Monday, February 6, 2012

Every Knee Shall Bend

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

California passed a law a few years ago that required all employers who provided health insurance to their employees must also cover abortion and contraceptive services.
All employers. That also included personnel who worked directly for a religious organisation, such as a Catholic archdiocese.The Church fought this provision to the highest court in the state, and lost every step of the way. The reasoning of the courts was that nobody was required to use these services, so therefore the freedom of religion was not violated.
I think the Church found a book keeping work around, but not sure exactly what they did.

In Catholic theology, abortion has been labeled an intrinsic evil. In short, it is a moral evil never to be permitted nor excused by the faithful. As Faithful, we are required/obligated to stand opposed to abortion in every circumstance.
As a Catholic, I am not only not permitted to take part in an abortion. I am also forbidden to suggest an abortion to anybody. I am not to aide in it's procurement in any way. And I am duty-bound/required to discourage anybody who may be thinking about having one.
I cannot say "Gee, abortion sucks, but just in case... the clinic is right over there."
That is The Faith.
This is MY faith.
This is what I have sworn to uphold as a Catholic man of The Catholic Faith.
I stand opposed.
It's not a momentary act.
I stand opposed.
It's an exercise of my faith.
I stand opposed!
It's not that complicated to figure out.
I stand opposed.
Such a statement should be definitive in itself.

Yeah, I understand that the law as it currently is understood states that a women has a right to seek an abortion, something about a 'right to privacy' or whatever.

Privacy: Generally understood as that which pertains secretly/personally to one individual. In short, nobody else's fucking business.

How the hell did we go from "Nobody else's fucking business" to "Everybody else's obligation."?

If things go as the Obama administration has ordered we will have the establishment of a religion (the abortion faith) while 'prohibiting of the free exercise thereof' of other faiths, like mine.

43 comments:

my name is Amanda said...

California passed a law a few years ago that required all employers who provided health insurance to their employees must also cover abortion and contraceptive services.

Which law says they must cover abortion, Gino?

Gino said...

you want to state the law and SB #? cant do it, and it doesnt matter, what matters is that is was done, and courst cases have dealt with it. you should be pleased.

my name is Amanda said...

I may be, if I knew what you were referring to. I'm aware of the new rule about insurance plans, but you said "a few years ago," and the rule this week is about contraception, not abortion. So I was confused.

Gino said...

the new federal reg covers contraception and abortifacients.

my name is Amanda said...

I have no doubt that certain sectors of the media have been trying to make people believe that, but the Affordable Care Act does not cover abortions, and I'm fairly certain that it specifically states that companies will not be forced to cover abortions, and how if private companies do cover abortions, then they have do some special allocations of funds to ensure that no federal dollars are being used for abortion. An abortifacient is a drug used in medical abortions - what women receive when they get an abortion in the first trimester (as opposed to surgicial abortion in the second tri). Being given an abortifacient is the same as "getting an abortion," and it is not covered by the new federal law, to MY knowledge. I mean, I think the headlines would be a little more outrageous and straightforward, if so. ("Obamacare Covers Abortions!" as opposed to "Old, Celibate Bishops are Mad!")

To differentiate, The Pill and Plan B (emergency contraception) do not cause abortions, either, and therefore they are not "abortifacients." (I can go into the medical explanations for how they work, too, but this comment is getting long.)

Foxfier said...

It's the usual dance-- those who worship The State must tear down religion.

Brian said...

I'm not going to argue about abortion or contraception (because seriously, what would the point of that be?) but I do think you raise an interesting question about the boundary issues of religious liberty. And those issues ought not be taken lightly by anyone, regardless of what they believe.

I don't think the establishment clause is that difficult to parse. No state church, and specifically no "Church of America" analogous to the Church of England. The head of state is not head of a church, and certainly not head of "the" church, nor fidei defensor, etc.

Some have argued that the ceremonial deism in American government violates this; maybe it does, but I'm not personally bothered by it too much. The word "God" on the money doesn't compel me to go to church, or prevent me from being as blasphemous as I care to.

