Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Some thoughts on the Hobby Lobby case

On Monday, June 30, 2014, the Supreme Court handed down a ruling that stated that closely-held for-profit corporations could not be forced to directly pay for insurance coverage for abortifacients against the owners’ beliefs. This is a victory for religious freedom, and not, in anyway, part of a ‘war on women’. Access to birth control is not hindered, rather the responsibility to pay is placed on the user, not the employer or insurance company. Beside this, Hobby Lobby, the chief plaintiff in the case, was willing to insure 16 of the 20 forms of birth control the HHS Mandate required, just not the four (Ella, Plan B, IUD and copper IUD) which are known to prevent implantation of a newly conceived life. As a Catholic, I cannot endorse the use of any of these covered birth control forms, even the 16 forms that Hobby Lobby would pay for, though. Most hormonal forms are carcinogenic, some come with high risk factors, and all interrupt the mutual self-gift of husband and wife in the marital embrace by holding back one’s fertility. The Church’s desire for sexual expression is that it is free, total, faithful, and permanent. As Paul VI prophesied in his Encyclical Humanae Vitae in 1968, the use of contraception would lead to a break down of families and society (divorce, cohabitation, etc), an objectification of women (the sex trade, porn, and ‘using’ of women), and sins against life (abortion and euthanasia).
Those opposed to the ruling seem to be on three issues. First, they see any limit of birth control, even abortifacients and direct abortion, as a limitation on their rights. Complicating this case is the employers' refusal to pay for them as the HHS mandates, a mandate that is illegal according to the Supreme Court as there are other less restrictive means. Access is not hindered, but, as it was before the ACA and HHS Mandate, if it is not covered by insurance, it is the patient's responsibility to pay for it. Note, too, that the ACA does not fully cover all medications, even lifesaving or necessary ones. Why should 'treatments' for optional activities be covered. Yes, it is a different worldview, but pregnancy is not a disease. Those that state that these forms protect against STDs need to look again - most of them do not, and certainly not the four that Hobby Lobby is refusing to cover.
They also claim that corporations are not persons (sad that they also say the unborn are also not persons with rights). Legally, corporations are described as persons, however they are not people. As a legal person, corporations can have views and values. The same people that decry this decision on this ground are boycotting other corporations, to punish them, that do not hold their personal values. Just look up Chik-filla or Mozilla/Firefox - the owners stated something again political correctness, and then held the corporation responsible! They cannot have it both ways!
Those opposed to the ruling suggest that it is none of the boss’s business - I could not agree more! It is not the boss’s business to pay for it. As a commentator put it, I have the right to have a gun - I do not have the right to force an employer to purchase it for me.
What is most disheartening in all of this is that the most effective form of family planning, that takes into account the purpose of sexual expression and the Catholic Faith, is not covered! Natural Family Planning teaches a couple the signs of fertility, and if they are mutually fertile, they can either choose to not be sexually active, or to accept the possibility of conception. It is cheap, reliable, and fully moral! What I love most is that it actually is scientific, and gives women especially knowledge of how their bodies work. It is not simply taking a pill to treat a healthy system as a disease. NFP is not contraception - it does not interrupt the sexual act because there is no sexual act. Can it be used immorally? Perhaps, if the couple is completely opposed to life and have a contraceptive mentality. This, however, does not make NFP immoral. For more information on NFP, see the USSCB'S page, a non-affliated site, the Creighten Model, the Couple-to-Couple League, or even the Health and Human Services information (note that they use the statistic the 1-25 couples practicing NFP may become pregnant, but this may include those that are using NFP to achieve pregnancy!)