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Talking Points on ObamaCare

By Bob Laird

This is a series of short talking points that the Couple to Couple League (CCL) has provided to their volunteers as information to be used in speaking out in various ways against the ObamaCare mandate on contraception. Feel free to use, build on, or share.
HHS Talking Point #10 Viagra's OK but not birth control??

Posted on March 14, 2012 by ccli

Why is the Catholic Church fine with providing coverage for Viagra for men, but not contraceptives for women? Doesn't this prove they are just a bunch of men who disrespect women?

Most of the time when you hear this argument on radio talk shows or in letters to the editor, the caller or writer doesn't actually care to know what the Church's reasoning is; they just want to use this truth as a way to bash the Church.

But the Church always has reasons for their teachings, and in this case the truth is that the primary purpose of Viagra is to fix a health problem so that a husband can engage in sexual intimacy with his wife. It helps facilitate normal marital relations. The primary purpose of contraception is to cause a health problem, such that the reproductive system dysfunctions and prevents a woman from contracting the newly defined disease of pregnancy. The Church's goal is to support and protect marital relations as God intended them to be.

The real irony of the complaints that label the Church's non-support of birth control as anti-woman is that hormone-emitting methods of birth control (e.g., injectables like Depo-Provera and non-injectables like the Pill, patch, etc.) often cause a decrease in a woman's libido! Seriously, how pro-woman is that?!

HHS Talking Point #9 Hard Cases

Posted on March 9, 2012 by ccli

I have a life-threatening reason to not get pregnant. Why in the world would the Church be against helping me and my husband with birth control? I guess they don't really care if my life is threatened by an unplanned pregnancy.

When properly practiced, NFP works. There are women in situations similar to yours who continue to use NFP to prevent a pregnancy. In some cases, they also use a fertility monitor to help confirm their days of fertility and infertility. Some cycles may require more abstinence than usual, but when such sacrifices are made within the context of love, a couple's overall intimacy is deepened and their relationship is strengthened.

Even in serious situations the Church does not approve of unnatural methods of birth control because they completely alter the meaning of the acts of marital love. The Church is about protecting and safeguarding sexual love, and cannot approve of contracepted intercourse which conveys a message that falls far short of the love God calls us to in marriage.

HHS Mandate Talking Point #8 Irregular cycles and the Pill

Posted on March 6, 2012 by ccli

I use hormones for irregular cycles, not birth control. What is wrong with that?

Morally it is not wrong to use hormonal medications to "treat" cycle irregularities, however, if you are married it is problematic because of the abortifacient potential of these drugs. We say "treat" because in the vast majority of cases, such hormones do not solve the underlying problems that cause irregular cycles; instead, they often mask the true origin of the irregularity. They do produce a regular chemical bleed each month, which helps alleviate the problematic symptoms, but the problem has not been treated and solved. It will return once the artificial hormones are removed.

However, when properly practiced, NFP reveals externally what is occurring within a woman's reproductive system internally. Thus, a woman can often unveil the underlying problem(s) herself simply by observing, recording, and interpreting her fertility signs. In addition, the excellent book Fertility, Cycles & Nutrition provides up-to-date self-help strategies and is included as part of the basic CCL NFP class material.

Admittedly, while there are a growing number of physicians who aim to treat women's fertility issues without dependence on artificial hormones, there is a great need for more. Women deserve better approaches than what are commonly provided today. Women deserve physicians whose goal is to restore their reproductive system to health, rather than just have it appear so through the use of chemicals.

HHS Mandate Talking Point #7 How is NFP different?

Posted on March 2, 2012 by ccli

How is NFP any different from contraception? They both have the same goal.

NFP is knowledge; it helps to read the language of the sexual powers and does not interfere with a couple's fertility. Spouses do not change their bodies; rather, they change their behavior and choose to refrain from sexual intimacy during the fertile days when postponing a pregnancy. NFP does not control fertility; it enables a couple to control their behavior and thus grow in the virtue of self-control.

The reason NFP is moral and contraception is not ? when they both have the same ends ? can be difficult to see. But only with NFP is a husband and wife able to give a complete self-gift to the other. Every time they have relations, they give themselves completely as they are at that moment according to God's design. And, it's not immoral to just not have sex; there is nothing immoral about avoiding sex for various reasons (i.e., illness, fatigue, need to postpone pregnancy). Controlling our natural desires and sacrificing them for the sake of our spouse or marriage is a noble act. But having sex and thwarting the natural design of sex to serve your own purpose is completely different.

The difference between using contraception and using the knowledge NFP provides to intelligently plan a family is sometimes likened to losing weight (a good end) through dieting versus bulimia. In the first case a person who wants to lose weight intelligently decides what to eat and how much to eat and deliberately avoids over-indulging. In the latter case, they does nothing to control their eating habits and instead vomits after every meal to avoid the consequences of eating.