I do think you referring to the "abortion faith" is a bit of a canard. But let's leave that, at least for the moment.

Free exercise is a bit trickier, because if you think about it for more than 5 seconds, there are clearly limits to the free exercise of religion. Human sacrifice is out of bounds, and animal sacrifice has had to be re-cast as ritual slaughter to be accepted as (ahem) kosher. You may not marry off your daughter at a young age and against her will, regardless of what your prophet tells you. You have to provide some minimal standard of education for your children (I'd argue that it is typically far too minimal.) Some native groups have exemptions to use peyote; Rastafarians are not so lucky in most US jurisdictions.

My point here is not to argue which of these are good and which are not--we can always argue about where the lines ought to be drawn--but rather to point out that free exercise is not absolute, and it cannot be.

It isn't an easy question, and we shouldn't be cavalier in how we answer it. But I would argue that a good starting point might be that "free exercise" is, in fact, limited to what you as an individual personally choose to do or not do, and does not extend to what any sort of corporate entity engaged in commerce and/or provision of services subject to various laws and regulations may choose to do or not do.

Which is to say that if you are in the business of employing people, you have to follow the laws governing employment. If you serve food, you have to meet health codes. If you provide medical services, you have to follow the laws governing that.

Gino said...

good points brian.
if i was an employer that offered health plans, i would have two options: appeal to the lawmakers to change a few things, and failing that, i wouldnt offer any health plans and pass the cash i would have spent for them on to the paychecks.

Foxfier said...

But we don't have the option to not buy health plans anymore....

Brian said...

and failing that, i wouldnt offer any health plans and pass the cash i would have spent for them on to the paychecks.

My sense is that this is a very likely outcome--particularly for smaller employers--for a variety of reasons (moral objections among them, but likely dwarfed by financial ones) as government becomes more heavily involved in mandating private coverage generally.

I think we're in a transitional state to uncoupling health insurance from employment and/or moving to single-payer. It's probably going to be messy and unpleasant.

I'm glad I'm not in charge.

my name is Amanda said...

This is not "arguing about abortion." That would be "you're wrong to believe it's ok/not okay." I'm talking definitions and actual medical procedures. This blog post is written from the point of view of an indisputable untruth: that the new federal regulations cover "abortifacients." Otherwise known as abortions. I am at a loss to see how you can have a discussion about something that is not taking place.

Foxfier said...

Abortifacients: "a substance that induces abortion."

Even the freaking Pill notes, on the label, that it can induce abortions. Or did a decade or so back when I showed it to my room-mate who decided midnight on a work day was the PERFECT time to attack me for being Catholic.

Foxfier said...

Incidentally, the entire point of "Plan B" is that it's an abortifacient. It causes a conceived human to fail to gestate to maturity. (also any other creature, but we're not talking about aborting milk cows, are we?)

my name is Amanda said...

Wow, you can't even be bothered to Google. No that's not how Plan B works. It prevents the ovary from releasing an egg. If an egg was already released, it slows it's movement, making the creation of a "conceived human" highly unlikely.

But feel free to go around loosely quoting other peoples birth control bottles from 10 yrs ago.

Foxfier said...

Finish the description: it prevents implantation.

That was even the original the selling point.

Gino said...

i oppose IUDs too.

Bike Bubba said...

Amanda, the progresterone of "The Pill" can either prevent ovulation or implantation. If the drug is taken before ovulation, it can work either way. If, on the other hand, the drug is taken after ovulation while the egg is still alive, it works exclusively as an abortifacient.

So if you work the statistics--and I have--the claim that plan B is not an abortifacient is just not tenable.

You may or may not think that's a bad thing, but hopefully you can agree that it is a bad thing to force people to furnish money to violate their consciences.

Gino said...

i await amanda's explanation how its a good thing to force people to violate their consciences....

as for me... i will not, and if that means my employees go without, so be it. they are free to take the money they earned and go elsewhere with it.
if they choose the 'wrong' thing, which they are free to do, its not on me.

