From Communion to the Courts: Reproductive Health and the Catholic Church

Reproductive health and the Catholic church have been heavily featured in the current news—from the Fulton v. Philadelphia Supreme Court case to the U.S Conference of Catholic Bishops moving to deny President Joe Biden, who is Catholic, the sacrament of communion. Jamie Manson, President of Catholics for Choice, talks to us about these recent instances of the Catholic Church’s reach over sexual and reproductive health and rights.


The Fulton v. Philadelphia Supreme Court case involved Catholic Social Services, a foster care center, which was contracted with the city of Philadelphia. The city upheld non-discrimination laws which prohibiting it from contracting with discriminatory social services agencies. Catholic Social Services expressly stated that they would not engage in any services with same-sex couples or unmarried couples, leading the city of Philadelphia to sever its contract and Catholic Social Services to sue the city under the first amendment. Ultimately, the Supreme Court unanimously ruled in favor of Catholic Social Services in an extremely narrow ruling. 


The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has been in animus with current President Joe Biden’s support of abortion rights and policy, even though President Biden is a devout and practicing Catholic. Since the day his Presidency was called, the bishops have been outspoken against his administration. In November, the bishops established a special committee to explore the confusion that Biden’s status as a pro-choice Catholic president could create within the church. The committee voted to create a document that bans Catholic and pro-choice elected officials from receiving the holy sacrament of communion. The U.S. Conference of Bishops will vote on the passage of this document in November and will need a two-thirds majority vote for success.



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More Information on Fulton v. Philadelphia

How Your Catholic Hospital is Restricting Your Care Podcast Episode


Take Action


Follow Catholics for Choice on Facebook and Twitter here.


You can write to Bishops who have spoken out against the move to restrict communion from pro-choice elected officials. You can also write to President Biden and Catholic Congresspeople and thank them for their support of abortion rights. 


You can also learn more about Catholic hospitals here, and listen to Jamie Manson’s last podcast episode on Reproductive Rights, LGBTQ+ Rights, and the Catholic Church here.

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