In his letter to The Island Packet, the Catholic Bishop of Charleston asserted that the ruling of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that almost all employers, including Catholic employers, must include contraceptive coverage in their health plans would compel Catholic employers "either to violate our consciences or drop health coverage for our employees."
The bishop has it exactly wrong.
If contraceptive coverage is provided to employees of Catholic hospitals and colleges, there is no requirement that any employee use contraceptives. Each employee has the religious liberty and obligation to use or not use contraception as her own conscience dictates. The rights of conscience of each individual are preserved.
If contraceptive coverage is denied to these employees, their rights of conscience are violated. Those who are too poor to pay for contraception out of pocket will be compelled to act against their consciences and in accordance with the religious convictions of a small group of elderly male celibates, the Catholic bishops. Polls show that many, both Catholic and non-Catholic, reject these views.
The bishops are not fighting for religious liberty. They are fighting for the right to impose their religious convictions on those of their employees who do not in good conscience accept these convictions. While both sides have a moral foundation upon which to stand, only one side tries to insist that the other live according to its morals.
Hilton Head Island