When House Republicans shut down the government last Tuesday, they did so with the blessing of Catholic bishops. One week prior to the shutdown, the US Conference of Catholic Bishops wrote a letter to the GOP House. The letter asked them to hold America hostage until Democrats kill birth control rules set by the White House. The rules require insurance companies to include birth control coverage for all employees, regardless of the religious beliefs of employers.
Catholic bishops want House GOP to hold America hostage over birth control
This didn’t sit well with Catholic bishops and conservative Christians, who want the right to deny their female employees contraception. So as part of their ongoing temper tantrum over women having access to birth control, the bishops sent a letter to House Republicans urging them to shut the government down until they get their way on contraception coverage.
“[W]e have already urged you to enact the Health Care Conscience Rights Act (H.R. 940/S. 1204), the letter declared. “As Congress considers a Continuing Resolution and debt ceiling bill in the days to come, we reaffirm the vital importance of incorporating the policy of this bill into such ‘must-pass’ legislation.”
The Catholic bishops’ war on birth control threatens women and the nation
The Conference of Catholic Bishops wants the government shutdown to continue, and for the US to default on its debt … Unless they get special treatment in regards to birth control access. To deny women contraception, they’re willing to deny families critical food assistance, take childcare away from working parents, and threaten the financial well-being of millions of Americans. It totally outrageous.
According to ThinkProgress,
“The “Health Care Conscience Rights Act” permits religious employers to exclude any “item or service to which [they have] a moral or religious objection” from the health insurance package offered to employees.”
If this piece of conservative legislation were to become law, any employer in America could deny female employees the contraception they need. All they have to do is claim that they have a religious objection. It means women will have less access to contraception. It also lets religious conservatives achieve their main goal to control women’s reproductive decisions.
Catholic bishops deserve equal blame for the government shutdown
This letter proves Catholic bishops played a role in the government shutdown. They cheered for House Republicans to pull the trigger and shoot America in the foot. They also want Republicans to shoot America in the head, and refuse to raise the debt ceiling … Unless Democrats allow religious employers to discriminate against women. The fact is, the contraception mandate applies to everyone. That’s why it’s constitutional. If it only forced Catholic employers to provide birth control, THAT would be unconstitutional. But that’s not the case. The Catholic bishops must know this is true. Their letter expresses fear that their current legal action, which opposes the mandate, may fail. That’s why they want to make a budget resolution conditional on adding their anti-birth control law.
House Republicans are now not the only ones to blame for the government shutdown. Americans can now blame Catholic bishops as well. The bishops are clearly not interested in alleviating the suffering of those affected most by the government shutdown as they are in making sure they can have a say in what reproductive decisions women make. This goes directly against the wishes of Pope Francis. He recently criticized the Church for focusing too much on gays, abortion, and contraception, instead of helping the poor. Apparently, US Catholic bishops are going rogue in their efforts to deny women birth control. They wrote and sent their letter to House Republicans just a few days later. This proves– once and for all — that Catholic bishops in America don’t care about the plight of struggling Americans. To achieve their extreme ideological goals, they’re willing to cause more suffering. And they wonder why people are abandoning religion.