Bishops and Religious Right Intensify Crusade Against Contraceptives
A few weeks ago, I was rummaging through a storage closet at home when I came across a stamp collection I kept when I was a kid.
I was surprised to see it because I assumed that I had long ago discarded this battered book of postage stamps mainly from the 1960s and `70s. I began leafing through it and almost immediately spotted a U.S. stamp that made me do a double-take. It was an 8-cent stamp from 1972 that depicted a drawing of a typical nuclear family of a mother and father with two children. Across the top were the words “Family Planning.”
Wow. So there was a time when the federal government not only talked about contraceptives as a positive thing but even celebrated them on a postage stamp.
That would never happen now. We’ve been pulled backward to the extent that we’re now having a serious national discussion about to what extent Americans should even have access to birth control. Right-wing religious groups that seek to curtail Americans’ ability to get and use birth control are feeling newly empowered.
In other words, in case you’re wondering, all’s still not quiet on the birth control front.
The Catholic bishops, aided and abetted by their pals in the Religious Right, continue working to deny Americans access to affordable and effective forms of contraceptives. The bishops recently hosted “Fortnight for Freedom,” a two week-long series of rallies and other events around the country designed to press the church’s view that it is being persecuted because the new health care law requires religiously affiliated organizations to contract with insurance companies that will provide no-cost birth control to those who want it.
As Americans United has pointed out several times, houses of worship are exempt from this mandate. The rule covers only institutions like church-run hospitals, colleges and social-service agencies. These entities receive massive amounts of taxpayer support and hire and serve non-Catholics. Thus, they’re open to reasonable forms of regulation.