February 9th, 2012
08:06 PM ET

Overheard on CNN.com: Battle over contraception, religious freedom

Editor's note: This post is part of the Overheard on CNN.com series, a regular feature that examines interesting comments and thought-provoking conversations posted by the community.

Democrats and Republicans are grappling over a pending federal rule requiring religiously affiliated employers to provide full contraception coverage to women. So are our readers, who posted several comments in defense of birth control. Others said people should step back and think about the implications of this policy.

Contraception controversy consumes D.C., campaign

Here are arguments on each side of the issue.

LiviClaire: "This pits religious freedom for organizations vs. religious freedom for individuals. As an individual you have the right to choose whether or not to get contraceptives according to your religious beliefs. But should an organization that employs you have the right to deny you contraceptive coverage in your personal health plan? This "mandate" is not for individuals (who can always choose) but for organizations that cover individuals. I say let individuals decide if they need contraceptives. Not their employers."

tedkingston: "These are nonprofit entitites, trying to make the world a better place, and the big government bureaucracy is MANDATING that they sacrifice their values in favor of what government elites think is best for individuals. By the way, there are birth defects related to birth control and other problems. Do you really think a drug that can cause birth defects is good for you? Do you really think it's good to mandate charities provide it for their employees, against their organizational values? Epitomizes socialism/fascist liberal movement in this country. That the people can't take care of themselves and the government knows better."

An interesting discussion began about pregnancy prevention techniques.

Mary555: "Two years ago my son attended a weekend retreat for engaged couples put on by the Catholic Church. He and his fiance were the only non-Catholics. One of the classes was about how to prevent pregnancy without using the pill. So the church officially endorses birth control - just that you do not use an effective method. Over the course of the weekend they learned that all of the other couples were engaging in premartial sex and all the women were taking the pill. In other words, the Catholic Church makes everyone liars and even the Catholic Church believes in birth control. Time for the Catholic Church to go to confession and atone for its past sins by allowing couples to practice effective birth control and start dispensing the pill in Third World countries that desperately need population control as part of the ministries to the poor."

But another reader responded and said such courses can be quite beneficial.

jlerari11: "Your statement is intentionally misleading in that you are applying too broad of a definition to the term 'birth control,' and implying that any methods to control birth rates are the same. Do you consider abortion an effective birth control method? How about castration? Effective, I suppose, but hardly the same thing. I am a non-Roman Catholic Christian, but I have attended the classes you are referring to with my wife who is RC. The Catholic Church teaches 'Natural Family Planning,' which is far different than contraception for a number of reasons. The idea is that God does allow for sex for reasons other than procreation. He gave us about 20 days out of a woman's 28-day cycle that you can have sex and almost guarantee no pregnancy. It is surprisingly simple to avoid pregnancy if you and your spouse simply pay attention to details of the woman's cycle. Contraception on the other hand is at best 'convenient' for women in that she can ignore her cycles if not stop them altogether. I'm very surprised that any woman who one day plans to have children is not concerned with what contraception does to your hormones and fertility. Contraception at the worst occasionally causes the spontaneous abortion of new life, disrupts the woman's normal cycles tricking her body into thinking that she is continually pregnant (which in turn leads to moodiness and a decreased sex drive), and increases a woman's chances for breast, liver and cervical cancer."

This reader said people should relax.

catluck: "The most baffling thing about this is the temperature of the rhetoric. We're talking about discounted birth control. Calm down. This is just a minor policy detail, not the rise of the fourth reich."

Another said they need birth control for health reasons.

Meredith Newell: "I was prescribed birth control at the age of 15 (several years before becoming sexually active) to combat chronic ovarian cysts. It also helps lessen severe acne, regulate menstruation and lessen PMS symptoms. Birth control isn't just for birth control, and it needs to be covered by insurance."

One person said there might be psychological issues at play.

bigtimecynic: "Why do conservative men hate the idea of women having sex? Sigmund Freud could write a thousand books on the modern American conservative male."

Some wondered if Viagra would be covered.

clarke: "How simple are people in there thinking. Birth control being offered doesn't mean you have to take it. Birth control pills are used for other female medical conditions other than birth control. No one is saying you have to take them, but they are there if you do. What, pray tell, is the problem? Let me ask: Is Viagra covered for men if it is needed? Don't offer it or cover it, perfect means of birth control. It is just wrong not to cover birth control pills, we don't live in the dark ages. I sure hope Washington does not back down."

Kimip: "Yes it is, and last time I checked the only thing it was used for was getting an erection. Go figure."

But another noted that the issue goes beyond just pills and into legal issues.

CactusThorn: "The issue is not contraception; can an institution that does not believe it is morally correct be forced to pay fot it?"

Still others said they believe a lot of people are uninformed.

judeluke1976: "I'm sure all the people in here have master's and doctor's of Catholic theology and have studied in-depth the Catholic Church's philosophical and moral reasons for opposing the use of artificial contraceptives. This the the issue with comment sections; everyone has an opinion, but few have knowledge of the subject. I bet 99% of the people leaving comments have never even read a church document on the subject. It's like a new student trying to lecture the professor."

Well, what do you think, then? Share your opinion in the comments area below and in the latest stories on CNN.com. Or sound off on video via CNN iReport.

Note: Comments have been turned off overnight, and will be brought back in the morning.

