Cat’s out of the bag:
One proposal the White House is studying would put companies’ insurers or health plan administrators on the spot for contraceptive coverage, with details of reimbursement to be worked out later.
Another would give the administration itself a larger role in offering cost-free coverage to women who cannot get it through their employers, although the option for a new government entitlement appears unrealistic for financial and political reasons.
(New York Times, Obama Weighs Steps to Cover Contraception)
What’s with this “on the spot” and “reimbursement”? I thought the
Administration’s Regime’s line was that the objecting employer wasn’t really paying for it because their insurers would cheerfully provide it without reimbursement, because contraception was so much less expensive than childbirth and pediatrician bills. Surely that wasn’t all a shell game!
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By the way: press coverage of the Wheaton College relief from SCOTUS has been, I think, a little “off,” saying or implying that Wheaton objects to providing contraceptive coverage to its employees. From Alt.Newsy type sources, I understand that’s not true (and it would not be true of my experience of Wheaton).
Rather, Wheaton objects to providing contraceptives in its student health plans since its students are probably 98% unmarried and the College covenant includes abstention until marriage. It reportedly is fine with providing contraceptive coverage to married employees, and maybe to married students if the details can be worked out.
I suspect that Wheaton also would have Hobby Lobby-type objections to “contraceptives” that may truly be, or on a non-trivial number of occasions function as, abortifacients. The New York Times story seemed to indicate that, too.
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Also by the way: I have been reminded again within the past few days of the need of some women for birth control pills not for contraceptive purposes, but to manage debilitating menstrual cycles.
The pills that do that are, I believe, among those that Wheaton and Hobby Lobby don’t object to even for contraceptive purposes as they’re fairly clearly not abortifacient.
Mercifully, I don’t have to sort out how those pills for this salutary side-effect should be dealt with by Catholic moral theology or in Catholic health plans.
I suspect it’s no problem in moral theology – e.g., that a Catholic woman who takes pills for that purpose would not be considered even by rigorist Priests to be committing a sin by doing so. I don’t doubt that a few Priests, if they stumbled onto it, would snidely dismiss menstrual regulation as a pretext, but how are they to stumble on it if it’s not a matter to be confessed in the first place? Moral theology has pondered, I know, unintended secondary effects, and the Roman Catholic objection to contraception is not to ingesting this or that thing, but to the intentional frustration of procreation by such ingestion (or other artificial means).
How to carve out an exception in health plans for a substance that has salutary side effects without creating a giant loophole seems a much tougher nut to crack. I’ll leave it at that for now at least.
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“The remarks made in this essay do not represent scholarly research. They are intended as topical stimulations for conversation among intelligent and informed people.” (Gerhart Niemeyer)