Freedom of Conscience is Freedom of Choice: Women’s Reproductive Needs, Rights, and their Therapeutic Implications


Using reasonableness, we examine the U.S. Catholic bishops’ opposition to provisions of the Affordable Care Act of 2010. Weaving contributions from theology, philosophy, and jurisprudence, we emphasize the reasonable importance of mental health therapy for women within a relevant Catholic/Christian dialogue, particularly in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision on healthcare. We principally identify socially imbedded factors that contribute to ending unwanted pregnancies, and argue that freedom of conscience is indeed freedom of choice within which women’s reproductive needs lie under protections of the U.S. Constitution. We recognize that Catholic tradition originates in the words and behaviors of Jesus. Examining closely these actions toward women, we find no reasonable justification for the bishops’ position against women’s freedom of conscience. We also discovered that revelation does not belong exclusively to the bishops; truth continues to be revealed to all human consciences, and true freedom does not allow for coercion/castigation of dogmatic import. We advocate for women’s ability to openly discuss their struggles to meet their reproductive condundra and to deconstruct their sexual stereotypes in mental health therapy. We provide crucial recommendations to augment choices for women’s reproduction condundra, and incite the need for new epistemic frameworks to address the complexity of female sexuality.

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Del Rio, C. (2012). Freedom of Conscience is Freedom of Choice: Women’s Reproductive Needs, Rights, and their Therapeutic Implications. Advances in Applied Sociology, 2, 214-222. doi: 10.4236/aasoci.2012.23028.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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