HHS Mandate Talking Point #6 99%?

Posted on March 1, 2012 by ccli

What about the 99% number that the President used during his news conference? If nearly all women are using contraception, it must be OK.

That many women are not using contraception. There have been numerous rebuttals about the unreliability of this statistic.

Here is the direct quote from the abstract of the report: "More than 99% of women 15-44 years of age who have ever had sexual intercourse with a male (referred to as "sexually experienced women") have used at least one contraceptive method."

Yes, NFP was included here as a contraceptive method by the CDC. And, yes, the president said that 99% of all women have used contraceptives. But in fact, the report did not include those women who are not "sexually experienced," were postpartum, or not using anything for birth control. And yet it did include every woman who has ever used a hormonal contraception for any reason (i.e., if you took hormones at 16 for irregularity for a couple of years and never again, you were included).

One can always find some number or statistic to support one's point of view. This issue is fundamentally about a principle: Will this country for the first time in its history force people to abandon their deeply held religious beliefs and be forced to pay for drugs and services that directly contradict their beliefs?

So the 99% number is not the actual percentage of women who currently use hormonal contraception to prevent pregnancy, but rather, is a cumulative number?


HHS Mandate Talking Point #5 Accommodation?

Posted on February 29, 2012 by ccli

Didn't the President offer an accommodation to let religious groups avoid paying for services they find objectionable?

The President said in a press conference on February 10 (a statement that holds absolutely no requirement for commitment) that Catholic churches would not have to pay for these services, and instead the insurance carriers would offer the contraceptive services for free. In actuality, this did nothing to change the facts. Everyone knows that the insurance companies will just push along those costs to the religious institutions through higher premiums. Furthermore, later that day when the mandate was officially published in the Federal Register, where posted regulations do carry the weight of law, it was absolutely unchanged.

HHS Mandate Talking Point #4 Women's rights

Posted on February 27, 2012 by ccli

Women have a right to reproductive healthcare.

Not exactly: Women have a right to preventative reproductive healthcare that truly prevents disease, such as cancer screenings, removal of ovarian cysts, etc.; but contraception, sterilization, and abortion-inducing drugs do not prevent disease. They damage or destroy a major, healthy functioning part of a woman's body by disrupting her ability to conceive and/or to carry an unborn child to term. Thus, these drugs, devices, and procedures are not healthcare at all; in fact, their primary purpose is to cause a health problem such that a woman's reproductive system dysfunctions.

It is our government via the Department of Health and Human Services and the Obama Administration ? that has redefined and added "the full range of Food and Drug Administration-approved contraceptive methods" (including abortion-causing drugs) and sterilization procedures as "preventative health care services for women."

HHS Mandate Talking Point #3 Preventative healthcare?

Posted on February 26, 2012 by ccli

Contraception and sterilization are good, preventative healthcare.

Just the opposite is true: contraception and sterilization damage or destroy a healthy reproductive system and thus treat the body as a thing or a machine that can be manipulated. Rather than acting as preventatives to disease, contraception and sterilization actually prevent the body from remaining healthy. Preventive medicine has traditionally meant those things that prevent a healthy body system from becoming damaged or improperly functioning. By calling contraception and sterilization "preventive services" we have turned fertility and pregnancy into diseases to be eliminated or prevented, rather than elebrated and used responsibly as the remarkable gifts they truly are.

HHS Mandate Talking Point #2 Free birth control?

Posted on February 24, 2012 by ccli

Isn't providing free birth control to women something that is good?

First of all, the birth control is not free. While the woman will not have to pay a co-pay, persons and organizations that today do not provide reimbursement for contraceptives due to religious objections will now be forced to pay for these services.

Second, while the Administration says it will be paid for by insurance companies, they will just increase premiums to pay the co-pay or the deductible that is not permitted by this mandate. Note that the mandate does not compel the manufacturers of these drugs and devices and the surgeons who perform sterilizations to provide these for free.

HHS Mandate Talking Point #1 Religious Liberty

Posted on February 23, 2012 by ccli

Why is this a religious liberty question?

This mandate forces Catholics and others morally opposed to contraception, sterilization, and abortion-inducing drugs to provide and pay for these services through their health insurance plans. Because those opposed cannot "opt out" they are forced to violate their consciences, and this is a violation of religious liberty.

Anthony Picarello, Associate General Secretary and the General Counsel of the USCCB, in a press release conference on February 16, put it clearly: "We are now entering a new stage. It has gone from that which is allowed by government, to that which is supported by the government, to that which is mandated by the government. This latter step is what makes it a religious liberty issue."

This article has been reprinted here by permission of the author after original publication at the Cabrini Center for Catholic Health Care.

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