Jess Chapman

And God said, “Let there be Plan B”

In Social Issues on February 8, 2012 at 8:00 am

Maybe I’m not authorized to speak to this issue because I’m all of an apatheist, a nominal Jew and a childfree woman. But as much as I can see the religious argument against preventing God from making babies using secular means, I have a very hard time sympathizing with opponents of contraception in principle, especially when you consider that contraceptives are (usually) a great way to avoid considering abortion. I’d hate to think how those people would react to what I’d rather get.

The new debate over reproductive issues has, thankfully, very little to do with any new seepage out of the mouth of Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA). (Seriously, asshole?) It has everything to do with the Obama administration’s push for a rule that would require religious organizations to cover contraception in female employees’ insurance packages. Proponents focus on the rights of the female employees. Opponents focus on the rights of the religious organizations.

There’s really not much room for compromise on this one. I myself am of two minds about it. On the one hand, anyone who works for a religious organization should know exactly what to expect of company policy when it comes to matters of the physical, especially when those matters have become politically sexy in the past couple of decades. On the other hand, at what point do we stop giving concessions in the name of religion? (That means all religions, not just Catholicism. Think about that.) There’s a reason for singular secular laws and not a patchwork of religious ones.

My rule of thumb is to stop the concessions whenever it would cause direct harm to the person in question. If an employee simply does not want to get pregnant, well, we know where the Catholic Church stands on that one. But if she got pregnant from rape, or had a reproductive ailment that would cause childbirth to injure or kill her, I would not accept the organization’s refusal to help her pay for emergency contraception the way they would if she needed to buy penicillin.

That could be the acceptable middle ground sought by the Obama administration as they attempt to limit the political fallout. Thankfully, those who are employed shouldn’t have much trouble affording contraceptives out of pocket: $292 max for a diaphragm, including the exam; $40 for a large box of condoms; and I personally don’t believe in the Pill, which screws with your hormones. We might find that this is only an issue on paper.

Unless, of course, the rape/life-threatening exemption is not included and life ends up begetting death. But perhaps I’m getting ahead of myself.

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