Over 1,000 diverse religious leaders have come together in support of birth control. An open letter, supporting family planning access for all women, was published by the Religious Institute on February 5. The letter was signed by religious leaders representing 35 different religious denominations.
The “Open Letter to Religious Leaders on Family Planning” is a plea urging all religious leaders to unite in the effort to provide women with access to birth control. The letter encourages religious leaders to seek information for themselves and provide it to those in need. It encourages them to embrace education, compassion, and research in an effort to support their members in family planning decisions.
The letter, posted on religiousinstitute.org, further encourages religious leaders of all denominations to unite in support of legislation that will provide all women with access to birth control.
The 1000 religious leaders who signed the letter come from very diverse backgrounds. Traditional and moral values were not left out of the equation. In a section titled “Sacred Texts And Traditions,” the letter addresses the controversial issue:
“Scriptural stories honor and welcome diverse families, the care of children, and moral and just decision-making. The scriptural mandate to care for the most marginalized and the most vulnerable calls us to assure access to contraception for all people. The longstanding religious commitment to social and economic justice requires a commitment to reproductive justice.”
“The commandment to ‘be fruitful and multiply’ is not exclusive to procreation, but also calls individuals to co-create a world characterized by justice and inclusion. Our traditions affirm children as a blessing, not a requirement or an entitlement.”
Religious leaders representing Muslim, Roman Catholic, Jewish, Protestant, Baptist, and dozens of other denominations have put their differences aside to work toward the common goal of women’s health. The unity demonstrated by the open letter is certainly historic, however there are many religious leaders fighting against birth-control measures. Most recently, those included in the health care reform law.
As reported by Modernhealthcare.com, The US Conference of Catholic Bishops, for instance, is strongly opposed to the legislation. Specifically, they contend that mandatory birth-control mandates should exclude all religious institutions. Although the legislation does offer an exemption for “religious” employers, opponents feel that the definition is too narrow.
The issue will certainly remain controversial. However, there are apparently many religious leaders, from very diverse backgrounds, that have decided to put their differences aside and unite in support of birth control.