What happened to the old days when paying for sex was frowned upon? With a recent ruling by the Department of Health and Human Services, insurance companies will now be forced to provide women wellness visits, sterilization procedures and contraception, all without a patient copayment. The enormous cost of this decision will be unfairly borne primarily by those not desiring such services.
For orthodox Catholics and many others who believe contraception and sterilization to be unethical, the millions of tax dollars given to Planned Parenthood and other entities for similar pregnancy prevention coverage are already unconscionable. Now for President Obama, it's time to pile on. In a sadly ironic decision, a president who promotes government regulation as the means to prevent unethical behavior will now use regulation to mandate what many see as unethical behavior. This ruling has nothing to do with health. If it did, coverage would be provided for diagnoses such as breast cancer and diabetes (40,598 /71,382 deaths - 2007) and not cervical cancer screening and childbirth prevention (4021 / 548 deaths - 2007).
Although its societal benefit is rarely questioned, the advent of widespread contraceptive use in the United States has not decreased abortions as promised, but rather resulted in increased cases of infidelity, sexually transmitted diseases and teen pregnancies. As marriages end in divorce, children "are punished" with babies or abortions, and one parent homes become more prevalent, the role of the family to care for children and elderly parents has increasingly become a responsibility of big government. Obama's desire to create a dependent population starts with the young, who are most easily swayed by a message of immediate self gratification, and to whom American exceptionalism has little meaning. Decisions to provide "free" birth control, laws and policies promoting homosexual sex, and limits on school choice function as an indoctrination program to create in the minds of young people the idea that sex is a government entitlement, rather than a gift from God.
That Obama's contraceptive policy is a particular insult to Catholics is no accident, but rather an illustration of his strong political dislike of the Church. As the lone strong voice illuminating the negative aspects of contraception, the Catholic Church has been unwavering in its reverence for the gift of human sexuality. Orthodox Catholicism has continued to promote sex as a blessing worthy only of a married couple, giving totally of themselves to each other. However, for the young to arrive at a full understanding of the meaning, beauty and importance of sexuality requires an openness to truth, not normally allowed at a public school, and if understood and practiced subjects them to ridicule. Rather than debate the merits of the Catholic view, liberals equate the teachings of Catholicism with the actions of sinners who embrace it. That many Catholics use contraception indicates being faithful is difficult, not that the teaching is incorrect.
A strategic goal of ObamaCare is to transform the doctor-patient relationship into a doctor-patient-government relationship, in which federal agencies will have a large role in healthcare decisions. My patients trust I will do my best to care for their physical, mental and spiritual health, knowing that decisions will be guided not by the demands of others, but rather by my ongoing intensive medical and spiritual training. As Family Practice physicians, my wife and I have prescribed, used, and studied artificial methods of birth control and found their effects and side effects far inferior to natural methods. As such, I neither prescribe nor refer for them. By forcing insurance companies to make policies unethical for many, President Obama has laid the groundwork to require the same of me.
After decades of ignoring the Hippocratic Oath, I see increasingly among my colleagues health care practices designed to meet patient wants, rather than treatment in their best interest. A physician, who subjugates the doctor-patient relationship to external pressures, is necessary for ObamaCare implementation. This is not to say that doctors may ignore financial and medical constraints when making ethical decisions or that honorable physicians will always agree, as my birth control position illustrates. The true danger, which looks increasingly possible especially regarding birth control, occurs when government makes decisions that morally belong to physicians. Sadly, many physicians, especially those in the governing bodies of medicine, do not appreciate the ethical catastrophe that ObamaCare presents and appear poised to replace Hippocrates with Obama.
As President Obama continues to blame politics for America's decline, his healthcare bill continues to be exposed as an expression of his purist ideology and politics. What vision and leadership lies in a view of America with ever increasing numbers of sterile sexual encounters? What is the result of immense debt with no one to pay for it? My five children are not the toxic results of "unprotected sex," but rather the future of this country. Every day I meet excellent parents desiring of more children but concerned about their ability to provide for them. Mr. President, subsidize the procreative sexual encounters of these people. Their children may not pay you back but they will resurrect America.
Peter M Bleyer is a family physician in Myrtle Beach SC, and is president of the Blessed Clemens von Galen Medical Guild of South Carolina.