I would like to address three issues in connection with a recent contributor’s anti-conscience rights letter.
First, it is not immoral under Catholic teaching to use hormonal drugs normally prescribed as contraceptives to treat ovarian and uterine conditions. In fact, the use of these drugs in such cases should not even be described as contraceptive since the drugs involved would not be used with the intention of preventing conception. This relatively small subset of hormonal drug users would not be denied hormonal drug treatment for these medical conditions under any Catholic-run health plan; therefore, it is a non sequitur that Catholic conscience rights must be denied to accommodate these cases as these cases are already covered under Catholic-run health plans.
Second, I find it richly ironic that the letter writer complains that denying poor women free contraception smacks of a cost-only approach just a mere paragraph after extolling the cost benefits to society of poor women not having children. Isn’t pushing contraception on the poor because they are poor a cost-only approach? Or was he saying the children of the poor have less value in non-monetary terms than the children of the rich?
Third, I’ve heard little talk about the contraceptive mandate providing “free” contraception to all women, but I should look at this issue. A universal mandate means every woman from the poorest to the richest will get a “free” contraceptive benefit provided in part by those who neither want nor need contraceptive services. Even if insurance companies don’t charge separately for this benefit, they will spread the cost for providing this benefit across everyone’s premiums. Does this seem fair given that contraception, when used as contraception, is a personal choice, not a disease treatment—especially given that some find it morally objectionable?