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The Real Issue Is Whether Religion Has The Right To Control Healthcare?

I have sat by patiently as I watch this country get pulled farther and farther back into the Dark Ages.  You remember the Dark Ages?  Religion didn't understand how disease was passed on as it killed millions.  Oh, it was a powerful time for Religion.  They used fear and ignorance to build the Church stronger in a climate of sorrow and loss.

I think we are looking at his issue of “Religious Freedom” and “Religious Rights” all wrong.  The real issue should be defined as whether “ANY Religion has the right to CONTROL healthcare?”  Individuals have the right and the freedom not to use contraception or other provisions of healthcare.  The Church should not have the right to deny them that choice, that coverage outright.

As this case goes before the Supreme Court they should first make the argument that contraception and reproduction are all part of healthcare.  Then, once this argument is made, they should further make the argument that religion has no place in healthcare decision.

Many years ago I was part of a group that studied cults.  The leaders of this group were former Jehovah Witnesses who had lost children due to the Jehovah Witnesses practices against allowing members to get blood transfusions.  I think there was a lawsuit brought against the JW Church for these practices.  I don’t know that they still practice this taboo against blood transfusions.  From a medical standpoint it was very dangerous.  Many died.  

This brings me back to the Catholic Church and others who would object to medical practices on a religious ground.  Today it is contraception.  Tomorrow it could be blood transfusions.  There is no limit to what some group calling itself a religion could deny others if this case is solved in favor of religion.  How would you like it if the Church of Scientology brought suit against providing mental health services by all insurance companies?

This is the focus that those defending the Affordable Care Act should emphasize.  

Rights should be assigned to individuals.  Corporations should never have been given the right to vote in absentia and no organization has the right to take away medical decisions of individuals by denying them insurance coverage.

If this objection is allowed, it will undermine the very practice of medicine.  

Originally posted to Jack Ryan on Fri Jan 03, 2014 at 12:11 PM PST.

Also republished by Progressive Atheists.

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Comment Preferences

  •  There's a difference between (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Gooserock, bonmot, nextstep, VClib

    (1) someone else not paying for coverage for contraception; and (2) denying someone else the right to use contraception.

    If we were talking about something costing thousands and thousands of dollars a year, maybe there would be more of a connection.  But a whole lot of people BEFORE the ACA did not have contraception covered by insurance and still managed to buy it and use it.  

    This is a very serious issue, and a significant case pending before the SCOTUS, but it has to do with (1) whether the free exercise o an individual's religious beliefs are constitutionally protected and protected by RFRA when the individual is operating through his/her business; and (2) if so, what standard must Congress meet under RFRA and the Constitution to pass laws that infringe on that exercise?    

    Again, if we were talking about some medical procedure that nobody could ever afford if it were not covered, it might be a different story.  And that kind of thing factors into the standard Congress must meet to pass a law under the Commerce Clause that infringes on the free exercise of religion.  Under RFRA, Courts ask what is the interest of Congress in enacting the law, and is this the least restrictive way to accomplish that?  If you were talking about some medical procedure that people only get if they have insurance, that would make a difference.

    Sure, there are significant legal and constitutional issues about free exercise in one's business life, and Congress's ability to impinge on the free exercise of religion.  But it really is out of line, though, to paint this as some kind of medical Armageddon if the Courts rule that a small number of employers need not include contraception in the insurance that employer provides.  The employee can still get contraception.

    •  From what I can tell this particular case (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      seems to be rather complicated. The government made some kind of concession to non-profit organizations with risk retention arrangements as opposed to coverage purchased from a commercial insurance company. That seems to be mixed up with the broader issue of the constitutionality of the ACA mandate.

    •  Birth Control and Abortion Are Being Curtailed All (8+ / 0-)

      over the country in different ways. No one step is an Armageddon but collectively it's on.

      This decision will affect a lot of bottom income workers into the ranks of those who need public assistance in addition to their salaries. SOME employees could still get contraception. A negative decision is going to leave some without it who would've had it, across a population this large.

