Bishops’ Hardline Restrictions Written into Government Shutdown Deal
The bishops and their radical allies in Congress showed that they are willing to go to any lengths in their latest gambit in the culture wars—even forcing a shutdown of the US government—so they can control what women do in the privacy of their bedrooms. The House of Representatives, spurred on by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, has threatened to shut down the government if the Senate and President Obama won’t agree to outrageous limitations on the Affordable Care Act’s women’s preventive healthcare services, thereby jettisoning the protections guaranteed to all Americans by the First Amendment to our Constitution.
Jon O’Brien, president of Catholics for Choice, issued the following statement.
“On the eve of the first step to realizing greater access to healthcare for millions of Americans, the Catholic bishops, once again, proclaim that their opposition to reproductive healthcare is more important than women’s health and liberty, the business of government, or the paychecks of hard-working government employees. And the out-of-control, out-of-touch majority in the House of Representatives agrees with them.
“The bishops’ demands, now included in the proposed legislation to keep our government operating, would limit more than women’s access to contraception. They would limit the fundamental ability of each person to act in accord with his or her conscience. They would allow one person’s religious beliefs to determine another person’s freedom. That’s not right.
“Too many women have already been left out of the promise for comprehensive healthcare coverage by the accommodations and exemptions in Obamacare that allow some employers to make decisions about their employees’ family planning. Now, the radical conservatives demand that all employers be allowed to discriminate against their employees’ religious liberty, saying that the beliefs of a boss or a member of Congress trump the conscience of a working woman or man on one of the most intimate and important decisions people make: whether and when to have children.
“Catholics, and every American who values the religious liberty our Constitution guarantees, implore the Senate and the president not to give in. Don’t use women’s health and religious liberty as a bargaining chip to placate the bishops—not in this fight, and not ever. Preserve our freedom of conscience and deliver on the promise of comprehensive healthcare coverage, including access to contraception, for every American no matter where they work.”