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LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Health care law violates ethical, moral, religious obligations

Tuesday, May 8, 2012 | 6:00 a.m. CDT

When the Obama administration's health care financing plan was signed into law, President Barack Obama and Congress promised that funds under the new law would not cover abortions.

This has now been proven to be empty rhetoric.

Why? Because the Department of Health and Human Services has mandated that under the health care law, private health insurance plans must cover the "full range of FDA-approved contraception" in which category the health department explicitly included the emergency contraceptive drug ulipristal acetate (ella)..

This mandate includes a so-called "religious employer exemption," yet the exemption is so narrowly defined that most religious schools, colleges, hospitals and charitable organizations serving the public do not qualify. Even an expanded definition of "religious employer" would fail to protect non-religously affiliated organizations, individuals and even religiously-affiliated health insurers whose pro-life consciences are nonetheless violated.

This is an unprecedented attack on the freedom of conscience of millions of Americans, eviscerating their freedom of choice to purchase private insurance that does not violate their ethical, moral or religious objections. I hope all readers will contact their elected representatives in Washington, D.C., and voice outrage over this anti-life mandate.

Ruth and Kenneth Boes are Columbia residents.


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Comments

Christopher Foote May 8, 2012 | 9:35 a.m.

This has been a state law on the books in Missouri since 2001:
http://www.moga.mo.gov/statutes/C300-399...
Seems curious that the letter writers would wait over a decade to mention this. (I suppose November is fast approaching.)
I wonder what next week's manufactured outrage will bring us...I guess we'll have to wait for Mr. Miller's column to find out. Perhaps it will be the Obama escape clause: http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/20...

(Report Comment)
Mark Foecking May 8, 2012 | 10:10 a.m.

"private health insurance plans must cover the "full range of FDA-approved contraception"

Hm. I thought contraception generally made abortion unnecessary.

"This has now been proven to be empty rhetoric"

The ACA does not fund abortions.

http://www.factcheck.org/2010/04/the-abo...

The effect of requiring contraceptive coverage on premiums is negligible. Furthermore, preventing a pregnancy is far less expensive than taking an unplanned one to term.

If you don't believe in contraception, don't use it. If you don't believe in abortion, don't have one. We have far better things to be worrying about than this. Some people really need to mind their own businesses.

DK

(Report Comment)
Jonathan Hopfenblatt May 8, 2012 | 12:23 p.m.

Strange too that they would use the term "freedom of choice" when everything indicates they're part of the pro-life crowd. "I am completely in favor of freedom of choice...so long as your choices don't offend me."

(Report Comment)
Jimmy Bearfield May 8, 2012 | 12:23 p.m.

"Some people really need to mind their own businesses."

When the government forces you to pay for something -- whether it's contraceptives, abortions or the children that other people chose to make by choosing not to use contraceptives -- it becomes your business.

(Report Comment)
Mark Foecking May 8, 2012 | 12:37 p.m.

If they're going to force me to pay for something, I'd much rather it be the contraceptives than either of the other two.

I basically agree with you in principle - in theory I shouldn't have to pay excess premium because someone chooses to smoke or overeat and requires health care because of that. I'm just saying this particular requirement is a drop in the bucket as far as premiums, and may actually control costs by making it easier to avoid unwanted pregnancies. I don't think it's a big deal one way or another.

DK

(Report Comment)
Greg Allen May 8, 2012 | 12:56 p.m.

I've seen other people ask this question but never heard a satisfying response: If I pay taxes and don't believe in war, what am I to do?

In some ways the abortion debate seems to have devolved to the Hatfields and McCoys: people believe so strongly in their side that they refuse to try to understand the other side.

(Report Comment)
Derrick Fogle May 8, 2012 | 4:12 p.m.

Contraception should not only be "free," as in the cost borne by society as a whole through collective insurance and/or taxes, it should practically be shoved down everyone's throats. Sure, there are a few psychopathic whiners that don't believe in contraception. Fine, sign a waiver somewhere, just like opting out of vaccinations. And, perhaps, future dependent child benefits, as well?

Society as a whole, and the abortion debate in particular, has a great deal to gain from better control of human fertility. Contraception can give us that control. It's happening anyway, despite great moaning and travail from clueless "conservatives." It's just not happening fast enough.

(Report Comment)
mike mentor May 8, 2012 | 4:34 p.m.

Post #1
A lib calling an objection to killing babies a manufactured outrage when the libs have manufactured more wars that don't exist in the past few years than I can remember. Good one!

post #2
It's not about the cost it's about ethics/constitutionality.

post #3
Your choice can offend me, but your choice can not unconstitutionaly require me to buy a product that offends me.

post #4
Tell 'em jimmmy. Mind your own business. Am I to infer from this demand libs, that you want me to take care of my children and not you or your children. Sorry welfare recepients. Your peeps just told me to mind my own business. No Soup For You !!!

post #5
Mark, good balanced post. I would remind you that for some this is not an economical, but a moral dilemma. I know what I would choose if I was given the choice of paying small dollars to kill an orphan or paying larger dollars to take care of that orphan's needs until they were old enough to take care of themselves.

post #6
read the constitution and brush up on why we formed the federal government in the first place and what powers and restrictions were placed on the federal Government by said constitution and the answer will be clear as a bell.

