It’s About Religious Freedom

Little Sisters of the Poor

On Monday night our PBS station aired a documentary about Pope John Paul II. As I watched I was remembering the discussions that I had with my daughter about the Theology of the Body (writings by Pope John Paul II).

Julia was attending Marquette University and was introduced to the Theology of the Body, God’s design for male and female, for marriage and sexuality. She brought home some tapes for me to hear, and we talked about them.

I am not Catholic, but this teaching on sexuality makes sense to me. I have great respect for the Catholic position on life. I understand the position of the Catholic Church, opposing contraception and drugs that cause early abortions. As a nurse I have concerns about the        effects of hormonal drugs on longterm health.

So when the Little Sisters of the Poor refuse to be providers of         contraception, I am with them. This is the teaching of their church. They have a right to live out their faith.

My own right of conscience was tested during my first year of nursing practice. I was working in a large city hospital, affiliated with a        university. I was shocked when I realized that an abortion was taking place in our labor/delivery unit—a saline induction. I could not participate. That night I wrote a letter stating my conscience objection to abortion, gave it to my manager and it was kept in my file.   I was     never called to assist with an abortion.

Later I would choose to work at Catholic or Lutheran Hospitals.

In the United States the first amendment guarantees the freedom of   religion—the right to live according to one’s faith. The Little Sisters of the Poor are living out their faith as they minister to the elderly.

Can the government force the Little Sisters to provide free contraception in the health insurance they give their employees? The mandate goes against their faith. The Supreme Court is hearing arguments on this case today. I am praying for the right of conscience to be upheld.

If SCOTUS rules against them the Little Sisters will be heavily fined and may be forced to discontinue their work.

The Little Sisters minister at St. Joseph’s Home for the Elderly in my community. I am participating in a day of prayer and service as a sign of support. Let them serve.

Women Speak for Themselves
www.womenspeakforthemselves.com

Addendum: A good sized crowd gathered in front of St. Joseph’s Home for the Elderly in Palatine. We were positioned along Northwest Highway and were encouraged by cars and trucks honking as they saw the signs. We received many waves of approval.

Little Sisters of the Poor

Little Sisters of the Poor

Maria Goldstein led in prayer and Bible reading. We sang the servant song together.

What do you want of me, Lord
Where do you want me to serve you?
Where can I sing your praises?
I am your song.

Refrain: Jesus, Jesus, you are the Lord.
Jesus, Jesus, you are the way.

You are the light in my darkness.
You are my strength when I’m weary.
You give me sight when I’m blinded.
Come see for me.

I am your song and servant,
Singing your praise like Mary.
Surrendered to your Spirit,
“Let it be done to me.”

Palatine_5272

We prayed for the protection of conscience rights:

Father, we praise you and thank you
For your most precious gift of human life
And human freedom.
Touch the hearts of our law makers
with wisdom and courage to uphold conscience rights
and religious liberty for all.
Protect all people from being forced to
Violate their moral and religious convictions.
In your goodness, guard our freedom
to live out our faith and
to follow you in all that we do.
Give us strength to be bold and joyful witnesses.
We ask this through Christ, our Lord. Amen.

Linking with Thought Provoking Thursday,   Whole Hearted     Wednesday,  A Little R & R

4 Reasons to be Concerned About the HHS Mandate

HHS Mandate and Little Sisters of the Poor

On March 23rd the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments regarding the HHS Mandate and the Little Sisters of the Poor.    The federal     government is arguing that the Little Sisters must comply with this mandate in the health insurance that they provide for the people they employ. It is important to understand the far-reaching effects of the mandate.  According to the site, ObamacareFacts.com, the Health and Human Services Mandate is this:

HHS issued guidance to clarify the requirement that insurers cover at least one form of each of the 18 FDA approved contraception (birth control) methods. This comes on the back of recent studies that showed that insurers were not covering certain birth control types or charging cost sharing for birth control of a certain category.

The guidance also makes it clear that:

  • Grandfathered plans (plans that started before March 23rd, 2010) are exempt from the rule.
  • Insurers cannot limit preventive services for transgender people based on their sex assigned at birth.

 Birth control methods include morning-after pills and IUDs despite their being looked down upon by some religious and conservative groups for being “abortifacients,” meaning they cause abortion.

Although these methods have risk factors, side effects and some cause abortion they are mandated to be included in health care. One of the devastating risk factors for hormonal birth control is that these pills (or the NuvaRing) can cause blood clots. Women have died as a result of blood clots traveling to the lungs or brain.

Pills readily available to teens and young women pose another threat. Young women who have been taking hormonal birth control for a    period of four years prior to having a full term pregnancy have a higher rate of breast cancer. More information is available at http://www.bcpinstitute.org

Young women who are sexually active, thinking that they are protected from pregnancy by taking contraceptives, are opening themselves up to sexually transmitted diseases including HPV. The HPV infection can lead to cervical cancer (increased risk if a woman has been taking birth control pills for more than 5 years) And so the CDC recommends that all young women get the HPV vaccine which has caused major health issues for some girls. See the warning issued by the American College of Pediatricians here.

Here are four reasons why the HHS mandate is bad for women and why it violates religious liberty.

  1. The medical guidance promoted by the  HHS Mandate  does not      promote health.  The recommendations offer short-term treatment for sexual intimacy, without considering side effects and long-term health.
  2. Girls, who have decided to abstain from sexual relations until        marriage, do not need to get the risky HPV vaccine that is becoming a recommendation for all teenage girls.  A one size fits all health policy that assumes multiple sexual partners is a disadvantage for girls that are making healthy choices and a bandaid for girls that don’t.
  3. Interventions like hormonal birth control and the HPV vaccine are likely to have more of an impact on the health of women who have poor nutrition and underlying health issues. We should be concerned with improving baseline health.
  4. The Little Sisters of the Poor should not be forced to include the 18 forms of birth control in the health insurance that they provide for employees in the elder care homes.  The Catholic Church’s teaching on human sexuality is opposed to contraceptives, always has been. The Little Sisters have the right to live according to conscience in harmony with their faith.
Women are speaking up for their health and   religious freedom at this site.
Women Speak for Themselves
www.womenspeakforthemselves.com

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Linking with 10 on Tuesday,  the Art of Homemaking,  Friendship FridayA Little R & R, Whole Hearted Wednesday,  So Much at Home and Titus 2sday.