College Objects to Birth Control, Cancels Student Insurance Plan

Image courtesy of nenetus at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of nenetus at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

In a previous post, I’ve discussed some of the issues that can occur when religiously affiliated colleges do too much to control the decisions of their adult students, often in an effort to prevent them from having any opportunities for premarital sex. When one combines that type of attitude with the Hobby Lobby ruling, all sorts of ridiculous things start to happen. Take what Wheaton College decided to do this summer for example: it’s no longer providing a student healthcare plan to students who need one because the school’s administrators object to providing contraceptives to students. You can check out a full article about it here, but here are some quotes.

Wheaton College has considered nixing student healthcare plans ever since last summer’s Hobby Lobby decision, which allowed religiously affiliated organizations to opt of out providing contraception through employee health care programs on grounds of faith-based objections.

It’s unsurprising that they used the Hobby Lobby decision as a way to do this, and it’s very upsetting. A lack of healthcare is definitely not better than healthcare that includes practices you don’t agree with. This is the same kind of thinking that led to the movement to defund Planned Parenthood: “We disagree with one thing they do, so let’s prevent them from doing everything else, the majority of which we do not even object to.”

What’s worse about this is that thanks to Obamacare, (the Affordable Care Act), the school did not even have to directly provide contraceptives. The article explains:

…it’s possible for the college to allow the insurer to take on the responsibility of students’ contraception, as part of an Obamacare provision.

“Really, all they have to do is fill out a form and send it to the federal government, saying they have this objection. Then, the insurance company will cover the cost of contraception,” Amiri explained during a phone call with Refinery29 this afternoon. Wheaton has declined to follow that channel.

The argument I’ve heard from conservatives about why they often refuse to fill out this form is that they see doing so as the same thing as signing a document allowing the person to receive contraception. I will give them that to an extent: that form does allow the person to receive contraception. However, the point of the document is to prevent the objector from having to provide it through his or her business, not to prevent the person seeking contraceptives from accessing them at all.

The position of the Obama administration, which I agree with in this case, is that a business owner objecting to providing contraception should not make it impossible for the employee (or in this case, the student enrolled in that plan) to acquire contraception.

To apply this to abortions, which is really what most people who object to contraception have a problem with anyway, this means that just because you object to abortions, (and your taxes don’t pay for them, by the way) doesn’t mean that no one should be able to have that procedure covered by their insurance. It just won’t come from the pockets of objectors.

For crying out loud, this isn’t rocket science. The government is actively trying to accommodate everyone by providing this opt-out option, and these conservative organizations are saying they’re violating their religion if they allow the people on their health plans to access contraceptives at all. They really aren’t satisfied unless reproductive healthcare is made unattainable, and they’re using accusations of religious discrimination and persecution to achieve that.

I want to give a big thank you to my fiance for telling me about the news that was the topic of this post. He’s been extremely supportive since I started blogging, and that means the world to me.

As always, feel free to leave comments. All opinions are welcome. Just be respectful to other people and think things through before posting.

Happy thinking!

-Nancy

What Arguments for Inadequate Sex Ed and Banning Condoms Sound Like

It will appear at first that I’m not talking about the topic I identified in the title. Do not be alarmed by this. Read on.

Many argue that cycling on the road is bad.  Although it is an excellent form of physical activity that boosts personal fitness, traveling through the streets on a bicycle puts cyclists at risk of being hit by cars. Riding a bike on the sidewalk is much safer, and is the best way to avoid a fatal accident. The fact that many drivers dislike cyclists should be taken as proof that riding a bike on the road is bad for you, even though it is illegal for a driver to turn and hit a cyclist on purpose. Because of the widespread dislike of cyclists, the conservative political party has proposed several laws prohibiting parents from teaching their children how to ride bicycles.

“Most parents I know don’t want their kids riding bikes,” says an infamous conservative politician. “Not everyone has a sidewalk on their street, so a lot of people end up riding their bikes in the road. Parents can tell their kids to stick to sidewalk cycling, but not every kid lives in a neighborhood with sidewalks. If you teach a kid how to ride a bike when the nearest sidewalk is several minutes away by car, you’re basically enabling them to ride in the road, especially if you hand them a helmet. We need to include anti-cycling classes in our schools so that children are aware of the dangers of cycling in the road, and learn to save cycling for where it belongs:  our sidewalks.”

The politician on the opposing side disagrees. “Riding a bike is not a bad behavior, and regardless of whether or not it is, what we really should be worried about are the fatalities in accidents involving cyclists. Wearing a helmet saves many lives every year. Besides, kids often don’t listen to their parents, and if they really want a bike, there are plenty of ways to get them, whether from friends, or using their own money. If we really want to protect kids, we should teach comprehensive cycling lessons in schools. These lessons should include rules of the road, how to wear a helmet properly, and an explanation of where it is safest to ride, with emphasis placed on riding on slow-moving residential streets, and sidewalks for safety reasons. That way, kids can choose to ride, or not to ride, but if they choose to do so, they will do it in the safest way possible.”

Religious leaders have their own points to make on the matter. “It is very important that people avoid cycling in the roads,” says the Pope. “It is especially holy to abstain from cycling altogether, but when cycling is reserved for the sidewalks, there is a holy purpose for that cycling, and that purpose is safe transportation under God’s watchful eye. Transportation in the road is not a valid form of transportation because it is like testing God. We should not expect God to protect us from our unsafe decisions. Mountain biking and cycling in parks should also be avoided because cycling must always be used as a form of transportation. Doing it for recreational purposes, regardless of the benefits of fitness, is an invalid form of cycling, and it offends God.”

The Pope has also spoken out against providing helmets. In countries where cycling is a common form of transportation because most cannot afford cars, the church has been providing anti-cycling education, treating injured cyclists’ wounds, but also forbidding the use of helmets. “I will not condone giving out bicycle helmets,” the mother superior of the Sisters of the Sidewalk says. “These injuries are the result of poor behavior. God is offended that people will test him by cycling in the road. And you know, he is even more offended by people who do this while wearing helmets. These people are testing God, but are not fully trusting him to protect them during that test. Besides, even with a helmet, people can still get bicycle related injuries. We must legislate against road cycling everywhere, and protect people from these injuries. Walking is the safest form of transportation. Next time you need to get somewhere without a car, ask yourself, how would Jesus travel?”