By Joe Cook
President Barack Obama’s health care bill has divided the nation.
Obama only intensified the debate when he announced his modified Health and Human Services mandate concerning contraception.
The loudest opposition to this mandate has been from pro-life Catholics accross the country, who are staunchly opposed to the government requiring that insurance companies provide coverage of contraception, regardless of the moral or religious stance of the organization that the company insures.
There are many arguments as to why or why not this is a horrible thing, both political and religious.
According to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishop’s website, Obama’s mandate requires that “nearly all private health plans to include coverage for all FDA-approved prescription contraceptive drugs and devices, as well as surgical sterilization.”
The website continues to say that the insurance plans will have to cover this fully, regardless of the beliefs of the insurer, the employer or the insuree.
President Obama has backtracked on his original mandate and has changed his mandate to allow for organizations who object to not pay for contraception.
The first and obvious problem with Obama’s mandate is that it requires many Americans, regardless of their stance on contraceptives, to pay for something that they morally oppose.
President Obama has no constitutional right to require companies and organizations to pay for a service that goes against their religious beliefs, because by doing so he violates the First Amendment.
Catholics believe that contraception is a barrier to life and that it permits promiscuity in society.
However, the Catholic Church is not the only entity opposed to this mandate.
Protestant groups, such as the Family Research Council, are also against contraception because they too believe that it promotes promiscuity.
With this mandate, they too may be required to pay for something that they oppose.
Public tax dollars may be used to fund something that they are vehemently opposed to.
If we truly are a country that promotes “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness,” then President Obama should not take away our liberty just so someone is able to prevent a life from ever beginning its own pursuit of happiness.
Setting the moral issue aside, this mandate is unjust also because it is an intrusion into citizen’s personal lives.
This mandate will end up forcing companies to pay for a service that they may not want.
This encroachment into the lives of private citizens is essential to the debate.
Imagine this: President Obama passes down a mandate that requires companies to provide Firefly cell phones to their employees.
People would be outraged at the fact that the federal government is stepping into the private lives of its citizens and forcing them to purchase a product.
While Firefly cell phones do not present the same moral issues that contraception does, the situation is very similar.
Both cases are the same in that the government is forcing citizens to purchase something.
The desires of the people and the states are the most important factor in determining whether a law should be passed.
Seven states – Texas, Florida, Michigan, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma and South Carolina – as well as one Catholic group and two private citizens, filed suit in a Nebraska federal court on Feb. 23.
The suit asks that the court declare the law unconstitutional.
Although seven states is not a majority, it shows that there are a large amount of people in the United States who do not support this law.
While there are many controversial parts to the entire Obamacare bill, the issue over contraception is one of the most heated.
From a Catholic standpoint, the government should not require employers, whether they are associated with a church or not, from purchasing something that goes against their religious beliefs.
All religious arguments aside, the government should not be telling employers, employees or insurance companies what they are or are not required to purchase.