      We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

      by Gooserock on Fri Jan 03, 2014 at 12:45:40 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  The right to use contraception was settled (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        decades ago in the Griswold case.  The cases before the SCOTUS now won't do anything to change that.  

        Abortion is a bit more unsettled, because of the lack of the exact parameters of when the state has an interest in the potential life of the fetus (Roe said it was during the third trimester) and what is an "undue burden" on a woman's right to abortion.  

    •  issues about the free exercise of (5+ / 0-)


      you'd rate the free exercise of a company's XYZ as more important than their employees'  free choice of health options? Why?

      Since the Little Sisters are not being asked to pay for anything contraceptive, what business of it is theirs what their employees decide to do about procreation?  Who cares what they think?  Who damn well cares???

      and yes, it is you, coffee, as ever hostile to anything Obama does.  Worry not, he's out of office in late January 2017, hold on tight and you'll survive.  

      •  This is not the issue before the SCOTUS (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        at all:

        you'd rate the free exercise of a company's XYZ as more important than their employees'  free choice of health options? Why?
        I did not rank one against the other because that's not the issue in the case.  The issue is that Congress, based on certain policy decisions, determined that certain contraceptive coverage must be included in health insurance policies that are provided as an employee benefit to employees in certain circumstances.  The question is whether RFRA or the Free Exercise Clause allow an employer to refuse to provide certain benefits to an employee on the grounds of RFRA or the Free Exercise Clause.

        You can see the briefs of the parties in the Hobby Lobby case here.

        What I am saying is that an employer not providing contraceptive coverage  is NOT the same thing as denying an employee the right to USE contraception.  Some employers --even under the ACA -- don't provide ANY health insurance.  Are they denying their employees the right to use contraception?  Of course not.  

        It's a very serious issue, but it's not about whether an employee has a right to use contraception or make his/her own choices, because that was settled by Griswold decades ago.  The SCOTUS won't be discussing that.

        Yes, if the SCOTUS rules against the Administration here, it will be a setback, because it will limit the power of Congress somewhat in the face of claims that laws infringe on religious rights.  But it won't be a denial of the rights of women to use contraception if they so choose.  They clearly have that right -- have had it since Griswold -- and this decision won't take it away.  

        •  but if the employer provides no health care (0+ / 0-)

          then the employee can go to the exchanges.

          If health insurance is provided, even if it is crap, then you are barred from the exchanges, right?  So, if you employ people, offer them crap insurance and then you can make their lives more of a hassle by ruling out something that you (YOU) don't like and don't want covered.

          You don't like contraceptives - don't use them. Do not make life complicated for others who don't share your views and want contraceptives.

          Your behaviour here stinks, o Little Sisters.

          no comment as to coffee's thought processes.  Plainly a person with no financial worries, lucky soul!

        •  I disagree (0+ / 0-)

          I disagree with this statement

          "What I am saying is that an employer not providing contraceptive coverage  is NOT the same thing as denying an employee the right to USE contraception."

          First we must separate religious objection in a non-profit from the religious objection of a business.  This Diary is specifically speaking about the Non-profits in which the government has specifically offered an alternative for those who object on a religious basis.  An outside insurance carrier can offer contraceptive coverage for those religious institutions that object.  That brings the argument down to whether a religious organization has the right to dictate what healthcare someone who works for them may have.  This isn't about religious choice.  It is about religious domination over healthcare.

          As for Hobby Lobby I'm not impressed.  This is more about theocracy rather than democracy.  Freedom comes when individuals have a choice and they decide.  It smells like the Dark Ages, the Crusades, and the Inquisitions all over again.

          A religious objection to contraception is no different than a religious objection to blood transfusion, mental health services or any other medical need.  Religion has no right to dictate its will on the masses.  it's role is to convince its followers they shouldn't use it if it so desires.

    •  I was waiting for this (0+ / 0-)

      I was hoping someone would try this argument.  I wanted to put my answer up before the question was brought up but thought it better to wait until someone else brought it up.  

