Catholic bishops assert religious liberty in fight against birth control

Catholic bishops know that most Americans, including most Catholics, reject the church’s view that artificial birth control is wrong. So the bishops hope in coming weeks to convince the public that their fight against a new insurance mandate is a battle over  religious liberty, rather than access to contraception, Archbishop Gregory Aymond said Thursday.

Archbishop Gregory Aymond and other bishops recently met to discuss the church’s opposition to a new federal health insurance mandate that requires employers to offer birth control coverage.

“We’re not saying that everyone has to think and act like us. We’re saying that WE have to think and act as we do, and we should be allowed to do so,” Aymond said Thursday.

Aymond had just returned from Washington, where he met for two days with about two dozen key bishops to discuss the church’s opposition to a new federal health insurance mandate.

It requires employers, including Catholic schools and hospitals, to provide their employees insurance coverage for artificial birth control, tubal ligation, vasectomies and the morning after pill.

The church’s traditional teaching is that artificial and surgical means of contraception are wrong because they artificially separate sex from procreation. Catholic and evangelical leaders alike object to the so-called morning after pill because, in their view, it provokes an early abortion.

In a statement after the meeting, the administrative committee of the United States Conference of Catholic bishops said the church will oppose the mandate on parallel paths: trying to negotiate a compromise with the White House; drumming up internal support for their position in the Catholic press; searching for a political solution in Congress; and, perhaps, going to court. [More]