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Fortnight for Freedom – Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing

11:53 am in Uncategorized by RH Reality Check

Written by Debra Haffner for RH Reality Check. This diary is cross-posted; commenters wishing to engage directly with the author should do so at the original post.

An empty birth control holder discarded on the street.

Freedom from contraception? (Photo: Beatrice Murch / Flickr).

The Catholic bishops have begun a two-week campaign leading up to July 4th with the central focus of removing contraceptive coverage from health insurance reform. Of course, the Supreme Court any minute now may end or modify the Affordable Care Act, which may make this debate moot.

The bishops are calling their campaign a “Fortnight for Freedom” and cloaking their objection to modern methods of contraception in a religious liberty argument. It is a classic example of those on the religious right who would restrict individual freedom to make private sexual choices co-opting language to confuse and gain supporters. It is reminiscent of the right’s coinage of “partial-birth abortion” for abortion procedures after 20 weeks and the use of the term “death panels” in health care debates.

As a religious leader and as a person of faith, I of course support religious freedom. So does the U.S. Constitution and so, I presume, do you. To me, and millions of people of faith, religious freedom means that all persons should be free to make their own personal decisions about their sexual and reproductive lives, including their decisions about when, whether, or if to have children. These decisions are optimally informed by their conscience, faith tradition, religious beliefs and families, but ultimately they are deeply personal decisions that individuals can and should have the freedom to make for themselves.

Religious freedom means that the government should not privilege the teachings of one religion over another or deny individual religious freedom. Individuals must have the right to accept or reject the principles of their own faith without legal restrictions. The Catholic bishops do not speak for all faith traditions on contraception; indeed they don’t even speak for the people in their pews who use and support family planning in overwhelming majorities. It is past time for the Vatican and the American Bishops to understand that they cannot claim final moral authority in domestic or (as we saw in Rio last week) international discourse.

It is up to each of us to not allow the Catholic bishops or anyone else to co-opt religious freedom. Universal access to family planning does not require anyone to use contraception – rather it assures that individual moral agency and conscience are respected. Supporting religious freedom means supporting the right of all of us to make our own moral decisions. We know a wolf in sheep’s clothing when we see it.

Why the Affordable Care Act is Critical For Women Living With HIV

9:27 am in Uncategorized by RH Reality Check

Photobucket

Written by Brook Kelly for RH Reality Check. This diary is cross-posted; commenters wishing to engage directly with the author should do so at the original post.

In January 2012, Women Organized to Respond to Life-threatening Diseases (WORLD) and 16 other organizations led by Lambda Legal filed with the Supreme Court a friend-of-the-court brief in support of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). This week, the Supreme Court held a three-day hearing on the constitutionality of health care reform. As we hold our breath to see how the Court will decide the fate of the ACA, now is a good time to remind ourselves of the importance of health care reform for women living with HIV and affected by HIV.

We know that the HIV epidemic thrives on a lack of quality, acceptable, affordable and accessible health care. We also know that discrimination in health care based on race, ethnicity, gender and gender identity, pre-existing conditions, and economic status is rampant. No one law can solve all of these problems but the Affordable Care Act is a first and necessary step toward reforming our health care system to better meet the needs of all people.

The full implementation of health care reform is vital to women living with and affected by HIV for a number of reasons:

Read the rest of this entry →

Who, Me? Limbaugh Regrets Not Slurring American Women With a Better Euphemism for Slut

8:38 am in Uncategorized by RH Reality Check

Written by Amanda Marcotte for RH Reality Check. This diary is cross-posted; commenters wishing to engage directly with the author should do so at the original post.

After spending three days on his radio show calling Sandra Fluke, a Georgetown law student who testified in front of Congress about the importance of health insurance coverage, names like “slut” and “prostitute,” Rush Limbaugh did something unusual: he apologized.

Just kidding!

It’s being reported as an apology, but if you actually read it, it’s not.

In this instance, I chose the wrong words in my analogy of the situation. I did not mean a personal attack on Ms. Fluke.

In other words, Limbaugh is saying that there’s nothing wrong with his belief that women who use contraception—that is, 99 percent of American women—are immoral, filthy sluts. He just wishes that he had chosen better euphemisms, perhaps “hussy” and “lady of the night” while arguing that the only proper course for women who don’t want to get pregnant is to abstain from sex completely. (Limbaugh very pointedly doesn’t suggest this to men. On the contrary, he demands that women provide sex tapes if they dare use contraception, so he can masturbate to them. While celibacy is required for women in Limbaugh’s world, he has no problem with male sexuality. Or Viagra coverage, for that matter.)

