Showing posts with label Health Care. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Health Care. Show all posts

Monday, January 9, 2023

Think twice before saying "Those lies don't affect me"

Lack of critical thinking has led 21st century Westernism into one of history’s most barbaric and irrational societies.  How, one wonders, did a sizeable percent of the population come to lose the ability to distinguish something so basic as identifying a boy versus a girl? So far gone are some as to celebrate—much less turn a blind eye to—the mutilation of children, in and out of the womb, against every semblance of reason, science, or mite of common sense. And those in a position to stop it do not.

Revisit 1973. The legally and morally bankrupt Roe v. Wade decision asserted that a “person…does not include the unborn.” This was despite reason, the science of fetal development presented at that time, as well as the lack of legal grounds for Roe. Its reckless force was subsequently negated a half-century later at Dobbs. In mis-defining a person, Roe failed to account for the evidence, appealing instead to the behavior of more ancient generations when natal science was more obscure. Today, the science is even clearer as to the uniqueness and living quality of an individual person from the moment of conception. 

No industry is more dependent on lies than abortion. It is infected by a legion of dishonest euphemisms. Some acquiesced to its central lie that the unborn is not a life. Some did so under the pretense of it “not affecting” them. Many accepted the specious lie that abortion is “between a woman and her doctor” making a “medical” decision only about her. These lies before and since Roe have led to the bloody sacrifice of over 63 million innocent children and counting.

More recently, we saw the 2015 Obergefell decision, which redefined—without cause—marriage itself. The court incorrectly claimed that a “marriage” not only could occur between two people of the same sex but was “equal” to and the “same” as the marriage that occurs between a man and woman. The public was bullied or fooled into accepting the lie that a man could be swapped out for a woman and still have the “same” categorical arrangement. And, as with abortion, how many times did we hear someone justify their desire to go along with such an irrational idea by claiming the matter “did not affect them”? What two other people do is “their own business,” the masses said, oblivious to the Trojan Horse of malleable meaning they let through the door. 

The procession of the Trojan horse by Tieppolo
Detail from The Procession of the Trojan Horse in Troy by Giovanni Domenico Tiepolo, ca 1760 (Wikimedia Commons)

The devil’s table was set. The truth was up for grabs, insofar as the masses understood it. If the meaning of a person was changeable on a whim, or if the uniqueness of a man and woman was changeable on a whim, what other things could the world’s overlords “change” without cause? The public was already brainwashed into staying out of any such debate unless they perceived an immediate personal impact. They were brainwashed, not only to ignore any immediate immoral harm occurring among others, but to avoid thinking of any other variables or trajectories that changing unchangeable definitions would beget.

And here we are. 

  • Many today don’t know what a boy or girl is. A supreme court justice famously played along by pleading ignorance as to what is a woman during her confirmation hearings. To foster this confusion, the American Psychological Association redefined “Gender identity disorder” to “Gender dysphoria.” The redefinition “shifted the emphasis in treatment from fixing a disorder to resolving distress over a mismatch.” Victims of this often-learned confusion include small children who haven’t the intellectual nor biological foundation to know otherwise. And it is no secret how many children have been coerced with lies to mutilate themselves in the name of denying the reality before them. A landmark lawsuit is currently ongoing in Cole vs. Kaiser Permanente on the damages caused after doctors are said to have denied her parents the option to treat her condition as a mental disorder. Many who now regret “gender transitioning” surgeries have expressed lack of care by the medical industry. Calling a boy a girl, or vice versa, is not only wrong, it is 180 degrees wrong. It is maximum wrongness.  It is a fruit of dishonest redefinitioning.
  • On a related note, the American Psychological Association also recently published a “guideline” that redefined masculinity. Their statement declared that boys raised by fathers to be traditionally masculine were a threat to society. It referenced the disproportionate number of violent crimes committed by males in the context of “socialization practices that teach boys from an early age to be self-reliant, strong, and to minimize and manage their problems on their own.” However, as clinical psychologist Dr. Jordan Peterson observed:

“[I]t’s...a lie, scientifically... To indicate, as the writers have, that it is the socialization of boys and men by men that is producing both a decrement in the personal mental health of males and females and a threat to the social fabric is not only to get the facts wrong, but to get them wrong in a manner that is directly antithetical to the truth. ... [I]t is this simple fact that is absolutely damning to the claims in the APA document. What kind of families produce violent young men? Fatherless families. The pernicious effect of fatherlessness is exceptionally well-documented. … If it is fatherless boys who are violent, how can it be that masculine socialization produces harm both to mental health and society?”

