We are women who support the competing voice offered by religious organizations and individuals about women, sex, marriage and family life. Most of us are religious, but some are not. We are Democrats, Republicans and Independents. Some of us have worked for a religious organization and are proud to have been part of the religious mission of that school, or hospital, or social service organization. We are proud to have been associated not only with the work religious organizations perform in the community – particularly for the most vulnerable — but also with the shared sense of purpose found among colleagues who chose their job because, in a religious institution, a job is always also a vocation.
Those currently invoking “women’s health” or “women’s freedom” in an attempt to shout down anyone who disagrees with forcing religious organizations or individuals to violate deeply held beliefs are more than a little mistaken, and more than a little dishonest. Even setting aside their simplistic equation of “costless” birth control or abortion with “equality,” note that they have never responded to scholarly research indicating that abortion harms women as well as their children, that many forms of contraception have serious side effects, or that some forms act at some times to destroy embryos. They have never responded to research demonstrating that government contraceptive programs change the sex, dating and marriage markets in ways that lead to more empty sex, more non-marital births and more abortions. It is women who suffer disproportionately when these things happen.
No one speaks for all women on these issues. Those who purport to do so are simply attempting to deflect attention from the serious religious liberty issues currently at stake, and from the real diversity of opinions among women. Each of us, religious or not, is proud to stand with religious institutions and individuals, their right to practice their beliefs in the public arena, and their rich, life-affirming teachings on sex, marriage and family life. We will exercise all of our rights as citizens, and use our voices and our intellects to call on our lawmakers, our fellow citizens, and the media to support religious organizations’ and individuals’ rights to continue to witness to their faiths.
DON’T CLAIM TO SPEAK FOR ALL WOMEN
WOMEN SPEAK FOR THEMSELVES
|Helen M. Alvaré JD
Professor of Law
George Mason University (VA)*
|Kim Daniels JD
Thomas More Law Center (MD)
(*Affiliations are listed for identification purposes only. They do not indicate institutional support.)
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