By the way, we’re already aware that he wasn’t just making a personal attack on Fluke. Since 99 percent of American women use contraception—and since contraception is already covered by insurance and subsidized by the government—Limbaugh was using Fluke as a stand-in to argue that every woman who has ever had sex for any other reason than procreation is a bad person. In other words, pretty much all women. Which is a way of saying that Limbaugh wasn’t attacking Fluke, but just using her for a punching bag to express his hatred of all women.

The non-apology involved him doubling down on this argument: Read the rest of this entry →

Why I Skipped Mass Today: A Practicing Catholic Objects to the Bishops’ Arguments Over Birth Control

10:47 am in Uncategorized by RH Reality Check

(image: ee382, photobucket)

(image: ee382, photobucket)

Written by Anonymous for RH Reality Check. This diary is cross-posted; commenters wishing to engage directly with the author should do so at the original post.

Reproductive health politics are controversial enough, but they are even more so for a family of practicing Catholics. My spouse begged me not to put my name on this, concerned about our son, who is scheduled to receive First Holy Communion in a few months. Certainly, neither of us want him to be hassled, or to have his standing jeopardized because of his parents’ dissent toward an increasingly politicized Church. So please excuse the anonymity of this editorial.

There is a really cool website called Bible Gateway that serves as a Google-style search engine for the Christian Bible. Any visitor can search for key words in 46 languages, and the English options includes 31 different versions representing a wide variety of religious traditions, from the 21st Century King James Version to Young’s Literal Translation. What kind of words can you look up? Anything, really. As a Catholic, my Bible Gateway is set to the New American Standard Bible, the same that is listed on the Vatican’s website. It’s interesting to note that, excluding articles, conjunctions, prepositions and other small words, the most common word in the Bible is Lord (6,726 times) and God is second (4,188 times). I have to admit that I was surprised that Jesus comes up only 990 times, but I am sure it’s a contextual thing.

The word love will get you 484 hits, and the results will direct you to excerpts from Genesis to Revelation. Some are passages you might expect to find, such as Jesus’ repeated instruction to “LOVE your neighbor as yourself” and there are some surprises, such as the rather chilling, “Outside are the dogs and the sorcerers and the immoral persons and the murderers and the idolaters, and everyone who LOVES and practices lying.” (Revelations 22:15). Yikes! Read the rest of this entry →

The White House’s Dangerous Dance With the Birth Control Mandate

8:16 am in Uncategorized by RH Reality Check

Written by Editor-in-Chief Jodi Jacobson for RH Reality Check. This diary is cross-posted; commenters wishing to engage directly with the author should do so at the original post.

This week, on MSNBC’s Morning Joe, Obama campaign senior advisor David Axelrod signaled that the White House, having finally decided to include coverage of birth control as part of primary health care benefits under health reform after studying it for well over a year, is now “willing to compromise.”

Translation? The White House is considering “accommodations” to the policy.

Many of my colleagues disagree with my take on the situation. Many have pointed me to, and I have read, the so-called clarification on Tuesday by White House Press Secretary Jay Carney of what Axelrod really meant. I also read the further clarification made on Wednesday. I don’t find either very clarifying. In fact, I find them worrisome.

In Tuesday’s White House press conference, for example, ABC’s Jake Tapper asks Carney:

Is there a middle ground somewhere where perhaps some of these religious organizations that aren’t specifically houses of worship, but are Catholic or Jewish or Baptist hospitals, charities, of a smaller size could be — could receive the same exemption as the houses of worship?  We’re talking about people who think that some methods of birth control are murder, are a sin, and the Obama administration is forcing them to be party to that.  I mean, that’s the crux here.

And Carney responds:

Well, let’s be clear — and first of all, we understand the religious concerns here.  That is why this balance was sought. That’s why the process going forward includes a transition period where this discussion will continue to see if there can be ways found that ensure that women get access to these preventive services and that those services are covered — as they will be for all other women — and that also takes into account these religious concerns.  But let’s be clear, the rule does not require any individual or institution to provide contraception.  It requires coverage for women who work there of different faiths, or of any faith.