  • In a more strictly political example, the current U.S. Administration declared redefined the criteria of a “recession.” A recession was previously known as two consecutive quarters of negative gross domestic product. Despite this having occurred after the second quarter of 2022, an Administration official denied that a recession had begun, manipulating voters into believing their finances were in better shape than they were.
  • In 2022, two South Carolina judges attempted to redefine terms for the medical industry by denying the existence of a “heartbeat” in the unborn at six weeks gestation. They are obviously wrong, as multiple peer-reviewed studies reveal a baby’s heartbeat scientifically observable at an average of 110 beats per minute at six weeks. The judges attempted to redefine this observable pulsating phenomenon as something different than a heartbeat. The goal was to sanitize the idea of an abortion. 
  • In December, a Virginia restaurant attempted to redefine, among other things, the concept of “safety.” The Family Foundation had booked a private room at the restaurant. Less than two hours before their reservation, the restaurant called to say the Family Foundation was not welcome to dine there. The restaurant apparently had discovered that the Foundation was pro-life and pro-marriage. In a statement to the media, the restaurant said they refused service to the Foundation because allowing them to eat there would make the restaurant workers “unsafe.” Of course, this assertion may be best described as a hallucination. Whatever imaginary threat the restaurant owners perceived did not actually exist. The bigotry in their reaction was amplified when they stated they prided themselves “on being an inclusive environment for people to dine in” while simultaneously refusing to serve food to pro-life, pro-marriage patrons. Injustice against pro-life, pro-marriage individuals was justified by “redefining” danger. Indifference to these sorts of lies places innocent persons at greater risk in society.

These are but a miniscule sample of the redefinitions inverting reality, imposed on the masses daily. 

In the fourth century, St. Gregory of Nyssa pondered whether to remain silent in the face of lies. At first, he thought silence best. But, after discussion, he understood the injury that “succeeding” lies would cause:

I thought it right, indeed, in view of the continuous and varied effort of our enemies against us, to keep silence, and to receive their attack quietly, rather than to speak against men armed with falsehood, that most mischievous weapon, which sometimes drives its point even through truth. But you did well in urging me not to betray the truth, but to refute the slanderers, lest, by a success of falsehood against truth, many might be injured. (Gregory of Nyssa, On the Holy Trinity, ca 375 A.D.)

There is a devilish pressure to ignore societal lies on the grounds that they are someone else’s business. Yet lies unchecked are a virus. Lies beget lies. St. Paul warned about persistence in sin and how it leads to “greater and greater iniquity.” (Rom. 6:19) Endorsing lies is primarily an immorality and damages our very souls. For this reason alone, we should not accept them for ourselves nor others. As well, endorsing lies is also a blueprint for spreading more and more social sickness to every corner of the culture, from the elderly to the young to the unborn. We should not pretend lies as these are someone else’s business and do not affect us. Investment in lies as these have already produced untold poisonous returns to the masses.

Monday, December 31, 2018

5 modern lies sold as truth

Woe to those who call evil good and good evil,
who put darkness for light and light for darkness,
who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter! (Isaiah 5:20)

Detail of Prophet Isaiah in Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel Ceiling.
Acquired from Wikimedia Commons.

Today's culture, in plain sight, successfully sells lies that are often 180 degrees opposite the truth.

Birth control is "medicine," claimed Hillary Clinton in 2017. Planned Parenthood has called it "basic health care." Yet contraceptives used to prevent birth are the opposite of medicine—for their end goal is to cause a normally functioning body to malfunction. Birth control more closely resembles the medical definition of Poison: a substance that "may cause structural or functional disturbance."

Read more in earlier TCV blog post: "Birth control" is not medicine.

"It's my body!" shouts the 21st century feminist of enwombed offspring. Yet, in reality, the fertilized egg—the zygote—has its own unique DNA, distinct from the mother. A mother thus advances the culture's lie when she refers as "her body" to that which is not her body.

Additional resources: Science is clear: Each new human life begins at fertilization (Sarah Terzo, 2013); 41 Quotes From Medical Textbooks Prove Human Life Begins at Conception (Terzo, 2015); The Science About When Life Begins Makes Pro-Choicers Look Terrible (Dr. Donna Harrison, 2018)

During the years leading up to the 2015 gay "marriage" ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court, there were three common slogans used to advance the idea of gay "marriage": "love is love," "same love," and "marriage equality."

