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Response to rug (Reply #73)

Sat Jan 30, 2016, 05:17 PM

79. Catholic Church and the politics of abortion:

Catholic Church and the politics of abortion

Before the 1973 Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision that opened the door to the legalization of abortion, the right-to-life movement in the U.S. consisted of lawyers, politicians, and doctors, almost all of whom were Catholic.[citation needed] The only coordinated opposition to abortion during the early 1970s came from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and the Family Life Bureau, also a Catholic organization. Prior to Roe v. Wade decision, abortion was not a high priority for Catholic bishops in the United States.[3][4] Neither was abortion a prominent issue in American politics prior to Roe v. Wade. It was not a major platform plank for either party in the 1968 and 1972 elections.[5]

In the 60s and early 70s, there was a shift as a number of Catholics and Southern whites abandoned their traditional affiliation with the Democratic party and began to support the Republican party. This shift is evidenced by the fact that Nixon received only 33% of the Catholic vote in the 1968 election compared to 52% in 1972. As a group, Catholics represented a quarter of the nation's electorate and were now one of the nation's largest swing groups. Both parties began to aggressively woo both the Catholic voters. Although the Catholic hierarchy could not dictate who Catholics voted for, they did have a substantial influence over the faithful in their dioceses. Politicians were aware that the bishops could employ significant time, energy and money to support the issues that were important to them. From their perspective, the bishops were eager to regain some of the influence that their predecessors had wielded in the earlier part of the 20th century.[5]

After Roe v. Wade, the involvement of the Catholic hierarchy in American politics increased to an unprecedented level, with bishops devoting more time, energy and money to the issue of abortion than any other single issue. The substantial role of the Catholic Church in the abortion debate has received much attention in the American media .[6]

Mobilization of a wide-scale pro-life movement among Catholics began quickly after the Roe v. Wade decision with the creation of the National Right to Life Committee (NRLC). The NRLC also organized non-Catholics, eventually becoming the largest pro-life organization in the United States. Connie Paige has been quoted as having said that, "[t]he Roman Catholic Church created the right-to-life movement. Without the church, the movement would not exist as such today."[7]

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catholic_Church_and_the_politics_of_abortion


How the Catholic Church masterminded the Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby debacle

But while the Green family who filed the Hobby Lobby suit objecting to the mandate are evangelical Christians, the road to Hobby Lobby wasn’t paved by the Christian Right. It was the Catholic Church, more specifically the U.S. Catholic bishops’ conference, that largely engineered Hobby Lobby to block the legitimization of contraception as a standard health insurance benefit—a last ditch effort to prevent by law what it couldn’t prevent from the pulpit: women from using birth control.

The Catholic bishops’ interest in “conscience clauses” that would allow employers to opt out of reproductive health care services began in earnest in the late 1990s, with the increased viability at the state and national levels of contraceptive equity measures designed to ensure that health plans covered prescription contraceptives like the Pill just like other prescription medications. For years, insurers had omitted contraceptives from prescription drug plans—the only entire class of drugs routinely and explicitly excluded—which made women’s out-of-pocket medical expenses some 70 percent higher than men’s. Measures to ensure contraceptive equity had been stalled by male legislators and social conservatives who asserted that employers and insurers shouldn’t be forced to pay for what they called a “lifestyle” choice, not a health care need. Despite that fact that nearly all women use contraceptives at some point in their lives—98 percent, according to government surveys—and that at any given moment two-thirds of women of child-bearing age are using a contraceptive method, the implication was that fertility management was frivolous or immoral and that “other people” shouldn’t be forced to pay for it.

***

When charges that contraceptives were abortifacients failed to halt the measure, the bishops turned to a new tack: claiming that contraception equity laws violated the religious freedom of insurers and employers who disapproved of contraception and would be forced to subsidize its use. “They force private health insurance plans and/or employers . . . to cover all ‘FDA-approved’ methods of contraception. . . regardless of the provider’s conscientious objection or long-standing religious beliefs against such coverage,” wrote Cathy Deeds of the NCCB. It was a stunning claim, suggesting that anyone who administered or paid for an insurance policy should be free to dictate what coverage was provided to policyholders based on their objection to services that they themselves would not be forced to use.

The Catholic bishops now sought a broad-based conscience clause that would allow any employer or insurer to refuse to cover contraceptives for any religious or moral objection. This represented a major escalation in the grounds for claiming conscience protections. Traditionally so-called conscience clauses, like the 1973 Church Amendment, protected individuals or health care entities like hospitals only from being compelled to directly perform abortions or sterilizations in violation of their moral or religious beliefs. In 1997, the federal government expanded conscience protections to the payers of abortion-related services when it allowed Medicaid and Medicare managed-care plans to refuse to pay providers for abortion counseling or referral services. Now the bishops were attempting to extend conscience protection to any payer who had a “moral” objection to contraception. Such a measure would make contraceptive coverage mandates useless, because any employer or insurer could opt out. And it would once again leave women’s reproductive health care at the mercy of individual employers and insurers and stigmatize contraceptives, like abortion, as a segregated health service that could be carved out of the continuum of women’s health needs.

http://www.salon.com/2014/09/14/how_the_catholic_church_masterminded_the_supreme_courts_hobby_lobby_debacle/


United States pro-life movement

Demonstrators at the 2004 March for Life
The United States pro-life movement (also known as the United States anti-abortion movement or the United States right-to-life movement) is a social and political movement in the United States opposing on scientific, moral, or religious grounds elective abortion and usually supporting its legal prohibition or restriction. Advocates generally argue that human life begins at conception and that the human fetus (or embryo or zygote) is a person and therefore has a right to life. The pro-life movement includes a variety of organizations, with no single centralized decision-making body.[1] There are diverse arguments and rationales for the pro-life stance. Some anti-abortion activists concede arguments for permissible abortions in exceptional circumstances such as incest, rape, severe fetal defects or when the woman's health is at risk.

Before the Supreme Court 1973 decisions in Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton, anti-abortion views predominated and found expression in state laws which prohibited or restricted abortions in a variety of ways. (See Abortion in the United States.) The anti-abortion movement became politically active and dedicated to the reversal of the Roe v. Wade decision, which struck down most state laws restricting abortion in the first trimester of pregnancy.[2][3] In the United States, the movement is associated with several Christian religious groups, especially the Catholic Church, and is frequently, but not exclusively, allied with the Republican Party.[4][5] The movement is also supported by non-mainstream pro-life feminists.[6] The movement seeks to reverse Roe v. Wade and to promote legislative changes or constitutional amendments, such as the Human Life Amendment, that prohibit or at least broadly restrict abortion.[1]

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_pro-life_movement

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