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Author Topic: Something I found on the net...  (Read 2387 times)

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Offline BeorningTopic starter

Something I found on the net...
« on: March 20, 2013, 01:38:41 PM »
I was doing some research today and, on the website of one order of Catholic nuns, I found this:

http://www.sistersoflife.org/response-to-hhs-mandate

If I understand correctly, the problem works this way:

1. This new (at least in 2012) policy by US government requires every US citizen to get health insurance.
2. At the same time, every health insurance provider is required to provide abortion, contraception and sterilization.
3. So, by getting health insurance, these sisters would actually pay for abortions etc...
4. ... which goes directly against their faith and even their specific religious vows.

So... what do you think of it? How to solve this kind of conundrum?

Offline Pumpkin Seeds

Re: Something I found on the net...
« Reply #1 on: March 20, 2013, 01:44:59 PM »
This train of thought would also allow people who are objectors to war, pollution or any manner of government run programs or activities to also refuse mandatory taxation or programs based on their conscience.  The simple fact is that the government and society these groups operate within uphold these activities and the government provides for this treatment.  Such groups are certainly allowed to preach against such activities and to spread awareness of their belief as much as they like.  Yet to be allowed to defy government mandate due to religious reasons is crossing a line of government and religion.  They are allowing their religious views and beliefs to affect government policy.  If they find the mandate so objectionable that their immortal souls are threatened, then I would advise an alternative country for their presence.

Offline Ephiral

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Re: Something I found on the net...
« Reply #2 on: March 20, 2013, 01:51:30 PM »
I was doing some research today and, on the website of one order of Catholic nuns, I found this:

http://www.sistersoflife.org/response-to-hhs-mandate

If I understand correctly, the problem works this way:

1. This new (at least in 2012) policy by US government requires every US citizen to get health insurance.
2. At the same time, every health insurance provider is required to provide abortion, contraception and sterilization.
3. So, by getting health insurance, these sisters would actually pay for abortions etc...
4. ... which goes directly against their faith and even their specific religious vows.

So... what do you think of it? How to solve this kind of conundrum?
You don't get to opt out of the responsibilities of living in a modern society and claim all the perks. It's really that simple.

Offline BeorningTopic starter

Re: Something I found on the net...
« Reply #3 on: March 20, 2013, 01:58:03 PM »
But why not allow for the existence of insurance providers who do not provide abortions etc.? That way, the people who oppose abortions would not be forced to finance them...

I don't know, this kind of situation is a bit saddening to me. I can perfectly imagine that someone might be deeply religious, take these vows related to the sanctity of life... and then, blam! That person is forced to pay for abortions. I can imagine this could be very heartbreaking...
« Last Edit: March 20, 2013, 02:01:18 PM by Beorning »

Offline Avis habilis

Re: Something I found on the net...
« Reply #4 on: March 20, 2013, 02:02:47 PM »
I don't like a portion of my income taxes being spent on CIA torture chambers. I pay my taxes anyway.

Offline Pumpkin Seeds

Re: Something I found on the net...
« Reply #5 on: March 20, 2013, 02:03:28 PM »
Yes, but the belief the nuns are upholding is shared by a large part of the population or at least a large part of the population can claim those beliefs.  So if the Catholic Church is allowed that exemption then that sets legal precedent for other companies claiming religious belief to refuse to partake in those programs.  Therefore women are once more denied access to medical coverage and care particular to them and this more frighteningly would be on a federal scale.  Religious belief and practice does not dictate or modify government practice.  There is a reason for that separation.

Offline Ephiral

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Re: Something I found on the net...
« Reply #6 on: March 20, 2013, 02:05:00 PM »
But why not allow for the existence of insurance providers who do not provide abortions etc.? That way, the people who oppose abortions would not be forced to finance them...

I don't know, this kind of situation is a bit saddening to me. I can perfectly imagine that someone might be deeply religious, take these vows related to the sanctity of life... and then, blam! That person is forced to pay for abortions. I can imagine this could be very heartbreaking...
Because if you allow insurance carriers to opt out of providing a service, they will. They are strongly incentivized to provide as little coverage as possible, which is exactly why health care reform was necessary in the first place. If you let them opt out, women's health will go back to being completely uncovered - and women will continue to suffer injury, illness, and death as a result. Which brings me to another point: You don't get to call yourself "pro-life" if you explicitly don't give a shit about (and push policies that actually harm) anybody whose age is a positive number.

Offline BeorningTopic starter

Re: Something I found on the net...
« Reply #7 on: March 20, 2013, 02:09:52 PM »
Yes, but the belief the nuns are upholding is shared by a large part of the population or at least a large part of the population can claim those beliefs.  So if the Catholic Church is allowed that exemption then that sets legal precedent for other companies claiming religious belief to refuse to partake in those programs.

Why would that happen? There still would be a market for insurers who do provide these services... So, Catholics could go to those that don't do it and the atheists could go to those that do. Freedom of choice!

