Compiled by Catholics for Choice
5 February 2012
To the editor:
Michael Gerson imputed nefarious motives to President Obama for his administration’s requirement that contraception be made more affordable and available for American workers. He lamented the decision’s effects on a bishop, a priest and the vice president. Tellingly missing from this analysis: the profound and beneficial effects on the millions of American women and their families, Catholic and non-Catholic, Democrat, Republican and independent, whose health-care decisions are too often thwarted by a small, powerful cadre of men who have zero credibility with many lay Catholics when it comes to contraception. Churches across the country are filled with good Catholics, the majority of whom use contraception and have no objection to it.
Jon O’Brien, Washington
The writer is president of Catholics for Choice.
Jon is writing in response to an article by Post opinion columnist, Michael Gerson, available at http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/obamas-radical-power-grab-on-health-care/2012/01/30/gIQANB7XdQ_story.html
New York Times
The Church and the Birth Control Ruling
5 February 2012
To the Editor:
Traditional Catholic teaching rests on a tripod, including the hierarchy, the theologians and the sensus fidelium, the experience-fed wisdom of the laity. These three sources of teaching are, as Cardinal Avery Dulles said, “complementary and mutually corrective.” An accurate look at Catholic teaching on contraception today shows strong support for the position that contraception is not only permissible but even mandatory in many cases.
The American bishops are at odds with other bishops in the Catholic world, with the vast majority of Catholic theologians and with 98 percent of the Catholic laity who have used contraceptives. They are even at odds with Pope Benedict XVI, who has approved the use of condoms “in the intention of reducing the risk of infection.” That concession logically ended the taboo on condoms since it said health care concerns can require the use of condoms.
The bishops’ claim that their religious freedom is threatened is bogus. The threat is to the religious freedom of their employees and to the conscientious freedom of the diverse public they serve in their tax-supported institutions.
DANIEL C. MAGUIRE
Milwaukee, Jan. 30, 2012
The writer is a professor of theology at Marquette University.
Concord (NH) Monitor
5 February 2012
Bishop is wrong on health rules
This is a big step forward for women
February 4, 2012
Re “Health rules violate our religious rights” (Bishop Peter Libasci, Monitor Forum, Feb. 2):
As a Catholic, I was dismayed to read the bishop’s column opposing the new rule giving women access to reproductive health services without a co-pay. The fact is, contraception is used by a majority of women. According to a study by the Guttmacher Institute, most women, including 98 percent of Catholic women, have used contraception.
And here are some important facts about the law: Churches and other houses of worship will be exempt from the requirement to offer insurance that covers contraception, and no individual health-care provider will be forced to prescribe contraception. For example, no Catholic doctor is forced to write a prescription for contraception.
President Obama has made great strides in women’s heath from stopping insurance companies from discriminating based on gender to making sure women can get access to mammograms and other preventative services, and he has stood up to Republican attacks on reproductive health.
The Catholic bishops need to understand religious freedom is an expansive rather than restrictive idea. It has two sides, freedom of religion and freedom from religion.
It is not about telling people what they can and cannot believe or practice, but rather about respecting an individual’s right to follow his or her own conscience in religious beliefs and practices, as well as in moral decision-making. The protections we put in place to preserve religious freedom do not – and should not be considered to – permit religious institutions or individuals to obstruct or coerce the exercise of another’s conscience.
Religious institutions like Catholic hospitals and charities are woven into the social contract by virtue of their activities as charitable organizations and service providers, as well as by the tax benefits and other public funds they receive. Religious institutions like Catholic hospitals should play by the rules of society at large, rather than requiring all of society to play by their rules.
This rule is a reasonable step to make sure women have access to the health services they need, and I am disappointed that the bishop does not understand this.
Representative Bouchard works with Catholics for Choice through the Catholics in Public Life project.
NBC’s Meet the Press
5 February 2012
Representative Xavier Becerra (D-CA), a Catholic, supports contraceptive coverage in employer insurance plans at Catholic hospitals and universities.
CNN’s State of the Union
5 February 2012
Governor Martin O’Malley (MD), a Catholic, supports contraceptive coverage, disputes overreaching in the media stories on Catholic reaction.
Letters from Catholics in support of contraceptive coverage under the ACA, and using CFC’s messaging advice, are also appearing in local papers from Alaska to Iowa to Ohio to New Jersey, and in college newspapers, including at Notre Dame University.
In addition to earned media coverage on this issue in the Washington Post and New York Times, CFC has recently been quoted by the Associated Press and in the Nation; in newspapers in California (LA Times), Colorado, Florida, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, and Washington, DC; on television in Dallas; in online media at Huffington Post, CNN, USA Today, Media Matters for America, RH Reality Check, Religion Dispatches, and blogs by our colleagues like Americans United for Church and State; and featured on local and syndicated radio programs. You can find more information on our website at www.CatholicsForChoice.org.