Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Catholic Hospitals, From a Child's Viewpoint, Then and Now

I clearly remember being warned by one of my peers, about sixty years ago at age 9, that when I grew up and got married and my wife was having a baby that I should make sure she does NOT go to a Catholic hospital because they would let her die rather than allow any harm to come to the baby. I’m guessing my friend heard that from his parents. At least we know it didn’t come from TV. Well, that was the Southern Baptist environment of the small East Tennessee town I grew up in, just one tiny and very suspicious Catholic Church in the entire county, its members probably all Yankee transplants brought in by Alcoa. Aside from the misconceptions about Catholicism though, it is pretty neat that even as little boys we were talking about our future responsibilities as husbands and parents.

Catholic hospitals are in the news now because the Obama administration has determined that they must provide “free” chemical birth control and chemical (maybe) abortions to their employees as part of the health insurance plans they offer. Of course the Catholic Church, as I, a relatively new Catholic understand it, is not opposed at all to birth control and family planning. It just teaches that sex is for married couples, is primarily for procreation rather than recreation or stress relief, and that is it fine for such couples to engage in sex on a schedule or even at an age that makes pregnancy unlikely so long as they are aware of and open to the possibility of new life resulting from the encounter. The Church is opposed to chemical or mechanical, maybe even electrical, prevention of conception for the purpose of recreational or therapeutic sexual encounters. And of course the Catholic Church, along with Southern Baptists, is staunchly opposed to abortions. (Yes, I'm aware that many Catholics don't practice what the Church preaches and that lots of Baptists drink.)

So, what is the administration thinking? Is the objective to test the resolve of Catholics? Is it to put the Catholic health care providers out of business as part of the federal takeover of health care in the United States? Or maybe they are just thinking that it will be a great tragedy if, in the future, nine year old boys will have to warn their peers not to ever have a girlfriend who works at a Catholic Hospital because, if they do, they may have to pay for the birth control pills!

Please, can we get a little relief from government overreach?


  1. If the government is doing this, then they should also do something about hospice services.

  2. Medical ethics and morality should be two separate things. Medicine should always be about ensuring the physical well-being of the patient.

  3. You have have raised some very interesting point. If it's a health facility, whether it be a catholic hospital or a nursing home, the health and life of a person should be the top priority.

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