Should Organized Religion Have More Rights Than Women?

Right now, Catholic bishops, charities, schools and universities are demanding exemptions from new rules requiring that insurance plans cover contraception for women, free of charge.

And President Obama is listening, even as Congressional Democrats object.

The demand for exemptions is based on moral and religious grounds. Religious rights, it’s claimed. But about women’s religious rights? When women’s moral and religious beliefs conflict with the Catholic Church, why should the church win out?

Free contraception leads to healthier babies, too. The Institutes of Medicine recommended free birth control due to compelling evidence that it leads to healthier women and babies.

Women with unintended pregnancies are more likely to receive delayed or no prenatal care and to smoke, consume alcohol and be depressed during pregnancy. Unintended pregnancy also increases the risk of babies being born preterm or at a low birth weight, both of which raise their chances of health and developmental problems.

And when birth control is free, abortion rates drop too.

Then there’s the whole matter of financial survival. Poor women might want to avoid the poverty that can come from extra mouths to feed. And those who are better off might want to have only the number of children that they can afford.

Looking at the country’s finances, free contraception is a good deal, as well. Nearly half of all pregnancies in the U.S. are unplanned, and one factor is the high cost of birth control. And unplanned pregnancies cost U.S. taxpayers more than $11 billion a year. Because of this, every dollar spent on birth control by California’s Family Planning, Access, Care and Treatment program resulted in approximately $4 savings.

But returning to the question of religion, aren’t we supposed to sacrifice for our own religious beliefs, rather than asking everyone else to sacrifice for our religion?

So I ask again: Why should organized religion have more rights than women?

Reprinted from BroadBlogs

Photo by flickr user H.L.I.T. under Creative Commons 2.0


  1. They don’t have more rights — they have a louder political voice.

  2. What I don’t understand is why religious belief (unlike any other type of objection) should provide an exemption to any requirement in a voluntary area of the public sphere. If you don’t want to provide whatever insurance is considered “standard” by the commonwealth, then you shouldn’t be in the insurance business.

  3. Catholic Bishops have more rights than women (especially those of child bearing age) because they are males who became part of Catholic officialdom under the rigid condition that they have a penis to be a priest…yet once they become priests they cannot use it(officially that is). This qualification makes them experts on what women should or should not be able to do.

    I am a recovering Catholic and am not reluctant to see truth.

  4. Religious fanatics are gaining in influence all over the world. If they had their way, the Catholic or Muslim Hierarchy (depending on who won out) would rule our country.

  5. Lise Lotte says:

    Wouldn’t it be nice if women actually had more rights than organized religion. The louder you shout, the more rights you get. I guess women need to start hollering their heads off in order to change things to the better for themselves.

  6. I have to ask, If you know that Catholic’s do not believe in birth control, then why would you want to e part of their church, school, university…etc?

    I don’t think this is a case of religion having more rights then women, just different rights. As a woman, you have the right to not go to a Catholic place and then expect free birth control.

    Every person is free to do as they wish.. and if you belong to a group that wanted you to stand on your head for ten hours a day but you didn’t want to, then you are free to join a different group.

    Is that not what true freedom is? Why would you want to force your opinions on anyone if you didn’t want their opinions forced on you?

    Just say’n….

    • But that freedom isn’t universal. Sometimes the only job around is in a Catholic hospital. Unless the catholic organization madates that all its employees be Catholic, they shouldn’t restrict the religious freedoms of those they employ.

    • willothwisp says:

      Some people are offered scholarships to catholic universities and would not be able to attend college if not for these scholarships. These sorts of choices are easier if you have money so you actually have a choice.

      The opportunities for some are limited, and they should not be punished because they happen to be born into something less than the upper-middle class.

  7. Anne Fischer says:

    As Mother JOnes says, “Raise hell – not dahlias.” We must be in their faces (anyone who gives women a hard time about what they want and need esp with BC/EC.) We must honor ourselves and not go indifferent. Women have done that too long. Let go of any guilt for what you believe is right. NEVER cow tow or be beholden to someone bec you are afraid you might make them feel bad. We don’t cause ANYone to feel bad. It is their issue, but we will forever make ourselves feel bad and therefore unempowered if we continue on a guilt trip which is what many men andother pple want women to do and expect women to do bec for too long women have been taught and conditioned to do so. So, rise up!

  8. No. In Canada right now a couple and their son are on trial for murdering the fathers 1st wife and their 3 daughters. All because of a reiligious belief.

    All the wars for centuries have been cause by religious leaders, insisting the country be all Protestant, all Catholic [Ireland, England, Spain and others,etc]. We also have the Asian countries and their many religions, fighting for one religion to have dominance. This is what the Taliban and Alquida are all about, controling the wolrd via religious fervor. No one has the right to dress, listen to music, eat what they choose. And they wonder why their are so many atheists, who believe in living and let live.

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