Dialogue on this issue was minimal and even discouraged. Then-First Lady Michelle Obama declared: "In a country where we teach our children that everyone is equal under the law, discriminating against same-sex couples just isn’t right. So, it’s as simple as that."

Although the state declared marriage redefined by stroke of a pen, marriage was not the only thing their verdict "redefined." The censoring of discussion disguised this. Notice how each of the three slogans advanced the idea that men and women are interchangeable with no difference. One ingredient is equal to another. This was among the undiscussed, dangerous side effects of the formulations: "same," "equal," "A is equal to B." These were the Orwellian newspeak that tickled many ears.

The idea that Man+Man = Man+Woman is absurd on its face. The sale of this idea that men and women are interchangeable variables is also contrary to science, which shows the unique qualities brought to parenthood by mothers and fathers, as well as the obvious family structure innate in the male and female union. Any children raised in such arrangements are deprived of one or more of their mother and father. The idea also paved the way for society's next chapter, discussed below (Sex/Gender), in denying the significant qualities between males and females.

Additional Resources: Reengineering the Family (Heather Mac Donald, 2010); How Re-Defining Marriage Harms Society (Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse, 2012); Truth Overruled: The Future of Marriage and Religious Freedom (Dr. Ryan T. Anderson, 2015); and additional social science resources in the endnotes at Same-Sex “Marriage”: The Victims. The Children (2015).

Modern transgenderism: It is the idea that a man can "become" a woman (or vice versa) either based on his own feelings and/or after a surgery alters some of his body parts. A significant portion of society is at the point where it cannot tell the difference between a boy and girl and even believes there are a multitude of sexes beyond male and female. This is the hypnotic effect that abusing truth has created.

The idea of switching "genders" is again contrary to science:
In human embryos, the SRY gene encodes a unique transcription factor that activates a testis-forming pathway at about week seven of development. Before this time, the embryonic gonad is "indifferent"... (Genetic Mechanisms of Sex Determination, Nature Education 1(1):25, 2008)
Instead of simply admitting a boy with xyz feelings is still a boy who has these feelings, society fosters the lie that he's not a boy at all, or that somehow a new "gender" can even be created as a result of sexual proclivities.

But calling a boy a girl and a girl a boy is a dangerous inversion of reality that has led to regretful surgeriesharmful use of puberty blockers in children, and other personal and public damage, not to mention the instability caused to any other truth. In "redefining" marriage and what is a boy and girl, society has paved the way to other redefinitions, such as the recent effort to rebrand pedophilia under the moniker "minor attracted person (MAP)." The trajectory will result in future "redefinitions" of parenthood and more as previously discussed in 5 difficult issues human cloning will cause.

Additional resources: Transgenderism: Semantic contagion or biological fact? (Dr. Anne Hendershott, 2018); The Genetics of Sex Differences in Brain and Behavior (NCBI, 2010); The myth of gender-neutral parenting (Dr. Deborah Soh, 2017)

As previously detailed at length, modern atheists such as Sam Harris, Gad Saad, or Patricia Churchland have attempted to explain morality strictly as a function of biology and evolution. Harris goes so far as to say morality exists even though he believes free will does not.

But these efforts are as misguided as they are ironic. By assigning the label "morality" to biological instincts or automatic actions devoid of free will, morality's necessary feature of obligation is stripped from the equation. By reducing man to an automaton or animal obeying euphoric bodily chemicals, these atheists actually make the argument that morality doesn't exist.

The significance of these lies is not something to take lightly. They are prone to cause damage, whether to public policy, the innocent baby, the fatherless child, the sexually confused, or the very foundation of moral truth. We end with a relevant quote from a saint:
[Y]ou did well in urging me not to betray the truth, but to refute the slanderers, lest, by a success of falsehood against truth, many might be injured. (Gregory of Nyssa, On the Holy Trinity, ca 375 A.D.)

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Update on Indiana vs. Planned Parenthood

Following is an update to the 2011 story involving the state of Indiana's attempt to withhold Medicaid funding to Planned Parenthood (PP) of Indiana. PP argues that Indiana cannot exclude it from federal Medicaid funds.

