So far, I have no takers on the question of why it’s okay for the city of NYC to force private buses that serve the public to stop making women sit in the back of the bus, but acceptable for Catholic-owned hospitals and universities to do the same thing by requiring women to pay out of pocket for preventive health services. I have my own theories about this, the main being that contraception use is private and so there’s not a shocking visible representation of how unfair it is to treat women’s medical care so differently than men’s medical care. Which is why I think it’s time to come up with one.
Basically, what the Catholic bishops are doing is demanding a right to fine female employees of Catholic-owned institutions for fucking.
After all, that’s what this amounts to, a fucking fine that’s leveled against women.*
It’s clear that the Catholic bishops really just wish the government would ban contraception and abortion and force those foul sluts to endure unwanted pregnancy as punishment, but since they’re not getting that any time soon, they’re sure going to find other ways to punish them. And while they can’t extract a monthly fucking fine out of all women, they—being conservative fuckwits—appear to believe their employees are theirs to control. They legally can’t fine them directly for fucking, but they can create a de facto fine by manipulating the insurance system. It’s worth pointing out that this fits neatly into the overall practice of Catholicism, where sin is rectified by basically paying fines. Most of the time, the currency is praying and maybe good works (since the majority of Catholics don’t actually bother with the sin and redemption stuff, but just use the church as a marriage-and-baptism center, I’m a little hazy on this, since I’ve never heard any of the bazillion Catholics I’ve known talk once about repenting for sins in the real world), but in the history of the church, that has easily translated to money on many occasions, and I think we’re seeing similar logic in play here now. They can’t make you do the rosary to repent for your fucking, since that’s overt religious discrimination. But they will get you to pay a monthly $50 fine for it.**
Maybe the compromise is allowing Catholic hospitals and universities to put up a version of the swear jar, except in this case it’s the ladies fucking jar, and every time you have sex, you toss some coins in it. That way, at least the employers get to keep the money. The best part is that it really is up to your conscience; if you feel as bad about fucking as the church expects, put some cash in, but if you don’t, you can just roll your eyes and say that it’s none of their damn business what you do in your free time.
Of course, I suspect that means the jars will go completely empty,and not just because these institutions hire a whole lot of non-Catholics. (For instance, me for many years—I worked part time at a Catholic university while I was in school there.) It’s also because no matter how much dudes on my TV wring their hands and talk about what “Catholics” think about this, the reality is that Catholics aren’t really any different than the public at large. They fuck, they don’t feel bad about it, and they use contraception. In fact, Catholics support this new contraception policy at higher rates than the public at large.
I really do hope someone tries to mount an argument about buses vs. hospitals. The utter lack of serious attempts to address the question is making me kind of sad.
*Interestingly, I’m pretty sure it’s against men who want vasectomies, too, but men’s contraceptive needs tend not to go mentioned in this, except by anti-choice apologists who imagine themselves benevolently “allowing” couples to use male-controlled condoms.