Obamacare and Contraceptives: Why the Church and Faithful Cannot Participate, Even If “Free” to Non-Catholics

The fact that the Affordable Health Care for America Act (“HHS mandate”) includes coverage for abortions is an obvious reason why Catholics must object to forced involvement in the new health insurance.  What is not so obvious to some is the Church’s position that the inclusion of contraceptives and abortifacients, even if the faithful do not receive them, is also against the morality it has been charged with defending for almost 2,000 years.  That these chemicals are to be available “free” to others does not lessen the participation; and therefore, the moral responsibility for practicing Catholics.

Contraceptives  Wasn’t  Always  a  “Catholic”  Issue

The use of contraceptives was rejected by Christian churches prior to 1930.  It was understood that the very nature of contraceptives undermined the intrinsically inseparable procreative aspect of marital physical relations.  After 1930, most non-Catholic Christian denominations were swayed by public opinion to change their position on contraceptives, forgetting that morality cannot be altered by a referendum.

Two  Moral  Problems  With  Contraceptives

The contraceptive issue is also complicated by the means contraception is accomplished.  With some chemicals, fertilization never occurs.   Therefore, the Church opposes it on the basis of “undermining the intrinsic procreative aspect” previously mentioned.  The second moral problem is with those chemicals which do not prevent conception, but prevent implantation of the fertilized egg (human cells already multiplying).  Consequently, it kills a developing baby by discarding it from the mother.  The killing of a baby at any stage is, in truth, an abortion.

“Free”  Doesn’t  Mean  You  Aren’t  Paying  For  It  Somehow

There is another aspect which prevents many from understanding why Catholics cannot pay into an insurance providing objectionable coverage even if the offending services are provided “free” to others.   It is the false notion that “free” contraceptives would mean that the Church and the faithful would somehow be absolved from wrongdoing if they participated with the mandate.   As strange as this may sound, an example of basic economics found in the pizza industry may help to clarify the issue of what is really “free.”

Until about ten years ago, before delivery charges became widespread among pizza companies, they offered “free delivery” as part of their sales pitch.  However, this conflicted with truth in advertising.  While the individual purchasing food for delivery did not pay an additional charge, the fact is the pizza companies had to include delivery expenses somewhere in their cost of doing business.  Prices are determined by break-even costs plus profit.  As a result, the price every customer paid included the cost for delivery regardless of whether the purchase was for carry-out or for delivery.  To be accurate, pizza companies changed their advertising to “no charge for delivery.”

The same holds true for insurance companies being required to offer “free” contraceptives to their insured.  The cost of the contraceptives does not magically vanish because the federal government mandated they be provided at no additional charge.  Rather, the cost is accounted for as a type of business expense which is included in the total operations cost of the insurance companies.  Premiums paid by all employers and individuals automatically go toward the cost of providing contraceptives without charge.  Therefore, to be in Obamacare means to contribute to the dispensing of contraceptives and abortion-causing drugs.  For those of us who understand the immorality of this practice, the choice must be to not participate even if we are penalized for following our conscience.


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