Since that time, a district judge blocked the state's attempt to withhold those funds. This past Tuesday, October 23, a ruling by the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago supported that decision and argued that Indiana must give Medicaid dollars to PP.

The circuit court's opinion can be read here (PDF). The circuit court judges were Diane Sykes (who wrote the opinion), Richard Cudahy, and Michael Kanne. 

The opinion explains the matter thusly:
Under § 1396a(a)(23) state Medicaid plans “must” allow beneficiaries to obtain medical care from “any institution, agency, . . . or person, qualified to perform the service.” This is individual-rights language, stated in mandatory terms, and interpreting the right does not strain judicial competence.
That means anyone qualified to perform a medical service covered by Medicaid must receive federal  Medicaid funds, according to the circuit court's opinion.


However, the court's own analysis of the case may not adhere to that criteria. First, let's look at the rationale for why PP is considered a "qualified" provider, as well as the definition of "qualified" the court claims to be following (emphasis mine):
Although Indiana has broad authority to exclude unqualified providers from its Medicaid program, the State does not have plenary authority to exclude a class of providers for any reason—more particularly, for a reason unrelated to provider qualifications. In this context, “qualified” means fit to provide the necessary medical services—that is, capable of performing the needed medical services in a professionally competent, safe, legal, and ethical manner. The defunding law excludes Planned Parenthood from Medicaid for a reason unrelated to its fitness to provide medical services, violatingits patients’ statutory right to obtain medical care from the qualified provider of their choice.
We now read ahead to the court's dismissal, for example, of two of Indiana's arguments from precedent that they can view PP as an unqualified provider. Here is the first, retold in the the circuit court opinion (emphasis mine):
Indiana also points to 42 U.S.C. § 1320a-7(b)(14), which allows states to exclude providers who are in default on their student-loan payments, and from this provision makes another argument by implication: If the states may refuse to subsidize student-loan delinquents with Medicaid dollars, then they must have the authority to “avoid indirect financing” of any “non-Medicaid” conduct. But like § 1396a(p)(1), this statute merely stipulates a particular ground for excluding a Medicaid provider; it does not imply that the states may establish any rule of exclusion and declare it a provider “qualification” for purposes of § 1396a(a)(23). That would make the free-choice-of-provider requirement a nullity.
And the second (emphasis mine):
Nor does Guzman v. Shewry, 552 F.3d 941 (9th Cir. 2009), help Indiana’s case. There, a provider was suspended from California’s Medicaid program based on a pending criminal investigation. He claimed that federal law occupies the entire field of regulation pertaining to Medicaid and therefore preempted the state’s disciplinary measure. The Ninth Circuit rejected this argument, relying in part on 42 U.S.C. § 1320a-7(b)(5), which provides that the states may suspend or exclude providers from participating in Medicaid “for reasons bearing on the individual’s or entity’s professional competence, professional performance, or financial integrity.” The court remarked that this provision presupposes state regulatory authority over provider qualifications. Guzman, 552 F.3d at 949. 
Here we have two examples of precedent provided by Indiana's attorneys. Both were examples of Medicaid funds legally being withheld from an entity apart from that entity's competence to perform medical services. Remember, the 7th Circuit Court on Tuesday insisted:
“qualified” means fit to provide the necessary medical services—that is, capable of performing the needed medical services in a professionally competent, safe, legal, and ethical manner. 
Both examples presented by Indiana demonstrate that competency to perform a particular medical service can be trumped by factors unrelated to those medical services. I did not see the 7th Circuit Court address that aspect of Indiana's argument. And yet, in its opinion, the 7th Circuit Court specifically ruled against Indiana because it supposedly disqualified PP for reasons other than it's ability to perform certain medical services:
The [State of Indiana's] defunding law excludes Planned Parenthood from Medicaid for a reason unrelated to its fitness to provide medical services, violating its patients’ statutory right to obtain medical care from the qualified provider of their choice.
The 7th Circuit Court's opinion here is worded such that there are no reasons to withhold Medicaid funding from any entity capable of performing certain medical services. Yet, Indiana's lawyers produced several examples (such as the 2 described above) that demonstrate that is not ultimately the decisive factor. A doctor behind on student loans can still legitimately perform medical services. In the example in which there was a criminal investigation on the provider, the 7th Circuit Court considered it okay to suspend their Medicaid dollars even though there was no guilt at the time the funds were withheld. As well, one of the reasons the 7th Circuit Court supported that opinion is because of the question of the "financial integrity" of a provider. We'll take another look at that aspect of PP's financial statements in a moment.

