Before we get to the Monday diary there is at least one thing you need to know and I am generally surprised at how many people do not know this: The HHS mandate DOES cover abortion. You will have to provide a co-pay for your child to be treated with penicillin, but abortions under this plan will be absolutely free and, if allowed to go forward, is to be paid for in part by the Catholic Church – or at least they will try to make this happen.
So this past Friday there was a rally in Cleveland to protest the HHS mandate. I was feeling rather low that I would be unable to make it as we had school confessions that had to be cancelled once already, and having the pressure of being awfully close to Easter thought it an impossibility. But low and behold we were out of confessions earlier than I had anticipated and running into another person from St. Sebastian who was also lamenting the fact that we were not there, we jumped in the car and headed to Cleveland (not being wise enough to check and make sure where it was before we left.)
We ended up on the wrong side of town (where everybody was heading for the Film Festival) and had to hoof it across downtown to make it to the correct spot by the giant “FREE” stamp. We were only about 5 minutes late. There was a decent sized crowd there (I am horrible at guestimating crowd size. I am always way off when compared to an actual number.) I don’t know why, but I was rather surprised that it was an actual protest. There were signs and banners, petitions to sign, motivating speeches over loud speakers, singing and chanting. I leaned over and said to the person I was with, “Oh my gosh, we are radicals!”
You know, at one time and not all that long ago, everybody taught and generally believed what the Catholic Church teaches about sexual ethics. Since the 1930s when the Anglicans made an exception in contraceptive use for extreme circumstances slowly everybody else moved away from that common understanding to what we have today. (Apparently after 2,000 plus years God started to change His mind.) Now enlightened people believe that the virtuous path is to sicken our bodies to make them reject their natural functions, to sterilize ourselves, or destroy the living presence in the womb that can only be a human being at our whim. Some enlightenment.
So the Church did not change, everybody else did – and there is a general push to make the Church Red Rover, Red Rover let Catholics come over. All of a sudden instead of being the mainstream we find ourselves countercultural rebels. I’m not sure if I think it is cool or scary.
There is one thing for sure however, Catholics do not make good protesters. As a lot we sit in back, mumble our responses, and slip out early so we don’t have to fight traffic. So to get them to chant in full voice, “HEY! HEY! HO! HO! THE HHS MADATE’S GOT TO GO!” is rather an ominous task.
The crowd was lively and very well behaved. I was extremely proud at how well Saint Sebastian Parish was represented! It was a long drive at a difficult hour and we showed in good numbers. I am glad I will be able to say that this is one of the ways that I tried to make a difference in this matter one day.
THEN THE NEWSPAPER COVERED THE STORY
I was very glad that the Plain Dealer covered the story front page above the fold. But then I read the article and became very disappointed. The article was very misleading. It was misleading in the following points:
1. It repeatedly states that the protest was about contraception. Yes, in part. Totally missing was any mention that the HHS mandate also covers abortion. Not once was this mentioned. If “the powers that be” truly believe in this mandate then be honest. Be very clear what it is about. Let it pass on its own merits and don’t be sneaky about it. Want to know the Catholic Church’s position on this matter? It has been perfectly public for over 2,000 years. Have the courage of your convictions.
2. It says that the mandate will effect “some faith-based institutions.” This is so highly understated as to be funny. Besides parishes there is barely another institution that will qualify outside of the Amish Church. Schools, hospitals, Universities, Social Services, almost NOBODY meets the criteria to be exempt. It is doubted that the work of Jesus Himself would have been exempt.
3. Most misleading of all is the end of the article stating that the “morning after pill” is not an abortion inducing drug. This is from the EWTN site, “So how can it be said that the "morning-after pill" or any "emergency contraception" is not abortifacient? Or that it merely prevents implantation? In fact, those who say that the "morning-after pill" is not abortifacient but prevents implantation do not realize that they are affirming its abortifacient nature when they say that it prevents implantation: since this action can only take place after fertilization and works by preventing the continued development of the embryo, it can only be abortifacient.
"This is so true that, in order to deny its abortifacient action, those who are proposing its use have also had to redefine pregnancy. By calling into question years and years of scientific certitude on the basis of which the period from fertilization to birth has always been defined as "pregnancy", some now maintain that pregnancy only begins after the embryo's implantation in the uterine wall, therefore not before the sixth day at the earliest or before the l4th day at the latest. Thus, a product that prevents implantation could not terminate a pregnancy and could not be abortifacient!
"Some, of course, are hesitant about this redefinition of pregnancy and, in order not to press the issue, will merely speak of a similarity between an action that prevents implantation and one that is abortifacient: but it is obvious in any case that this semantic manipulation has a precise purpose. In this way—as The New England Journal of Medicine says—it is possible to manipulate public opinion into accepting "emergency contraception". Merely redefining contraception to include the prevention of implantation does not alter the fact that the prevention of implantation is problematic for some people (NEJM, 1993, 328/5, pp. 354-355)."
4. Finally the PD drags out the found wanting statistic that 98% of Catholic women support the use of contraception. It is obvious they did not read the report from which it came but are parroting what they have heard. The survey did not include all Catholic women but only those who would consider themselves “in danger” of becoming pregnant. (If you did not think it a “danger” you would not be included.) You were also excluded if you were open to being pregnant, if you were pregnant or recently pregnant. There was also no effort to see if you were a practicing Catholic or a cultural Catholic.
Not fair, not accurate, not complete. Makes you wonder.