Letter to the Editor:
This letter is in response to the controversy sparked by HHS regulations argued to infringe on religious liberty. Contraception is not approved in the Catholic Church, which is why the U.S. bishops oppose the mandate.
I understand the argument about religious freedom, but that is not the issue; rather, it may be time to revisit Church doctrine. When Catholic women use contraception at the same rate as the general public, and when 50 percent of all contraceptives are prescribed for reasons other than birth control, we are defending our freedom to abide by a rule no one follows. That does not make sense.
Contraception is not a religious issue; it is a women’s health and social justice issue. An 18-year-old who does not experience regular menstruation may be prescribed contraception, as could a woman who has depression induced by menopause. A Catholic school teacher and her husband may want to use birth control to make sensible choices for their family, like being able to finance Catholic education and college tuition for their children. The facilities worker in the same Catholic school can’t afford contraception because the $50 a month is beyond her ability to pay and provide basic necessities for her children. All of these women may be very good Catholics but unable or unwilling to follow Church doctrine.
In all due respect, the Church leaders making these rules are never going to be in a situation where using contraception would be advised. Furthermore, because 98 percent of Catholic women have used birth control sometime in their lives, some publically opposed to the mandate may have used contraception themselves. There are countless practices that historically made sense in the Church but no longer do, and it is a sign of courage to revisit their appropriateness. In fact, it’s a very Catholic thing to do.
Megan Foley Nicpon