The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has opposed the Obama Administration's health insurance mandate that would require that religious schools and businesses (not churches) include birth control and other reproductive health care in employee health insurance policies. The Catholic Bishops claim that the health insurance mandate destroys "religious liberty."
The Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice today issued a moral appeal to the Obama Administration to defend the freedom of American women to exercise self-determination in the most critical area of their lives – their precious health.
With just six weeks until the historic Affordable Care Act contraceptive coverage measure takes effect, women's individual power to make decisions about their own reproductive health is under attack by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops in a series of events in churches and communities nationwide called "Fortnight for Freedom." The Catholic bishops are seeking to impose their doctrine on millions of Americans of all faiths and no particular faith by forcing the Obama Administration to back down on this essential preventive health care measure that has long – and unjustly – been denied to women.
The Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice – which includes major Christian, Jewish and other denominations with millions of members – is a staunch supporter of religious freedom. The world over, millions have suffered and died for the freedom to practice their religion and as people of faith we demand that our government and international bodies do all that is in their power to stop oppression in the name of religion. The Catholic bishops' claim that their religious freedom is being undermined by ensuring women have access to preventive health care is a perversion of what is meant by freedom.
If the Administration capitulates in the face of this national campaign, the Catholic bishops will have succeeded in using the authority of the United States government as a tool to enforce their teachings about human reproduction on the nation. As the pressure to conform to the bishops' will increases in this election year, we urge the Obama Administration to remember that the freedom and conscience that must be protected is that of individuals, not of a corporation such as the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. As free individuals of all faiths and backgrounds, we must stand up to the Catholic bishops and defend the rights of women in this most critical area of life.
The Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice, founded in 1973, is the national coalition of religious and religiously affiliated organizations supporting women's moral right to reproductive health care. Members include the Episcopal Church, Presbyterian Church (USA), General Board of Church and Society of the United Methodist Church, Women's Division of the United Methodist Church, United Church of Christ, Unitarian Universalist Association, the Reform, Conservative and Reconstructionist movements of Judaism, and independent religious and religiously affiliated organizations.