The Parable Of The Bad Analogy

-Submitted by David Drumm (Nal), Guest Blogger

Bishop William Lori, a representative of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, testified before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee that mandating insurance companies cover contraception is like mandating kosher delis serve ham sandwiches. Lori likens the obvious health benefits of not getting pregnant to the claim that “pork is good for you.” Lori calls this the Parable of the Kosher Deli.

The beauty of Lori’s Parable is that it can be used to argue against any health insurance coverage mandate.

If an employer is a Jehovah’s Witness and insists that any employee health insurance plan not cover blood transfusions then any employee who wants that coverage could have to find another policy and pay its entire cost out-of-pocket. Any employees who do not share the employer’s worldview are penalized for those different beliefs.

While Lori makes much of the employer’s freedom of conscience, does not the employee possess that same freedom of conscience? If an employer insists on an employee health insurance plan that covers abortion in cases of rape or incest, and a Catholic employee objects to paying even part of the cost of the insurance, would Lori still support the employer’s freedom of conscience? Or would he suddenly discover that employees deserve the same freedom of conscience?

While many consider an employer’s place of business to be private property wherein the employer rules as king, that business makes use of roads, bridges, infrastructure, law enforcement, etc., paid for by the government. Without this government support, businesses wouldn’t survive. In return for the services provided, the government gets to set standards of behavior toward competitors, customers, employees, and the environment.

This is not a new issue, as evidenced by the Supreme Court case of Reynolds v. United States in 1878. For a unanimous Court, Chief Justice Waite wrote:

Laws are made for the government of actions, and while they cannot interfere with mere religious belief and opinions, they may with practices.

The freedom of religious expression requires the freedom from control of that religious expression from those holding different religious beliefs. If one demands freedom of religious expression for oneself, then one must give up control over the religious expression of those holding different religious beliefs. If one demands freedom of conscience for oneself, then one must give up control over the conscientious beliefs of those holding different conscientious beliefs. One cannot reasonably complain about the denial of freedom of conscience when one’s denying that freedom to others.

H/T: Jonathan D. Sarna, Sarah Posner, Adam Lee, Kashif J. Powell (pdf).

177 thoughts on “The Parable Of The Bad Analogy”

  1. Masters of the Uterus
    The 3,500-year battle over where babies do—and don’t—come from.
    —By Elizabeth Gettelman | May/June 2010


    c. 1500 BC Genesis describes how God kills Onan after he “wasted his seed on the ground” during coitus interruptus. (See “Thou Shalt Not Spill.”)

    c. 1500 BC Egyptian experts suggest mixing ground dates, acacia bark, and honey as a spermicide and crocodile dung as an anti-pregnancy suppository.

    100 Greek gynecologist Soranus recommends that women hold their breath and jump backward seven times after sex to prevent pregnancy. Sneezing also advised.

    c. 700 Muhammad endorses withdrawal during sex.

    1000 Contraception gets medieval: European women wear bones from the right sides of black cats around their necks to avoid pregnancy.

    1554 John Calvin calls masturbation “monstrous” and withdrawal “doubly monstrous. For this is to extinguish the hope of the race and to kill before he is born the hoped-for offspring.”

    1727 In “Conjugal Lewdness: or, Matrimonial Whoredom,” Daniel Defoe compares contraception to infanticide.

    1789 In his memoirs, Casanova (inflating a condom, right) describes prophylactics known as “English riding coats” and a lemon-rind diaphragm.

    1798 The Reverend Thomas Malthus advocates the “temporary unhappiness” of abstinence to slow down population growth.

    1832 Dr. Charles Knowlton is arrested in Massachusetts for publishing information about contraception. His defense: “Mankind ought not to abstain.”

  2. When Women Used Lysol as Birth Control
    A look back at shocking ads for the popular, dangerous, and ineffective antiseptic douche.
    Nicole Pasulka

    The current attack on access to birth control had us thinking back to the first half of the 20th century, when contraceptive methods taken for granted today, like condoms and diaphragms, were expensive, hard to find, and often required a potentially humiliating exam by a disapproving doctor.

    Of course, women who couldn’t afford or gain access to medically administered birth control had to come up with their own strategies for staying baby free. Douching was cheap, accessible, and widely advertised as a feminine hygiene product; however, as Andrea Tone writes in the book Devices and Desires: A History of Contraceptives in America, it was also the most common form of birth control from 1940 until 1960—when the oral contraceptive pill arrived on the market.