Mr. D said...

as for me... i will not, and if that means my employees go without, so be it. they are free to take the money they earned and go elsewhere with it.
if they choose the 'wrong' thing, which they are free to do, its not on me.


And there's your home truth. The counterargument you get from the Left is, "well, I have to pay for wars that I don't support" or somesuch. And that's (a) true and (b) equally problematic. It's also true of most things that governments want to do.

Gino said...

its a false counter-argument.
we all pay taxes, its an obligation of citizenship to contribute to the infrastructure/upkeep of society. we use the democratic process to steer where the money goes.

its different than one being forced to provide something directly.

my name is Amanda said...

I've read about it, too, and I'm perplexed, because I don't believe there is an explanation for how Plan B prevents implantation (but I bet the women who get pregnant while taking the pill, as the pill is a lower dosage of Plan B - same stuff, and Plan B would be interested). An abortifacient is a specific drug that women seeking abortions in their 1st trimester receive when they go to an abortion clinic. It involves more than one visit, and has more side effects. As opposed to Plan B, which can be purchased at a pharmacy and taken safely at home, no Dr visit required. I understand that you are being polite with me, and I appreciate that, but honestly by this more amorphous definition of "abortifacient," here are some other things we can add to the list: chromosomal malformations, fibroids, umbilical cords, high blood pressure, strenuous exercise, stairs, caffeine, drugs, maternal age. All these things can kill a "conceived human" in utero, right? Aside from the fact thar women don't take the pill to destroy an implanted embryo - they take it to prevent ovulation. Millions of anti- choice women (including Catholic women!) take hormonal BC for that very reason. And millions of women who abhor abortion under normal circumstances will make an exception in the case of Plan B for they/others who have been raped.

Brian said...

its different than one being forced to provide something directly.

You're right. It is completely different. You've already pointed out that you can simply refuse to to hire people, or to provide health insurance to employees to avoid violating your conscience.

I have no such luxury in refusing to fund government policies I find morally repugnant. If I do, I will be fined. If I do not pay that fine, men with guns will come and put me in a cage.

Foxfier said...

Progesterone alters the uterine lining. (That's the purpose in normal cycles, as well.)

An abortifacient is a specific drug that women seeking abortions in their 1st trimester receive when they go to an abortion clinic.

Not quite-- in the context of drugs, "abortifacient" does mean a drug that is specifically taken to cause an abortion. (at any stage) Location that the drug is taken or how it's available doesn't matter for that specialized definition. The general definition is a thing that causes a miscarriage.

For the rest....
The fact that people die has no standing on the question of if one should kill them, and how popular something is isn't relevant to the question of if it is right. Additionally, those women who identify as Catholic but use artificial birth control are specifically violating a binding teaching of their claimed faith.

Gino said...

I have no such luxury in refusing to fund government policies I find morally repugnant. If I do, I will be fined. If I do not pay that fine, men with guns will come and put me in a cage.

neither do any of us. we are taxed to provide the general welfare/public good. we dont always agree on what that is.
and those who control the purse are generally liars and theives.

for so long as i can bitch/moan/complain and try to change it, i will.

and i'm doing that here.

Bike Bubba said...

Amanda--Plan B is just a big dose of progesterone, which is the hormone a woman's uterus emits when a baby has implanted on the uterine wall. So if it's in her blood, her body knows (a) not to ovulate and (b) not to let a fertilized egg implant. Ordinarily, a way of keeping a woman from carrying numerous babies at numerous gestational ages.

Artificially, it prevents ovulation prior to ovulation, and implantation after ovulation. "Abortion."

my name is Amanda said...

Progesterone *prepares* the body for pregnancy. It *thickens* the lining of the uterus - which is what allows implantation. Which is why if the egg is already fertilized, Plan B isn't a fail-safe against pregnancy.

"Preventing release of egg" /= "abortion"

Foxfier said...

Consumer information for Plan B
This medication is used in women to prevent pregnancy after birth control failure (e.g., broken condom) or unprotected sex. It is a progestin hormone that prevents pregnancy by preventing the release of an egg (ovulation) and changing the womb and cervical mucus to make it more difficult for an egg to meet sperm (fertilization) or attach to the wall of the womb (implantation).

