LETTER: Church’s rigid policy unfairTo the Telegram: President Obama has already issued a proclamation that promises no government funding for abortions by the Affordable Care Act.
To the Telegram:
President Obama has already issued a proclamation that promises no government funding for abortions by the Affordable Care Act. My dictionary defines abortion as “any expulsion of a fetus before it is able to survive.” It defines a fetus as “the unborn young of any animal in its early stages” and specifically, in humans, from about the eighth week of development until birth.
There are many who favor defining a human life as “from the moment of conception.” I understand many religious people believe a fertilized egg is therefore, a human life. I also know that even the use of so-called “Plan B” after two days constitutes a sin to these people. However, I must observe that at this stage there is no nervous system to feel pain and no specific tissues unique to a developed human life. Therefore, I believe no human life has actually been ended.
By prohibiting termination of a developing egg at this early stage, we could be approving terrible suffering for a young woman victimized by rape or incest — a situation that is absolutely no fault of her own. How can we rationalize forcing a woman to carry the child of someone she doesn’t love and who stole her free will with a horrible act of violence? How in the world can we rationalize forcing her to suffer under the guise of “religious freedom?”
Like any public institution or facility, the Catholic church, which receives large amounts of government aid, should be responsible for providing adequate health insurance for its demographically diverse clients and employees. The fact that not all of them are, by any means, Catholic, or in agreement with that church’s views on contraception, requires that civil laws should trump religious ones, especially when insurance companies can pick up the cost of contraceptives. Let’s remember that during normal business cycles, many insurance companies can and do raise the amounts of their premiums for any number of financial reasons. Once the costs of contraceptives are factored in, the company will, of course, have to pay for them — just as it would for any costs or benefits that it’s customers would normally require. This involves just another day in the life of the insurance industry —independent of any church.
It’s no secret that government interests and civil laws, frequently trump the interests of established religions. For instance, Christian Scientists have been forced to provide life-saving medical treatments for their children, even though they might prefer faith healing over science. Another example is that pacifist groups like Quakers have often been force to pay taxes used to fund violent wars.
Because of the diverse backgrounds of all the people involved, a hospital, for example, is not delivering any purely religious service or instructions to the public. The pharmacies that cover their plans also do not have the right to refuse a diabetic their insulin, and shouldn’t deny a woman with ovarian cysts, the use of birth control pills to treat her condition. The real injustice in the church’s attitude lies in the fact that no Catholic of conscience has never been, nor ever will be, forced to use contraceptives. Still, a large majority of them have already decided to use them voluntarily. Non-Catholics and secular individuals are not so lucky. The church will, under its own rules, be able to force employees to leave their affordable health care plans in search of others that might cost more.
Given the reality of this situation, it is the church that is being rigid and arbitrary. Republicans have enlarged this simple issue, not because they prize moral behavior, but because they really want to win elections.
Peter W. Johnson,