He continues: Read the rest of this entry →

Contraception: Expand Access, Not Exemptions

10:55 am in Uncategorized by RH Reality Check

Open Access - Don't Limit It! (Image: wakingtiger, flickr)

Open Access - Don't Limit It! (Image: wakingtiger, flickr)

Written by Jessica Arons for RH Reality Check. This diary is cross-posted; commenters wishing to engage directly with the author should do so at the original post.

This article is cross-posted with permission from ThinkProgress Health.

As the Obama Administration debates whether to expand an exemption to a new health insurance requirement to cover all FDA-approved methods of contraception, there are some important facts to keep in mind:

– The average woman spends five years pregnant, postpartum, or trying to get pregnant, and at least 30 years trying to avoid pregnancy.

More than 99 percent of women of reproductive age who have had sexual intercourse have used at least one method of family planning.

– Contraception is the most commonly prescribed medication for women ages 18 to 44

Eighty-eight percent of voters support access to birth control

– Approximately three-quarters of Americans agree that insurance should cover contraception

Fifty-eight percent of pill users rely on oral contraception at least in part for non-contraceptive reasons

Eighteen percent of women on the pill reported inconsistent use, such as skipping doses, as a cost-cutting measure

Under the Affordable Care Act, or the ACA, women will benefit from greatly expanded access to contraception—which has been shown to improve health. But this important consumer protection is at risk of being undermined by an unreasonably expansive religious exemption. Read the rest of this entry →

On Contraceptive Coverage, It’s Not Up to Obama to Decide What is More “Catholic”

11:51 am in Uncategorized by RH Reality Check

Benedict XVI (Photo: catholicism, flickr)

Benedict XVI (Photo: catholicism, flickr)

Written by Frances Kissling for RH Reality Check. This diary is cross-posted; commenters wishing to engage directly with the author should do so at the original post.

See all our coverage of the Birth Control Mandate 2011 here.

This article was amended at 2:22 pm Friday, November 25th to add a missing paragraph and missing words in three sentences.

When it comes to contraception Catholics have stopped listening to popes, bishops and other institutional leaders.  It seems the only person left listening is President Obama. Obama however lacks the theological training –and it would seem the scholarly advice –needed to figuring out if the bishops and various hospitals, universities and social service agencies clamoring for a “religious exemption” from new federal regulations really need them in order to be good Catholics. The regulations require insurance plans offered by employers to cover contraception without a co-pay, although they exempt churches and other specifically religious institutions from the requirement.

The President seems unaware of the fact that Catholic disagreement with the ban on birth control goes far beyond the average Catholic lay-person. Some bishops, many priests, religious orders, theologians and church-related groups have publicly and privately disagreed with blanket prohibition of contraception. All of them, individuals and institutions, are free to follow their conscience on contraception and there is ample evidence that many of the very groups asking for an exemption from the new federal regulations have not followed church regulations religiously. Some within the organizations may agree with the ban, but not all, and none are required to do so.

Of course, it would take courage for organizations such as the Catholic Health Association (which is now siding with the Bishops publicly in their fight to broaden exemptions) or Catholic Charities to publicly buck the U.S. bishops and just follow the law and give their employees health insurance that makes it possible to avoid pregnancies they cannot afford or do not want; but after all, being a Catholic is all about courage and helping the poor and marginalized. A fair number of employees of Catholic institutions are low-income workers, struggling to get by on a minimum wage. We Catholics are taught to follow our conscience rather than the positions of the Catholic church, even if it means getting kicked out of the church.  If Obama’s current religious advisors don’t know that, all he has to do is call one of the most trusted of Catholic theologians, Fr. Richard McBrien of  Notre Dame. McBrien will repeat what he has said in his widely used text Catholicism:

If, after appropriate study, reflection and prayer, a person is convinced that his or her conscience is correct, in spite of a conflict with the moral teachings of the church, they not only may but must follow the dictates of their conscience rather than the teachings of the church.”

Centuries earlier Thomas Aquinas said the same thing.  Yet, the Catholic-affiliated institutions asking for a religious exemption insist that corporations, like persons have a conscience. Read the rest of this entry →

Who is the White House Serving, the People or the Bishops?

