Soon after President Trump issued his executive order on “Promoting Free Speech and Religious Liberty,” which includes potential “conscience protections” for those with religious objections to certain health insurance mandates, Planned Parenthood issued a press release noting that some “faith leaders” condemnedthe executive ordersFaith leaders who belong to Planned Parenthood’s own “Clergy Advisory Board (CAB),” that is
These leaders fear that Trump’s order will lead to “employers, schools, and other entities [refusing] to cover women’s preventive health services, including birth control, in their insurance plans on the basis of religious or moral objection. The irony of citing religious freedom as a reason to prevent employers from choosing the type of insurance coverage they want to offer to employees is lost on the Clergy Advisory Board:
This country has a long and vital tradition of religious freedom that protects personal beliefs without allowing the imposition of harms on others. Yet, this executive order signals that the administration wants to give employers the right to disregard their employees’ own personal beliefs and invade their privacy. It is unacceptable to point to “religious liberty” as an excuse to limit women’s access to health care.
The CAB does not object, however, to citing morality and even theology as a reason to compel employers to disregard their own personal beliefs and invade their privacy by forcing them to cover that to which Planned Parenthood believes all women are entitled. Under the heading “Background on the Planned Parenthood Federation of America Clergy Advocacy Board,” Planned Parent says the CAB consists of “dedicated clergy and faith leaders from different denominations and communities throughout the U.S. [who] lead a national effort to increase public awareness of the theological and moral basis for advocating reproductive health.” [emphasis added]
And the CAB is not simply referring to birth control mandates alone as morally and theologically correct. The Planned Parenthood website also hosts a CAB document titled “Pastoral Letter to Patients” justifying abortion:
Many people wrongly assume that all religious leaders disapprove of abortion. The truth is that abortion is not even mentioned in the Scriptures—Jewish or Christian—and there are clergy and people of faith from all denominations who support women making this complex decision. The beliefs of each person are deserving of respect, and each person deserves care and compassion. No one should be allowed to force their faith teachings on anyone else.
Apparently these faith leaders do not believe that health care employer mandates allow employees (with the help of the government) to “force their faith teachings” on employers.
Planned Parenthood does not only count on the CAB alone to promulgate its theology of reproduction and abortion. As part of the organization’s centennial celebration, Planned Parenthood encourages supporters to enlist clergy to sing PP’s praises to their congregations. Literature promoting the group’s 100 Years Strong campaign goes so far as to suggest that clergy be recruited to “perform a public blessing of your local health center” and even “lead a Sermon in their congregations around the Centennial anniversary.”
While on one hand Planned Parenthood continues to batter the “anti-choice” with accusations of imposing religious and outdated moral codes on everyone, the organization is not shy about enlisting clergy and even theology to make its own case for personal choice.
While giving a nod to the truth that “religious traditions have somewhat different opinions about abortion,” the aforementioned CAB’s pastoral letter reassures those considering abortion that “[n]o one knows the circumstances of your life as well as you know them; no one knows what’s in your heart better than you. Allow yourself to be at peace with your decision. God loves you and is with you no matter what you decide.” Unless, of course, employers want to decide what kind of health coverage to offer their employees.
This post originally appeared on Weekly Standard