Since the inception of the contraception mandate, the federal government has struggled to paint its position as the only legitimate pro-woman stance and to paint religious Americans as irrational and anti-women ("Don't open Pandora's box," March 24). The 41,000 strong grass roots network of women, Women Speak for Themselves, has continually demonstrated that the government is wrong on both counts by working in local communities and states to educate politicians, the media and the public about women's support for religious freedom and their opposition to the mandate.
In the United States, women practice religion more often than men, and women oppose the mandate in greater numbers than men. Women business owners and charitable service providers are among the leading plaintiffs in lawsuits challenging it.
The Women Speak for Themselves amicus brief in the Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood cases demonstrates that the government in a pluralistic society has no important interest in forcing all businesses to bow to the mandate. It also shows that the government's claimed "pro-woman" rationale — that women are more likely to achieve social and economic equality with men if they enter the public square childless — is a simplistic and demeaning calculation. Instead, the federal government should support equal and even favorable opportunities for mothers.
Ann Boland, Catonsville
The writer is a member of Women Speak for Themselves.
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