Congress answered this with the Equal Pay Act of 1963. Shelters for victims of domestic violence, the majority of which were and still are women, opened up across the country, and more laws protecting victims were enacted.
These changes occurred right around the time women’s reproductive rights came to the forefront of society. In 1960, the FDA approved the drug Enovid as a birth control pill. It was viewed as a symbol of liberation for women, and within five years at least 6.5 million American women were using “the pill.”
In 1960, the national divorce rate was half of what it is today. Also in 1960, the birth rate of unmarried women was around 5 percent. As of 2009, the birth rate for unmarried women was about 41 percent.
Divorce is not the end of the world and neither is birth out of wedlock; there are happily divorced people and perfectly capable single parents all over the country and in wide varieties of circumstances. What is not such a stretch to say, however, is that the prevalence of the pill has contributed to these statistics.
Recently, the Catholic Church has been attacked and disparaged—most notably by our own government— for what some see as antiquated views on birth control. I am Catholic, and my heart aches for Catholic hospitals and charitable organizations that will not be allowed to opt out of the birth control mandate simply because they offer services to significant numbers of non-Catholics.
The president tried to deflect the negative attention this infringement garnered by offering Catholic organizations a compromise. The compromise would have insurers, not employers, provide the coverage. Unfortunately, many Catholic organizations are self-insured, making the compromise meretricious.
Sex with no consequences whatsoever can clear a pathway for the objectification of women, and this plain truth is why the Catholic Church will not cave to popular opinion regarding birth control.
I do not question the use of birth control; it has its merits and I’m in no position to condemn. What troubles me is the government’s coercion of birth control coverage and the charge that my church is “backward” and doesn’t support women.