Sunday, February 12, 2012

Immaculate Conception

The uproar about birth control coverage by insurance companies not only points out the friction between freedom to choose birth control and religious liberties but also the fallacy of our employer-based healthcare system. Yes, I defend religious freedom but I question the authority of religious institutions to impose their morality on others. I understand that bishops and priest do not have to worry about the impact of contraception on their families but I do. Maybe I should not speak up because I am a Jew but I vigorously defend the right of catholic women (and men) to choose the most suitable form of birth control. According to a study by the Guttmacher Institute three quarter of sexually active women of modest means, ages 18-34, said that they could NOT afford a baby BUT thirty percent had put off a gynecological or family planning visit to save money. For those still using an oral contraceptive, one quarter skipped their daily pill to safe money. The cost of birth control is one reason why poor women are more than three times as likely to have unintended pregnancies. We all pay for this failed approach to family planning! Every dollar the U.S. government spends on family planning reduces Medicaid expenditures by $3.74!! If each employer (such as the catholic church and other affiliated institutions, can reserve the right to raise "moral objections" to almost each and every aspect of a broad-based healthcare coverage then we are in real trouble! Whats next? Infertility treatment, already covered only by a quarter of health insurance companies, may be next. Whats about erectile dysfunction treatment for seniors? Treatment for gender identity problems in teenagers? Maybe some orthodox Islamic or Jewish employers will not pay for treatment in clinics that do not provide sex-segregated waiting rooms, or only male gynecologists. Maybe some employers object to gay doctors on moral grounds? In these times of a religiously and ideologically based culture war anything is possible! When will it stop? Well, there is one solution! A single-payer system funded by the tax payer in which each recipient receives a benefit card to CHOOSE healthcare coverage from any doctor, clinic, hospital, emergency room of their choice! Wow, free choice! What an outrageous thought! I hope that more will speak up against the Ayatollization of our society. Yes, I am for religious freedom but priest, rabbis and imans should confine their morality to their respective church, temple or mosque and leave it up to us to make moral choices! Yours Bernd

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