Birth Control Debate Continues to Rage

By Emily Murray

When two high powered organizations go to battle, the only thing many of us can do is watch and wait.

This week the Catholic church and the U.S. government have come to a stand off over the mandated availability of birth control coverage in insurance plans. It seems we have reached a standstill – one that is hard to imagine will be resolved any time soon.

Unlike most debates, this one seems so deeply routed it’s hardly a “let’s-compromise-here” type of situation. In case you have missed it, here are the basic points that are fueling the feud.

The U.S. Government 
As enforced by a new mandate, now all religiously affiliated organizations, hospitals and universities must provide coverage for contraception in their insurance plans. This coverage extends to oral contraceptive pills and forms of emergency contraception which helps to prevent pregnancy after unprotected or unplanned intercourse. Looking out for the reproductive health of women is something the government has a duty to provide.  


The Catholic Church
By mandating that this type of coverage is provided, the government is going against religious beliefs. In Catholicism, the belief is that it is unethical to use contraception since a life is being prevented. Additionally, emergency contraception is looked gravely down upon as a comparable action to an abortion.

You can see with such radically different opinions on the subject it’s hard to imagine anything that could make all parties involved content. One leading force in the movement against this mandate has been Richard Doerflinger, who covers life issues for the United Conference of Catholic Bishops. He has made his presence known on Capitol Hill this week and was quoted in an NPR article on the subject as having said –

“This is really the first time that an administration has reached into the life of religious organizations and said, ‘We’re going to dragoon you into this; you have to help do this and it doesn’t matter what your objections are.’ ”

These concerns as still being discussed and those in The White House are still searching for a way to get moving on the issue. Until then, we are left to wait and watch.

What are your thoughts on the debate? Can you see where both sides are coming from?