11:13 am in Uncategorized by RH Reality Check

Insurance And Reproductive Experts (Photo: catholicism, flickr)

Insurance And Reproductive Experts (Photo: catholicism, flickr)

Written by Sarah Lipton-Lubet, Policy Counsel for the ACLU Washington Legislative Office, for RH Reality Check. This diary is cross-posted; commenters wishing to engage directly with the author should do so at the original post.

Over the last few weeks, the rumor mills have been churning, with everyone asking: just how much influence does the powerful U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ lobby have in Washington? A timeless question really, the version du jour is – what’s going to happen to important new federal guidelines that ensure insurance plans include coverage of contraception (also known as the latest target in the bishops’ campaign to force their beliefs on the rest of us)?

Before the Department of Health and Human Services even released the guidelines this August, detailing which essential preventive services new health insurance plans need to cover, the bishops and their friends were lobbying to keep contraception out. Because if the politically powerful bishops don’t like it, no one can have it. Now they’re waging a campaign to make Swiss cheese out of the guidelines by creating a loophole for all sorts of religiously affiliated organizations that would deny employees comprehensive insurance coverage that includes birth control. Is it working?

If you read the paper, and you’re among the 99 percent of sexually active women who have used contraception, you might start to worry. According to the Washington Post, “Obama [i]s ‘very sensitive’ to the bishops’ concerns” over the birth control guidelines. The New York Times reported that after his private meeting with the president, Archbishop Timothy Dolan, president of the bishops’ conference, felt “a bit more at peace about this issue than when [he] entered.” Connecting the dots, RH Reality Check‘s Jodi Jacobson and Salon’s Irin Carmon asks whether the administration is going to “cave” to the bishops’ parochial demands.

We know that the bishops, as political actors, have outsized influence; politicians seem to listen to them on reproductive health even though most Catholics don’t. We know that the bishops are savvy with messaging, crying victim whenever someone disagrees with them over public policy (the rest of us call it democracy). And we know that the bishops are leaving no stone unturned. Read the rest of this entry →

The Obamas’ Bedroom: No Bishops Allowed

10:54 am in Uncategorized by RH Reality Check

Written by Editor-in-Chief Jodi Jacobson for RH Reality Check. This diary is cross-posted; commenters wishing to engage directly with the author should do so at the original post.

I am of the mind and practice that, no matter who you are, an individual’s sex life, their sexual orientation, their contraceptive practices, fertility goals, pregnancy terminations and so forth are off limits for public discussion as long as we are talking about legal activities between or by consenting adults involving no form of coercion.  It’s really not my (or your) business.

That is, unless you are a politician, lobbyist, media, religious or other public figure who uses other people’s sex lives to advance your own political or religious goals. And especially if you are among those figures listed above and you claim moral superiority over others for political gain. Then your own life is open to scrutiny and is a legitimate part of the conversation.

My sense of boundaries is sufficiently strong that I would never think to ask or talk about contraceptive use by President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama because it is none of my business.

However, the White House has made plain the President is considering broadening an already broad exemption for religious groups on contraceptive coverage in health reform under pressure from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.  This would result in the loss of coverage for millions of women.

This is unacceptable and we have published numerous articles articulating why all women should have access to contraception through their health insurance plans, on the grounds of economic, social, and health benefits as well as to protect the religious and moral liberty of the vast majority of the United States population.

But it also made me realize something. It seems not only plausible but nearly 100 percent certain that, barring any fertility problems (which again are not otherwise my business), the President and First Lady practice birth control, as evidenced by the length of their marriage and the fact that they now have–and appear to have stopped at–two children. Data compiled by the Guttmacher Institute show that the typical U.S. couple wants only two children. To achieve this goal, they must use contraception consistently for roughly three decades.

It is obviously the right of the Obamas to plan their family.  But let’s put this in context. The President and First Lady are, fundamentally, public servants and are receiving health care coverage courtesy of the American people. While I do not begrudge them this at all, it is pretty clear to me that the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops is not–technically speaking–in bed with President and Michelle Obama. In other words, the Obamas are not subject to the Bishops’ twisted arguments on “religious liberty” and “conscience” clauses, and the Bishops are not controlling the Obamas’ access to contraception. Their method is, I am sure, covered in effect by us.

