President Obama and Health and Human Services Sebelius have not given Catholic Americans a real alternative. The original mandate compelled Catholic institutions (other than churches, parishes and dioceses) to provide and fully subsidize contraceptives and abortifacients to any and all employees who asked for them. This was obviously reprehensible for it violated Natural and Divine Law which condemns these items as material cooperation in evil.
Abortifacients are the worst for they actually and directly kill a new embryo before implantation in the uterine wall. Once conception (fertilization of the female egg by the male sperm) takes place, a new and distinct human being exists, body and soul. The DNA of the new human is not identical to the mother’s, but similar. In every cell and organ of her body, the same DNA resides but in the embryo is a different DNA as it is the building block of a NEW human person now growing within his/her mother. Abortifacients do not prevent conception, they prevent implantation. They force the woman’s body to eject a non-viable fetus, which is defined as ABORTION. This is an unjust killing of an innocent human being and is murder plain and simple.
Contraception, on the other hand, is the prevention of fertilization. It nevertheless violates the Natural Moral Law since every conjugal act of human sexual intercourse is simultaneously dual oriented to love (unity) and life (procreation). Artificially separating procreation from marital unity (of husband and wife) is immoral and sinful as we were reminded by Pope Paul VI in Humanae Vitae. Contraceptive sex and test tube conceptions are both wrong for the same reason. Human sexuality is a gift not a right. God allows human beings to participate in the act of creating a new human person, hence the term PRO-CREATION. New human life is meant and intended to take place within the confines a human family, i.e., with mom and dad as husband and wife living together in the same home as one family.
Making Catholic schools and hospitals provide free contraceptives and abortifacients (by assuming the cost totally themselves is completely unjust, unfair and unconstitutional. The government was trying to compel religious institutions to violate their own moral code which of itself is violation of civil law. The US Constitution has a Bill of Rights, FIRST of which is the FREEDOM OF RELIGION. It is not the freedom FROM religion but the freedom OF religion. This freedom is mentioned before the freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, freedom of the press and freedom to bear arms. Nowhere in the Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, Magna Carta, etc., is there a freedom to have contraceptives on demand and without cost. President Obama and Secretary Sebelius (and Planned Parenthood) were attempting to violate the Natural Moral Law and replace it with immoral civil positive law. Contraception is legal in America. That was not always the case. Married couples could not legally obtain contraceptives until 1965 and unmarried couples until 1972. All mainline Protestant churches and denominations condemned abortion and contraception until the Lambeth Conference of 1930.
Now it is 2012 and the US Government wants to make it mandatory that women have FREE access to contraceptives. While the Catholic Church condemns artificial birth control, she realizes that in a pluralistic democratic-republic such as ours, the majority of citizens may not agree and thus these items may be legally permitted. Permission is different from obligation, however. Mandating the free access of something which violates the moral and spiritual conscience of others is an abuse of secular power. The State cannot impose material cooperation in evil. It is immoral and violates the very definition of a just and valid law.
Lex est quaedam rationis ordinatio ad bonum commune, ab eo qui curam communitatis habet, promulgata
(law is a command of reason for the common good, promulgated by the one who has care of the community)
This definition of law as found in the Summa Theologica of Saint Thomas Aquinas is the basis for all human law, ecclesiastical and civil. The Nuremberg Laws were not for the common good and were therefore immoral and de facto invalid. Immoral laws are sins of the legislator. Complying with immoral laws are sins of the citizens.
Cardinal Elect Dolan and the USCCB were totally correct and proper in their public denunciation of this mandate. Moving the financial obligation, however, from Catholic schools and hospitals to insurance companies does not make the mandate moral or acceptable.
The mandate itself is wrong, immoral and sinful from the believer’s conscience which the FIRST AMMENDMENT protects. The material cooperation in evil still takes place, albeit now by means of the insurance companies instead of Catholic schools and hospitals. What if these institutions are SELF-INSURED? Would it not be the same result? There are Catholic insurance companies. What about the moral and spiritual consciences of the Board of Directors and stock holders of the insurance companies? Why must they be compelled to pay for something which by definition is a CHOICE? Contraception is not a medical procedure, it is an optional treatment called VOLUNTARY, DISCRETIONARY and ELECTIVE. Therefore, it is unfair and unjust to compel anyone to pay for this, in part or in whole. Neither the tax payer (via the state) nor the church nor the insurance company should pay one cent for contraception. Since it is readily available at every pharmacy and supermarket today, there is no burden being placed on citizens to obtain at their own cost such non-essential medical devices.
Even though the liberal press and media glamorize the scandal that most Catholic couples use contraceptives despite the Magisterial condemnation of them, this HHS mandate is not about the use but about the subsidizing and supplying of contraceptives. Should store owners be compelled to sell pornography if they find such things offensive and immoral? What if the government told businesses they had to supply (at cost) prostitutes for their employees (male or female)? Telling schools and hospitals they or their insurance companies have to provide contraception is no different. Legally obtainable items are not de fact morally acceptable items.
The First Amendment GUARANTEES that religion is RESPECTED and PROTECTED. It is also evident that there is no state church, no national religion per se. Yet, our founding fathers and the Declaration of Independence as well as the Constitution were formed on and from a Judaeo-Christian ethic and background. Inalienable rights come from GOD not the state. While no one religion is to be established, neither are any religions to be impeded from free exercise. Therefore, the First Amendment guarantees that Catholic hospitals, schools, organizations, institutions and insurance companies can reject any request to supply and/or subsidize (partially or in full) any procedure or treatment considered a violation of religious conscience.
The so-called right to privacy the Supreme Court invented with Roe v. Wade and which many in Congress invoke to shove contraception down our throats does not exist in either the Constitution or the Declaration of Independence. There is no amendment protecting such a theoretical construct. The right to life, however, is a pillar of our American society. The unborn have an inalienable right to life. Some contraceptives work in fact as abortifacients and therefore unconstitutionally rob the innocent of their lives.
Shifting the costs of contraceptives to insurance companies is merely a shell game and glamorous example of presidential prestidigitation. Merely a slight of hand trick, in reality this revised mandate is the same as before. Elective and optional treatments are being forced upon those whose moral conscience finds these methods objectionable. Next, the government will compel businesses and institutions to pay for medical gender change operations if this goes unchallenged. Same sex marriages will be imposed on churches soon after they are legal in all fifty states. Then what is to stop bigamous marriages to follow? If it is not legal to defend the tradition of one man and one woman, then neither is it legal to restrict marriage to just two people. Logic and reason show that once conscience is suppressed, then all is in danger.
This is not a republican-democrat issue per se and neither is it a battle between Obama supporters and Obama opponents. It is not a war between CNN and Fox-News. This is a constitutional and natural moral law violation. If female employees (or male for that matter) want contraceptives, then like cigarettes and alcohol, which are also legal items, let them obtain these things on their own time with their own money. Forcing institutions, schools, hospitals, churches, businesses or governments to pay for them in part or in whole; to provide them in any way, shape or form, is WRONG, IMMORAL and UNCONSTITUTIONAL. Protestants, Jews and Muslims will be joining us one way or another, either to protest together or to suffer together if these offensive procedures become law of the land.
Our bishops have made a courageous stand and the clergy and laity need to compliment them for it. This cannot be a fight for the episcopacy alone. Lay citizens have an active role to play, however, in VOTING and ELECTING and even RUNNING FOR OFFICE which clergy cannot and should not do. To do nothing would be a sin of omission at the very least, which sadly some did at Nuremburg during the 1930’s and in the USA during the time of slavery and segregation.