Tuesday, 12 June 2012
The U.S.A. HHS Mandate and the British NHS
Catholics in the USA are rightly disturbed by the HHS mandate which forces them to pay into Health Insurance Schemes which include the provision of contraception and abortifacient drugs. But it seems that the mandate is being fought against only as a violation of religious freedom, and fighting on this ground alone can give the impression that the contraceptive/abortifacient elements of the Mandate are not as important as religious freedom. Yet when our right to life is extinguished we cannot access any right, including the right to religious freedom. I would have liked to see the issues of religious freedom and contraception more closely tied together in the fight against this mandate.
For us here in the UK there is an important note to be made: we have been paying for contraceptive and abortive services for years via our NHS contributions. How can Catholics in the UK fight against paying into the NHS provision of anti-life activities? The answer, it seems to me, is that we can’t; the NHS is an all-in health plan. I was never a fan of the USA system of Health Insurance where (I understand) certain treatments can be refused if the person’s Health Plan doesn’t cover it, but perhaps there is a wisdom in the USA system in that it allows us to choose health plans which do not contravene the conscience and the law of God.
I still love the NHS, and I am very grateful for the help it gives me in my own health needs and the health struggles of my parents and siblings. I am also grateful for the employment it gave me in times gone by. But I do wish there were some way in which we could opt out of paying for others to access contraceptive and abortive services...