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The Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice (RCRC), the national coalition of religious denominations and groups dedicated to reproductive justice, launched a national campaign to demonstrate the widespread support for expanded access to birth control and contraception among people of faith.
The campaign – “I’m a Fan of Birth Control” – involves hundreds of clergy and religious leaders and activists of all faiths in public awareness and educational programs about the importance of birth control as preventive health care for women.
“The Catholic hierarchy and some religious extremist groups have turned the inclusion of contraception coverage in the health care law into a public battle about their ‘religious freedom.’ The opposite is the case. They are using religion as a cover to discriminate against women,” said Reverend Alethea Smith-Withers of the RCRC Board of Directors.
“While we respect that there are differing religious views on contraception, the fact is that religiously affiliated employers that are objecting to covering birth control in their health plans are publicly funded, serve the public, and employ people of all faiths. They must comply with the law,” she said. Strictly religious institutions such as churches that exist to inculcate religious faith are already exempt from this law.
Denominations with official positions and statements favoring the use of contraception and birth control include The Episcopal Church, Presbyterian Church (USA), United Church of Christ, The United Methodist Church, the Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations, and Reform, Conservative and Reconstructionist Judaism. Excerpts of denominational statements are available on the RCRC website at www.rcrc.org.
RCRC’s position on contraceptive coverage is that access to birth control should be a priority for all society and should be covered by health plans and insurers as preventive care. The decision to become pregnant and have children is one of the most important decisions couples and individuals can make. Full access to birth control, without co-pays or other obstacles, is a key factor in enabling women to reach their potential and in building strong families.
Access to contraception helps to protect the health of women and children, reduce child and spousal abuse, prevent unwanted pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases, and treat serious medical conditions such as endometriosis. As an organization dedicated to justice, RCRC believes that society has the responsibility to create the economic, social and cultural conditions that support all members of society and to provide generously for children’s health, education and well-being.
The Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice, founded in 1973, is an interfaith coalition of religious denominations and religiously affiliated organizations, theologians, clergy and seminarians, grass roots advocates, and youth on campuses across the country.