Tough Pill Bill to Swallow

National Catholic Register
Commentary & Opinion
August 25 – 31, 2002

Reproduced with permission

Michael J.  O’Dea*

Regarding “N.Y. ‘Pill Bill’ Puts Church in Tough Spot” (July 28-Aug. 3):

Passage of New York’s Equity in Prescription Insurance and Contraceptive Coverage (EPICC) bill forces New York’s fully insured health plans to subsidize all FDA-approved contraceptive pills and devices. In addition to violating religious liberty and an individual’s right of conscience, this law undermines parents by expanding government control of American children’s sexual and reproductive health. How dare Ms. (Assemblywoman Deborah) Glick get away with her comments in this article. The bill is not about religious freedom, she says, but about individual choice and health care.

This bill is not about individual choice nor health care. It is about state and federal control of our children and what we finance in health care. This is a totalitarian agenda, proposed by Planned Parenthood and the Alan Guttmacher Institute. How does the Church get out of cooperating with a state law that interferes with parents’ right to shape the conscience of their children? The Catholic Church still does have options   of setting up self insured plans that are regulated by ERISSA, the federal law that frees self-insured health plans from state contraceptive mandates. However, if Sen. Kennedy and Congressman Bonior get their way with S 104 and HR 1111, those options will quickly vanish. President Bush could be forced to use his veto power – or every private and public health insurance plan that has prescription coverage will force employers and individuals, through taxes and insurance premiums, to confidentially fund unhealthy and morally objectionable contraceptive chemicals and devices  for children, without parental consent or knowledge.

In addition to challenging this insidious N.Y. EPICC legislation in the court and teaching the intrinsic evil of contraception, Catholics must unite to establish, administrate and control financing in their own self-insured Catholic health plan. Catholics must also unite with other faith-based organizations and defeat EPICC. If EPICC is not defeated, what will employers and individuals be forced to pay for next – euthanasia, artificial insemination, invitro-fertilization, cloning, and coverage for unmarried and same-sex partners?  America prides itself on assuring parents the opportunity to raise children without government intrusion and interference. A nation with the greatest political freedom is being undermined by a few powerful political interest groups. At this critical time, when the health and welfare of the American family, our nation’s future and our political freedom are all at stake, it is time for allChristians, particularly those in positions of leadership, to take charge of what we pay for in health care and “Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is Gods.”

Testimony from the gynaecological-obstetrical frontline

André O. Devos, MD*

. . .Since a fair amount of their income was the result of contraception, and surgical sterilisation, I refused to join the pool . . . According to my conscience, I could not accept any part of that income. I soon was dismissed, losing hospitalisation and surgical privileges. The letter of dismissal was signed both by our Mother Superior . . . and . . . a Reverend Canon, who at the same time was one of the secretaries of our
Bishop. [Full text]

Italian pharmacists called upon to exercise conscientious objection

Pharmacists in Italy have been called upon by the Catholic church to be conscientious objectors against the ‘morning after pill’, since it sometimes acts as an abortifacient. The president of the Italian Bishops’ Conference suggested that pharmacists should be allowed to claim conscientious objector status, a protection afforded to doctors and nurses who do not wish to participate in abortion. Governors of northern Lombardy (around Milan) and Latium (around Rome) have affirmed that the rights of pharmacists to conscientious objection would be respected, despite the government’s position that pharmacists would be breaking the law if they refused to supply the drug.

 

Morning-after-pill an abortifacient: conscientious objection by health care workers urged

In a document released by the Pontifical Academy for Life, the mechanism of the morning-after pill is described in detail. The document concludes that “it is clear that in fact the morning-after pill is nothing other than an abortion procured by chemical means,” encourages health care workers to practice “conscientious objection” against the “aggression” aimed at the “human embryo.”

Catholic Charities files lawsuit against the State of California

A law passed in 1999 included a requirement that would force Catholic hospitals to provide employee insurance coverage for artificial contraception. This has resulted in a lawsuit against the state. An application for a preliminary injunction is to be heard in a Sacramento Court in late August.