The NY Catholic Conference lost it’s battle against prescription drug coverage of contraceptives. And, really, am I glad of it. This bill passed in December 2002, after being hotly debated by the Legislature all year, and then in January 2003 the Catholics took the bill to court.

Thus, holding up the bill’s implementation – which includes coverage of a wide array of health services for women, not just contraception – for almost five years. Why? Well, as you’ve read, because Catholic Charities and NY Catholic hospitals didn’t want insurance coverage for their employees to cover contraceptives. The bill added a “conscience clause,” but colleges, schools, social service organizations, and hospitals didn’t apply, as they employ people who are not Catholic.

Of course, some people can be so stupid about the issue. The only intelligent post was from LuLu, who notes the REAL reasons for high health insurance premiums. My favorite one is this:

The updated Smokin Joke profile:

Likes: Illegal immigrants, Iranian dictators

Dislikes: Unborn babies, Catholics, American Soldiers

(SmokinJoe is one of the commenters.)

Three of these things have nothing to do with the issue. One of these things – Catholics – only peripherally has to do with the issue (I AM Catholic and, clearly, am glad this passed!), and, finally, one of these things is completely inaccurate. Contraception prevents pregnancy. It prevents conception. So, unless you count an unfertilized egg as an unborn baby, that’s just inflammatory and inaccurate.

I also enjoyed this: The Catholic Church is the largest Charitable organization in NYS. Can anyone tell me the largest charitable atheist organization? The Catholic Church is the largest private school system in NYS…where is the private Atheist school system? how is the quality of each different?

It doesn’t change that hawkny2006 is absolutely right: The Catholic Church, once again, finds that in order to accept government support (which subsudizes more than half the cost of their various “charitable” endeavors)it must follow the rules set forth for every other government funded vendor. The Church has the option of refusing to accept government generated tax revenues but, then, that would make their works wholly dependent upon alms, pay-as-you-go, be “charitable”. That would be a hard path to follow. What, just because they are the largest that means they don’t have to follow the rules? Give me a break. What do Siena College, The College of St. Rose, St. Peter’s Hospital, Christian Brother’s Academy, The Academy of Holy Names, and Bishop Maginn all have in common? Oh, right. Because they receive government backing and support, they have to follow certain rules, just like everybody else.

My biggest problem with the modern Catholic Church is not their positions on abortion (because they are “pro-life” across the board: anti-abortion, anti-death penalty, and anti-IVF); not their positions on priests marrying (though I think it’s a bit silly and outdated, though they’re only hurting themselves by keeping fast on that); not their positions on women in the Church (though that does annoy me, I won’t lie); but their position on birth control. In 2007, it’s ridiculous, antiquated, dangerous, and naive to NOT think birth control and responsible family planning is not important and against God’s will. When He said to be fruitful and multiply, I don’t think He had six billion people who are sucking the world’s resources dry in mind.

Richard Barnes, executive director of the New York State Catholic Conference, said the high court’s refusal to hear the challenge to “this noxious law” marked the “end of the road,” and suggested that while Catholic institutions will comply with the 2002 law under protest, they may consider “the painful possibility of a loss of prescription drug benefits in employee health plans.”

Ha. Try it, and let me know how that works out for you. There’s a clinical staffing shortage afoot. Good luck getting nurses at St. Peter’s to work for you if you don’t provide prescription drug benefits. Sure, Capital District Psychiatric Center might not pay *quite* as well, but the Empire Plan has a delightful prescription drug package. I’ll be interested to see if they actually follow through on this threat.