Birth Control Debate Touches on Religious Freedom

July 7, 2008 - 7:02 PM

( - The Washington DC City Council Tuesday passed a bill requiring all health insurers in the city that offer prescription drug plans to pay for contraceptives, a move vehemently opposed by local Catholic churches.

The also Council rejected a so-called "conscience clause" that would exempt Catholic institutions - Georgetown University, for example - from covering prescribed contraceptives.

DC Council member Jim Graham, a homosexual who admits he's "spent years fighting church dogma," adamantly refused to bow to the church on public health matters, and it appeared his motivation may have been personal.

At Tuesday's meeting, Graham held up newspaper clippings describing Pope John Paul II's recent denunciation of homosexuality. "I think it's a sad day for religious liberty in our city," said Auxiliary Bishop William Lori in published reports following the vote. "It seems we ought to be allowed to be genuinely Catholic institutions."

Even if the DC mayor signs the bill, Congress must approve it before it takes effect.