Posts Tagged reproductive health

Bishop Wester is Wrong: Religious Freedom is Not Under Attack

Yesterday, the Salt Lake Tribune published an op-ed from Bishop John C. Wester of the Catholic Diocese of Salt Lake City in which the Bishop claims:

More and more, I get the distinct impression that the voice of religion is not welcome in the public square. Even more troubling, it seems to me that the bedrock of religious freedom is being limited as our government wades into the dangerous waters of defining what is or is not a church.

The HHS definition of a church essentially creates a two-tiered structure — protecting the sanctuary while relegating works of charity to an inferior, unprotected status. For the Catholic Church, the works of charity we perform through our social service agencies, schools, and hospitals are deeply rooted in the beliefs we express in the sanctuary. To define us in any other way is to violate our right to practice what we preach.

With all due respect to Wester, he’s either being deliberately dishonest or disingenuous.  I’ll let you take a few moments and enjoy Stephen Colbert’s take down of the church’s position.  And interesting take on the contretemps at Andrew Sullivan’s blog reads, in part:

Birth control is for 98% of women the principal means of protecting a right central to their own liberty – the right to choose when to create a family. Chances are most women employed by Catholic universities and hospitals are part of the 98%. For these women, not having access to birth control renders a crucially important right meaningless.

Full insurance coverage is a critical part of the picture. Birth control is an expensive product – $81 a month is considered a steal with no contribution from your insurance, but that number still prices out many women. Even insurance plans that have copayscan be prohibitively pricey. Cheaper alternatives like condoms have significant failure rates. Insurance, overwhelmingly provided by employers in the American system, that covers birth control with no copays is a woman’s best bet.

Women’s freedom to control their reproductive lives should be, in my mind, a central value of a modern society.  It also touches on what John McGowan talked about in his book American Liberalism when he discussed effective freedom.  Denying access to or making access to contraception so complex and expensive as to effectively prohibit it is an attack on women’s effective freedom, on the ability of women to self realize their goals for themselves.

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Conservative Lies: Contraception is Abortion

The anti-abortion crowd has been, for a very long time, very quietly anti-contraception. Arguments against contraception range from the ludicrous (use of contraception leads to abortion) to the medically inaccurate (chemical contraception is actually a form of chemical abortion). Since 98% of American women will use contraception during their lives, arguing against it seems like an act of an insanity, so the wingnut brigade has chosen a different tactic: redefining contraception as something other than what it is, with of course the help of the lunatics in the Bush administration.

So smiley Mikey Leavitt proposed new regulations declaring the contraception is abortion and protecting the “right” of anti-abortion doctors, nurses and pharmacists to not do their jobs and not get fired.

Dr. Anne Davis writes:

But the Bush administration wants my clinic and healthcare facilities around the country “not to discriminate” against doctors or any other staff who would withhold contraception from women who rely on it to continue working, going to school, and raising the children they already have. In essence, the Department of Health and Human Services finds it both healthy and humane to hire people who don’t believe in women’s healthcare to provide women’s healthcare. As a July 30 article in the Washington Post noted, patients’ health should come first in the medical world, not religion or politics.

The letter from Physicians for Reproductive Choice and Health to Leavitt and the HHS reads in part:
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