The San Francisco Chronicle had an informative editorial on Obama’s recent contraceptive mandate. Brian Cahill, former executive director of Catholic Charities of San Francisco, thinks that the Obama administration’s “recent compromise” was an “appropriate response” to Catholic concerns about religious liberty because:1. “Most Catholic organizations affected by the mandate found the compromise acceptable.” The major holdout: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

2. “The great majority of Catholics have long rejected church teaching on contraception.”

3. 95 percent of Catholic women of child-bearing age use contraception.

4. And this one, I was not aware: “28 states have had similar mandates in place for some time.”

Another view that is not out there enough (at least from what I have seen): Cahill thinks that the Conference “demanding an exemption from any employer who would have a ‘conscience’ problem with providing contraceptive coverage for employees” is the same as “forcing their religious belief on employees who do not share their belief.”

There might be a lot out there about this mandate violating religious liberty, but Cahill sees it as doing just the opposite–their stance turns religious liberty “on its head.”

Opposition to the mandate also violates women’s reproductive liberty.  The insurance may cover it, but it is up to every woman whether she wants to take the coverage or not.  Leave it up to women to choose to follow the Conference of Catholic Bishops–or like most, to not.

I have been more focused on the acceptance of the childfree decision as the last stand of reaching true reproductive liberty, but this issue reminds me that our society has not reached total acceptance of having the power to decide when you want to have kids. Amazing.

And so the opposition to the mandate still mounts.  Cahill contends that the real agenda of the Bishop Conference is to “stop any government health care mandate,” even though this ignores the fact that “affordable health care, including contraception, is the most effective way to significantly reduce abortion.”

Maybe Cahill is right–that in true pronatalist spirit, these bishops and other religious leaders in opposition don’t want any other body except themselves to have “the” say when it comes to reproduction. Thank goodness, that so far the law is not on their side.

What do you think?

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