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LostInParadise's avatar

What do you think of Obama's "accommodation" on contraceptives?

Asked by LostInParadise (23493points) February 11th, 2012

For those who have not been following the story, the president said that Catholic affiliated hospitals will not be required to provide contraceptives but all insurance companies will be required to provide them at no cost.

I think it was a brilliant decision. It is an end run around Catholic hospitals, which will not be forced to violate their principles, but all women will have access to contraceptives.

I have seen the argument made that Catholic hospitals will end up having to pay, because premiums will increase due to the provision of contraceptives. I am not sure that this is the case. Access to contraceptives by the poor means fewer costs due to unwanted pregnancies and fewer additional health costs for unwanted children. It also means that families will be able to better provide for smaller families, leading to less illness. What this does mean is that the Catholic church will not be able to impose its will on the vast majority of its members who are in favor of contraceptive devices.

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39 Answers

marinelife's avatar

I am glad to hear such a positive spin put on it.

I know at first I was dismayed that he had given in again.

Still, i was dismayed by the size of the outcry. This works. Everyone knows it is a band aid.

elbanditoroso's avatar

Obama was forced to do this by the Benedict Arnolds in his own party.

This whole thing was NOT about women or birth control.

It was about men telling women how they can run their lives. It was about the religious fundamentalists trying to impose their will on people who do not see things their way. In this case, the Catholic establishment is no better than the Afghan Taliban – forcing their views on those who may not agree.

The fundamental issue here is that women who work for Catholic institutions are not treated the same (in a health benefits sense) that women who work for non-Catholic institutions are. That is coercion based on employer. And that’s not right.

All the rest of it (religious freedom for the Church!) is a bunch of crap designed to make political points and trash Obama.

bkcunningham's avatar

I think it is coercion and an example of the overreach of Obamacare. It is wrong for government officials to require private companies to provide goods and services. Nothing is free and of course the employers and employees are going to pay.

zenvelo's avatar

I think it was a good compromise. It baffles me that those who oppose abortion also oppose preventing the need for an abortion.

jrpowell's avatar

@bkcunningham :: A lifetime of birth control pills is a hell of a lot cheaper than having a baby in a hospital. I really doubt the insurance companies cared.

digitalimpression's avatar

It makes me a little sick to my stomach that this sort of political subterfuge was necessary just to avoid offending someone… or violating some rule of their belief system. I’m pretty sure another question yesterday mentioned that around 99.9% of catholic women use contraceptives anyway…

CWOTUS's avatar

It’s no compromise at all; it’s a strong-arm tactic.

Many, if not “most”, large employers are self-insured. That is, they pay the employees’ health care costs themselves, but they have “an insurance company” do the administration for them. My own company isn’t particularly large, and this is how we do it. What Obama has done is mandate (and whether he can make it stick now remains to be seen) that insurance companies may not offer plans that don’t include contraception.

bkcunningham's avatar

@johnpowell, what does a lifetime of birth control have to do with my response? I’m referring to the entire program. Not just the birth control aspect. Anyway, I would guess that an annual pap/pelvic and prescription for birth control over a woman’s lifetime is more than the cost of prenatal care and having a baby in a hospital. You are right, the insurance company doesn’t care because it passes the cost along to the employers and employees.

tedd's avatar

Personally I’d rather he not compromised on it. But there are bigger issues for him to pick a fight on, and I can live with the compromise.

nikipedia's avatar

On the one hand I was sorry to see him capitulate to very loud lunatics yet again; on the other it seems like a very fair solution. And letting conservatives make angry rustlings about contraception can only be politically good for Obama.

Jaxk's avatar

I admit this is not the biggest issue we have to deal with. At the same time, government overreach is a big problem. One of the numbers being kicked around, is that 98% of Catholic women use birth control. Does anyone seriously believe that this number will change, in any significant way, with this new mandate? The whole issue is not about birth control, women already have access and use it. It is about government control. It is a test to see how far they can intrude on individual liberty and religious liberty. And government is winning. Those that want an all powerful government should applaud this, while those that cherish thier individual liberty and religious liberty, should mourn it’s passing.

syz's avatar

This Slate writer seems to agree with you.

syz's avatar

@Jaxk I’m sorry, what? How is being fair to women “government control”? If 98–99% of women (of all religions) use birth control, how is it acceptable for some fat, white, male bigwig to say that they can’t get their birth control covered by insurance? (While Viagra is covered, by the way – can’t have guys unable to pop a woody!)

