Many Christian colleges consider the accommodation problematic because it allows churches but not other religiously oriented institutions to be exempt from a new requirement that says all employers offering health insurance must cover contraceptive services, including pills like Plan B, which has been described by opponents as a potential abortifacient.I first posted about this in a semi-public forum where I told Dordt to "go fuck themselves", and elaborated that I thought this was anti-science and anti-CRC. But I've gotten some questions on what I meant from those friends and family I mentioned, so here's the explanation:
Even leaving aside the ridiculous notion that Plan B is an abortion-causing pill* and the disgustingly hedging and vague nature of statements like ".. has been described by opponents as a potential abortifacient" (which opponents? what are their qualifications?), we see this desire to "protect life". Dordt is against abortions, and feels like this stand will somehow stop them.
I'm not unsympathetic to their desire to reduce abortions, but they're doing it wrong.
Increasing access to birth control, which Dordt is arguing they should have right to do, has been shown to decrease abortion rates. Indeed, to my knowledge, nothing else has such a dramatic effect on decreasing the number of abortions. If they were truly concerned about the status of American fetuses, they would be in favor of increasing access to birth control instead of working against it.
As it stands, they appear to be ignorant, hypocritical or uselessly partisan. Regardless, it's at the expense of their employees.
(Hang on to your hats, it's about to get theological.)
Here, my argument stems from two rather standard tenants of Reformed thinking:
- The Bible is the final word on what it means to be a Christian, or a good Christian, as opposed to the leadership of a church, denomination, etc.
- All believers are clergy. We are all supposed to serve the Lord and act with anointed authority.
- It is possible for two intelligent, thoughtful people acting in good-faith to reach opposing conclusions about theology. (Or, indeed, nearly anything.)
Even if some people at Dordt have a problem with contraceptives, a significant number of CRC people do not. I would think, given Tenant #2, and the rather obvious point #3, Dordt would advocate for situations that allow people to make their own choices.
Additionally, since we in the CRC acknowledge the fallibility of leadership (Tenant #1), I would think that Dordt would oppose situations that weaken people's ability to think and act based on their own good judgement and their own reading of the Bible. Sometimes, leaders are wrong and it's important that the rest of the group is educated, informed and empowered enough to follow their own good judgement. Isn't that why the Reformed churches broke away from the Catholic church to begin with?
But instead they are asking US Government to allow it to impose its own ideas about what is appropriate for health care on its employees. This is draconian by any analysis, but it's also an insidious act of selling out their own beliefs.
But Religious Freedom!
Of course, I fully support Dordt's right to speak on these issues. If they can convince me that making X decision about my health is the right one, then more power to them. But trying to convince someone, using the Bible or science or reason or what have you is one thing. Forcibly limiting the access of people is really quite another.
Anyway, if you have any questions, push-back or thoughts, please let me know. I'm very willing to keep writing about this.
* Look, if you think Plan B causes abortions, please leave a comment and I will personally explain in excruciating detail why this is not so. If you think that I'm some crazy liberal scientist and hence unreliable, why not ask a Catholic?