And, I am also pretty sure this is the case with the rest of the White House staff. Insurance coverage for the White House staff and members of the Administration almost certainly now includes some coverage of birth control (the majority of plans do) and will include coverage of birth control without a co-pay, if not fully so now, then clearly when the mandate goes into effect. In fact, the President is fond of saying that Americans should have the same access to health care coverage as he and members of Congress do.

Which is exactly my point.

I think it is safe conjecture that the Obamas don’t want the Bishops in bed with them.

Neither, as the wealth of evidence shows, do the millions of Catholic and non-Catholic women and men who use contraception and would be adversely affected economically, in terms of health, and by more unintended pregnancies as the result of any politically-motivated capitulation to the Bishops on birth control coverage in insurance plans.

Let’s let the Bishops sleep by themselves and keep them out of everyone’s bedrooms, from the President and First Lady on down.

President Obama: Make sure that all women have the same access to birth control without a co-pay that you, your staff, members of Congress and others will enjoy.  Like you said, we all just want what you have.

 

Did God Tell Congress to Wage War on Women?

1:35 pm in Uncategorized by RH Reality Check

Written by Ellen Shafer for RH Reality Check. This diary is cross-posted; commenters wishing to engage directly with the author should do so at the original post.

See all our coverage of the Birth Control Mandate 2011 here

 

God has apparently signed off on the war on women.

Thanks to at least one member of Congress for setting us straight on that.

“It is not our job as Catholics to tell God what he should do. It is our job to learn and follow his teachings. Conscience is not convenience. We must enforce the laws of God.”

This was Rep. Tim Murphy (R-PA), who, having ascertained that the supreme deity is male, explained why Congress should deprive employees of Catholic schools, hospitals, and charities of the right to purchase affordable birth control, regardless of the employees’ own beliefs or practices. His statements were made at a hearing of the Health Subcommittee of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce on Wednesday, November 2, 2011.

Republicans in Congress are truly on the warpath against women’s rights, and in many cases against reason.

Just a few points here about women and contraception. For starters, while it usually takes two to conceive a child, only women get pregnant. The right and ability to make independent decisions about whether and when to become a parent are fundamental to every other aspect of a woman’s life: whether society recognizes women as autonomous, independent, responsible, and competent; and whether women themselves experience the same opportunities as men to acquire education and employment, and to construct a meaningful life based on loving relationships.

Cost is a barrier to purchasing birth control for lower-income women. More effective forms like new, safe intrauterine devices (IUDs) cost more than a year’s supply of birth control pills or devices like diaphragms which are cheaper overall but also are less reliable. The rate of unintended pregnancies is soaring among low-income women, and at 132 per thousand women ages 15 to 44 is five times higher than the rate for higher income women (those over 200 percent of poverty). Low income women are more likely to have unplanned births. The costs of contraception are minute compared to the costs of pregnancy and delivery, in dollars as well as in human health.

The new health reform law, the Affordable Care Act (ACA), calls for covering preventive health care services without requiring co-payments, effective in 2010. Co-payments are fees individuals must pay when they go for care, in addition to their premiums, and are intended to discourage health care visits. The problem is that they discourage people from getting care they need, particularly low-income people. Preventive health care services like flu shots can protect health by avoiding illnesses entirely or catching them early, and also save money. The ACA eliminated these co-payments for prevention.

Except in the case of contraception.

In 1968, despite the recommendation of the majority of Catholic bishops, the Pope adopted the minority recommendation to declare that using birth control was inconsistent with the Church’s beliefs. Nevertheless, U.S. Catholics continue to use birth control at the same rate as other Americans.  Virtually all heterosexually active couples of child-bearing age in the United States use birth control.  Still, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) has grown increasingly insistent on enforcing the birth control ban.

As of August, 2011, after a year of studying whether or not contraception is a preventive health care service, and therefore should be covered without co-payments and deductibles, the federal Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) arrived at an answer: Yes on all counts.

In covering contraception as a preventive service without co-payments, HHS granted an exception for actual churches who provide health insurance to their employees, but required all other religiously-sponsored institutions such as hospitals that offer health benefits to follow the rule.

Catholic organizations have gone to court in the past to avoid state rules that require including coverage for birth control in the health care plans they provide for employees, and failed every time. The Church sponsors large organizations that include health care providers, universities and social service agencies, as well as churches. They employ millions of Americans, many of whom are not Catholic. Their work generates the funds their employers use to pay for health insurance. Most economists assert that the costs of employee health benefits are reflected in lower pay; that is, employers calculate benefits as a form of compensation, and many reduce wages accordingly. In effect, the money that pays for health insurance is really money that employees generate, and belongs to them.