How about you have the choice to use birth control if you want it – that seems like a civil and religious liberty to me! Don’t want it, don’t use it, but at least you had the choice. Not someone else deciding for you what is “wrong”.

zenvelo's avatar

@Jaxk Most women get birth control one of two ways: paid for by their insurance, or by going to Planned Parenthood. By having the government mandate that women be treated for female issues rather than treated as a second class gender, the administration is protecting women’s rights. In fact, they are protecting a health decision from being imposed upon by other peoples religious beliefs.

Jaxk's avatar

@syz & @zenvelo

This is not about contraceptives nor women’s health. It’s about more free stuff from government. If 98–99% of women already use birth control, it’s hard to make the argument that they don’t already have access to it. It may be time to stop whining for more free stuff.

nikipedia's avatar

@Jaxk, of course women have access to it. But contraception is a basic part of healthcare and as such should be covered by insurance.

For what it’s worth, I also want to live in a world where tampons are free. But I’m not holding my breath.

zenvelo's avatar

@Jaxk They aren’t getting it for free, they are getting it from their insurance companies that they pay monthly premiums to. They’ve already paid for it.

jerv's avatar

@Jaxk It’s okay to pay into insurance but not get the benefits from it? Sorry, I disagree.

As for your take on government, remember that the church is a different kind of government. Both seek to impose their wills on people and both take money from us. The only real difference is that we don’t elect clergy.

syz's avatar

Free stuff?!? How about access?

And while I’m at it, I’d be willing to bet this same bunch would be all about ending a women’s choice when it comes to abortion, too. You want to reduce the number of abortions? Then make sex education and birth control available to women – that’s how you “save lives”. It’s a direct correlation.

The republican party continues to act as if women are second class citizens.

GladysMensch's avatar

@Jaxk Those that want an all powerful government should applaud this, while those that cherish thier individual liberty and religious liberty, should mourn it’s passing.

Exactly how is this infringing upon your religious liberty? You’re still free to worship whatever deity you choose. You are still free to have sex with or without any protections allowed by said deity.

Pandora's avatar

I think it was an excellent compromise. For those of you who think he should’ve forced their hand, it would’ve simply meant over stepping. This is a democracy. Not a dictatorship. Plus why do you have to rock the boat if its not going to get you to your destination any faster. In fact it may prevent you from getting there, period.
Some may say well now the insurance companies may have to pay up. Think of this for a moment. Its cheaper for insurances to pay for women to be on birth control pills, than to pay for a womans pregnancy care, child birth (and thats provided nothing goes expensively wrong) and then the health coverage of the child for the next 18 to 21 years. Now multiply that by 2 or more births. They don’t collect more money monthly per child. There is individual plans and then the family plan.

Jaxk's avatar


If you don’t like the teachings of the church, don’t join. Government is quite different. If you don’t like what the government dictates, they have a police force to make you comply.

Liberty is not assured by elections. It takes constant vigilance to maintain. Hell, Iran, N.Korea and Russia have elections too. But much less liberty. When government begins to infringe on our freedom it is always in very small pieces and packaged so that it appears to be in your best interest. You don’t even notice til it’s gone. We have government telling us that birth control will be free and that will save us money. Nothing is free. If they can dictate that everyone has to buy it, and that insurance companies have to provide it at no cost, can they put any stipulations how, when, and why it is used? For instance if you are a high risk patient that shouldn’t get pregnant, is sterilization a preferred practice. Or should the Octomom be forced to use birth control or be sterilized? Hell sterilization would be in the best interest of the state, and much better for children. If you are low income and have no way to support children, should you be forced to take birth control. What penalty should you suffer if you don’t? Should financial considerations be a factor in whether to force birth control or sterilization?

