Freedom of conscience” is code for “the right to enforce conformity amongst religious women.” Actual freedom is about having a choice. The Church and its supporters want to monopolize freedom and choice for themselves while taking those things away from their employees and congregations.
UPDATED: Today, the White House did the right thing by women and for public health and human rights. Despite deep concerns the White House has decided on a plan that will enable women to get contraceptive coverage directly through their insurance plans.
This morning, news reports indicate an announcement may be imminent from President Obama on a “compromise” on the birth control mandate. To recap, the mandate requires that all employer-based health insurance offer coverage without a co-pay of all FDA-approved contraceptive methods.
As a graduate of Georgetown University and advocate for women, I write to express my horror with the actions of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops on the matter of contraceptive coverage and to ask you directly to initiate a conversation within the Georgetown community, as well as with the bishops who claim to speak on the behalf of women students, employees and our dependents.
With attacks on Planned Parenthood and Title X family planning funds, it is clear that social conservatives have launched a War on Contraception.
Religious freedom? Who’s zoomin’ who? As I noted in a piece published last night and now confirmed by further comments from representatives of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, the far right uterine police are aiming to exclude everyone from contraceptive coverage, not just religious institutions.
This week, on MSNBC’s Morning Joe, Obama campaign senior advisor David Axelrod signaled that the White House, having finally decided to include coverage of birth control as part of primary health care benefits under health reform after studying it for well over a year, is now “willing to compromise.” Many of my colleagues disagree with my take on the situation, but I am worried that in the end the White House may not hold firm.
The arrogance of the 350 Bishops of the US Catholic Church is mind-boggling. Though they are facing bankruptcy in many states because of the shameful tradition of priests molesting children, they still have the nerve to claim a right to make moral decisions for women. It is time for the women of America to say no to the bullying of a tiny group of men who will never know what it means to make tough choices about pregnancy; or have a baby; or raise a child; or scramble to care for a family.
It seems that no reproductive justice victory can stand free of assault by the anti-choice set. On Monday, January 30, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla) introduced legislation that would overturn the Department of Health and Human Services mandate requiring religiously-affiliated organizations to provide free birth control with their employee health plan packages.
NCJW and our colleagues in the faith community understand that this is an issue of religious liberty — although there are differing religious views on the use of contraception, it should be up to women to decide on whether and when to use contraception based on their own beliefs and needs.