Communications director for state’s bishops traces attempts to impose ‘pro-choice ideology’ to ACLU’s ‘Reproductive Freedom Project’

The following item was posted March 12 on the blog of the California Catholic Conference, the public policy arm of the state’s bishops. It was written by Carol Hogan, the conference’s director of pastoral projects and communications.

In the early 1990s, I was privileged to sit in on a legislative visit to a California Assembly member who was promoting the idea that if Catholic organizations “took” state money, they ought to show obeisance to the state’s reigning ideology. In his argument he made the remark — which has stayed with me all this years — that Catholic hospitals are a $4 billion (at that time) industry in our state, and that he couldn’t regulate them! Catholic hospitals do not provide abortions or contraceptives, which — to one with a “pro-choice” ideology — is anathema. 

A little history is in order. Catholic institutions — such as orphanages, hospitals and schools — predated government-supported health and welfare organizations both nationally and in California. As our population began to change in size, diversity and prosperity, many of our Catholic institutions were asked to continue and/or expand their activities with the assistance of taxpayer money, since funding of an existing organization is more cost-efficient that creating one, Part of those original arrangements contained an “of course” you won’t have to provide any services that you find morally or ethically objectionable. For decades, that arrangement was successful — until the “pro-choice” ideology became regnant.

Twenty years ago, “choice” activists founded the ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project with a goal of imposing their ideology on religious organizations, which had heretofore been exempt from providing certain services. The obvious way to accomplish that goal was to change the actual definition of what was a religious organization, and would therefore qualify for a “conscience clause” exemption. The long-accepted definition of a religious organization was that provided by the IRS. The Project crafted a new description of a religious organization as one which exists to “inculcate the faith,” which employs only “people of the faith,” and serves only “people of the faith.”

Numerous times during the 1990s, “pro-choice” activists sponsored bills that mandated that all insurance policies include coverage for contraceptives, but dropped the bill when the author accepted a “conscience clause” amendment for religious organizations — using the IRS definition. Finally in 1999, the activists were successful in passing a mandate which contained a “refusal clause” — as they rebranded the “conscience clause”– for only those organizations that qualified under the new definition. However, a mandate on a state level is different than a federal mandate. Since 2000, most Catholic organizations impacted by California’s legislation have chosen to self-insure, thus removing themselves from the obligation to cover contraceptives. That option is not available under the current HHS mandate.

It does then — at the end of the day — come down to competing ideologies.

In the case of the “pro-choice” ideologues, reproductive freedom trumps religious freedom and access to reproductive freedom is so important that there can be no barriers of cost or ethical qualms.

In our case, we cannot accept a definition of a religious organization which does not include our Catholic Charities, our Catholic hospitals and our Catholic schools — institutions created to fulfill the charge given by Jesus Christ to serve “the least among us.” We cannot accede to the “pro-choice” ideology.


Posted Wednesday, March 21, 2012 1:21 AM By charlio
Don’t automatically lump Carol Hogan in with Mr. Ned Dolejsi. I was privileged to sit in on a number of diocesan pro life meetings with her. She’s an awesome professional and a priceless asset to the Church.

Posted Wednesday, March 21, 2012 4:41 AM By OSCAR
Read the US Constitution, and then your State Constitution regarding Religious Freedom which can be found on the internet. Research each candidate’s public position on abortion and euthanasia (legalized murder), Obamacare (government controlled life & death health care for all), and Religious Freedom prior to voting for National, State and Local Offices, even Judges that you can vote for. The upcoming elections in 2012 will be absolutely critical. (If you only have two bad candidates – vote for the lessor of the evils.)

Posted Wednesday, March 21, 2012 5:26 AM By Ski Ven
It is not reproductive freedom. It is sexual extremism. It is the kind of extremism that demands that innocent babies be slain on the altar of sexual gratification in an act of worship of dark gods that thirst for blood.

Posted Wednesday, March 21, 2012 6:26 AM By Life Lady
Thank you for the history lesson. It helps to know that the enemy of Christ and His Church will never stop just as knowing that the gates of hell will never prevail against it. Our fight is for hearts and minds. Our goal is to save souls, ours and those who appear lost (ACLU, etc.) My Jesus, Mercy! More than ever the power of prayer at abortion mills and the upcoming Rally for Religious Freedom must be approached with our weapons ready: Holy Mass, Holy Communion with our rosaries firmly in our hands.

