It’s become a battle between Catholic Bishops and the majority of the American public — is birth control preventative or not? According to the Bishops, who hope to control the government’s health policy to adhere to their own religious viewpoint, pregnancy is not a “disease” so anything that keeps a woman from becoming pregnant should not fall under health care. But according to most people, including a vast number of practicing Catholics, being able to have sexual intercourse with your spouse or partner without it possibly resulting in a baby every single time is a health decision they stand behind.
Now Catholics are standing up to their vocal minority and pleading with the president to allow contraception to be considered preventative health care, just like nearly every other pharmaceutical. Catholics for Choice, a prochoice, pro-women’s health Catholic advocacy group, published an open letter to President Barack Obama in the New York Times, reminding him of the women who are counting on him to make access to birth control easier and more affordable, as he promised in the ramp up for health care reform. Even those women who are employed by or in other ways are associated with Catholic institutions that are demanding an opt out clause.
“President Obama promised the American people that under his administration people wouldn’t lose healthcare coverage they need,” said Jon O’Brien, president of Catholics for Choice. “He promised he’d make decisions based on science and medically accurate information. Now, the president is considering siding with the Catholic bishops to make it harder and more expensive for millions of American women to get family planning, rejecting the advice of medical experts that recommended its inclusion on the list of recommended preventive healthcare services for women.”
“The bishops have completely failed to convince Catholics in the pews not to use effective family planning methods, so now they want the president to impose their agenda on Catholics and non-Catholics alike,” O’Brien argued. “The president has a choice—listen to the people who elected him or 271 Catholic bishops.”
According to O’Brien, nearly 98 percent of sexually active Catholic women have used birth control.
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