(Report Comment)
Ellis Smith May 8, 2012 | 5:55 p.m.

@ Derrick Fogle:

Would you shove the concept of contraception down the throats of others, or do you intend to shove the actual contraceptives down their throats, or both? Perhaps as a matter of good taste (pun intended) we should refrain from becoming too explicit. This is a family newspaper.

I am in favor of voluntary birth control and its promotion. Voluntary. As for "free" contraceptives (provided by government?) please remember that NOTHING the government hands out is FREE. Yes, it may be "free" in the sense that those receiving it pay noting directly for it, but SOMEBODDY at some point in time has to pay for it. Many of us have long since learned who that someone is. We hope others will see the light.

(Report Comment)
Derrick Fogle May 8, 2012 | 6:50 p.m.

@Ellis: Answer Greg Allen's question? Same thing, totally relevant.

Should I compare exactly how much our military costs per year, vs. how much it would cost to provide "free" universal birth control to the population?

To be clear, universal "free" birth control is EXACTLY what I would like to see my taxes go toward. To be even clearer, I do NOT want my tax money going to fund the military industrial complex and all our military interventions.

Birth control, not bombs. Seriously. It's like a super double-whammy slam dunk on lifesaving. I'm a citizen of the United States and this is what I want my tax dollars spent on. Point blank.

Next up, all sorts of lame excuses why we have to live in the fantasy land of abstinence, instead of rationally applying currently available technology to solve a serious problem. Go.

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams May 8, 2012 | 8:48 p.m.

Derrick: No, no lame excuses....just a restatement of something I've said before:

I wish you had your....wish....to have your taxes spent in ways you desire.

Because if you had that right...so would I.

(Report Comment)
Ellis Smith May 9, 2012 | 5:35 a.m.

Derrick Fogle:

Michael Williams appears to have answered for me. Since you probably weren't around then, in 1939 (not an auspicious year for many Europeans) there was a sappy popular song in The U.S. and UK called "WISHING (WILL MAKE IT SO)". In a democracy, or what loosely passes for one, citizens are free to wish for all sorts of things, but there's no guarantee they will get what they wish for.

Sorry about that (but not TOO sorry).

(Report Comment)
Jimmy Bearfield May 9, 2012 | 1:01 p.m.

"Sure, there are a few psychopathic whiners that don't believe in contraception. Fine, sign a waiver somewhere, just like opting out of vaccinations. And, perhaps, future dependent child benefits, as well?"

Absolutely. That includes those who choose not to use contraceptives and wind up having children they can't or won't support.

"Next up, all sorts of lame excuses why we have to live in the fantasy land of abstinence, instead of rationally applying currently available technology to solve a serious problem."

We've been rationally applying currently available technology for a couple of generations. Birth control is widely available. It's also pretty inexpensive and available for free in some cases. If you're a woman on Medicaid, you can get sterilized entirely at taxpayer expense.

Yet statistics such as half of young children on WIC show that no matter how inexpensive and easy we make contraceptives, many -- not some, but many, too many -- simply choose not to use them. The rest of us should be free to choose not to support them and their children. I'm confident that those who disagree would open their homes and wallets to them, with no criticism or questions asked.

(Report Comment)
Derrick Fogle May 9, 2012 | 9:47 p.m.

@jimmy: That's why I said practically shove it down their throats. A big reason it's under-utilized is the FUD disseminated by the moral police. Make it free, make it part of routine healthcare, make it, literally, a hassle to avoid.

Of course this completely ducks the question of what to do about the kids; cutting them off from any kind of aid doesn't actually make them go away. Just sayin'...

At 50% compliance, it would reduce abortions by 600,000 per year.

At 80% compliance, it would reduce abortions by nearly a Million a year.

It would cost our society perhaps $70 Billion/year to accomplish this.

We spend about $700 Billion/year on military.

These are the facts. Sure, we're all stuck behind a system that apparently makes very irrational decisions about how and where to spend money. "Tough Noogies" you say. OK.

I'm still going to speak up, and advocate change. A real social commitment to women's heath and contraceptive use would dramatically reduce some significant problems in our society. I think it's going to happen anyway.

If you want to resist, good luck with that.

(Report Comment)
Derrick Fogle May 9, 2012 | 9:51 p.m.

As for getting to choose what to spend my taxes on, I'd be delighted if we could add or subtract just a percent from the top dozen budget line items, plus write in others. We have the technology to accomplish this, too.

It would make filling out tax returns a bit more interesting. And the results would almost certainly be interesting. Just a thought.

(Report Comment)
Jimmy Bearfield May 9, 2012 | 9:58 p.m.

"Of course this completely ducks the question of what to do about the kids; cutting them off from any kind of aid doesn't actually make them go away."

Right. The parents should be held responsible. If they won't support the children they chose to make, then they go to jail, where they're sterilized. The kids go to responsible relatives. Absent those, they go to the large number of people -- if this website is any measure -- who are willing to open their homes and wallets.

We can't keep just throwing more money at the problem and wringing our hands, hoping irresponsible people will suddenly become responsible.

(Report Comment)

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