The Catholic Church and Mandatory Birth Control
Obama administration authorized that health insurance should offset the cost of contraceptives including coverage for church-affiliated organizations’ female employees. Such organizations, whose workers have to undertake a mandatory birth control, include religious colleges and hospitals. Many religious organizations, especially the Catholic Church, highly condemned this move by the government. In addition, it is clear from the past that there have been conflicts between reproductive health care and religious beliefs, particularly Catholicism. The church has had freedom when it comes to health care of its patients, but new health care reforms are violating this freedom. However, there are circumstances where some women have developed problems and others died while trying to abort in Catholic hospitals without getting any help (Cohn, 2012). Obama’s administration argues that this situation has provoked it to take the matter in their hands and force the church to provide birth control to their employees. The critical question is whether or not the government should force the Catholic Church to provide birth control coverage to employees in their affiliated institutions such as colleges and hospitals. Nevertheless, the new heath care law should not force the Catholic Church into mandatory birth control since it violates the first and the fourteenth amendment to the Constitution.
The Catholic Church has traditionally been against contraceptives, and Obama’s administration should not force them to offer birth control to their employees as it is against the ethics of the church. The church should be allowed to exercise its freedom as it has been in the past. The Catholic Church has been operating under such rules since its introduction in the United States. Although many people argue that the church should respond to the changing times and the needs of the pluralistic society, they should understand that the doctrines of the church do not change (Richey, 2012). In turn, the government should change its laws to correspond to the doctrines of the church like it has done in the past.
Another crucial thing to note is that Catholic hospitals have played a significant role in the health care system in the country since the early twentieth century. A research carried out in 2011 showed that, on a yearly basis, one out of every six Americans receives treatment at a Catholic hospital. Following many health care challenges that are facing the country, it would be wrong to interfere with the operations of the Catholic Church due to its crucial role in the sector. In addition, the government should take the Catholic Church as a public institution that offers services to all people in America rather than associating it with the private sector. The government should find best ways of addressing the health care challenges in the country, and this would be more realistic if they would link with the Catholic Church rather than making it the subject of their new laws (Richey, 2012). If the government pursues this new rule and imposes it on church, it will result to confusion and, eventually, citizens who obtain help from the church-affiliated organizations will suffer.
Another crucial thing to note is that no one forces employees to work in the Catholic Church and its affiliated organizations. Just like in any other institution that offers employment, there are certain terms and conditions. Before employees qualify, they usually meet the terms and conditions of such organizations. This case applies in the Catholic Church organizations (Cohn, 2012). The government therefore should not change the terms and conditions that the Catholic Church uses to hire employees. Provision of health care control should remain an internal matter of the Catholic Church.
Concerning the law, the requirement under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) is against the Religious Freedom Restoration Act and the First Amendment’s protection of religious freedom (Cohn, 212). The ACA guarantees that all Americans should get standard health coverage despite their employers’ personal or political views. Aristotle observed that religion and politics are two opposing things. Additionally, he said that a man is political in nature; thus he will always try to incorporate politics in all undertakings including religion affairs (Halper, 2007). However, he further observes that people should use religion as a tool to control the political nature of humankind. Consequently, the political nature of man should not control politics and religion (Cohn, 2012). Therefore, policy makers should uphold the principles of the Catholic Church in law making. A common problem with the Americans is that they do not agree with what religious freedom means, but they have always agreed that freedom matters and it should be protected by law. When people get a clear meaning of religious freedom, such issues like forcing the Catholic Church to provide birth control to their employees would be a thing of the past.
Immanuel Kant is one of the philosophers with keen interest in issues relating to morality in the society. Morality comes when human beings are free and do things freely (Kant, 2005). As a result of the culture in the U.S., it is clear that people in the society associate morality with the church. Therefore, if the government forces the church to provide their employees with birth control, it will result to immorality in the society. This will result to moral confusion in the whole country as people will lose trust in the Catholic Church. As Kant put it, morality is only enhanced when people do what they feel is correct rather than being forced to do it by law. Even if the government forces the Catholic Church to provide their employees with birth control, it will make the society lose its morality (Kant, 2005). This will have a negative effect not only on the present but also future generations.
In my view, Obama’s administration should take the Catholic Church as a role model in health care sector. The administration should learn that the church will always be there as opposed to the administration that will only last for some years. The church should be allowed to exercise its freedom as it has done in the past. Birth control should be an issue of the government, and it should avoid associating the Catholic Church with the problem. The Catholic Church is convinced that the only way of controlling abortions is to avoid having sex, and there is no any alternative (Richey, 2012). Although there are people arguing that the Catholic Church should pay their employees to perform birth control outside their hospitals, this will not have any ethical sense since the church will be responsible for the abortions and other reproductive health issues.
In conclusion, the U.S. government should not force the Catholic Church to provide its employees with birth control services. The move is against the principles of the church, and everyone must respect them under any circumstances. The government should give the Catholic Church its freedom as a religion that serves the majority not only in the country but in the whole world. The government should act on this issue by not secluding the church as it plays a crucial role in enhancing morality in the society. The government’s imposition of some laws on religious organization is against the views of many philosophers, for instance Immanuel Kant, who held that morality in the society is enhanced through free will.
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