Quote
Therefore women are once more denied access to medical coverage and care particular to them and this more frighteningly would be on a federal scale.

Meanwhile, a group of other women gets their basic civil rights trampled upon...

Quote
Religious belief and practice does not dictate or modify government practice.  There is a reason for that separation.

I personally believe that government practice should accomodate all ethical viewpoints, including religious ones.

Offline Ephiral

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Re: Something I found on the net...
« Reply #8 on: March 20, 2013, 02:13:19 PM »
Meanwhile, a group of other women gets their basic civil rights trampled upon...
Denying other people access to health care is not a civil right, no matter how much religiosity you dress it up in.

Offline BeorningTopic starter

Re: Something I found on the net...
« Reply #9 on: March 20, 2013, 02:15:08 PM »
Denying other people access to health care is not a civil right, no matter how much religiosity you dress it up in.

Freedom of religion is not a civil right? Come on.

Offline Avis habilis

Re: Something I found on the net...
« Reply #10 on: March 20, 2013, 02:15:53 PM »
They're free to exercise the dictates of their religion. They're not free to compel anyone else to.

Offline BeorningTopic starter

Re: Something I found on the net...
« Reply #11 on: March 20, 2013, 02:17:34 PM »
They're free to exercise the dictates of their religion. They're not free to compel anyone else to.

I don't see anything in their statement that say that they want to ban abortions or anything like that. They just don't want to pay for them...

Offline Pumpkin Seeds

Re: Something I found on the net...
« Reply #12 on: March 20, 2013, 02:17:54 PM »
There is a market for insurers that provide those services, but those services will be at an increase over ones that do not.  Also employers that wish to take a moral stance can then force their employees (who are now mandated to take insurance) to buy insurance that does not provide this coverage.  Therefore my money is going toward something I do not believe in, which is denying women access to contraception/abortion/and morning after medication.  Not only is my money being forced into these companies, I am also depriving companies that do provide these services from having my money and thus not supporting a cause I believe is beneficial to the country.

What right is being impeded by these nuns having to make use of an insurance company?  The nuns are allowed to speak their beliefs, practice their beliefs and receive medical treatment.  Their beliefs are respected as nobody is going to force unwanted medical treatments or medications on them.  Their rights are not being harmed.  Yet by allowing them to not take this insurance they will be setting a precedence that could deny other women medical care that is desperately needed.  No rights of theirs are being impeded in following this mandate, but in disobeying the mandate they are denying others the very best medicine available. 

A government should seek to accommodate the ethical and religious beliefs of its people, but should secure the welfare of its people first.  Hence the reason behind the separation of church and state.

Offline Ephiral

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Re: Something I found on the net...
« Reply #13 on: March 20, 2013, 02:22:49 PM »
I don't see anything in their statement that say that they want to ban abortions or anything like that. They just don't want to pay for them...
As I mentioned above, given the overwhelming incentive for insurers to provide the least services for the greatest cost, allowing insurers to opt out is effectively a ban.

Interesting side note: Every time this argument comes up, it's about abortion. Nobody ever seems to think that the Jehovah's Witnesses should be able to opt out of paying for blood transfusions, or that the Fundamentalist Mormons should be immune to marriage laws. Makes the claims that this is all about religious freedom just a little bit suspect, don't you think?

Offline BeorningTopic starter

Re: Something I found on the net...
« Reply #14 on: March 20, 2013, 02:27:13 PM »
Wait, I don't get this:

Also employers that wish to take a moral stance can then force their employees (who are now mandated to take insurance) to buy insurance that does not provide this coverage.  Therefore my money is going toward something I do not believe in, which is denying women access to contraception/abortion/and morning after medication.

But that's exactly the same situation the nuns are currently in, isn't it? Now it's *their* money being directed toward services they find abhorring.

Quote
A government should seek to accommodate the ethical and religious beliefs of its people, but should secure the welfare of its people first.  Hence the reason behind the separation of church and state.

It's actually a pretty risky statement. What if the government decides that the welfare of the citizens lies in, say, "stable family home" and decides to ban divorces or tries to stop women from getting jobs? Hey, welfare before freedom, right?

Interesting side note: Every time this argument comes up, it's about abortion. Nobody ever seems to think that the Jehovah's Witnesses should be able to opt out of paying for blood transfusions, or that the Fundamentalist Mormons should be immune to marriage laws. Makes the claims that this is all about religious freedom just a little bit suspect, don't you think?

Actually, I wouldn't be surprised if Jehovah's Witnesses decided to opt out of blood transfusions, too. Would it be that wrong?
« Last Edit: March 20, 2013, 02:30:01 PM by Beorning »

Offline Ephiral

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Re: Something I found on the net...
« Reply #15 on: March 20, 2013, 02:29:23 PM »
Wait, I don't get this:

But that's exactly the same situation the nuns are currently in, isn't it? Now it's *their* money being directed toward services they find abhorring.
So the solution is to let the minority oppress the majority instead?

