Tuesday, February 14, 2012

The Letter: Taking it apart

The Letter from the Presidents is in black.  My comments are in orange.

Protecting the Health of Women While Accommodating Religious Liberty
By Cecilia Muñoz, Assistant to the President and Director of the Domestic Policy Council
Thank you for using We the People to make your voice heard about the Obama Administration's decision to ensure that women have access to free preventive care with no co-pays, including contraceptive services, no matter where they work.

I'm guessing this first part is standard for all people, those opposed to the mandate and those for the mandate.  So I'm not going to insinuate the insulting language.  I will point out as have many others that it says "no matter where they work."  This is scary because it implies that even churches are included, and you can't include them as it violates the constitution.  But let's for a moment think that Ms. Munoz was a bit careless when she drafted her letter or that the person who proofread it didn't see this simple statement as a threat.  If it's just carelessness on her part and not deliberate propaganda, then she really isn't taking the petition signatories seriously enough.  That's insulting.

As background, the Affordable Care Act requires insurance companies to cover preventive services, including preventive care for women, without charging a co-pay, starting on August 1, 2012. These preventive services include well women visits, domestic violence screening, and contraception, and all were recommended to the Secretary of Health and Human Services by the independent Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Science.

What about preventative services for men?  How about free testicular screenings or prostate exams?  I think that should be a higher agenda since there are very few free services available for these type of preventative screenings and there is roughly the same amount of people who die from testicular or prostate cancer as there are breast cancer or ovarian cancer.  But no, women's diseases are more out there and in the public and so they get more attention.  And that's what this is all about really.  It's an election year and we're all about propaganda and making ourselves out to be the "good guy." 

The policies we have proposed exempt churches, other houses of worship, and similar organizations from covering contraception on the basis of their religious objections. But some religious organizations have raised religious liberty concerns about providing contraception in particular in recent weeks.

Considering that they just said "no matter where they work" I'm a little skeptical that they care about the exemption all that much.  It also begs the question what exactly do they mean when they say "similar organizations" are exempt.  I'd like more detail than that.  Again it seems to be another oversight because Ms. Munoz doesn't really care.

Today, President Obama has announced that his Administration will implement this policy in a manner that fully accommodates religious liberty while protecting the health of women. As the President said:

Nearly 99 percent of all women have relied on contraception at some point in their lives –- 99 percent. And yet, more than half of all women between the ages of 18 and 34 have struggled to afford it. So for all these reasons, we decided to follow the judgment of the nation’s leading medical experts and make sure that free preventive care includes access to free contraceptive care. Whether you’re a teacher, or a small businesswoman, or a nurse, or a janitor, no woman’s health should depend on who she is or where she works or how much money she makes. Every woman should be in control of the decisions that affect her own health. Period. This basic principle is already the law in 28 states across the country.
Again that whole, "no matter where they work" double speak.  I won't repeat myself on that one.  Perhaps this is what Ms. Munoz was copying.  Still disturbing.  

More importantly...everyone has covered the statistic, but here's my thoughts.  You all know what a stickler I am about stating some sort of statistic without citing your source.  Neither the President in his speech nor Ms. Munoz bother to explain where they get this statistic from.  Therefore, one cannot go and look at the study (if there was even one).  One cannot see how the study was conducted meaning who was surveyed and was it self-reported or reported by doctors.  One cannot look at the actual questions given to these women.  One cannot look to see the sample size and geographic locations from which the sample was taken and what sociology-economic status these women were from.  How old were the women of this survey and when was it taken.  Birth control has only been legal for 60 years.  I'm sure that there are a higher percentage of  70 year olds who have not used birth control. And one cannot look at the margin of error to determine how accurate this statistic really is.  More importantly, since my husband has pointed out this many times about the media reporting on scientific findings, is there anything they neglected to mention.  As many people point out the President said "at some point in their lives" which begs the question why was this contraception taken and for how long.  It also implies that there are other points in which the President and Ms. Munoz would not like you to know.  

Now I know I've also said a blanket statement about there being slightly more people dying from prostate cancer than breast cancer plus there is little funding in that area of research and I didn't cite my source.  I'm also not speaking for the White House.  Nor am I writing a book.  In other words, I'm not coming from a position of authority.  But if you really want that information, here is the National Institutes of Health survey for 2000-2004 this blogger cites his source and discusses the disparity between moneies allocated to breast cancer and those to prostate cancer, and wikipedia lists the disparity from several sources as well.  

