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Sex control
by Joshua H. Silavent
Feb 21, 2012 | 630 views | 0 0 comments | 3 3 recommendations | email to a friend | print
When it comes to the recent controversy over requiring religious-affiliated employers to cover birth control in their employee health insurance plans, the last thing we need is another opinion from someone with an X and Y chromosome.

After all, a misguided congressional hearing last week to discuss the new mandate noticeably lacked a female voice.

But indulge me for a minute as I deconstruct the arguments against.

First, exemptions have already been given to houses of worship and other specifically religious institutions. But for nonprofit religious groups providing social services, such as Catholic hospitals, there is no opt-out.

Some say there ought to be, that it is a matter of religious liberty protected by the First Amendment. But the catchphrase “religious liberty” has been used to justify polygamy, racial segregation and slavery. Certainly those who believe that birth control is wrong are not on the level of, say, George Wallace, but they do exhibit a moral failing of severe proportions.

Lost in all the debate is an actual discussion about the merits of being anti-birth control.

It is no coincidence that the poorest countries in the world are gripped with extremely high birth rates. There is a direct correlation, even causation, between the number of children a woman births and the prevalence of poverty.

So contraception and family planning are essential to economic and social health — not to mention birth control is used as treatment for a number of medical conditions in women, such as endometriosis.

To oppose the use of birth control is to oppose reality, and no member of Congress should be doing the bidding of the Pope in this regard.

The other argument commonly heard against the Obama administration’s new policy is that it represents more Big Brother intrusion into the private lives of Americans.

But this line of reasoning is both disingenuous and hypocritical.

Catholic hospitals and other institutions affected by the birth control rule already receive funding from the big, bad federal government. Moreover, these organizations employ non-believers and persons of different faiths, meaning their call for religious liberty actually imposes a sectarian belief of its own.

Meanwhile, as Republicans come out in force to kick and scream about government intrusion, these same compassionate conservatives are set to pass a law in Virginia that would require all women seeking an abortion to first receive an invasive vaginal ultrasound. So much for keeping Uncle Sam out of our health care decisions.

Moreover, it’s ironic that presidential contender Rick Santorum wants to completely outlaw the use of birth control because doing so would certainly increase the number of abortions.

Sometimes people undermine their own cause.

I’ll see you around.

Joshua Silavent is a reporter at the Sparks Tribune. He can be reached at jsilavent@dailysparkstribune.com.
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