More from the 7th Circuit opinion:
It is true that Medicaid regulations permit the states to establish “reasonable standards relating to the qualifications of providers.”  42 C.F.R. § 431.51(c)(2). But Indiana claims plenary authority to exclude Medicaid providers for any reason, as long as it furthers a legitimate state interest—here, the State’s interest in avoiding indirect subsidization of abortion. This sweeping claim conflicts with the unambiguous language of § 1396a(a)(23) and finds no support in related Medicaid statutes and regulations. 
The opinion went on from that paragraph to reiterate that "qualified" means competent to perform the medical services in question. The opinion reiterates that standard over and over. In other words, the state can establish "reasonable standards" relating to what is a "qualified" provider––the 7th Circuit Court insists Indiana's criteria is unreasonable on the grounds that PP is able to perform certain procedures covered by Medicaid. Yet the court was willing to suspend that standard altogether as we saw in the examples of the cases on student loans or a pending investigation, as well as other cases presented by Indiana to the courts.


Recall from The Catholic Voyager's previous coverage on this case, the state of Indiana submitted to the district court the following argument that PP has not demonstrated that it separates Medicaid funds from abortion services:
PPIN’s audited financial statements for 2009 and 2010 give rise to a reasonable inference that it commingles Medicaid reimbursements with other revenues it receives. ... financial statements provide no record that PPIN [Planned Parenthood of Indiana] makes any effort either to segregate Medicaid reimbursements from other unrestricted revenue sources or to allocate the costs of its various lines of business, whether abortion, family planning, cancer screenings, or other services. ... Medicaid, as a revenue line, is shown with other unrestricted sources of income ... This indicates that, while PPIN may not receive Medicaid reimbursements related directly to abortions (as federal and state laws generally prohibit), the Medicaid reimbursements it does receive for other services are pooled or commingled with other monies it receives and thus help pay for total operational costs.
In other words, PP uses Medicaid funds to pay for total operational costs, which of course includes abortion services not covered by Medicaid dollars. The only comment on this matter I saw from the 7th Circuit Court opinion reads as follows:
Planned Parenthood also performs abortions. The organization uses private funding to support its abortion services and takes steps to ensure that public and private funds are not commingled.
That's it. There is no substantiation that PP prevents Medicaid dollars from going to abortion services other than a cursory statement that it does so. The claim begs the question. The circuit court's opinion is filled with supporting documentation and analysis except on this point. What of the PP's audited financial statements as described by the state of Indiana during the district hearing?

It may be telling, however, that the circuit court's opinion elsewhere implies that Medicaid dollars do indirectly pay for PP's abortion services. Recall this earlier quote: 
But Indiana claims plenary authority to exclude Medicaid providers for any reason, as long as it furthers a legitimate state interest—here, the State’s interest in avoiding indirect subsidization of abortion.
The circuit court's opinion describes the matter, in their own words, as Indiana avoiding "indirect subsidization of abortion." The court's opinion is not qualifying the statement as Indiana's "perception" only, but rather describing the situation as it exists.

So on the one hand, the court dismissively claimed PP separates use public funds from abortion services, and on the other, indicates that PP uses public funds indirectly to subsidize abortion.

Elsewhere, the 7th Circuit Court's opinion suggests the same thing:
The point [of defunding PP] is to eliminate the indirect subsidization of abortion....Act 1210 aims to prevent the indirect subsidization of abortion...
In rebutting this argument, the court does not challenge Indiana's assertion that PP is using public funds to subsidize abortion. It rather seems to admit the claim as fact. Instead, the court insists repeatedly that PP must be funded simply because it is capable of performing other covered medical services.

After reading through the opinion, I was thus left vexed. It seemed that Indiana's strongest argument against funding PP was dismissed with no rebuttal, with no detailed explanation. Instead, the peripheral criteria of PP's "capability" to perform other funds appeared to be inconsistently described as the basis by which a provider must receive Medicaid funds.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

The Catholic Health Association does not represent Catholic beliefs

On Sunday, the White House Chief of Staff made his rounds on the Sunday morning shows. Jack Lew, attempting to defend the Obama Administration's recent "accommodation" on the Contraception/Sterilization/Abortifacient Mandate.

