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Obama’s “Anglican solution” to the birth control controversy

Obama’s “Anglican solution” to the birth control controversy

Jon Meacham, an Episcopalian, suggests that Barack Obama has found an Anglican solution to the controversy controversy over whether Roman Catholic schools and hospitals would be required to provide employees insurance plans that covered contraception.

The President understands ambiguity. “The soldier and the lawyer may both love this country with equal passion, and yet reach very different conclusions on the specific steps needed to protect us from harm,” Obama told graduates at Notre Dame in 2009. “The gay activist and the evangelical pastor may both deplore the ravages of HIV/AIDS, but find themselves unable to bridge the cultural divide that might unite their efforts. Those who speak out against stem-cell research may be rooted in an admirable conviction about the sacredness of life, but so are the parents of a child with juvenile diabetes who are convinced that their son’s or daughter’s hardships can be relieved. The question then is, How do we work through these conflicts?”

The answer depends on the issue and the hour. The most successful politicians are often those who can find that via media, that middle way. The fact that Obama managed to do so — again, later than he should have, but there we are — is a reminder not of his weaknesses as a President but of his strengths as a politician.

Do you think Meacham’s analogy is well-drawn?


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Religious organizations and Christian-owned businesses will still be paying for insurance plans which will, in turn, give “free” contraceptives and abortifacients to their employees.

And thank God for that!

Well, Walter, unless you’re instead in favor (as I am) of single-payer “Medicare for all” health insurance.

As (adult) Jehovah’s Witnesses are personally free to not avail themselves of blood transfusions, so are those whose belief-systems don’t permit them to use contraceptive agents free to refuse this necessary aspect of health care.

But in a society where health-care is interdependent, I believe it is profoundly IMMORAL to not (financially) provide for another’s health-care. Including contraception!

JC Fisher

John B. Chilton

There’s a thought that the insurance companies would save money by providing contraceptives for free.

Let’s take non-celibate fertile women of child-bearing age. Let’s assume each either wishes to have become pregnant (group A) or not (group B).

Clearly, the insurer is not saving on the women who are trying to get pregnant. So much from Group A.

What of those who are not? These can be divided into two further categories: those who would pay for the contraceptives if they had to pay out of pocket (Group B.1) and those who would not (Group B.2).

Group B.1 clearly cost the insurer since they never would have become pregnant in the first place, but now the insurer is paying.

On this group the argument goes through: insurer loses and the costs get shifted back to the party paying the premiums.

That leaves those women in Group B.2 who would not buy contraceptives if they had to pay for them themselves. Let’s taken as given that yes indeed these women now use the free contraceptives, the rate of unwanted pregnancy in that group falls and the insurer saves on that group B.1.

We are left not knowing whether insurance costs have gone up or down. But if they have gone up those costs are shifted back to the payer of the premium. And it is the employer the cost shifts back to the employee.

To simplify suppose that all women were B.1. (No A’s and no B.2’s.) The costs of contraception now in the first instance are paid by the insurer. The insurer passes the cost back to the employer. The employer increases the withholding from the employee’s pay. The employee is just as happy to work there as before now although their pay is less they get something in kind they pay for before. The story is much the same if the employer simply reduces monthly wages by the cost of the monthly prescription.

Now suppose all women are B.2’s. They were not willing to pay for the prescription out of pocket. Now the cost is being withheld from them. They are worse off, at least in their minds. That’s the cost of misguided paternalism.

If it was truly in their interest to buy the contraceptives what we have is a public education problem, not an evil employer problem.


Well, it is the case that insurance companies will pass on the costs (and we could only wish that Barbara were right and insurance companies will also pass on the savings; but it will take a while to realize those); but they will pass them on to everyone. There will certainly be costs, but the companies can distribute them across all of their plans, and not just those purchased by Catholic institutions. All the insured, regardless of faith, will be affected.

Which is part of what is so egregious about those bishops who are loudest against the compromise. They are clear that they want insurance for contraception available to noone. They don’t want any plan to offer support for contraception, and not simply those purchased by Catholic institutions.

Now, this is not the position of most Roman Catholics, nor of important organizations like the Catholic Health Association. And, indeed, there are Catholic hospitals that choose to offer contraception as a part of their insurance package because it’s what all those young women professionals want and expect in the benefit package (and make no mistake: health care is an industry primarily of women of child-bearing age). If the hospitals didn’t offer it, they’d lose out in hiring during shortages of nurses, respiratory therapists, and lab specialists, among others.

Marshall Scott

Gregory Orloff

Well, Mr. Rotsch… Well before President Obama, the United States government continuously violated religious and moral convictions by forcing Americans to pay for war, segregation and even ethnic cleansing on our own soil, to name a few of its anti-Gospel endeavors. I never hear much indignation about those things, but there truly is nothing new under the sun, as the Good Book says.

Walter Rotsch

President Barack Obama proposed a “compromise” over his administration’s earlier healthcare mandate to force churches and religious organizations to provide abortion inducing drugs and devices, as well as surgical sterilization, in their insurance plans.

What was his “compromise?” Make the insurance companies pay for it instead!

Obama’s latest mandate is nothing more than a shell game. Religious organizations and Christian-owned businesses will still be paying for insurance plans which will, in turn, give “free” contraceptives and abortifacients to their employees. Where in the constitution does any president get the authority to mandate that private companies provide services or products for “free” to consumers?

The American people are not stupid, and realize insurance companies will simply pass the costs on to the insured. That’s you, me, churches, and every other religious institution, including EVERY Christian-owned business, that provides insurance to its employees.

ObamaCare continues to violate religious and moral convictions by forcing Americans to pay for drug-induced abortions.

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