www.baltimoresun.com/news/opinion/readersrespond/bs-ed-catholics-contraceptives-20120213,0,5123179.story

baltimoresun.com

Contraceptives rule: A clear affront to the First Amendment

12:00 PM EST, February 13, 2012

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Judging from all the articles in The Sun recently, Sen. Barbara Mikulski, columnist Dan Rodricks and many others are wondering what all the fuss is about regarding the Catholic Church's strong opposition to requiring hospitals and schools to offer health insurance plans that provide contraceptives at no charge. They are missing the point.

The issue is not this particular type ofwomen's healthservices. In fact, as Mr. Rodricks stated correctly, many practicing Catholics disagree with the Church's opinion on birth control. The flash point is the government's intrusion into matters of conscience — a clear affront to the First Amendment, regardless of the particulars involved.

Until now, I have been proud of my government's stance on protecting and extending religious and human rights. This is the first time I have witnessed a reversal and removal of a right — and the first time I actually fear my government for setting such a precedent.

I know I'm not alone. Surely the Church and the administration can reach a reasonable compromise.

I have voted Democratic most of my life, sensing it to be the "party of protection." But this is a game-changer. Much as I abhor the thought of a Romney White House, many people like me would consider that now.

Clark Brill