This comment stood out, especially since he mentioned CHA more than once in different appearances.

[O]n Friday we had a broad range of groups endorse where the president's policy is. We had the Catholic Health Association, which understands health care extremely well and is true to Catholic beliefs.
The President of the Catholic Health Association is Sr. Carol Keehan. [Edit 2/15/12 to add] Her position in support of the "accommodation" conflicts with the teaching of the official teaching body of the Church, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, who disapproved of the so-called "accommodation" on Feb. 10.

So who is Sr. Keehan? In case you did not know:

Before the "accommodation" was publicly made, it was learned that the Sr. Keehan had been made privy before it became public. She had already emailed support to the Administration before the "accommodation" was announced. Her comments were then emailed to Obama supporters, including many of his Catholic supporters.

In March 2010, Sr. Keehan was given an honorary "presidential pen" given to political supporters when Obama signed the original bill.

On Monday, a donor emailed Sr. Keehan the following:

On behalf of all the women and men of Riverside for Choice I would like to thank you for protecting the rights of all women to have free access to essential health services including the contraceptives that allow us to control our own health and bodies. You have been a hero for choice in your Partnership with President Obama.
The emailer offered to send a donation to CHA, to which Sr. Keehan replied to this praise with" Thanks so much" and asked the donor to give to a poor woman in California.

In 2008, Sr. Keehan applauded then-Obama's appointment of pro-abortion Tom Daschle as secretary of HHS. See also in the previous link the Bishops' concern, now prophetic, that Catholic hospitals could be forced out of business.

Sr. Keehan received a standing ovation from a number of pro-abortion politicians last year in support of the initial Obama Health Care bill.

In June 2010, then president of the USCCB Cardinal Francis George called CHA a "so-called Catholic group." At the time Sr. Keehan insisted (despite the contrary in the bill) that Obama's health care plan wouldn't fund abortion. Of that, the Cardinal said, "Sr. Carol is mistaken in thinking that this is pro-life legislation." And he added, again, prophetically,
[T]he dispute with the CHA involves a core ecclesiological principle 'about the nature of the church itself, one that has to concern the bishops' – namely, who speaks for the church on faith and morals?
[EDIT 2/15/12 to add] Dr. Anne Hendershott at Kings College in New York argued how the Obama Administration in June 2010 was already using Sr. Keehan as a "propaganda czar."

Sr. Keehan's consistent support for pro-abortion politicians is essentially no secret. So when on the Sunday morning talk shows, Chief of Staff Lew cited Keehan's organization as an example of "Catholic" support, one must understand that Keehan's organization is consistently on the side of whoever supports abortion and/or contraception. [EDIT 2/15/12 to add] And as mentioned earlier, she contradicts the very teaching body of her own Church on the matter.

Needless to say, neither Sr. Keehan, nor CHA, is representative of the Church's beliefs.

For further reading, see
EDIT 3/2/12 to add: Biography of Sr. Keehan at National Catholic Register.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