All this seems far fetched, I’m sure. We aren’t there yet but merely on that road. When government begins to make choices for you, you are at thier mercy for what choices they make. Remember that these decisions are not necessarily made by Obama but rather the Secretary of Health. The Affordable care act provides her the authority to make these choices and the recent compromise extends that authority to more than just your own decisions but that of the insurance carriers as well. And She’s an unelected bureaucrat.

When you have a government that can give you everything you want, it can also take away everything you have.

jerv's avatar

@Jaxk If you don’t like the teachings of the church, don’t live in the country where they influence lawmakers. Also, don’t live in a country where corporations influence them either. The Church and the corps have the government-funded police to enforce their edicts.

Admit it, this world is far from ideal, and neither of us will ever be happy with the say things run. Our freedoms and our funds are not under our control no matter what system or lack thereof we go with. Free market Capitalism leads to Feudalism or “Might makes right” Anarchy, while anything less leads to varying degrees of Totalitarianism and/or Socialism. So tell me, what compromises are we wiling to make?

Jaxk's avatar


Can I assume you want to live in a country where nobody can influence lawmakers? I believe that would be a dictatorship. Not my idea of the ideal government.

tedd's avatar

@Jaxk I’d like to live in a country where companies and corporations cannot influence lawmakers… and the wealthy who do influence them are held accountable (aka not “anonymous” in their donations of billions). If we let them start to control the conversation, we’ve devolved into nothing more than a modern day oligarchy.

Jaxk's avatar


In your country, would you also restrict the influence of Unions or would everyone simply have to join a Union to live in your country?

In your country, would law makers be elected or would they be unelected bureaucrats like Kathleen Sebelius? In your country would you have a constitution or would there be no restriction on the power of government? In your country would there be any means of redress of grievance? Just wondering how totalitarian you want your country to be.

tedd's avatar

@Jaxk Comparing a union to a corporation is moronic for starters… But yes, I would restrict their influence as well. Frankly I have a problem with politics being decided by who has more money, rather than who has the best ideas.

So you’d like to elect people like Kathleen Sebelius instead of have them appointed? You see no issue with 1) The executive branch being made up of elected officials who don’t share the presidents goals (IE removing a massive chunk of his power/purpose), or 2)giving the American people an additional few 100 things to vote on?

No I don’t want the constitution to have unrestricted power, but I don’t want to revert to the Articles of Confederation either, as you would apparently have us do.

You are taking my sensible arguments, and perverting them to fit your own opinion of what I’m suggesting.

Jaxk's avatar


No actually I don’t want to elect people like Kathleen Sebeious. I just don’t want to hand over the power to make law to her. And yes, I would like to remove a massive chunk of the President’s power to make make laws. The President is supposed to enforce the law, not to make it. Even if it’s not called law but rather regulation. Congress is supposed to make law. What we seem to have now, is congress passing a bill that hands over a segment of the economy to Bureaucracies that then make laws about it (called regulations) with no input or control from elected officials.

We seem to be moving closer to a dictatorship than I’m comfortable with. Congress is left with apportioning the money and they aren’t even doing that anymore. When the President has the authority to make and enforce the laws, he is a dictator. Let’s all hope he is a benevolent one. Lest we be left with the ‘worker’s paradise’ of the old Soviet Union.

tedd's avatar

@Jaxk The President isn’t supposed to make law huh? Man you should probably call the Founding Fathers and let them know asap. And I patently disagree with your description of “what we seem to have now.”

It sounds as though you’re spewing the same fear crap that right wingers have for decades. “Watch out for the liberals, they’re trying to make us a communist dictatorship!! :O!!!!”

Frankly I find it insulting, and it really doesn’t encourage me to have some kind of a logical debate with you, when right off the bat you consider my viewpoints to be those of someone in favor of a “hopefully benevolent” dictatorship.

I suggest you look up the Articles of Confederation, and read why they failed our country and brought the Founding Fathers back together to write the Constitution.. in an effort to give more power to the Federal Government.

CWOTUS's avatar

@tedd I think you’re the one who needs more schooling in this area. No doubt that the Federal government has need of a certain amount of power that was lacking from the original Articles of Confederation, but ‘the Federal government’ is not ‘the executive’. The president is a subset of the federal government. He doesn’t ‘make law’ – at least according to the Constitution, that antiquated relic that everyone pays lip service to and no one actually follows any more.

