NFP works. Its effectiveness is statistically equivalent or superior to the pill for couples who use as directed, but without the physiological side effects.
If Heller has a case to argue, she is free to do so, but spare us the gratuitous insults. My wife and I began practicing NFP while I was finishing my Ph.D. Thousands of other couples, Catholic and otherwise, practice NFP with happiness and success, and, believe it or not, we're not fools or part of a cult. Intelligence and natural family planning most definitely coexist in our world.
Christopher C. Roberts, Philadelphia
Church's election-year cause
How ironic that a group of allegedly celibate men, the hierarchy of the Catholic Church, the servants of the people of God, continue to insinuate themselves into the private lives of their communities and employees, invading the relationship among a woman, her conscience, her spouse, and her doctor ("HHS rule 'insulting,'" Sunday). How ironic that they express outrage at President Obama and his administration for trying to provide health-care coverage for all Americans, yet still claim to work for justice.
Where was the outrage when thousands of children were being stripped of innocence while some of these "leaders" looked the other way? Where is the outrage at thousands of children, born into a society that undereducates and neglects them, being left to live a subhuman life and die in misery or in jail?
Given Obama's continued attempts to make things right, it is truly tragic that the Catholic Church has selected this issue as its election-year cause.
E.L. Sheronas, Glenmoore, email@example.com
Withdraw the mandate now
I applaud Archbishop Charles J. Chaput's defense of our religious liberty. The Catholic religion is not the only one threatened by this dictatorial and insulting mandate. Religious freedom was a first concern of the framers of our Constitution. Thus, it is protected by the First Amendment, which this administration has no regard for.
I have lived under many presidents. Never did I think I would see the day in our country when religious liberty was so flagrantly and insultingly attacked by a president.
This insulting mandate should be a loud wakeup call. Every American who cherishes his or her religious beliefs should stand up and protest. A wise president would withdraw it now.
Mike Short, Havertown
Status quo is the outrage
Catholic leaders are outraged over the proposed policy that would require most employer-sponsored health plans to cover essential preventive health care, including birth control. But they can't have it both ways. The church cannot operate institutions that hire staff and serve people of all faiths, receive public funding, and present themselves as entirely mainstream while selectively choosing to impose "Catholic values" on employees, students, or clients.
Why should access to birth control be determined by church teachings that even a majority of Catholics do not follow? When a basic employer benefit excludes the health care that people need most, families are forced to pay out of pocket, or to go without essential care. From my perspective, the status quo is the outrage and the proposed change is a vast improvement.
Suzanne Cohen, Wynnewood
A question of religious freedom
As a practicing Catholic, I am disheartened by how the thrust of the Health and Human Services mandate has been focused on access to contraceptives, not religious freedom. The bishops are correct in voicing their objections and I am pleased to see that they are taking a stand, not just for Catholics but for all whose religious liberty is protected by our Constitution. The issue is not whether Catholic women use contraceptives. This is a matter of the core tenets of the church, and whether the government has a right to infringe on our beliefs.
The ultimate question in my opinion is, Why now? Why a mandate in this case when so many other organizations have been given waivers to the president's health-care law? People already have access to contraceptives.
The solution is simple: Exempt Catholic institutions from the mandate and allow any woman who is employed by these institutions to seek free care at her local Planned Parenthood center. Women who seek employment by these institutions should understand the Catholic positions on birth control before becoming an employee. Read the fine print before you sign anything. Maybe our legislators should have read the health-care bill before they signed it.
Ann Marie Wilber, Wilmington, firstname.lastname@example.org
It's funny. In 1960, conservative Republicans were afraid that if John F. Kennedy were elected president, he would take orders from the Vatican. Now conservative Republicans are condeming President Obama for not taking orders from the Vatican regarding his contraceptive mandate.
Bob Spera, Media
Practicing one's chosen faith
Where faith and morals are involved, human reasoning that is based solely upon contemporary mores is insufficient for personal guidance. While the mandate against the use of contraceptives may seem outdated and punitive, it is based upon the Catholic Church's understanding of what God wants - for he is the author of life and he chooses its timing. It's not necessarily a popular view, but if one wants to practice one's chosen faith, one adheres to the direction given by the experts in such matters, the theologians who diligently glean facts from the tiniest shreds of evidence. In matters of faith, one accepts what one's church teaches.
Lou Ruggeri, Exton, email@example.com
No one is forced to use birth control
Birth control has been part of the medical landscape for decades, yet Archbishop Charles J. Chaput takes the position that all of the thousands of employees, Catholic and non-Catholic, of the far-reaching archdiocese's human and health-care services, be bound by the church's views on birth control. What about the rights of the non-Catholic employees? Does religious freedom mean you are entitled to inflict your religious views on everyone?
No one is forcing anyone to use birth control. Catholics as well as non-Catholics have let their conscience be their guide on this matter and overwhelmingly both groups have embraced this medical maneuver to avoid unwanted pregnancy, which results in fewer abortions. Isn't that what this is all about, rather than the sanctimonius moralizing about the sinful nature of sexual activity outside of procreation?
P. M. Procacci, Moorestown