|"The Obama administration has once again listened to the bishops
instead of to Catholic voters on a matter that deals with both women’s
healthcare and religious freedom,” said Jon O’Brien, president of Catholics for
Choice. “Thousands of women will be left without contraceptive coverage as a
result of a compromise that the government has made with ultraconservative
religious leaders.” Speaking about the final rule on women’s preventive services
announced today by the Department of Health and Human Services, O’Brien deplored
that the administration caved to religious leaders who do not represent the
people they purport to lead. |
“Today, the administration exempted some employers from providing healthcare for their employees that experts agree is critical and that every other woman in the US now has access to at no cost. The rationale for the exemption flies in the face of the facts and takes healthcare decisions away from women and their doctors, giving this power to employers instead.
“The new rule implementing the Affordable Care Act and its provisions for no-cost contraception exempts certain religious employers because, the administration claims, their employees are likely to be people of the same religion who will therefore agree with their employers and not use contraception. This is an assumption that neither the administration nor an employer has any right to make—and, at least for Catholic women, it is an assumption that is dead wrong.
“The Catholic bishops are vehemently opposed to contraception and have spent untold sums to get the government to allow them to discriminate against their employees by denying coverage. But we know that 98 percent of sexually active Catholic women have used a method banned by the bishops. There are no legal barriers to providing contraceptive coverage with no exemptions; several states already do it, including Wisconsin and New Hampshire. Women who live in those states will continue to be able to follow their consciences without interference from their employers—no matter who they work for. Sadly, when it comes to other places, the administration did not examine the evidence and decided to instead cede to the demands of ultraconservative religious leaders. That’s bad practice, bad policy and bad precedent.” View this press release on the Catholics for Choice website.
Catholics for Choice shapes and advances sexual and reproductive ethics that are based on justice, reflect a commitment to women's well-being and respect and affirm the capacity of women and men to make moral decisions about their lives.
At the First Christian Church in Falls Church Saturday, several women were ordained as deacons and priests. One of them was Joleane Presley of Manassas.“Following Christ, it’s a difficult plan,” Presley says. “I think this is taking the next step for me. It’s validating that call.”
Presley, a chaplain at Adventist Rehabilitation Hospital, is married to a Methodist, but she said she couldn’t give up her Catholic faith. She has joined the Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests movement. Small but growing, it claims women were clerics in the early church.
“Women are answering God’s call and justice is rising in the Roman Catholic Church,” says Bishop Mary Meehan.
But the church considers the attempt to ordain women heresy, and that the women taking part are automatically excommunicated.
Presley’s family from Massachusetts supports her, as does her husband, William "Scott" Presley.
“I was absolutely proud, 100 percent,” he says. “Women have a right to be ordained. It’s not just a man’s game.”
Presley doesn’t know what the fallout will be, but she says she is ready.
In a statement Monday, Bishop Paul Loverde of the Catholic Diocese of Arlington called the ordinations invalid:
"The church does not have the authority to change her doctrine on the Sacrament of Holy Orders, which has been passed down... from our Lord Jesus Christ... It is a great sadness when Catholics choose to reject the truth of the Faith... I pray for their return to the fold."