This evidence is not good enough for the USCCB and the extremist Republicans running Congress. While dire economic threats face many Americans, Rep. Joe Pitts (R-PA), decided to change the subject. He called a hearing entitled “Do New Health Law Mandates Threaten Conscience Rights and Access to Care?”

Now let’s be very clear here. The Republicans and the Bishops are claiming that institutions have a conscience. Not a policy. A conscience.

Here is Joe Pitts’ description of his concern:

“Many entities feel that it [the proposed policy] is inadequate and violates their conscience rights by forcing them to provide coverage for services for which they have a moral or ethical objection. The religious employer exemption allowed under the preventive services rule — at the discretion of the HRSA [Health Resources Services Agency] — is very narrow.

“And the definition offers no conscience protection to individuals, schools, hospitals, or charities that hire or serve people of all faiths in their communities. It is ironic that the proponents of the health care law talked about the need to expand access to services but the administration issues rules that could force providers to stop seeing patients because to do so could violate the core tenants of their religion.”

In fact, there is no involvement of any individual employer in this matter, or any issue of an individual’s conscience except that of employees deciding to purchase and use contraceptives. The rule requires employers’ health plans to cover contraception without any additional co-payment. There are three parties involved here: employers, employees, and health plans. No provider or caregiver is involved, nor is any patient, student, or recipient of charity. At the most extreme, every Catholic institution could claim it will close their doors absent this exclusion. So far no such institution has done so where state requirements are in effect, and when Rep. Jan Schakowsky asked representatives of Catholic institutions at the hearing if they would close, they affirmed that they would not.

Rep. Gingrey (R-GA), opined: “Imposing the dictates of the state on the will of employers sounds un-American to me.”

And another gem: “Should we force religious employers to violate their consciences? To recognize same-sex marriage? Will we ethically neuter health care professionals?”

To a person, articulate Democrats on the committee–Henry Waxman (D-CA), Frank Pallone (R_NJ), John Dingell (D_MI), Lois Capps (D_CA), Tammy Baldwin (D_WI), Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), Edolphus Towns (D_NY), Eliot Engel (D-NY)–challenged this tripe.

Tammy Baldwin: “This is a war on women.”

Lois Capps: “An employer is not a person. Your boss’ conscience is not your own.”

Witnesses Jon O’Brien of Catholics for Choice and Dr. Steve Hathaway were articulate and brilliant in defending the truth.

But Rep. Tim Murphy, a psychologist in his fifth term in the House, was on fire:

“Conscience is at the core of Catholic teachings… and it is not left up to individuals to decide, thank goodness. Father Anthony Fisher tells us that …there is an objective standard of moral conduct. Vatican II teaches us that the moral character of actions is determined by objective criteria, not merely by the sincerity of intentions or the goodness of motives. It is not, I repeat, it is not our duty as Catholics to tell God what he should do or what image he should adhere to, or what he should think, but it’s up to us to shape our conscience to conform with the teachings he’s given us.

“Conscience, sir,” Murphy continued, “is not convenience.”

“Conscience is formed through prayer, attention to the sacred and adherence to the teachings of the church, and the authority of Christ’s teachings in the church. So asking a group in a survey whether or not they have ever acted or thought of acting in a certain way that runs counter to the Church’s teachings is no more a moral code than asking people if they ever drove over the speed limit as a foundation for eliminating all traffic laws.

 

“I end with a quote from John Adams, in 1776,” said Murphy, “when he was writing our Declaration of Independence of the United States: ‘It is the duty of all men in society, publicly and at stated seasons, to worship the creator and preserver of the universe, and no subject shall be hurt, molested or constrained from worshipping God in the manner most agreeable to the dictates of his own conscience, or for religious profession or sentiments, provided he does not disturb the public peace or obstruct others in their religious worship.’ The foundation of our nation is not to impose laws that restrict a person’s ability to practice their faith, sir.”

Well, actually, Tim: Exactly.

To do something about it click here: http://action.prochoiceamerica.org/site/Advocacy?pagename=homepage&id=5059&s_src=2011_adv_bc4me_whitehouse_web

and here: http://emilyslist.org/20111117_accesspoll/