Instead, they concoct far-fetched claims that birth control is part of a culture of death that leads to the "hypersexualization" of youth and the destruction of human society. The intensity of their lobbying and their high-powered legal teams, supported by well-oiled groups like the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, not only led to success in the courts, but also built up enormous political capital that paid off with the election of Donald Trump, who fulfilled his promise to extreme religious leaders by signing an executive order that allows any employer, religious or secular, to opt out of the contraceptive benefit on the basis of any vague moral objection.
That benefit allowed 55 million women access to contraception at no cost.
It's a strange church that would see the anniversary of its ban on contraceptives as a cause for celebration.
But in perhaps one of the more curious displays of Catholic exceptionalism, Catholic institutions and organizations around the world are presenting Masses, symposiums, documentary films and other kinds of jamborees to fete the 50 years that have passed since the publication of , it often seems, can be categorized in two extremes: the natural family planning fanatics who extol the document as prophetic and courageous; and the vast majority of lay Catholics who have rejected the teaching, finding it so unreasonable that it isn't worth another thought.
An estimated 25 percent of health care facilities in developing countries are operated by Catholic institutions, making the church the world's largest non-governmental provider of health care services.
Even in the United States, one out of six hospital beds is in a Catholic facility.
For heterosexual men in seminary, a woman was seen as a temptation, and her sexuality something to be regarded with fear or loathing, since it could lead to a fall from grace.
Gay seminarians, on the other hand, likely had little interest in female sexuality at all.
But priests and bishops cannot possibly be so isolated from human experience that they do not understand the necessity of using birth control to maintain a manageable family size.
There is something bizarre and unseemly about a group of celibate men who have such a preoccupation with controlling women's fertility.