Contraception and Catholic Hospitals

Catholics Urged to Write Congress on Birth Control Rule

When I first read that Catholic hospitals would be required to offer free contraception, I immediately thought, “Tsk tsk. Separation of church and state.” Thing is, after I read more articles, Catholic hospitals and “the state” aren’t all that separate. They take taxpayer money, usually in the form of accepting Medicare and Medicaid patients. If they’re in an area where they’re the only hospital around, they can get subsidized by the county.

For me, if they take government money, they’ll have to play by the government’s rules. And if the rule is free birth control, it looks like Catholic hospitals will be making some bulk purchases of “The Pill” soon.

This part of the article made me do a double take though:

The White House defended the policy, saying that only institutions such as hospitals that service a large non-Catholic community would have to offer free birth control.

It should be across the board. I would have said, “If you take government money, you have to offer free birth control.” It shouldn’t matter if the Catholic hospital is located in an area that has 95% Catholic residents or 5%.

The only way the Catholic Church has a way out of this is if they don’t take money from the government. Donor funded, free or sliding scale care (instead of Medicaid subsidies), etc. When you take money from the state, you give up a lot of power. There’s a German proverb for that:

Wes Brot ich ess, des Lied ich sing.
Whose bread I eat, his song I sing.

It sucks, but that’s the cost of taking taxpayer money. If they were completely separate from the state, then I’d be right behind them in telling the government to piss off.

18 responses to “Contraception and Catholic Hospitals

  • lobotero

    I agree…..take the money back and pump it into another hospital……screw it…they do not our money then do not offer it….pretty simple….

  • The Hook

    What a world we live in…

  • lbwoodgate

    Good point Cheryl. It’s a sensitive topic but logically the position espoused by the German proverb holds the high ground, IMO.

  • Mary Flora

    Amen. As a cradle Catholic, I agree. I retired after teaching in a Catholic school and I always thought it was terrible the insurance covered Viagra but not birth control.

  • Sedate Me

    Maybe I’m just a “hater” (maybe???) but Catholics need to stop thinking the sun rises out of their asses every morning and join, well, at least the19th Century. I understand many in the rank & file have. It’s just the leadership that still wants to deny the world is round. (Imagine that. Leaders holding people back.)

    Never mind collecting government money. Never mind the fact that your patients, non-Catholics among them, are being held captive to your whims because you’re in an under-serviced area, or have an outright healthcare monopoly. Those are good enough reasons. However, it shouldn’t even come to that. You should be required to offer such basic health services as pre-condition of being a hospital.

    “Oh, we have a religious objection because, many centuries ago when people thought ill spirits causes sickness, some guy in a funny hat decided God wanted women to be nothing more than baby factories.”

    If you don’t want to sell cigarettes or guns, stop working at a place that sells cigarettes & guns. If you don’t believe in birth control, abortion or whatever other health service that makes you want to burst into a Hail Mary at the mere mention of it, get out of the hospital business.

    • Spinny Liberal

      I don’t know if I’d go that far. They do provide some very necessary services. Their beliefs, however “19th century” they seem to be to us, doesn’t negate all the good they do.

      • Sedate Me

        Oh, don’t get me wrong. Just because they pledge allegiance to some foreign dictator who lives in a golden palace and wears a funny hat doesn’t mean any good the hospital does is automatically null and void.

        Over the years, I’ve discovered that few hospitals, (to paraphrase Hippocrates) do more harm than good. Shit, even private-for-profit hospitals run by Republicans are fully capable of doing some good, even as they line their pockets.

        What I’m saying is that basic health services should be offered as a pre-requisite for being a hospital. Refusal should not be an option as it causes your patients “harm” and that violates the first rule of medicine. If you’re in the game, you play by the rules. But for some reason, Catholic institutions tend to think they are exempt from any rule they don’t want to follow. (See: How to deal with child rapists.)

  • TerranceH


    Forget having birthcontrol on hand, the doctors aren’t even allowed to prescribe it, even if necessary to treat a medical condition.

    When I was younger, I dated this girl who didn’t have any insurance and had some female issue that caused severe pain. She was always going to the ER for pain treatment. Finally, they figured out what the problem was and said she needed birth control pills to regulate her hormones to treat the disease, stopping the pain. But the doctor said he couldn’t prescribe them because it was a Catholic Hospital. And with no insurance, it wasn’t easy finding a doctor. She had to wait a few weeks to get into the free clinic and get the prescription. Then she had to scrimp up the money to pay for it.

  • beaglezmom

    My thought is that if you really hold the belief then you should be willing to sacrifice to have it. If they won’t give out birth control as a form of health care and prevention – then the price they pay is no Gov. funds.

    The Amish can choose not to participate in the tax system, BUT as part of that choice – they don’t get any benefits when they are older – they take care of their own community. As a member of the clergy – I can claim (i don’t – i pay taxes) that it is against my belief to pay taxes BUT again – no benefits — even if I get to Social security age and decide my religion thinks gov. is okay now — – not benefits.

    So if the Catholics are so committed to their belief – then they need the consequences and to fund their own care.

    • Spinny Liberal

      Definitely. Steep price, but if those are your beliefs, you’ll pay it. They’d earn a lot of respect points that way.

    • Sedate Me

      You mean you can opt out of paying taxes if you’re involved in a religious enterprise?

      If that’s the case, then it’s only a matter of time until the 1% declare capitalism a religion and themselves, as High Priests, exempt from taxes.

      Oh, yeah. I guess that’s already happened.

  • huston3

    How ridiculous. We do not surrender Constitutional rights because we receive Federal dollars. If that were true, we would have no rights at all. From birth (what hospital doesn’t receive SOME government money), through school (all public schools receive public money) through housing… All the government would need to do to deprive you of any right is to pass a law…no, merely have a government agency interpret a rule in a way that would subsidize you in any fashion, and each of would be serfs of the King of the United States. Before you liberal start cheering for this attack on the Catholic Church, imagine what this would mean for Planned Parenthood, under a conservative administration. You take government money, you can’t provide birth control pills or information. You may be willing to surrender your basic rights, but that makes you an idiot. And I’m not aiming this at anyone in particular, but to ANYONE who thinks that receipt of any kind of government money takes our individual rights under the Constitution.

    • Spinny Liberal

      Hmm. Using your example of Planned Parenthood, what rights would people surrender if they used their services? A Conservative administration could defund Planned Parenthood because of their own pro-life beliefs, even though it is subsidized to educate and offer medical services (including abortion).That would suck, but it has nothing to do with Constitutional rights.

      Thank you for reading and commenting, huston3. 🙂

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