Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Contraception, Catholics, and Obamacare

Rebecca Downs - 8 February 2012

It is no secret that Obama’s health care plan, known as Obamacare, has been a source for heavy debate all across the political spectrum. Whether you consider it a major victory for the belief that health care is a right, or consider it widely unconstitutional, you know it’s there. But with a bill that was over one thousand pages long, controversies and debate are not far off. Do we know what we should about it? Are we going to educate ourselves as to why it’s wrong for America as voters and patients, or are we just going to allow ourselves to remain ignorant?

Since its passing in Congress nearly two years ago, Obamacare has been featured several times in the news, and not all for positive reasons. The issue of taxes funding abortions with regards to the Hyde Amendment and similar conscience clauses have been a recurring theme, which is perhaps most noteworthy regards plans for the Supreme Court to review the constitutionality of Obamacare. If the president wished to get his agenda out there, he has pretty much done so. He has certainly made his legacy, but one that may prove to be the last legacy he will ever have. For when your administration tells religious groups “There is not a debate” and “The decision has been made” it shows that you care more about your own political agenda, at any cost. The presidential inauguration involves an oath swearing to protect the constitution. President Obama has done almost anything but that.

So while recent passing of health care laws have trampled upon not only the conscience clause, but the constitution as well, it only provides the Supreme Court with one more piece of evidence as to why this unconstitutional health care plan needs to go. This certainly affects us as voters as well as we are entering an election year. I myself am certainly appalled at how the White House thinks they can get away with such a law, but I am also surprised. Why is the president only further advertising why the law goes against everything that this nation stands for? Does he want to lose? In trying to find the silver lining in everything, at least the American people tired of this President’s agenda can point this out to voters who have not yet been able to realize how dangerous this administration really is.

What this new health care law involves is forcing Catholic institutions, including us at Fordham, to include health insurance which will cover birth control to employees, as well as students, and without co-payments. Now, it is well known that the Catholic Church opposes contraception as a tenant belief. People may argue that even Catholics have used forms of contraception, but the Church is still entitled to believe and teach what they wish. In an ideal world, one where the constitution is actually upheld, the Church does not have to fear the government encroaching on such beliefs.

Voters have mentioned that the Catholic Church and other critics of Obama’s health care criticize the law for specifically pro life reasons. It is no longer just about though. You don’t have to be pro life to realize that this health care damages religious freedom when it forces a private, religious institution to further its agenda. This nation has prided itself in including and upholding Freedom of Religion in its constitution. And likewise the Separation of Church and State is in place to protect religion from the government. There are countless examples of why many feel the Separation of Church and State is in place to protect this nation from becoming too religious. It is important to note though, perhaps the most important part of the Separation of Church and State is that it works both ways. You have a right to not practice religion, but you absolutely have a right to practice religion. And nobody, especially not the government, should tell you otherwise. That is the America I am proud to be a citizen of. Unfortunately, Obama is making my country a place I may not be able to recognize as a place that protects such a key value.

We could write this article all about debating abortion, contraception, pre-marital sex. Those debates are certainly nothing new, and we could debate them to death. Such a debate though is based off our own personal beliefs. We don’t want the government telling people they cannot be having sex with each other, but we should also likewise not want the government forcing private institutions to include birth control as forms of health care. I want and am lucky to have health care, but I do not want big government coming in and giving me contraception. The government is actually the last place where I want my forms of contraception to come from. And it’s not just that I think forcing an institution of the Church to do so is a crime and a shame, it very much actually is a crime and a shame.


This blatant violation of our rights under the Constitution comes from the person who just last week flashed his toothy, likeable, schoolboy smile and announced to the citizens of this great nation, “I deserve a second term”. He is also the same person who, by virtue of the office that he holds, was invited to deliver the commencement speech at one of the most prestigious Catholic universities in America in total disregard of his abominable record on the abortion issue.

Many Catholics thought that it was an unforgivable mistake for the president of Notre Dame University to extend an invitation to him to deliver that speech and present him with an honorary degree. History has proven them right. If he does deserve a second term, I certainly hope that he does not achieve it on votes cast by the same 54% of Catholic voters who were smitten by his charm and his considerable oratory skills in 2008 and were rewarded with his very high level of arrogance and disdain for their strongly held religious beliefs.

Jack Meehan, Past National President

Ancient Order of Hibernians in America

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