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.