Catholic Bishops Hunt More Sharks on Mississippi with Screeds against HHS Contraceptive “Mandate”

February 8, 2012 | By | 8 Replies More

Catholic bishops are having conniption fits over a recent HHS regulation which requires employers which provide health insurance to employees to have coverage which includes contraceptives. The HHS regulation is comparable to 28 states which have laws which also require insurers to have such coverage as part of their policies. The regulation, as do many states’ laws, explicitly excludes purely religious institutions from its purview but, schools, hospitals and foundations among others would be included.

Many critics of the regulation call it a “mandate” but, the requirement is only imposed as to those employers which voluntarily provide insurance coverage as an employee benefit. If the employers chose to not directly provide insurance coverage to their employees as a benefit, they would have no requirement to provide the contraceptive coverage to which the bishops and other religious groups and employers object.

If the institutions covered by the new regulation were to instead provide a cash benefit to an employee equivalent to the cost of health insurance for that employee and their dependents, there would be no conflict between the regulation and the “conscience” of the respective religious institutions. The employees then would be free to exercise their individual informed conscience as to what coverage they would then purchase, if any, from the health insurance exchanges which must be set up by next year under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Some employees might instead choose to pay the new fines under the ACA and keep the difference in cash they obtained from their employer.

All I see here is more anti-Obama rhetoric by neo-conservative Catholic Bishops much as was ado about nothing over the supposed threat of the Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA). Even before President Obama took office we Catholics were bombarded with scares and flares of inflammatory rhetoric about how the first thing President Obama would do as President would be to sign FOCA into law. Post cards were laid in pews, to be signed and after strident sermons against FOCA, to be sent to Washington opposing FOCA. Just as there is now no “mandate” regarding the choice of employers to provide any particular benefit, no such bill even existed at the time of the scares and flares. It was all shark control on the Mississippi.

The whole shibboleth about “religious freedom” is a stalking horse for the neo-conservative bishops to inflame independent Catholic voters into supporting Republican candidates with their votes and reward the wealthy contributors to the Church which have taken over donations to the Church after the masses’ rebellion against the clergy sex abuse scandal in the US and abroad.

Religious freedom is not threatened by the recent Obama administration’s guidelines about employer’s voluntary benefits to employees. Religious freedom is threatened by the neo-conservative Catholic bishops’ adherence to a world view which only supports Republican candidates and wealthy contributors.


Category: Religion, Reproductive Rights, Sex

About the Author ()

imothy E. Hogan is a trial attorney, a husband, a father of two awesome children and a practicing Roman Catholic in St. Louis, Missouri. Mr. Hogan has done legal and political work in Jefferson City, Missouri for partisan and non-partisan social change, environmental and consumer protection groups. Mr. Hogan has also worked for consumer advocate Ralph Nader in Washington, DC and the members of the trial bar in the State of New York. Mr. Hogan’s current interests involve remaining a full time solo practitioner pioneer on the frontiers of justice in America, a good husband and a good father to his awesome children.

Comments (8)

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  1. I’m not sure how you can dimiss the Catholic institutions from the Catholic church, as if they are two separate things.

    Obamacare is demanding that I pay for all abortions. I, the taxpayer. I should have the right, to refuse such a thing as some consider “killing.”

    I grew up in the sixties and we were all told that it was a “woman’s right. So if it’s a “woman’s” right, then it should also be HER responsibilty, not the states to pay for it, out of her own pocket.

    Should we all have to pay for someone else’s house too? Oh..yes..I forgot..we DO now!

    Let’s all move to the Crimea, we’d fit right in!

    Abortion is not exactly a heart transplant.

    As for the Republicans being the only ones who get money from wealthy contributors…Obama got more from Wall Street than anyone. That’s on record…and…GE is an official government advisor. Jeffery Immelt also is his biggest campaign contributor, and OH…GE doesn’t pay taxes!
    This is..not strange to any Obama supporters. Funny.

    Both parties are in bed with the companies. The whole lot of them are being supported by big money.

    And really, how can you be Catholic and support abortion?

    You are either true to your principle..or not. I am of no religion, and not a big fan of the Catholic church..still, the state should stay out of the Church..

    Oh…but Obama is there every other week..using Jesus to promote his agenda….it’s an election year.

    You know, I heard an author the other day..(forget who he was) talking about how it was the Republicans who caused the downfall of the ecomomy.

    As if, all those trillions of dollars that Obama spent was done also by …the Republicans.

