...."The provision is called the Affordable Care Act. This new law is intended to ensure the just treatment of women and couples who cannot afford adequate medical treatment when it comes to contraceptives and who want to raise families in a safe, responsible manner.This act is a promising attempt to prevent unwanted pregnancies and offers perhaps the most ethical and realistic approach to reducing the abortion rate.
The bishops' reaction was characterized by increasingly typical cries of victimization and hysteria. This self-pity only further diminishes the seriousness with which U.S. Catholics take the hierarchy. The sad truth is, if the numbers of Catholics leaving the church are any indication, most Catholics in the United States probably see the hierarchy more as victimizers than victimized.Some have labeled this decision as President Barack Obama's attack on Catholics, echoing the inflammatory, paranoid spin bishops are putting on any government decision that doesn't go their way lately. This decision is not an attack on Catholics, but rather a groundbreaking move to protect women and to guarantee them greater access to adequate, affordable health care...."
[Jamie L. Manson received her Master of Divinity degree from Yale Divinity School, where she studied Catholic theology and sexual ethics. Her columns for NCR earned her a first prize Catholic Press Association award for Best Column/Regular Commentary in 2010.]
Bridget Mary's Reflection:
I agree with Jamie Manson that the bishops are not the church. The Catholic Church's "official teaching" on contraception has not been accepted by the majority of Catholics. According to the Guttmacher Institute 98 percent of sexually active Catholic women have used some form of contraception. The Affordable Care Act does not violate the consciences of Catholic women as the hierarchy claim, but rather helps them get the health care they need. In claiming an exemption, the bishops will be imposing their beliefs on birth control on their employees and forcing them to follow a teaching that the majority of Catholics do not even obey. How can the bishops who claim to be "pro-life", refuse to support contraceptives that will prevent abortions? It makes no sense. The outrage here is not the Obama administration's policy, but the Roman Catholic bishops who, if this exemption was given, would deny contraceptive coverage to their employees, and enforce their teachings on others in violation of their employees' consciences. The bishops are not the church, the people are the church and that includes women who practice birth control according to their consciences. One could certainly argue that this is yet another attempt of the Catholic hierarchy to control women's sexuality when they have failed to control male celibate priests who have sexually abused thousands of children worldwide. Catholics, it is time to speak up and make your views heard! Don't let the bishops bully politicans when they do not reflect you beliefs and practices. We, the people, are the church!