It's actually a pretty risky statement. What if the government decides that the welfare of the citizens lies in, say, "stable family home" and decides to ban divorces or tries to stop women from getting jobs? Hey, welfare before freedom, right?
Dictating others' choices unilaterally is a funny definition of "freedom".

Offline BeorningTopic starter

Re: Something I found on the net...
« Reply #16 on: March 20, 2013, 02:32:18 PM »
So the solution is to let the minority oppress the majority instead?

Dictating others' choices unilaterally is a funny definition of "freedom".

Again, I don't see the nuns trying to dictate other people's choices here.

Offline Pumpkin Seeds

Re: Something I found on the net...
« Reply #17 on: March 20, 2013, 02:36:41 PM »
How are the nuns in that situation?  The money of the Catholic Church is going toward a government mandate whereby everyone has equal coverage for all their medical needs and procedures.  Everyone is equal under the law with no exceptions.  Yet if an exception is made for a group and then precedence set, then everyone has to start selecting.  People are then left out of having their procedures and medical needs unaddressed.  My beliefs are not respected because their beliefs are to be respected.  My government has failed to address my beliefs (in favor of theirs) and has failed to address my physical needs (in favor of their beliefs).  Whereas the nuns are not going to lose any medical benefits, not going to lose any ability to voice or advocate their beliefs and not going to lose anything from their religious practice. 

The State owes protection and security to its citizens.  People’s freedom is at the luxury of the common good as has been set down many times.  Freedom of Speech is constrained by emergency situations and does not extend to cover unsafe practices.  Religious freedom is suspended when the welfare of a child is at stake for instance or when an emergency occurs.  (Yes for anybody reading a Jehovah’s Witness can be forced to take blood during an emergency).  For a long time the government did include restrictions on the rights of women until popular opinion and research showed that those restrictions were not for the common good.

Offline Ephiral

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Re: Something I found on the net...
« Reply #18 on: March 20, 2013, 02:39:08 PM »
Again, I don't see the nuns trying to dictate other people's choices here.
No, they're just doing everything in their power to reduce funding and support for an already massively underprovided vital service. Completely different.

Offline Oniya

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Re: Something I found on the net...
« Reply #19 on: March 20, 2013, 02:40:12 PM »
Actually, I wouldn't be surprised if Jehovah's Witnesses decided to opt out of blood transfusions, too. Would it be that wrong?

They do opt out of blood transfusions, sometimes with fatal results.  However, it's their own transfusions they refuse and their own life that they risk.

I have never heard of a JW telling a non-JW that blood transfusions should be banned unilaterally, or not covered by insurance (theirs or anyone else's).

Offline Pumpkin Seeds

Re: Something I found on the net...
« Reply #20 on: March 20, 2013, 02:42:15 PM »
Once more, precedence allows for a loophole to be found in the legislation that companies have already attempted in the past.  Several company owners have attempted to circumvent this mandate by claiming religious practice or belief.  The Catholic Church is simply another organization attempting to open that loophole to push forward an agenda.  This would then allow companies to not provide for services to women, thereby the nuns would be interfering in government policy and women's health.

Offline ofDelusions

Re: Something I found on the net...
« Reply #21 on: March 20, 2013, 02:44:04 PM »
Quote
1. This new (at least in 2012) policy by US government requires every US citizen to get health insurance.
2. At the same time, every health insurance provider is required to provide abortion, contraception and sterilization.
3. So, by getting health insurance, these sisters would actually pay for abortions etc...
4. ... which goes directly against their faith and even their specific religious vows.

  I really don't understand where the problem is. The nuns aren't forced to get or perform abortions. After they have paid to the insurer its no longer their business how the insurer spends that money as long as the insurer pays for their healthcare.


Offline Ephiral

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Re: Something I found on the net...
« Reply #22 on: March 20, 2013, 02:46:30 PM »
Actually, I wouldn't be surprised if Jehovah's Witnesses decided to opt out of blood transfusions, too. Would it be that wrong?
Missed this earlier. For them to opt out of blood transfusions? Not at all, as long as everybody else isn't expected to shoulder the burden of any added health-care costs as a result. For them to opt out of paying for others to get them under the law? Yes, that's a huge problem, because it results in dead people.

Offline Pumpkin Seeds

Re: Something I found on the net...
« Reply #23 on: March 20, 2013, 02:48:31 PM »
By this reasoning then religious groups that do not believe in modern medicine should be exempt from participating in the program at all such as Christian Scientists. 

Offline Oniya

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Re: Something I found on the net...
« Reply #24 on: March 20, 2013, 02:51:23 PM »
Last time the issue of JWs and blood transfusion came up, someone sent me a journal article about the use of saline to increase fluid volume as an alternative. 

(Don't Christian Scientists make use of other potentially covered services, like the use of chiropractors? or is that out as well?)