When state violates Church

The first amendment to the Constitution reads:
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.
Here's a list of recent examples of the government directly interfering with or penalizing religious institutions based on their beliefs, even though they had previously been successful in serving a societal need. Example stories follow each in parentheses, although you can find these stories in many news sites.
  • Aug. 2011 - The State of Illinois defunded Catholic Charities for not placing foster children in the homes of gay couples, despite the fact that Catholic Charities deferred such couples to other charities that did provide the service. (see Chicago Tribune)
  • Oct. 2011 - The Obama Administration's Dept. of HHS defunded the Migration and Refugee Services organization run by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. The MRS rescued victims of human and sex trafficking, mostly women and children, but would not provide contraception and abortions. (see Catholic News Agency)
  • Jan. 2012 - The Obama Administration's Dept. of EEOC attempted to argue in front of the Supreme Court that the state could tell churches what religious ministers they must hire. The Court struck down their position 9-0. (see
  • Jan. 2012 - The Obama Administration's Dept. of HHS gave Catholic and other religious organizations a legal ultimatum to offer abortifacients, sterilization, and contraceptives in their insurance plans against their beliefs. (see previous coverage here at The Catholic Voyager)
  • Jan. 2012 - The State of Washington continues to try to force pharmacies to offer potentially abortifacient drugs against their beliefs. (see National Catholic Register)
  • (EDIT 4/2/2012) 2010 - The U.S. Supreme Court supported a California law school that denied a religious group normal campus group privileges because it did not condone its own group leaders to support homosexual lifestyles. The court departed from several related precedent cases, including one in 1984 in which Justice William Brennan said: "There can be no clearer example of an intrusion into the internal structure or affairs of an association than a regulation that forces the group to accept members it does not desire." (see USA Today)
Other stories of note:
  • Feb. 2012 - It seems an Obama-appointed official within the Army attempted to prevent a Bishop's letter to be read by Catholic chaplains regarding the HHS ultimatum. (see
  • EDIT (3/12/12) - Mar. 2012 - The Obama Administration revoked Texas' federal funding for women's health because Texas recently excluded Planned Parenthood funding at the state level due to the numerous abortions it provides. (see Kaiser Health News for several article summaries)
  • EDIT (5/3/12) - May 2012 - In SB 1172, the state of California seeks to regulate reparative therapy for persons with homosexual attraction who willingly desire to receive therapy. As part of the regulation, patients who seek such treatment would be forced to sign a statement, assenting to a number of the state's claims, including, "There is no scientific evidence that any types of therapies are effective in changing a person's sexual orientation." Minors would be forbidden to receive reparative therapy regardless of their desire to receive it, and regardless of their parents' desire. (see California Catholic Daily) For a radio discussion and interview of licensed therapist David Pickup who shared success stories and scientific studies to the contrary, download this hour MP3 from Kresta in the Afternoon radio show on 5/1/12).
  • EDIT (5/4/12) - May 2012 - A Texas court overturned the state's effort to exclude Planned Parenthood from the state's "Women's Health Program." According to the court, the state cannot exclude the abortion organization from the program. (see LifeNews)
  • EDIT (9/24/12) - April 2012 - In Fort Wayne, Indiana, the EEOC ruled that a Catholic diocese discriminated against a teacher who embraced a form of in vitro fertilization, a medical procedure considered intrinsically sinful by the Church for its separation of procreation with conjugal love. (see CBS News)
The articles about "defunding" one may argue are legal maneuvers by the government since they are not legally bound to fund any private organization. But when coupled with the same federal government's defense of Planned Parenthood, and the pattern of opposition to the Church at seemingly every opportunity, and the fact that those defunded organizations condemned on religious grounds the same government's advancement of contraception, sterilization, abortion, and abortifacients, it is by no means unreasonable to argue that the defunded organizations were defunded based on their religious beliefs, and therefore persecuted.

One comment I see in reaction to the Bishops' and other citizens' opposition to things like the HHS ultimatum are that it is an "attack against women" or some such. Yet in incidents like the defunding of MRS, which rescued women and children from sex trafficking, I did not see the same cries of anti-woman directed toward the government that impaired that effort, leading credence to the conclusion that cries of anti-woman directed against the Church are politically charged.

The clearest violations of religious freedom remain the federal government's (and similar story in the state of Washington) ultimatum via the HHS for Church and religious organizations to provide abortifacients, contraceptives, and sterilization insurance against their moral beliefs. The federal government's attempt to interfere with what ministers a religious body must hire also was a clear violation of religious freedom, as even the Supreme Court agreed unanimously, 9-0.

UPDATE: 2/22/12 The Supreme Court of the State of Washington voted against the state trying to force pharmacies to offer drugs against their beliefs.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Government "Health Care" vs. the Catholic Church

President John Garvey of the Catholic University of America pointed out in a September 30 op-ed appearing in the Washington Post:
In a section of the Affordable Care Act that didn’t get much public attention during the debates last year, Congress asked HHS to prescribe a list of “preventive services for women” that health-care plans across the country would have to provide to subscribers at no additional cost.
These so-called "preventive services" include various forms of birth control, including post-contraception methods that induce abortion. The Affordable Health Care Act requires all health-care plans to offer: "All Food and Drug Administration approved contraceptive methods." Helen Alvaré, Gerard V. Bradley and O. Carter Snead, writing for the Witherspoon Institute, detail a number of FDA-approved methods of contraception, such as the "morning-after pill," that can induce abortion. Such methods of birth control are abominable in the eyes of faithful Catholics and the government's mandate seeks to coerce those Catholics into abetting the action.

In another section of the plan, there is an exemption for "religious employers," permitting them to refuse to offer services contrary to the tenets of its faith. The problem is, the exemption is very narrow and would not include a vast number of Catholic institutions. To qualify for the exemption, an institution not only has to be non-profit, but must have "the inculcation of religious values as its purpose," and must employ and primarily serve "persons who share its religious tenets."