If the White House wanted to win over hearts, they should stop the gender discrimination and make it mandatory that all male and female reproductive screenings are free.  But they aren't.  It's propaganda and it's disgusting how PP, who focuses attention to women and not men, manages to keep the focus on only one gender.  It's obvious that this is all about stopping more babies being made and not on reproductive health.

All in all it's easy to recognize that these statistics are skewed.  It's all propaganda, all  bunk.  We should just simply disregard this statistic.

 They also make no mention that in these 28 states (of which I live in) there are loop holes and the language is less strict to violate religious-based or religious organizations or persons.

Now, as we move to implement this rule, however, we've been mindful that there's another principle at stake here –- and that's the principle of religious liberty, an inalienable right that is enshrined in our Constitution. As a citizen and as a Christian, I cherish this right. In fact, my first job in Chicago was working with Catholic parishes in poor neighborhoods, and my salary was funded by a grant from an arm of the Catholic Church. And I saw that local churches often did more good for a community than a government program ever could, so I know how important the work that faith-based organizations do and how much impact they can have in their communities.
Well I'm glad you have worked with Catholic organizations.  You would then know that it violates our conscious and you would be more sympathetic instead of thinking we're stupid by furthering to strip our exemption status with your newest "compromise" which directly involves churches now.

Video of his entire statement is available here.
Here are a few basic facts:

  • Under the policy, women have access to preventive care with no co-pay that includes contraceptive services.
  • All churches and houses of worship are exempt from the requirement to provide coverage for contraception or refer for contraception.
  • If a woman's employer is a religious non-profit organization, such as a charity hospital that has a religious objection to providing contraceptive services as part of its health plan, her insurance company -- not the hospital or charity -- will be required to reach out and provide her contraceptive care free of charge if she chooses to use it.
Problem:  what about individuals or dioceses that are self-insured.  See my post about my parish priest.
There are tremendous health benefits for women that come from using contraception. Contraception is a safe and effective way of preventing unintended pregnancies which can be associated with increased health risks, and doctors also prescribe contraception for medical and health reasons, including helping to reduce the risk of some cancers, serious infections and cysts. Yet many women skip contraceptive care because of cost.

 Oh, boy where to begin.  How about some contraceptives actually increase health risks like blood clots.  There's a reason why they say to stop smoking while on the pill.  "Pregnancies...can be associated with increased health risk."  The word there is "can."  The vast majority of women don't have monumental increased health risks.  But that's beside the point.  If you know that you have a health condition exacerbated by pregnancy you have two options 1) keep your legs shut or 2) learn NFP.  You don't need contraceptive to prevent unintended pregnancy; you only need a brain.  And I want to point out that using contraception can also increase certain cancers.  As for other health risks, like anemia, the Church has never had a problem covering contraception for medical conditions.  We only have a problem covering it to prevent pregnancy.  There is a difference.

I had a friend skip contraception because of cost, but that was the fault of the diocese.  She actually had a medical condition.  You don't need contraception to prevent pregnancy.  Plus you can find affordable contraception for that purpose easily; it's called condoms.  The University used to tell all incoming students that they offered 100 of them for 10 dollars.  Don't tell me you can't dig up 10 dollars.  My friend had to have a special type because of her condition. 

President Obama is also committed to preserving religious liberty and he listened to the concerns raised by certain religious organizations and took them seriously.

No he didn't.

You can learn more about the policy here.
This is an issue where people of good will on both sides of the debate have been grappling to find a solution that works for everyone, and the policy announced today has done that. The right to religious liberty will be fully protected, and a law that requires preventive care without co-pays will not discriminate against any woman, anywhere. Here are a few statements from groups involved in the issue:
Catholics United:

President Obama has shown us that he is willing to rise above the partisan fray to deliver an actual policy solution that both meets the health care needs of all employees and respects the religious liberty of Catholic institutions.
Catholic Health Association:

We are pleased and grateful that the religious liberty and conscience protection needs of so many ministries that serve our country were appreciated enough that an early resolution of this issue was accomplished.
Planned Parenthood:
The Obama administration has reaffirmed its commitment to ensuring all women will have access to birth control coverage, with no costly co-pays, no additional hurdles, and no matter where they work.
Today's announcement makes it clear that President Obama is firmly committed to protecting women's health.

Needless propoganda.  Unless you've got a cardinal or someone with authority from Rome, I don't care who you quote.  

Thank you again for participating in the We the People platform to make your voice heard on this important issue.

You're welcome.  Now keep listening.

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