Plan B isn't a failsafe against pregnancy because if they got it high enough to make sure it would always work, the side-effects would be REALLY nasty and in a lot of people. Nothing quite like taking a sledge hammer to your hormone cycle....
(Heck, I know a woman with three kids: one was conceived on the pill, one on depo and one with a copper IUD. Insert Jurassic Park quote here.)

Foxfier said...

Also WiseGeek on how the Pill works
The hormones in birth control pills combine to prevent the body from releasing an egg. Should an egg be released, the progesterone makes it difficult for the egg to travel down the fallopian tube, and also alters the uterine lining to prevent implantation in the unlikely event of fertilization. In addition, progesterone thickens cervical mucus, so that sperm have difficulty navigating. The combination of estrogen and progesterone make pregnancy a challenge, although it can happen.

Gino said...

if my faith held that i was to stand opposed to child birth, and the law required me to provide prenatal care, it would still be an affront to my faith.

Brian said...

What if your faith required you to sacrifice you firstborn?

Gino said...

but at least then i'd only have to do it once when nobody was looking.

Gino said...

but aint it funny that a system that seems hellbent of creating entitlements to be paid for by successive generations is just as hellbent making it easier for those generations to be absent?

my name is Amanda said...

Cite a link that explains how it alters the uterus. The ones you list, do not. Want to talk about progesterone? It thickens the wall. Want to talk about the complete hormonal concoction in Plan B or the regular pill and specifically what it DOES to prevent implantation? Because you haven't yet. Citing links that say it happen without explaining how, does not explain how this happens. The fact is, there is speculation (from dubious sources) that Plan B thins the wall (whoa - check out me being specific!), but there's absolutely no proof that this is true. What would be proof? Well for one, bleeding. Tissue cells don't just evaporate back into the body. They have to be expelled. One would *think* this thinning would be a fairly simple thing to prove (see: bleeding), and yet no one has done so yet.

To be honest, the vicious anti-woman undertones of this entire conversation are making me feel enraged, and I think its time for me to step away. BC is not abortion.

I dont recall whether Foxfier is Catholic, but I do take glee in reporting that your attitudes (with the exception of Brian) toward BC are not the rule in Catholicism. I grew up Catholic, my family is Catholic, and most of my friends are/were Catholic. So I know anecdotally, and by reading the stats, that Catholic women use BC at rates that reflect the national averages of all US women. (The only group in the US to stay true to their religious teachings on this: evangelical Christians. Only 38% of those ladies use BC. Sucks to be them.) The majority of Catholic women are with President Obama on this matter, and I am telling you right now that attacking birth control will be the death knell of the anti-choice movement. Millions of women disapprove of abortion but rely on BC, and they will *not* be convinced that it's the same thing (because humans don't work like that when it comes to things they need in life in order to prosper and be happy).

my name is Amanda said...

As for whether "these women" are breaking their covenant with their faith, I obviously don't care. In fact, I think it would be peachy if everyone would just admit their BC use to the church (and their abortion rate, which by the way also matches the national average) and force the church to admit that they can't afford to go through with all the excommunications, and that after further "thoughtful theological study" perhaps BC is nifty after all!

I am perplexed as to why men think they ought to have a say (there's a huge gap between women's and men's opinions on this, which matches their sex parts more than it does their religion, go figure), even more that people should credit what a bunch of old, celibate men, with an EGREGIOUS history concerning covering up sexual abuse of children, have to say (having demonstrated that "concern for human lives" is not exactly their top priority). Especially that non-Catholics would give these dudes the time of day is beyond me. The fact that they just came out with a statement that they want to get rid of all BC coverage, not just for religious exemption, proves that this is about women's sexuality, not religious freedom. (Also, that nobody is railing against men using and insurance covering Viagra, even though the Bible is clear about its stance toward non-procreative sex, is proof that this about specifically punishing women for sex.) In fact, that would be rather the *Catholic church* violating freedom of religion, wouldn't it? 

