Twisting freedom

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As both a Pennsylvania native and an ordained minister, I was disappointed to read in the Post-Gazette that the Roman Catholic Diocese of Greensburg and several affiliates decided to sue the federal government over the contraceptive mandate of the Affordable Care Act (“Greensburg Diocese Sues Over Affordable Care Act,” May 28).

In this and other similar cases, what the Catholic institutions seek to do is a gross distortion of religious liberty. Quite simply, it would twist religious freedom from a shield that protects all people into a sword that allows a small number of people in power to impose their views on others.

I believe that health care decisions are and should remain private decisions that every person can make according to his or her own beliefs and conscience. No law should force Catholics or anyone to use birth control against their will, nor should it allow Catholics or anyone else to deny birth control access for others.

According to research from the Guttmacher Institute, 88 percent of American women at risk of unintended pregnancy and 87 percent of Catholic women are currently using a form of birth control banned by the Vatican. And yet the Roman Catholic hierarchy is willing to spend millions of dollars and countless hours of staff time on a legal campaign to prevent women from having no-cost access.

I think it’ll be a great day when the church decides to spend less of its resources opposing birth control and more on eliminating poverty, violence and the other real problems facing our nation.

Director of Public Policy
Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice
Washington, D.C.

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