March 12, 2012Dear Mrs. Hughes,Thank you for contacting me regarding birth control and women’s health. I appreciate hearing from you and welcome the opportunity to respond.I believe we should all work to prevent and reduce the number of abortions in this country. I support access to birth control, which will help reduce the number of unintended pregnancies and ultimately reduce abortions. This is an emotional, difficult subject. But if you really believe that reducing abortions is important in this country, which I do, then it doesn’t work to keep putting up barriers to women getting birth control.
Or she simply does not want to own her voting record?
Further, I cannot believe these people supporting this HHS Mandate really believe there is any restriction to access to contraception. Walk into any Planned Parenthood clinic or any Public Health office and a girl of any age can walk out with 12-months supply of free hormonal birth control pills. And guess what? They still have access to that abortion when the contraception fails.
Some methods of so-called contraception are really abortifacients – meaning they cause abortions, namely hormonal birth control pills, IUD’s and abortions. Even physicians recognize the link between contraception and abortion.
For this reason, I voted against the amendment offered by my colleague, Senator Roy Blunt (Senate Amendment 1520), which would have allowed any employer, health plan sponsor, or insurance company to refuse coverage for their employees for any type of essential health care services — including birth control, maternity care, prenatal testing, and HIV/AIDS screening — based solely on an undefined “moral objection.”
2370Periodic continence, that is, the methods of birth regulation based on self-observation and the use of infertile periods, is in conformity with the objective criteria of morality. These methods respect the bodies of the spouses, encourage tenderness between them, and favor the education of an authentic freedom. In contrast, “every action which, whether in anticipation of the conjugal act, or in its accomplishment, or in the development of its natural consequences, proposes, whether as an end or as a means, to render procreation impossible” is intrinsically evil (emphasis, mine):
Thus the innate language that expresses the total reciprocal self-giving of husband and wife is overlaid, through contraception, by an objectively contradictory language, namely, that of not giving oneself totally to the other. This leads not only to a positive refusal to be open to life but also to a falsification of the inner truth of conjugal love, which is called upon to give itself in personal totality….The difference, both anthropological and moral, between contraception and recourse to the rhythm of the cycle…involves in the final analysis two irreconcilable concepts of the human person and of human sexuality.
Within this one article of the Catechism, the “moral objection” is defined. Ms. McCaskill can deny or ignore all she wants, but there has never been an UNDEFINED “moral objection” by the Catholic Church on this issue.
As you may know, following considerable debate, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) reached a compromise so that religiously-affiliated employers will not have to provide birth control if it violates that employer’s religious beliefs. This compromise, which I support, ensures that all women with employer-sponsored health plans will have access to free preventive health services, while protecting the religious freedom of religiously-affiliated employers. If a church or religious employer determines that covering birth control would be inconsistent with their organization’s beliefs, the insurance company rather than the employer will be required to offer these services directly to women.Groups on both sides of the debate, including the Catholic Health Association and Planned Parenthood, have expressed their support of this compromise. Under the new HHS guidelines, no one will be required to use birth control or other preventive care services under any plan. Each woman, pursuant to her own beliefs, will access the services she deems appropriate. However, a woman will not be denied access to health services, like birth control, based on the decision of her employer, instead of retaining for herself the right to choose whether to use birth control or not. The new guidelines also do not eliminate or change existing conscience protections, which I support, that allow doctors and individual healthcare providers to choose whether or not to prescribe or administer birth control in accordance with their own beliefs.
Furthermore, the law Congress has made absolutely prohibits the free exercise of Catholicism by Catholic hospital administrations, Catholic charities, Catholic universities, etc. And their little “compromise” is no such thing because Catholic institutions must still PAY for the insurance premiums that will cover these evils.
I believe I heard a quote or saw it on a FAQ or something on the white house’s webpage that “houses of worship” were exempt. Since when was the “free exercise” of religion confined to the worship space? I am every bit a Catholic outside the doors of my parish church that I am inside of it. I live my life in accord with my Catholic faith in my home at my work, in my many interactions with non-Catholics. My faith is not confined to the place where I attend Mass. So, too, the Catholic church’s ability to preach the Gospel and carry out the Mission should not be confined only to the physical building. The Church has taught since it’s inception that contraception and abortion are intrinsically evil – being forced to provide this evil is a gross overreach and abuse of power by this government.
It should be noted that 28 states already require health insurance plans to cover contraceptive services. The compromise guidelines follow in the steps of most states, including Missouri, which have already found a reasonable way to ensure access to preventive health services while also respecting employers’ First Amendment right to religious freedom, a fundamental principle on which our nation was founded.
Again, thank you for contacting me. Please do not hesitate to contact me in the future if I can be of further assistance to you on this or any other issue.Sincerely,Claire McCaskillUnited States SenatorP.S. If you would like more information about resources that can help Missourians, or what I am doing in the Senate on your behalf, please sign up for my email newsletter at http://mccaskill.senate.gov.
Here is my reply to Senator McCaskill.
With all due respect, please do not attempt to align yourself with me as someone who “really believes that reducing abortions is important in this country.” Your pro-abortion voting record speaks for itself in that regard and your words ring fake and hollow.
There have been studies attempting to determine the effects of contraception on the elective abortion rate, and when the researchers don’t get the answer they want, they simply say “further research is required.” (Please don’t try and present a Guttmacher Institute study as they are the “research” arm of Planned Parenthood and therefore, that is not independent nor is it reliable.) The logical next step to failed contraception is abortion. Even in the case Casey v. Planned Parenthood, the decision proclaimed as much (that contraception fails, and therefore a woman would want or need an abortion).
“for two decades of economic and social developments, people have organized intimate relationships and made choices that define their views of themselves and their places in society, in reliance on the availability of abortion in the event that contraception should fail.” (emphasis mine)–Casey v. Planned Parenthood
Finally, I believe you call yourself Catholic. It is unfortunate, then, that you seem to be grossly ignorant of your faith. The Catholic church views contraception and abortion as intrinsically evil. And your allegation that the “moral objection” is “undefined” belies this ignorance as well. There is something called the Catechism of the Catholic church that defines and explains the belief of Catholics. The Catholic Church has absolutely defined her moral objection to this mandate and the so-called compromise. Please tell me, senator, how it could be called a compromise when no dissenting opinions were sought?
And as I am sure you’re already aware, even if states have laws and exemptions in place, this federal law will most likely trump any state laws on the matter. Therefore, my concern with regard to religious freedom and my and my church’s ability to exercise this freedom, is NOT alleviated in any way by your letter.
I am gravely disappointed in your “leadership” or at least your attempt at it and can only pray and work for your defeat in November.
I don’t anticipate any further dialogue, I have already received the message that the mailbox where my message went is “not monitored” (so I went to her site and added my message, but now the string is broken and she won’t know to what I am responding). But I sincerely hope that any Catholic or pro-life person in this district in Missouri reading this will remember Claire McCaskill’s dreadful voting record and her gross ignorance of the faith she proclaims and vote for whomever is opposing her on the ballot.