Finally, unless you're a gay dude or a celibate man, chances are you like participating in intercourse with women. If you continue to have sex, saying that women have to shoulder all the costs, is the same as saying that women have to *fined* for sex, and men do not. I call bullshit on that, and I write with a strong suspicion that most men who are opposed to covering BC are relatively clueless about what their lady sex partners have done throughout their lives to prevent pregnancy. Wake up, dudes.

Foxfier said...

Cite a link that explains how it alters the uterus.

Found by searching "how does progesterone alter the uterus" into Bing, top result:
Some birth control pills, called mini-pills, contain only progestin. These pills do not always suppress ovulation, but make the cervical mucus thick and unwelcoming to sperm, preventing entry to the uterus. They also thin the endometrial lining, making it less receptive to a fertilized egg. Mini-pills are slightly less effective than combination pills but are still a very effective form of contraception when used properly.

Progestin is also the active ingredient in the long-acting injected contraceptive Depo Provera (medroxyprogesterone) and the intrauterine device (IUD) Mirena.

Maintaining menstrual cycles, a function of progestins, is important during childbearing years because unopposed estrogen without progesterone increases the risk of endometrial cancer. If you frequently skip periods due to polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), being overweight or underweight, or another disorder, your health care professional may recommend birth control pills to regulate your cycle.


IUDs, of course, work countering the estrogen.

It is not "anti-woman" to tell the truth.

I do not care what most of those who call themselves anything say, when the simple facts are that the faith they claim requires otherwise. Knowing five thousand self-announced mathematics professors claiming that two and two is six wouldn't make them any more right.

The fact that they just came out with a statement that they want to get rid of all BC coverage, not just for religious exemption, proves that this is about women's sexuality, not religious freedom.

via the USCCB, there is this which says:
To correct the threats to religious liberty and rights of conscience posed by PPACA, the Respect for Rights of Conscience Act has been introduced in Congress (H.R. 1179, S. 1467). This measure will ensure that those who participate in the health care system “retain the right to provide, purchase, or enroll in health coverage that is consistent with their religious beliefs and moral convictions.”

There is objection (mostly on the part of those asked to foot the bill) to the federal government forcing everyone to offer optional services for free, not to it being available for purchase at all. (That is an entirely different argument, and far less unified.)
Viagra, incidentally, does correct a defect-- rather than deliberately creating one. It's more like hormone therapy to restore proper balance in a woman than induced infertility. (As unpopular as it is to actually trying to fix the problem instead of hit it with even more hormones and brute force the body into doing what's wanted.)

Foxfier said...

Hm, that didn't work right..... Ah, used a ' instead of a " in one of the links. Bah!


Cite a link that explains how it alters the uterus.

Found by searching "how does progesterone alter the uterus" into Bing, top result:
Some birth control pills, called mini-pills, contain only progestin. These pills do not always suppress ovulation, but make the cervical mucus thick and unwelcoming to sperm, preventing entry to the uterus. They also thin the endometrial lining, making it less receptive to a fertilized egg. Mini-pills are slightly less effective than combination pills but are still a very effective form of contraception when used properly.

Progestin is also the active ingredient in the long-acting injected contraceptive Depo Provera (medroxyprogesterone) and the intrauterine device (IUD) Mirena.

Maintaining menstrual cycles, a function of progestins, is important during childbearing years because unopposed estrogen without progesterone increases the risk of endometrial cancer. If you frequently skip periods due to polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), being overweight or underweight, or another disorder, your health care professional may recommend birth control pills to regulate your cycle.


IUDs, of course, work specifically by causing miscarriage/preventing implantation if the initial step of preventing fertilization fails.

You say:
Well for one, bleeding. Tissue cells don't just evaporate back into the body. They have to be expelled. One would *think* this thinning would be a fairly simple thing to prove (see: bleeding), and yet no one has done so yet.

The progesterone prevents the uterine lining from thickening by countering the estrogen.

It is not "anti-woman" to tell the truth.