      Why wouldn't contraception be considered a medial need?  Who are you to judge it isn't essential to women?  You ever heard of Endometriosis?  I had a girlfriend years ago and she had to go on the pill to treat her severe Endometriosis.  There are other legitimate medical needs for contraception too.  Not the least of which is to prevent pregnancy.  

      Then there is the why should I help pay for someone else's birth control?  This is a claim that doesn't even understand the true nature of insurance.  Insurance covers your needs and others needs.  You many never have breast cancer if your a guy but that doesn't mean it should not be covered.  Why should a woman help pay for your Viagra or treatment for erectile dysfunction?

      That is the nature of insurance to spread cost and coverage across many needs and protect everyone.  Just because I don't have some genetically inherited disease doesn't mean it shouldn't be covered.

      As for the cost being minor for contraception that is a statement spoken out of ignorance.  Birth control pills can cost $150-200 per month or more.  And this cost can be significant relative to the income of some.  For the working poor it may be a much larger portion of income.  

      In summation "your not paying for someone else's contraception"  We are all collectively providing coverage to treat medial needs.  If you have a religious objection you don't have to get the contraceptives yourself but you  have NO RIGHT to deny someone else coverage for their medial needs based on your religious beliefs.  No more than Jehovah Witnesses have the right to eliminate blood transfusions or followers of Scientology prevent psychiatric coverage from insurance.  

      You don't hear men objecting to insurance covering Viagra do you?

      Once again reproductive health and contraceptives are as medically valid as Viagra and Erectile Dis function.  But the risk to a woman's health is a lot more significant than if a guy can't get an erection.

      Nice try though.  Too wordy and legalistic a response though without much point.

      Thanks for giving me the opportunity to dispel the notion that your actually paying for someone else's contraceptives rather than contributing to an insurance program that covers everyone's needs, not just your erection.
    •  Why do you think... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Jack Ryan

      this is limited to contraception?  I see no reason why such a ruling wouldn't allow Jehovah's Witnesses to object to coverage of blood transfusions, or Scientologists to object to coverage of psychiatric care. For that matter, why wouldn't an employer be able to claim the right to pre-approval of medical treatment of employees?

  •  My husband made this point the other (9+ / 0-)

    day. He said, "It's about health care, not religion!"

    "The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. Now do you begin to understand me?" ~Orwell, "1984"

    by Lily O Lady on Fri Jan 03, 2014 at 12:39:43 PM PST

  •  When It's About Outsiders and the General Market (6+ / 0-)

    they have no right to force people to practice their religion.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Fri Jan 03, 2014 at 12:46:36 PM PST

  •  Since When Does "Religious Liberty" (4+ / 0-)

    ...mean the liberty to force your employees to conform to your religious beliefs?

  •  The problem is the hypocrisy of the various (0+ / 0-)

    religious ideologies who use the 1st amendment to mean that the state can't interfere with with them but they are free to mess with the state a much as they want.  

    The gov. has the right to interfere with them as much as it wants as long as the result isn't to disestablish that religion, but they won't from fear of the gnashing and wailing that might result.

    Our gov is much too reluctant to cut faith based groups who practice politics off at the knees and take away their tax exempt status.

    The MSM cowers before the larger religious sects and will not call out their hypocrisy.

    This cowardess on the part of politicians, news media and even the public has allowed a minority of the population to dictate how laws are interpreted to their betterment, to further their control over others even when it means denying others the right to act in ways consistence with their minority or at least less PR activist faith or lack of faith.

    In other words the lay establishment and government have allowed a minority of the population to deny Constitutional freedoms, rights and equality because  - faith.

    It really is past time for the media and society's leaders to call out the hypocrisy and and give us our equality back.

  •  This objection, if allowed... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Jack Ryan

    will undermine the rule of law.  Religious objections nee not be limited to contraception or even Health care. Kent Hovind is in prison right now because his claim that everything he earned belonged to god led him to not pay taxes.  Others have argued their religious beliefs ought allow them to withhold critical medical treatment from their children.  Aside from such crazy beliefs, people could claim any objection to just about any law.  I see this as a threat to civilized society.

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