    Scientifically speaking, life does begin at conception..but economically speaking…it’s not always feasible to have a child. And Western Civilization has not been having enought children to support the big government machine.

    Okay, I’ll shut up now….wait…if you are right..then the institutions can’t force anyone to “take’ these contraceptives…but just by the offering, millions of young Catholic girls will.

    I thought, Obamacare was the Law. So, now, I’m a little dense here if you will about the “law.” I thought that the state could not demand that a company provide health care.

    And that’s the problem: damanding that every employee provided health care. It’s not constitutional. Obamacare is not constitutional.

    Which is why so many liberals just ignore the law.

    God, I’d hate to be a lawyer. By the pic!

  2. Tim Hogan says:

    Please show me where the Afordable Care Act (ACA) mandates any abortions be paid for with tax dollars? There is no such thing.

  3. Tim Hogan says:

    Jim, I actually read the whole bloody bill before the votes. It was massive, detailed, referenced numerous other statutes and appeared and appears to take on some very serious issues about what all Americans need from health care insurance.

    As time goes on, the benfits of the legislation have gone up. There are specific sections which bar services for illegal aliens and for direct paymants for abortions. I think the fact that there are grants to states to increase Medicaid availability is what the anti-abortion folks put their hats on to say that the legislation pays for abortions. Apparently, some states may use some funds to pay for such services as their various legislatures may provide; somestates already do, apparently.

    If there is a failure in the Affordable Care Act to make states use funds in grants only for the things a small minority wishes them to be used for and for which states already use federal matching grant monies, I submit such is a failure of the opponents of such funding at the state level.

    The argument is the typical reductio ad absurdum; since some student loan recipients can use the loans to go to college and therefore could use some other amount of their disposable cash for an abortion, all federal student loan programs are per se supportive of abortions. I could make such a false analogy for each and every federal program which makes any loan, payment or tax subsidy to any person or corporation supportive of abortions.

    See, also:

  4. Niklaus Pfirsig says:

    The @$$-holes making such a big deal of this ignore the following:

    – Abstinence doesn’t work. Why? Simply because men do not get pregnant. Sex is a biological drive and reproduction is a biological function. A double standard exists whereby a man who has multiple female sex partners is “The Man”, while a woman with multiple partners is a “Ho”, a slut, a whore, a schlookie or sharmuda.

    – The cost of providing for an unwanted child is much greater that the cost of funding an abortion. Some cultures unofficially allow abandonment of unwanted children and even fail to prosecuted adults who murder them.

    – Organizations such as Planned Parenthood emphasize pregnancy prevention such as contraceptives and condoms and have actually lowered the abortion rate, while making the fewer abortions safer for the women who may need them.

    – An estimated 50 percent of all pregnancies self terminate with spontaneous abortions. Often this occurs within the first two months of pregnancy, and often creates life threatening complications for the mother. Access to proper health care can save the mother, especially in cases where the developing child dies in the womb from genetic non-viabilities. In these cases, there is 100 percent chance of a stillborn child, and an abortion can save the life of the mother.

    – The HHS rules do not require women to have abortions or contraception. The rules require birth control to be covered by insurers if a woman elects to use it.

    It all amounts to a few people wanting to feed their egos by abusing the government to impose their minority view on the general public.

    Many social conservative lawmakers (or should I say lawgivers) honestly believe the US government is not and was never intended to be a democracy, but a republic ruled by a few really smart men. They call for less government control of the wealthy, more government control by the wealthy and onerous submissive control of the ever increasing percentage of the poor. This is a model that mimics the corporate mentality whereby all costs and failures are externalized while all benefits are claimed. It is an unsustainable form of corporate fascism that guarantees a full social and economic collapse.


    It took about 30 years for the current economic problems to develop, and both Democrats and Republicans have played major roles in mismanaging our economy. The problem has been mainly to the rise of anti-government ideologies among our law makers, along with growing power of heavily moneyed interests that have learned to work the system in ways that disenfranchise the majority while shifting the power structure to the control of private capitalists with absolutely no accountability to the public. In effect, our laws are increasingly being made by the wealthiest of the wealthy, for the financial benefit of the same, at the expense of the greater good of the nation.

