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“Well I Never...”: Religious Leaders Who Endorse Contraceptive Coverage

Did you know that there are religious leaders who find no conflict between religion, contraception and a woman's right to choose?

In the upcoming election, contraceptive coverage and our reproductive rights are highlighted as important issues. Debates become polarized and what we choose to do with our bodies seems to be controversial.

While there are many vocal opponents of the mandatory coverage of contraception, there are those whose faith is not in conflict with contraception or abortion. In fact, there are those who are pro-choice because of their faith, not in spite of it. Who are they? The Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice (RCRC).

The RCRC, formally known as the Religious Coalition for Abortion Rights (RCAR) was founded in 1973 to safeguard the once newly won constitutional right to privacy in decisions about abortion.

Today, the Religious Coalition has expanded forming a nationwide community of religious people of all denominations and faith traditions.  While members are religiously and theologically diverse, they are unified in the commitment to achieving reproductive justice. 

The RCRC don’t argue the fact that life is sacred-in fact they feel the same way about it those who are anti choice. The difference is related to how they then go about protecting that sacred life. They believe that sexuality is intertwined with health and wholeness and they work for policies to ensure reproductive health services are available to all, regardless of income.

With regard to the Affordable Care Act, RCRC President and CEO Rev. Harry Knox has praised the new health care provisions as a blessing.

He states “Millions of women will now have access to contraception and other healthcare services that will help them and their families to live a whole, healthy life as God intends.”…                      

 “I believe sexuality is a gift from God. It is a gift that is given to us to use with reverence and responsibility. Our government policies and laws should protect each person’s ability to access and use birth control according to their own conscience and religious beliefs.”                          

These statements reflect the belief that each person has the right to be the moral decision maker for themselves. It entrusts that each individual will use rightful prayer to come to the correct decision about themselves, lives and their souls.

Rabbi Bonnie Margulis, also a member of RCR, states “Women are moral decision makers. They have a conscience, guided by their moral values and the moral teachings that they follow.” 

For many these statements feel relieving. Numerous men and women do believe in God and do use contraception. There are those who have felt deterred to practice their faith because of their congregation’s stance on these issues. But a glance at the list  (as well as the RCRC’s website) of those who firmly believe that religion can be compatible with reproductive choice leaves one with a sense that there is room at the table.

Neither shame nor guilt need be present in the bedroom when these decisions are made.

Fenella Das Gupta is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist ( #47275) working in Northern California,specializing in fertility counseling. She works with individuals and couples as they make their way through the fertility maze.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Fenella Das Gupta PhD Neuroscience, MFT September 22, 2012 at 03:53 AM
Jeanine I think you bring up an important point. The point of this piece is that many ARE unaware of the RCRC community and find it useful to know what they think, as often ( as you suggest) it is drowned out.
Scott Yeager September 22, 2012 at 05:58 AM
The real issue is how so many Christians, who aren't of the evangelical right wing variety, have allowed themselves to be drowned out by the extreme so called "Christians", who seem to this non-Christian to behave very unlike the teachings of Christ. This is about more than just sexuality, contraceptives and abortion. I think you could call them the real silent majority.
Fenella Das Gupta PhD Neuroscience, MFT September 24, 2012 at 01:52 PM
Scott this is the deeper underlying issue that pervades. Thank you for bringing it in to sharper focus. It doe beg the question- what other areas are being drowned out... you have got me curious!
Active Thinker September 24, 2012 at 09:29 PM
Let people be...as long as they are not hurting others...let them be...women can and have choosen their own paths for along time...now we are just saying ok in the public?
Fenella Das Gupta PhD Neuroscience, MFT September 25, 2012 at 04:32 AM
Good point Active Thinker, women can and have chosen their own paths for a long time now! The questions is however, how would public endorsement affect that? Perhaps it would give women a stronger voice? Perhaps then more would chose to run for office! who knows!

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