I do not care what most of those who call themselves anything say, when the simple facts are that the faith they claim requires otherwise. Knowing five thousand self-announced mathematics professors claiming that two and two is six wouldn't make them any more right.

The fact that they just came out with a statement that they want to get rid of all BC coverage, not just for religious exemption, proves that this is about women's sexuality, not religious freedom.

via the USCCB, there is this which says:
To correct the threats to religious liberty and rights of conscience posed by PPACA, the Respect for Rights of Conscience Act has been introduced in Congress (H.R. 1179, S. 1467). This measure will ensure that those who participate in the health care system “retain the right to provide, purchase, or enroll in health coverage that is consistent with their religious beliefs and moral convictions.”

There is objection (mostly on the part of those asked to foot the bill) to the federal government forcing everyone to offer optional services for free, not to it being available for purchase at all. (That is an entirely different argument, and far less unified.)
Viagra, incidentally, does correct a defect-- rather than deliberately creating one. It's more like hormone therapy to restore proper balance in a woman than induced infertility. (As unpopular as it is to actually trying to fix the problem instead of hit it with even more hormones and brute force the body into doing what's wanted.)

Bike Bubba said...

Amanda, it's worth noting that the early suffragettes/feminists noted that the vicious, anti-woman philosophy was to allow prenatal infanticide. They felt that motherhood was so central to womanhood that to destroy the preborn was an attack on not just the child, but the mother.

Which is, of course, my position as well. You want vicious anti-woman action? Look no farther than NARAL and Planned Parenthood.

my name is Amanda said...

I mean, I already said all this stuff in the comments of Gino's blog post, but if a bunch of scientists want to back me up in The New York Times, that's fine with me:

Studies have not established that emergency contraceptive pills prevent fertilized eggs from implanting in the womb, leading scientists say. Rather, the pills delay ovulation, the release of eggs from ovaries that occurs before eggs are fertilized, and some pills also thicken cervical mucus so sperm have trouble swimming.

It turns out that the politically charged debate over morning-after pills and abortion, a divisive issue in this election year, is probably rooted in outdated or incorrect scientific guesses about how the pills work. Because they block creation of fertilized eggs, they would not meet abortion opponents’ definition of abortion-inducing drugs. In contrast, RU-486 is an abortion pill because it destroys implanted embryos, terminating pregnancies.

Foxfier said...

Shifting ground and appeal to unnamed authority. Back at February 8, 2012 8:37 AM, you claimed that the Pill and the morning after pill definitely did not cause abortions; your link says that "leading scientists" (which is NOT to be confused with "a bunch," or even "scientists who are expert in this specific field") are NOT SURE it's been scientifically established that the morning after pill definitely causes abortions.

And I notice that one of the guys quoted is in charge of selling a morning after pill; also, the named scientists they quote admit that the studies disagree, but that their results are the right one. Shockingly, they all support the story the writer wanted to tell....

Standard NYTimes reporting.

Foxfier said...

And "heavily Catholic Italy" has had legal abortion since the '70s. Lots of default-Catholics, so much so that it's less of an issue there than here.

Assuming the executive quoted was correctly quoted and not incorrect in his statement, Italy might have a law against DIY chemical abortion.

my name is Amanda said...

Back at February 8, 2012 8:37 AM, you claimed that the Pill and the morning after pill definitely did not cause abortions

I have no idea why you are referencing previous comments which prove that I am consistently right about this topic.

The mechanics of your logic would be endearing, if of course, it wasn't so dangerous for women: "You can't prove that it DOESN'T or COULD NEVER do [this thing we MADE UP] and therefore we should enact laws to prevent that, just in case!!!"

Also, spread it around and make sure people stay shamefully uninformed of the truth. That's some good morality, right there.

Foxfier said...

Wow. It's there, in black and white, obvious to anyone who wants to read it that your claims have changed and your "proof" consists of some studies saying they think it's possible it doesn't cause abortions, and you're shouting it from the roof tops as loudly as you did the initial mistaken claims.

Says a lot, there, even more than coming back a quarter of a year later to do so.

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