    Under Reagan, deregulation of the S&L industry was a dry run for what came later. The deregulation allowed the S&Ls to make speculative loans with a potential high return. This also came with a reduction in government oversite, creating a fertile environment for fraud. A typical S&L con was to by a distressed property, sell the property back and forth between two fraudsters, inflating the value of the load with each sale while collecting fees for each transaction. This increased the value of the loan, giving the appearance of a high return on investment while the collateral had not appreciated in value. Once the booked value was inflated enough, the loan was sold to a legit S&L, the developer, would default on the loan, leaving the legit S&L with no money and collateral worth far less than the balance of the loan. This S&L would have to file for funds from the FSLIC (Federal Savings and Loan Insurance Corporation) to cover losses of it’s depositors money.

    Several such large scale frauds resulted in the insolvency of FSLIC which required taxpayer bailouts not once but three times.

    So a recap.
    A financial industry (S&L) was designed as a depository system, with high stability based on low yield secured construction loans for individuals and small businesses.
    Deregulation of that industry that permitted S&Ls to make high risk, high yield speculative loans.
    A reduction of the regulatory government bureaucracy, based on the assumption that fewer regulation would require fewer regulators.
    Widespread institutionalized opportunistic fraud based on falsely representing high risk loans as safe low risk investments.
    Counting on Federally backed insurers to replace the stolen funds with taxpayer money.

    In the 1990s, having learned from the S&L crisis of the 1980s, a concerted political effort was pushed by international banks to place ideologically pro business politicians (who had learned nothing from the crisis) in policy making positions worldwide to enact deregulation of the financial industries, effectively ending the separation of depository institutions, investment, and insurance industries with the Gramm-Leach-Bliley act in 1999.

    During Dubya’s Presidency, the Republican Parties push to defund the left included reducing government oversight and interference in the financial sector. Once again, finance became a fertile environment for abuse.
    The deregulation made it legal for bankers to gamble depositors money on high risk investments.
    As with the S&Ls, the reduction in regulation became the rationale for reducing oversight – fewer regulations require fewer regulators — right???
    Also, like the S&L crisis, high risk real-estate loans became the basis for fraud. CDOs and debt derivatives, were used to create grossly over-valued investment instruments while hiding the perpetrators from recourse.
    In the end, the scam victims have been retirees, who have seen all their retirement funds wiped out because the fund managers believed the fraudulent instruments to be safe, and the taxpayers, because the federal backing insuring savings accounts of depositors.

    What has all this to do with reproductive rights? Well nothing really. However, misdirection is a powerful tool for scammers. While our highly paid, banker owned lawgivers quibble of increasing the complexity of laws taking rights away from humans (often by applying spin to make the laws appear to protect rights) and giving more rights to the fictional, morally unaccountable shields of corporate “persons”, many of us are kept constantly controlled by our outrage and anger to look away from the thieves as they pick our pockets

    While social conservatives are quick to point to Obama’s continuation of TARP, He made a major change from Dubya’s version. Obama’s TARP was a loan, Bush’s was a grant.

    Some like to take the moral “high horse” with reproductive rights. No abortions for any reasons, no contraception for anyone, no exceptions. No schooling for unwanted children, no medical care for them either. Women must stay barefoot and pregnant because some guys interpretation of the bible says so.

    Das ist unser Manifest Destiny? Nicht!

    • Erich Vieth says:

      Niklaus. It is a big circus out there. So much so that politics and the “news” have become big painful dangerous jokes.

      Not that you suggested this, but it might be argued that some politicians raise cultural and social issues to distract from all of the thievery being done, for instance, by banksters. I don’t think that is driving these birth control issues.

      Rather, I would look to the factors suggested by Jonathan Haidt, as to moral foundations. Anything seen as highly immoral is an obvious candidate for a law. We’re talking moral purity here, when we talk about birth control. Can’t have women running around having sex without those “natural consequences” of pregnancies and babies. All of this falls quite well into the disgust foundation (the other side of that coin is the “sacred.”). Check this out:

      Combine this resulting stories with the rank hypocrisy (see: ). What I mean can be seen by anyone with eyes. 30 years ago, people had a lot more kids. How come most people have one or two kids now. Did they stop having as much sex? I haven’t made a habit of snooping around to see what’s happening in other people’s bedrooms, but I have a hard time believing that people are having less sex. Especially since the mass media excels at making us all horny. Check out this chart showing the plummeting birthrates in the U.S. Here’s the stories. Republican: “We stand for purity, chastity and lack of disgust, including gay sex and unvirtuous women.” Democrats: “We think we own our bodies and no one should tell us to stop having fun in whatever way we want.” What side wins that battle of the stories? You guessed it: Republicans, even though they out there fucking around, getting pregnant, sometime using birth control, sneaking out to get abortions and (many of them) having gay sex. What you do doesn’t count these days–we are a massively intense PR-driven society where the end game is PRESENTING one’s self as superior, regardless of the hypocrisy.