As Garvey noted of the language:
That is too narrow to include Catholic universities, which observe norms of academic freedom and teach chemical thermodynamics, aerospace engineering, musical theater, Mandarin Chinese and the Victorian novel along with theology. It’s too narrow to include St. Ann’s Infant & Maternity Home in Hyattsville, which provides care to abused and neglected children and to pregnant adolescents who need help. Nor does it encompass the Jeanne Jugan Residence for the elderly, which is across the street from our campus and run by Little Sisters of the Poor.
Perhaps the narrowness of these qualifications are why the AHCA refers to the exemption of "certain religious employers" some six times.

Western culture's norm to prevent the birth of children goes not only against the perpetuation of one's family, but the traditional and even Biblical idea of children as a blessing.
Lo, sons are a heritage from the LORD, the fruit of the womb a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the sons of one's youth. Happy is the man who has his quiver full of them! (Psalm 127:3-5a)
Faithful Catholic institutions do not want to be forced into contributing to the sterilization of mankind and considers doing so a grave sin. Unfortunately because of the way of the State, a great number of Catholic institutions are in for a potential battle in the coming months and years.

"Preventive Health Care" a misnomer?
Assuming that methods of contraception legitimately prevented various diseases and contributed to "health care," it is still not acceptable to coerce Church institutions into committing what they believe are grave sins. After all, it is a belief of Christians to "not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell." (Matthew 10:28) We should always care for the physical body, but not at the expense of the spiritual body.

Still, it is an assumption on the part of the State and many westerners that artificial forms of birth control are actually functional "preventive" methods of avoiding sexually transmitted infections (STIs).

A March 2011 article published in Infectious Diseases reveals unpleasant data in light of the government's recent mandate for health care plans to provide all FDA-approved forms of birth control.
Researchers at the University of Nottingham studied pediatric health data from local English authorities to measure the effectiveness of government-sponsored initiatives offering teenagers free emergency birth control (EBC) at pharmacies. ... Overall, they found that areas with a pharmacy that offered free EBC saw an average 5% increase in STIs among children younger than 18 years. In children younger than 16 years, the STI rate increased by 12%. STI rates for teens and older women increased consistently during the study period, but the teenage STI rates increased faster as EBC programs were introduced.
How can this be? An analogy may help. Suppose we do a study of those who wear football helmets and padding versus those who don't. Who sustains more injuries on a regular basis? Those who regularly wear football equipment or the average Joe who does not. Of course the answer would be that football players sustain injuries more on a regular basis than the person who doesn't. Why? Because the guy with the padding is of course more likely to engage in the dangerous activity of football! If we just asked, "who gets hurt more, a person wearing padding or a person who doesn't," the answer in a vacuum would be the person without padding. But the question doesn't take into account the difference in behavior between the two groups.

The same is the case with contraception. Those who contracept are more likely to engage in behavior that will result in STIs. Back in 2009, Edward Green, director of AIDS Prevention Research Project at the Harvard Center for Population and Development Studies, defended Pope Benedict XVI, who at the time was critical of condom-distribution in Africa as a viable solution to curb AIDS. Green stated:
There is a consistent association shown by our best studies, including the U.S.-funded ‘Demographic Health Surveys,’ between greater availability and use of condoms and higher (not lower) HIV-infection rates. This may be due in part to a phenomenon known as risk compensation, meaning that when one uses a risk-reduction ‘technology’ such as condoms, one often loses the benefit (reduction in risk) by ‘compensating’ or taking greater chances than one would take without the risk-reduction technology.
Defenders of free condom distribution point to other studies that do not show an increase in sexual behavior when condom access is available.

Either way, the State has taken a position that supports what are effectively sanctions against Catholic institutions. And I reiterate, even if condom-distribution were effective, it remains a sin whether it achieves its purpose or not, and it remains less-effective than Church-supported abstinence. And this is not even to mention the psychological trauma experienced by abortive mothers, whose voices were not heeded in a 2008 AMA study that attempted to prove that killing an infant in the womb does not cause psychological harm to the mother.

See also the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops statement decrying the harm advanced by the offensive mandate in the Affordable Health Care Act. And see the recent article 18 Catholic colleges appeal parts of federal health care law mandate.