And almost no one at all recognizes the Ninth and Tenth Amendments to the Constitution, which seemed to create a nominally limited government.

jerv's avatar

@Jaxk I want to live in a country that allows citizens more say in government than merely choosing who represents corporations and churches. We are not supposed to be a candidacycorporocracy or a Theocracy. As out stands, we live barely a step away from Dictatorship, not just from the Executive branch, and I would like to take a few steps back from that edge and give viewers a little more power than they currently have.

tedd's avatar

@CWOTUS I never claimed that he was. In fact the argument I was making was that @Jaxk opinion of the entire federal government (including the executive branch) is flawed, and that the model he desires is akin to the AoC.

And for the record, were it not for Washingtons own moral compass and genius, he likely would’ve been installed as King, which is what the majority of the Founding Fathers wanted to do… So it wouldn’t shock me that when he told them such a prospect was completely out of the question and outrageous, that they merely toned it down, creating the office of the president.. which obviously has more power than given to one man than the other branches of government.

Jaxk's avatar


Thanks for telling what my opinion was since I was at a total loss as to how the articles of Confederation pertained to anything I said or this question in general. @CWOTUS said it better than I probably will but my concern is in regard to the President and the massive power we have concentrated therein. Both parties have been doing this since the beginning. The Democrats rail against it when we have a Republican President and the Republicans rail against it when we have a Democratic President. Neither party seems concerned when they have the presidency.

This question is specifically about a law created by Kathleen Sebelious (under the direction of the President) which she (or he) should have no power to create. The president is in the administrative branch of government. Congress is the legislative branch. Each of these are aptly labeled. Where we seem to be now is the administrative branch both creating and administering law. A dangerous combination.

There is some middle ground between no power in the federal government and all power in the federal government. The Constitution was an attempt to strike some balance. But again @CWOTUS hit the nail on the head. The 9th and 10th amendments seem to be mostly ignored.

CWOTUS's avatar

I think you need to improve your scholarship in this belief, @tedd.

Jaxk's avatar


I would think the 9th and 10th amendments are the key to giving power back to the citizenry. Focusing even more power in the hands of single ruler can only make the problem worse.

jerv's avatar

@Jaxk Yeah, I used to think that back when I was younger and more idealistic. Sadly, it seems like the Constitution is just a piece of paper these days.

tedd's avatar

@CWOTUS lol… Quite frankly I would take my historical education over that of anyone on Fluther… in a heartbeat.

Moreover I fail to see what you’re trying to prove with that link. I was talking about the AoC and government, and you give me an article about Washington and a failed Coup plot?

tedd's avatar

@Jaxk The AoC pertain because the model of government you seem to be espousing, is that of the AoC… Little federal power, extreme state power, no taxes, removal of all monetary controls, no regulations… etc, etc…. From our conversations on this website I would think that would be your dream scenario. But the Founding Fathers tried it. That was the model of our government for the first several years of our nations existence… and it was an utter failure. The link @CWOTUS included talks about the military coming to Washington and suggesting a coup against the congress (there was no President under the AoC)... They wanted to revolt because they hadn’t been paid by the Federal government for months or years, and they saw the nation slowly tearing itself apart. Several states were actually in talks to secede from the nation

Jaxk's avatar

You’re not reading my comments right. It may come as a surprise but there is some room between no power in Washington and all power in Washington. There is also room between no President and a dictator. The founding fathers were very concerned about the federal government becoming too powerful. That concern led to the AoC. Those didn’t work but they didn’t abandon the principle of limited government. Neither did I. The result was the constitution which laid out more power in the federal government but still quite limited.

Since that time the federal government has grown in size and scope. As has the power of the president. I think it has grown too far but that doesn’t mean it should be dismantled. Merely cut back to where it should be.

Under the AoC we didn’t have the ability to pay our debt. Guess what we are quickly approaching the point where we won’t be able to pay our debt again. Under the AOoC the states were squabbling amongst themselves. Now the states are squabbling with the federal government. All the things the constitution was designed to fix. Unfortunately it has been bastardized to the point that the other extreme is in play.

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