So Catholic officials are up in arms about the US Department of Health and Human Services’ new regulation requiring all employers to provide contraceptives to insured employees with no co-pay. The very idea that people who use contraceptives to prevent pregnancy might actually not have to pay for those contraceptives is evidently so anathema to the very foundational dogmas of the Catholic church, that the leaders of said church must absolutely take a stand for their parishioners. To wit:
In a letter read to congregants in the Atlanta Archdiocese, Archbishop Wilton Gregory called the policy “a matter of grave moral concern.”
“In so ruling, the Administration has cast aside the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States, denying to Catholics our Nation’s first and most fundamental freedom, that of religious liberty,” the letter continued and was read at all English and Spanish language Masses, the diocese said in a statement.
“In effect, the president is saying we have a year to figure out how to violate our consciences,” said New York Archbishop Timothy Dolan in a statement.
“To force American citizens to choose between violating their consciences and forgoing their health care is literally unconscionable. It is as much an attack on access to health care as on religious freedom. Historically this represents a challenge and a compromise of our religious liberty,” said Dolan who is also the president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, the public policy arm of the church in the United States.
And yet I wonder.
I wonder if, perhaps, these bishops and archbishops and uberbishops and adjunct second-string pope-in-trainings are perhaps overstating their case. I wonder if, perhaps, American Catholics don’t already use these methods of contraception. I wonder even whether there might be evidence of this fact.
The study, conducted by reproductive health institute Guttmacher, finds that 98 percent of sexually active Catholic women use or have used birth control other than church-approved natural family planning. Only 2 percent of Catholic women have used natural family planning, which involves tracking the menstrual cycle to avoid sex during fertile periods.
Even Catholic women who attend services more than once a month use natural family planning at a rate of only 2 percent, the researchers found.
But surely the rhythm method is a reasonable alternative, right? I mean, since every embryo is a sacred gift from God?
The “rhythm method” may kill off more embryos than other contraceptive methods, such as coils, morning after pills, and oral contraceptives, suggests an article in the Journal of Medical Ethics.
It is believed that the method works because it prevents conception from occurring. But says Professor Bovens, it may owe much of its success to the fact that embryos conceived on the fringes of the fertile period are less viable than those conceived towards the middle.
So… by using the rhythm method, you’re creating more souls to populate limbo.
Oh, wait, right, Catholics don’t believe in Limbo any more, as of 2007.
Seriously. Just leave the church already. Make this obstinate and backward dogma with its obstinate and backward leaders who are more concerned with keeping women barefoot and pregnant than, say, stopping its priests from molesting your children, simply wither and die. Starve it of your tithings. Find your piety elsewhere — perhaps somewhere that actually cares about humankind.