they are the most strict regarding issues like birth control.)
However, the concern I have is that this appears to be unevenly applied. Why, for example, are vasectomies covered but not birth control? The purpose is the same -- to have sex without the risk of pregnancy. Yet I have heard no discussion about vasectomies, just contraception.
Also, there is no discussion about Viagra, even though the sole purpose of sex, according to my understanding of the dogma, is procreation. Should a man need to provide proof of intention to have more children to get Viagra? It seems to me like the purpose of Viagra is sex, not children. It should probably not be covered.
For that matter, if a woman is pregnant and unmarried, should a business owner who believes that is a sin have the option to not cover the woman's prenatal coverage? Or for that child?
My problem with these arguments about contraception is that they intend to discourage women from having sex. Not people, just women. I don't think the Catholic Church is suggesting that only women are responsible if a man and a woman have sex, but the policies Catholic business owners are protesting appear to target only women's sexual behavior. And that is wrong.
I also wonder how far this argument extends. As a Mormon, I do not believe in smoking, drinking, premarital sex and drinking coffee. If I owned a business, could I refuse to provide coverage for lung cancer or cirrhosis of the liver? I would guess the answer is no.
I will repeat myself one more time: why, then, is contraception such a big issue? And why are women the only target?
* If I have misrepresented Catholic beliefs, please correct me.