contraception

Of all the contraceptive mandate stories out there, very few quoted religious folks

Of all the contraceptive mandate stories out there, very few quoted religious folks

Trying to dissect the Donald Trump Administration’s decision to religiously minded employers to cut birth control from their health plans is like tackling an elephant. But one has to start somewhere.

Just for review, we have covered this topic before here, here and here

As I scanned various articles on the topic, I noticed how few articles explained why some people and employers have religious objections to contraceptives. Do those in the media think we know these reasons already, so it’s no using re-explaining them? In other words, how do you understand this story without talking to people in the faith-based schools and ministries that are at the heart of the decision?

The most cogent piece was from the Atlantic:

Faced with setbacks on the legislative front, the Trump administration is going it alone on taking apart the Affordable Care Act piecemeal.
On Friday, the administration made one of its boldest moves yet, with two memos from multiple agencies that would dramatically curtail women’s access to birth control through their employers. The new regulations, effective immediately, would exempt all employers and insurers from covering or paying for coverage of contraceptives if they object “based on its sincerely held religious beliefs,” or have other “moral convictions” against covering such care.

 Mind you, this is not all employers, but it is those who have religious objections to it contraceptives being included in their employee health coverage. We’re talking about 71 companies here, according to Mother Jones.

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And now, the real pope news: Francis ties media in knots with contraception/Zika remarks

And now, the real pope news: Francis ties media in knots with contraception/Zika remarks

If you didn’t hear all the excitement about Pope Francis seeming to bless contraception during his hour-long presser on the flight back to Rome, you were apparently on another planet because lots of folks were writing about it (just not on A1).

It seems that the pope also said something about Donald Trump. As one Catholic-media professional said, in an email to GetReligion:

Pope Francis signals openness to birth control for Zika virus is the big story, not the Trump thing. The possibility of changing that doctrine because of a mosquito is huge news, far more important than a spat with a multi-billionaire. ... So once again, we see that for the secular media in the U.S., it's all about politics.

So back to the real news. On the plane back to Rome after his Mexico-Cuba trip, Francis let loose once again. Veteran Whispers in the Loggia blogger Rocco Palmo rightly called it an hour-long 12-question extravaganza.

The pope's thoughts on the Zika virus and contraception were among them, albeit they were worked in such a way that it was hard to be sure exactly what he was approving. It takes a theologian to slice and dice the pope’s remarks during a flight, when it’s tough to get reaction from church officials or moral theologians thousands of miles away.

Lengthy airplane pressers are a recent invention in papal history and they have resulted in some of a pope’s most memorable phrases. Francis’ famous “who am I to judge?” quote came during a press conference on the press plane returning to Italy from Brazil in 2013. Most popes are quite tired on the flight home and sometimes let loose some zingers.

So now -- is Francis OK with using birth control in the hard cases or not?

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Beyond immigration: Story on Chicago's new archbishop veers into abortion, same-sex marriage and contraception

Beyond immigration: Story on Chicago's new archbishop veers into abortion, same-sex marriage and contraception

While working on a story on Christians and immigration a few years ago, I witnessed a mother's tearful farewell to her son, who was being deported.

CHICAGO — On a dark street, a mother weeps. 
At 4:45 a.m., she stands outside a two-story brick building surrounded by razor wire, her sobs drowning out the drum of machinery at a nearby factory. 
The Spanish-speaking woman just said goodbye — through a glass panel at a federal deportation center west of Chicago — to her son Miguel, an illegal immigrant from Mexico. 

Recalling that emotional scene, my interest was piqued by a front-page Chicago Tribune story on Roman Catholic Archbishop-Designate Blase Cupich making immigration reform a top priority.

The top of the Tribune's meaty, 1,300-word report:

Immigrant rights activists are hailing Chicago's next Roman Catholic archbishop, hoping that Blase Cupich's outspoken advocacy for their cause translates to meaningful changes to local and state laws that would make Illinois the friendliest state for immigrants.
"It's always very encouraging to hear your faith leader calling on what you believe is a human rights issue," said Erendira Rendon, a lead organizer for the Resurrection Project, a Pilsen-based community development organization. "We've been grateful for Cardinal (Francis) George's support of immigration reform, but it's exciting to see the new archbishop is going to make it a priority."

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