    The most popular brand of douche was Lysol—an antiseptic soap whose pre-1953 formula contained cresol, a phenol compound reported in some cases to cause inflammation, burning, and even death. By 1911 doctors had recorded 193 Lysol poisonings and five deaths from uterine irrigation. Despite reports to the contrary, Lysol was aggressively marketed to women as safe and gentle. Once cresol was replaced with ortho-hydroxydiphenyl in the formula, Lysol was pushed as a germicide good for cleaning toilet bowls and treating ringworm, and Lehn & Fink’s, the company that made the disinfectant, continued to market it as safeguard for women’s “dainty feminine allure.”

    Douching may have been cheaper than condoms or diaphragms and available over the counter in most drugstores, but it didn’t work. In a 1933 study, Tone writes, nearly half of the 507 women who used douching as a birth control method ended up pregnant.

    But if false advertising with highly suspect results weren’t bad enough, the ads promoted a level of misogyny and female insecurity both laughable and frightening by today’s standards. Images of wives locked out their homes or trapped by cobwebs are surrounded by text asserting a woman should “question herself” if her husband’s interest seemed to have faded. If her husband is treating her badly, the message was, “she was really the one to blame.”

  3. Nal,

    Which is more money in the pockets of the legislature and pharmacons……

  4. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced the decision in Houston on Friday, prompting a furious response from Texas Governor Rick Perry, who called it an “egregious federal overreach.”

    At the heart of the dispute between the administration of President Barack Obama and Texas is the divisive issue of abortion.

    The Texas legislature last year voted to cut off funding for Planned Parenthood because the network of women’s health clinics performs abortions. The federal government says that this violates rules of Medicaid, the health program for the poor.

    Some 130,000 low-income Texas women who get free exams and contraceptives through Medicaid could lose those benefits as a result of the dispute.

    The program provides free birth control and annual exams to women of reproductive age who do not qualify for the regular Medicaid program for the poor. The federal government pays 90 percent of the cost and Texas puts up about $4 million a year.

  5. pete, Many are undocumented and planned parenthood was a safe place for them to go.

  6. We were discussing it at dinner and the poor women seems to be pawns now. They have no where to go. That’s what happened when the GOP got the super majority.

  7. Virginia Postrel:

    Fight Birth-Control Battle Over the Counter

    Contrary to widespread belief, there’s no good reason that oral contraceptives — a far more effective form of birth control — can’t be equally convenient.

    Aside from safety, the biggest argument for keeping birth- control pills prescription-only is, to put it bluntly, extortion.

  8. “While many consider an employer’s place of business to be private property wherein the employer rules as king, that business makes use of roads, bridges, infrastructure, law enforcement, etc., paid for by the government. Without this government support, businesses wouldn’t survive. In return for the services provided, the government gets to set standards of behavior toward competitors, customers, employees, and the environment.”

    So suppose the government cuts the bullshit of making employers and insurance companies pay for birth control and just starts handing out contraception itself. Under these circumstances wouldnt that give them the right to regulate behavior there too?

    Worst argument ive read yet in favor of this nonsense.

  9. Bdaman,

    “Ms. Elaine this thread is about Kosher foods please do not try and hijack the thread. They get mad when you do that. You have to be disciplined in order to post here.”

    It’s about kosher foods? Really? I thought it was about a bad analogy that Bishop Lori made when arguing against the HHS contraception mandate. You might recall that Rushbo smeared the young woman who spoke in favor of the mandate. I’d say that the news I posted does relate to the topic at hand–at least indirectly.

    I believe there is a difference between posting a story on a topical issue that one may believe would be of interest to many Turley Blawg visitors and continually going off topic with the purpose of hijacking a thread.


    Now behave–or I’ll make you go sit in a virtual corner AND I’ll tell your mother!!!


  10. Bdaman says:
    “Theres the first clue typically comes out when your angry.

    idealist707 1, March 10, 2012 at 5:14 pm

    Bdaman said:

    “And you know who I’m…….”

    Who uses ………..alot”


    A shame I came. Gave you a soft target. The others had you twirling there before I dropped in and played buttinsky.
    Thanks for the lesson.

    All others, goodbye for now. From the old man in Stockhom who is proud to have the Globen within sight. Google map it. From a distance (one mile) it’s very impressive.

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