Catholic Colleges Refuse to Pay for Whore Pills

Religious colleges are displeased with the Obama administration's decision to require birth control coverage for their employees and students under the Affordable Care Act. Actually "displeased" probably isn't a good word. "Hopping mad" is more accurate. A group of hopping mad bishops is filing suit against the administration to prevent the provision from going into effect, and some colleges compelled by state law to provide slut lozenges to their befouled female students are just ignoring the law entirely.

Last summer, the Obama administration, on the advice of a panel of independent physicians, ruled that birth control constitutes "preventative care" and thus must be available to women without copay. There's a narrow religious exemption in the law that would allow certain faith-based groups to avoid the provision, and earlier this month, the administration announced that they wouldn't widen the loophole to include religious colleges and hospitals, which means that colleges may need to provide copay-free birth control to their female students.

And across the country, dozens of mitres rose on their own accord and began spinning in rage. Touchdown Jesus began to ugly-cry. Catholic schoolgirls prepared to skip biology en masse in order to go to a strip club with Alicia Silverstone in the middle of the day. Everyone was given no excuse but to begin fucking for pleasure, and with impunity. It's a dangerous time to be a hymen.

Non-exempt religious institutions been given a year to figure out how they're going to handle this assault on their freedom to use religious text to scientifically prescribe what is best, health care-wise. But they may just end up refusing to comply with the law.

As The New York Times reports, some religious organizations that are already compelled to follow guidelines requiring them to provide birth control are just carrying on their merry way. New York State, for example, requires religious schools to provide birth control to female students, but Fordham University in New York City is still refusing to prescribe it. I'd imagine that would probably happen at other religious schools, too.

I can't speak for everyone's experience at every Catholic university, but I can speak to my experience at my very Catholic alma mater. The campus is self-contained and sort of isolated from the surrounding community. Freshmen weren't allowed to have vehicle permits or live off campus. Health Services wouldn't prescribe birth control to anyone for any reason, because the Church believes that a woman's place is in a habit or around a developing fetus or in crippling premenstrual pain, so in order for a freshman to get birth control, she either had to get an upperclassman to drive her to the Planned Parenthood in the next town over, or take a cab. I can't imagine the university— and the Cold War-era priests who make all the rules— ever relenting to a rule requiring them to provide birth control to students.

Religious leaders say that the health care law interferes with religious freedom, which in this context means "the freedom to prevent members of their religion from having any other options but to follow the laws of religion." What is actually best for the public— women who use birth control are healthier and less likely to have an unsafe unplanned pregnancy— and what religious leaders think is best for the public— chastity, or married production of dozens of tiny impoverished future members of the religion— have never been in line, but looming battle over free birth control illustrates just how starkly religious restrictions on health care and actual scientific ideas of health care diverge. No one is forcing anyone to take birth control; the Obama administration is just requiring an organization to provide it as an option. Women who attend Catholic college who believe birth control is morally wrong will still be free to believe that birth control is morally wrong but abstain from using it themselves.

Other objections to covering birth control point out that forcing religious colleges and universities to provide birth control to female students is effectively forcing all participants in the university's health care plan to pay for birth control. A fair point, if the idea that one can avoid financially supporting things they don't personally like wasn't hilariously impossible. Banks and financial institutions, for example, provide employees with insurance that covers all manner of things that clients of the bank may not want to support (my former employer provided coverage for IVF, abortion up to the point of legal viability, and birth control, which is fairly standard for the industry). If you were a client of the bank, you're paying employees' salaries, part of which are going to pay plan premiums, part of which are paying for abortions. If you buy clothes at American Apparel, you're paying the employees' salaries, which means you're also paying for a lot of cocaine and Deer Tick records. Economic isolationism is not possible if you participate in capitalism, no matter how much you don't like something.

In spite of this, it looks like The Great Birth Control War of the 2010's will reach a head in the next year or so. On one hand, the administration is backed by science, and science is backed by facts. But on the other, no one has proven themselves better at ignoring facts, especially as they pertain to women's health, than religious leaders.

Ruling on contraception draws battle lines at Catholic colleges [NYT]