Posted Wednesday, March 21, 2012 6:42 AM By JMJ
Of course, the Roman Catholic Church has always been PRO-CHOICE for life and being faithful to God, and never ‘pro-choice’ and being ‘faithful’ to the evil one such as far too many American ‘catholics’ are leaning. How many history books tell of the works of the Catholic Church in the early days of our country and how many people even know when and where the real First Thanksgiving took place? Instead of the truth being taught, they are being taught mostly lies and fabrications. At one time it was the 4 Rs: Religion, ‘Rithmatic, Reading and ‘Righting, and this was in the public schools. Now it is sex, drugs, evolution, global warming, fossil fuels, homosexuality and more sex and being told what to eat. ‘planned parenthood’ is the life blood for Obama and they are giving him many transfusions each and every day. They are the ones that want all Catholic institutions to be shut down, no matter what will happen to the people that are being served and what disasters this will bring down to the economy. +JMJ+

Posted Wednesday, March 21, 2012 7:02 AM By MacDonald
God bless Carol Hogan! Her comments remind me of the novel “LES MISÉRABLES” in which the Bishop turns over his episcopal residence to be used as the hospital, and he moves into a tiny house. The Catholic Church was into helping the sick, the orphaned, the homeless long before the state cared.

Posted Wednesday, March 21, 2012 8:00 AM By JOHN
Nice explanation, Carol Hogan, but actions speak louder than words when the CCC holds hands with the ACLU and the ultra-liberal DEMS who control the legislature. Catholics are always the patsies and will soon be dumped entirely.

Posted Wednesday, March 21, 2012 8:46 AM By Lin
I might remind readers that it is the California Catholic Conference that has gotten into bed with the ACLU in the promotion of the death penalty alternative initiative. The ACLU is notoriously pro-abortion. Notice that I used the term pro-abortion. Carol Hogan cannot bring herself to use that term. Six times in her treatise she uses “choice” or “pro-choice”. When you let the opposition use their terms you show where your philosophy is.

Posted Wednesday, March 21, 2012 10:38 AM By Tee
What would happen if the bishops, the USCCB taught the traditional ends of marriage: first and foremost the procreation and education of children, and the alliance of concupisence as second? Would this classic purpose of marriage put the genie back in the bottle, retectify our Culture of Death? Probably not, but would it foster, support, a remnant where those diligent about saving their eternal souls might find help and solace? In speaking with a couple that had recently attended the two day premarriage preparation conference in the LA Diocese, they said not a word was mentioned about this or natural family planning. Hence, is it any wonder that we are in the moral and social disaster that we are? May God have mercy on us for frustrating His design, and may Our Blessed Mother intercede for us.

Posted Wednesday, March 21, 2012 11:24 AM By Philippe
You’re absolutely right, Ski Ven, the entire assault is solely in aid of sexual freedom, meaning freedom from its consequences, and when that is a new soul in the womb, the “solution” is murder. It spotlights what our Lady of Fatima told the shepherd children; that the great majority of those in hell are there for their sins in sex. In fact, even the driving force of the Protestant revolt was “freedom” to have sex without consequence, whether Luther or Henry, a drive powerful enough to destroy christendom.

Posted Wednesday, March 21, 2012 3:11 PM By k
Tee, the bishops and the USCCB do teach the traditional ends of marriage but the alliance of concupiscence is not one of them. The two ends are the unitive and procreative. It sounds like the LA diocese has some work to do.

Posted Wednesday, March 21, 2012 3:25 PM By JLS
When Martin Luther said salvation is like a snow covered dung heap, I think he was referring to the corrupt Catholic clergy and not the reality of salvation. They might look good but take the mask off and you’ll be seeing Halloween in person.

Posted Wednesday, March 21, 2012 10:39 PM By JLS
Good point, k, about the problem with the complex and confusing pitch by Tee on sex. Experience should tell us all that when someone begins to articulate in great detail and at great length and without making any clear conclusion, that they are prevaricating. Sex is for marriage only, “marriage” meaning “One man and one woman going forth to multiply and raise families”, and what St Paul says, “the spouses should not deny themselves to each other”. Pretty much wraps it up and leaves no loopholes.