Thursday, April 5, 2012

Reproductive Rights: Part 3

I know there are companies that have a religious affiliation, and that a specific religion may not promote birth control, but not everyone who works for those organizations may be of that same faith or belief, and those people should not be penalized by the company’s primary religious affiliation or beliefs. Nor should an entity that accepts federal or state funding, which is taxpayer money, be allowed to deny those same taxpayers their reproductive rights. If a woman chooses not to utilize birth control, or chooses not to obtain an abortion, or utilize the insurance coverage for the same, that's her prerogative.  If she chooses to practice abstinence, that's also her right, but those rights or religious beliefs are not allowed to preclude or supersede the rights of others. 

Let's be realistic - sex outside the bounds of matrimony and for purposes other than the procreation of children happens every day.  It always has, it always will.  According to the Guttmacher Institute, even 98% of Catholic women utilize birth control at some point in their lives, so birth control is a fact of life and something utilized by almost all women during their reproductive years. 

The Constitution of the United States guarantees freedom of religion by stating in the 1st Amendment, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof” which means that there can be no law passed that prohibits someone from exercising their religious freedom and conversely no law may force someone to be bound by someone else’s religious beliefs.  

Our country’s founders escaped from the common practice of a ruling body legislating religion and penalizing by imprisonment and even death, those who were not of the same mind.  This was one of the foundation principles for the creation of the United States.  This was the reason for the 1st Amendment, a guarantee of the separation of church and state, so that all people would be free to worship or not worship as they choose, perhaps best expressed by Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black who said the function of the Establishment Clause rests upon “the belief that a union of government and religion tends to destroy government and degrade religion."   

Another issue with denying access to birth control is overpopulation. It took the human race 165,000 years to reach a population of 1 billion, 130 years to double to 2 billion, 45 years to double again, and by the end of October 2011, the world population totaled over 7 billion and is increasing by 250,000 per day. The United States has the third largest population count in the world with over 300 million people and is expected to grow to over 450 million by year 2050.  As the population continues to grow, so does poverty, along with the continuing eradication of once plentiful species, and an escalation in the demand for water, land, trees, and fossil fuels.  

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