Monday, November 26, 2012

Health Care and Religious Freedom

Can we stop all the shrouded discussion on this topic and call it what it is? The reason religious freedom is being brought up with regards to the new health care law is because of the issues of women's fertility and money. With that I mean contraception, abortion, and the cost to care for the sick.

This is article I read this morning:

In the article Liberty University is contesting the individual mandate for health insurance due to their belief that because most health care policies allow for abortion and contraception Liberty University's religious freedom is being trampled on (fertility). They are also contesting the section of the bill that states employers must provide health insurance or pay a penalty (money).

You might be wondering why this is coming up again since the individual mandate issue was already discussed and decided on earlier this year by the Supreme Court. The answer is there will always be someone, or a group of someones, who look for ways around decisions. I'm not saying this from a liberal or conservative perspective, I'm saying it from a historical perspective. Our country was built on disagreements and loopholes (example- all men are created equal, but slavery is fine).

The Supreme Court's decision about the individual mandate, earlier this year, was in relation to state's rights.  Liberty University is a private institution and often times private institutions do not have to adhere to certain state or federal laws. Loophole.

I suppose what bothers me about what Liberty University is doing here really comes down to the issue of money being wrapped up in a religious cause. When I think about spiritual principles in health care, I think about caring for the sick, and the poor. I don't think about legal battles to deny coverage for the sick and the poor using convenient loopholes in man made policies.

I feel like there is a disconnect between what the law is intending to do and some religious reaction to it.

Here's an example of what that disconnect can do (note: this happened outside of the United States).

A woman visiting Ireland died of blood poising after being denied an abortion when she was already miscarrying. There was no saving the fetus at the point when the woman asked for the termination. However, because of Ireland's anti-abortion law, she was denied the medical assistance necessary. The miscarriage lasted for three days, which presumably caused her body to become septic and she passed away. Abortion in this case would have been used not for the ending of a life, but the saving of life. Which is why I become frustrated when some believe abortion is a cut and dried issue.

We need to reconnect to the human side of health care. If we boycott coverage for medical procedures and people on the premise of religious freedom and an otherwise healthy individual dies because of that boycott--- who is at fault?

I would argue unexamined principles. When we fight so hard against something often times we become blind to the full picture. We focus so intently on the rabbit, that we miss the lion about to pounce.

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