Dear non-Catholic family,
You know me very well. And I know you and love you dearly. We are close enough to know which side we each stand on the use of contraception and other topics like sterilization and abortion-inducing drugs. Our country has entered into a serious dialogue about whether or not the new healthcare law, which goes into effect in August of this year, should cover the very things we disagree on.
We can respectfully disagree on the use of these things. It is dangerous, however, to think that the HHS mandate is about contraception, sterilization and abortifacient drugs. It is the topic of the day, but the real danger is in ignoring what is set in motion with this mandate.
It is not about contraception. Contraception is inexpensive and readily available. It will continue to be so no matter what happens with this mandate. So, it is not about whether or not "your side wins" or "my side wins".
In fact, if the mandate stands, we lose. You lose too. Here's why.
I'm not going to try to convince you here that these things are immoral. There is a time and place for that discussion. In our home, around the dinner table - that is probably the best place for that talk.
I'm going to try to share with you the what-if that will affect your dad (step-dad) and me and indirectly you should the mandate fail to be overturned.
If the mandate stands, people like John and me will have to decide whether or not to follow our consciences. If we have the grace to stand in what we believe, we will probably have to "opt out" of the healthcare coverage. There is a fee for this. That fee will affect our bottom line. If there is no options available to us, there is a real possibility that we would be uninsured. Imagine what that could mean. How likely is it that John or I will have an illness that could destroy our financial security? You know us both. We are not overly healthy people. We are also not as young as we once were. One unforeseen thing, and there goes the house and the other assets.
This is something we would have to weigh. It doesn't just affect us. It would affect all of you as well.
If the mandate stands, Catholic institutions like my school might be in danger of closing. Any Catholic institution that throws open the doors to non-Catholics and serves non-Catholics as well as Catholics will be required to accept this mandate. Should Catholic institutions "opt out" the penalty fees are so high that they would have to close their doors. Imagine the Catholic hospitals and schools you know that would simply have to close. Imagine what that might mean for every person living in this country. Imagine what it might mean to you - if I can no longer teach at my school - or any Catholic school.
That would most certainly affect us financially. Anything that affects us financially also affects you and your little sister.
It's not about contraception. Your friends can still get it easily and cheaply. You are probably more aware of that reality than I am. It is about something more. Are people like John and me free to follow our consciences or not? How will we be punished for our "civil disobedience?"
The stakes are higher than you think.
Just so you know, it's not about the money to us. But it will affect us there as well. We know that. Now, you do as well.
Mom and John (Dad)