At Any Cost: How Catholic Bishops Pushed for a Shutdown-and Even a Default-Over Birth Control

October 21, 2013 • Family Planning, United States, News

At Any Cost: How Catholic Bishops Pushed for a Shutdown-and Even a Default-Over Birth Control

by Adele M. Stan, RH Reality Check
October 6, 2013

On the matter of the government shutdown that took effect October 1, it seems the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) would have it both ways: for and against.

The bishops want to be on the record as champions of health care for the masses, food for the hungry, and shelter for the homeless-things the government, when operational, helps to provide. But they’re happy to block access to such services for those in need of them unless Congress agrees to block women of all faiths or none, on the whim of an employer, from receiving prescription birth control as part of the preventive care benefit in the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

If that doesn’t work, they wouldn’t mind seeing the global economy brought to its knees for the sake of making the most effective forms of contraception more difficult for women to obtain.

Here might be a fitting place to note that women are barred from leadership in the Roman Catholic Church, an act of discrimination that other Christian denominations long ago abandoned. No cardinal was ever made to interrupt his education for an unplanned pregnancy; no bishop ever endured the pain, blood, and terror of a life-threatening labor. But I digress.

The Bishops and the Tea Party

Late last month, as a legislative impasse incited by Tea Party-allied Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), between the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives brought the government within just days of a shutdown, the bishops weighed in. The House, effectively controlled by the GOP’s Tea Party faction, had already gone one round with the Senate, demanding that a routine continuing resolution (CR)-a means of funding the government in the absence of a budget-include a measure that would revoke funding for implementation of the ACA, a measure the Democratic-controlled Senate predictably rejected.

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