HHS Adds Insult to My Injury
By Mary McClusky
March 30, 2012
After many frustrating years of searchingfor answers to various health symptoms, I was diagnosed with a hormonal
disorder, the cause of which is still unknown.
After four years of marriage, I've finally accepted the painful reality
that I might never become pregnant or give birth to a child who has my
husband's wit and generous, loving heart. So the recent federal
Health and Human Services (HHS) mandate that would force me to pay for
women's contraceptives and sterilizations as part of the new health care
services" mandate adds insult to my injury.
Healthcare is about healing and
restoring the body to good and proper functioning. Sterilization,
abortifacients, and contraception communicate the irrational message
healthy, natural state of fertility is somehow wrong and diseased.
Mutilating healthy organs and distorting a
woman's natural hormone levels in order to avoid pregnancy have nothing
with preventing and treating diseases. Contraception promotes an
view of a woman's body and the gift of her fertility. It is an affront
design for life and love because it deliberately separates a married
loving union from their ability to be open to life. God wove humanity
incredibly delicate but splendid intricacy. We should celebrate and
capacity of women to join with their husbands in becoming co-creators
Although Catholics and others recognize
that hormonal contraceptives can harm a woman's body, her relationships,
her soul, the personal decision to contracept is not the public policy
is currently being debated. The bishops object to the HHS mandate mainly
it violates religious liberty and conscience rights by forcing all who
conscientiously object to these drugs and procedures – whether they are
religious or not – to pay for them against their will. The Catholic
that increased access to contraception does not reduce, and often
abortions. They also objected to the final version of the new health
care law because
it allocates billions of dollars in new funding that evades longstanding
federal funding of abortion. The HHS contraceptive mandate is a
towards mandating that everyone carry insurance coverage for abortion.
bishops are calling for the mandate to be dropped.
Instead of undermining their natural
capacity to accept children lovingly from God by using contraceptives or
sterilizations, married couples are encouraged to use Natural Family
(NFP) as a way of cooperating with God's plan for their family size. NFP
responsible parenthood by working with the couple's natural fertility
is a healthy and morally acceptable way of spacing or delaying the gift
children. NFP can also be used to achieve pregnancy, and is a useful
help identify hormonal imbalances and other health issues.
Women need not feel alienated, but
rather honored and protected, by the Catholic vision of sexuality and
reproduction. Blessed John Paul II's Apostolic Letter "On the Dignity of
Women" (1988) presents a vision of women's
unique role in society and in the Church. Women are called by the Church
their particular gifts to glorify God.
While I may have to bear the pain of
childlessness, I am heartened by the Church's courage in advocating for
freedom to live out my beliefs without government interference and
learn more about how to promote and protect conscience rights and religious
liberty, visit www.usccb.org/conscience.
McClusky is Special Projects Coordinator at the
Secretariat of Pro-Life Activities, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.
To learn more about the Catholic bishops' activities on
conscience protection, visit www.usccb.org/conscience.