Compiled by the CNN.com moderation staff. Some comments edited for length or clarity.

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Filed under: Health • Overheard on CNN.com • Politics
soundoff (54 Responses)
  1. chrissy

    What happened to free speech? Even when your on topic your posts get deleted, whats up with that nicole saidi?

    February 9, 2012 at 10:18 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Stitch

    No comment enough already...people need too stop playing God.

    February 9, 2012 at 10:20 pm | Report abuse |
  3. chrissy

    Or must we be religious fanatics only?

    February 9, 2012 at 10:21 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Robert

    I don't think our government should be in our business, but if they are then I don't think the Catholic church or any religion should be exempt. Besides this is just to try to cut down on expences and unweanted children. It is believe it or not for the good. It just don't seem right to us because our government is requesting it.

    February 9, 2012 at 10:22 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Pete/Ark

    It strikes me that a religious organization should have "faith" in the strength of thier teachings and the devoutness of its membership...if the body of the church has strength of faith, the church need not fear that they will be swayed by by the mere existance of things contrary to doctrine. If the church has integrity it will allow its views to stand on thier own. It appears that those who spek so harshly against this policy manifest a great lack of "faith.

    February 9, 2012 at 10:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dennis

      This has nothing to do with a lack of faith. We have nothing but faith. The issue is whether the government can force us to pay for someone else's contraceptives.

      February 9, 2012 at 11:19 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Robert

    My ex-wife was a sunday school teacher and when we found out she could get pregnant when I sneezed she too went on birth control.

    February 9, 2012 at 10:24 pm | Report abuse |
  7. chrissy

    I hear ya mary. Guess we need to just ask nicoles opinion and then agree to it! I will say again though, the government needs to stick to government issues, its not like they have a shortage of them. And the churches can support kids whose parents cant!

    February 9, 2012 at 10:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • nsaidi

      Boy, I must be really powerful to require everyone to agree with me ... OK, so I'm just a regular person like anyone else. Your beliefs are yours, and we respect that. If you have any questions relating to comments here, please contact me (for example) at nicole.saidi@turner.com. OK? Good night everyone, and thanks for your comments. 🙂

      February 9, 2012 at 10:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • banasy ©

      Isn't that weird, Ms. SaidiN
      I had someone here call me a communist and said I was truly evil on every thread because she thought *I* had the power to delete! And I don't even *work* for CNN...(never got so much as an "oops, my bad" from her, either)

      February 9, 2012 at 11:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • nsaidi

      I'm sending you an e-mail. Again, let's have conversations about specific posts and people offline. Thanks!

      February 9, 2012 at 11:47 pm | Report abuse |
  8. ♔Mmmmm♕

    as usual cnn always slant the storyline in the direction of propaganda over truth...the issue here is NOT about contraception but about religious freedoms and what organizations can be called religious...the govt has decided to make itself a god standard...you HYPOCRITES where are you now and the so called separation of church and state who love burning candles at both ends?

    February 9, 2012 at 10:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • nsaidi

      Thanks for commenting! You bring up an excellent point, and I'd love to hear more. Now tell us what you believe, and why. Your post comes off as an attack, and I don't think that's what you attended.

      February 9, 2012 at 10:40 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Name*Mike

    Put the priests in jail for molesting all of the children they save. A special religious jail. Just for perverted priests. That would be a real thorn in the side of the church. But priests get off with a little slap on their wrist. A limp, lifeless, fos wrist.

    February 9, 2012 at 10:39 pm | Report abuse |
  10. predators

    what is one world order?

    February 9, 2012 at 10:48 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Robert

    I don't think that Catholic religion has a right to complain about anything. They have proven faulty simply with the fact that their priests have on many occasions mollested little boys. How can you think your catholic raised girls won't get pregnant some day when the people teaching them are perverts. I think they should start to let the catholic priests get a wife and get married so they will leave the little altar boys alone.

    February 9, 2012 at 10:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • LVM919

      Excellent point!

      February 9, 2012 at 11:14 pm | Report abuse |
  12. banasy ©

    HOW is this any different from any other company deciding what drug they will cover? Health insyrance does this all the time....my insurance, for example, didn't cover BC pills for years....

    February 9, 2012 at 10:59 pm | Report abuse |
  13. 97191-011

    What is sex for? is it only for procreation or is it primarily a form of mood regulation?????

    February 9, 2012 at 11:08 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Ron

    Just another example of the Cons doing what Cons do best...set up a false argument (strawman) that wil rile up their uneducated masses so the elites can continue to rob us blind while we are distracted by this nonsense. Just like abortion or gay marriage issue, the simple answer is if your religious beliefs mandate you not have an abortion or marry someone of the same sex then DON'T! No one is forcing them do either. Likewise if you believe so strongly that contrception is bad than don't use it but keep your bronze age fairy tale religious beliefs to yourself and out of the public square. America is NOT a theocracy. If you insist on trying to enforce your crazy religious beliefs on the rest the world move to Iran....their government is hell bent on the same lunacy albiet a slightly different type of nuts!

    February 9, 2012 at 11:13 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Dennis

    The government should not force the church to violate its morality. Church state separation cannot be a one way street. President Obama shouldn't burn catholic bridges just to make Planned Parenthood and NARAL support him in the Fall.

    February 9, 2012 at 11:13 pm | Report abuse |
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