  5. Hey…Matt Damon just narrated a movie about HOW we got into this mess, and pretty much said the same. The bankers made off big.

    Nevertheless, it was the policies of BOTH Reagan, Clinton, Bush and Obama…(And Daddy Bush) to work with the rich, and caused all of this…and the movie blames it on the bankers.

    I blame all our politicains. They work for themselves.

    Our politicians are suppose to represent us, not represent and work for the bankers. As I understand was our government of both parties who pushed those bankers to make all those risky loans. I think to say one party is less corrupt than the other is naive…sorry. The repael of the Glass-Stegal act (sp sorry) was under Bill Clinton, (Barney Frank) and that was just as damaging as the first Savings and Loan debacle. NO, it was more.

    Yes, since the “pill” was invented, all the Western nations populations have gotten to an average of 1 and 1/2 child, more than likely, as you so wisely said, to raise just one child is very expensive. And since marriage is also on the decline mathematically speaking, we are in deep water. The Muslims will take over England by 2050. If you think the Catholics are bad,just try dealing with them. Remember when Bill Clinton ( with taxpayer’s money) dumped about 180,000 Bosnians here?

    My neighborhood is filled with them. (Muslims) They make the religious nuts look as harmless as Andy Rooney. One father just killed his daughter a few years ago, and they let him leave the country.

    As for your stance on ‘we don’t pay for abortions’…of course we do. Planned Parenthood got $365 million from our government in 2009 alone. Hillary uses our tax dollars to finance abortions all over the world, under the guise of women’s health. Obama gave Kenya $60 million dollars to make sure, that abortion rights were put into their new Contitution.

    Hospitals get government money. Clinics..etc. It’s now the law: free morning after pill.

    I don’t know if you guys have time to read, but there is still a big push by the rich elites to get rid of much of the population as they can. Rather than try to solve the problems with brains..they just figure reducing the population is much faster.

    I think all pills and abortions should be paid for by the individual, not the state…but that’s gone. WHAT? What about rubbers? Our schools have been handing out rubbers.

    Abortions and birth control pills not “rights”. Nither is owning a home, or having a car. I heard some lady screaming today that the Republcan want to take away the right of a woman to her pills.

    Really? She can get pills anywhere. I have not heard one persn say they want to take away the “pill” That’s insidious. They are upset about the lst amendment.

    No matter what you think of the Constitution, it’s the law.

    And how do you manage to get rid of the “no abortion” relgious crowd, and yet, on the other hand the many people who treat abortion as easy as getting a tooth pulled? How do you make these two people get along?

    I don’t know. But there sure is one thing they do well(politicans and the meida)..demonize each other and the people who follow them till we all stay angry enough..

    And that’s why we are losing all our liberties. Divide and conquer. It’s as old as the bible. And we are…losing our freedoms, fast. We are no longer a naion of rule of law, we are a nation of “rule of men.”

    We’re too busy fighting each other, and NOT the people who will soon be watching us all with drones.

    By then, it’s not going to matter what any of us think. We will be told.

    Thanks for taking the time to discuss, guys! I know you guys are very busy. But for’s fun. Makes me think and that’s always a good thing.

  6. Niklaus Pfirsig says:

    you seem to make the assumption that Planned Parenthood does nothing but fund abortions while the organization, founded by a gynecologist, actually spends far more to promote contraception and prophylaxis to prevent pregnancy, along with counseling for pregnant women promoting adoption and parenting as option in addition to abortion.

    The general complaint offered by social conservatives is that they do not want their tax money paying for anything that is at odds with their ideology. If some jerk insists on driving at 70 mph through a school zone because his “tax money paid for the street and that means the street is his and because of that he can drive as he pleases” makes about as much sense.

    All of these issues of morality are bullshit. When Nadya Suleman had her octuplets, she publicly claimed that she would provide for the children, she was the darling of the right wing media. When it was later revealed that she was unwed, had 6 kids in addition to the octuplets all through in-vitro fertilization, and depended heavily on public assistance, she was vilified.

    Alternately look at the Duggar family, Jim Bob and Michelle along with their 19 (so far) children. Jim Bob makes his money through realestate holding, political connections and royalities from a cable reality show about his large family.

    It seems to me the morality is more about money than abour human lives.

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