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Tyranny under the guise of religious freedom

John Garvey believes that "in a liberal democratic society, we must also respect the freedom of religion" when he advocates the Catholic church's position that it's right to mask the fact that some pro-life pregnancy resource centers will not provide birth control planning and abortions ("Protect religious liberty," Dec. 8). He also thinks pharmacists should be able to refuse to sell legal contraceptive products if it's against their conscience.

That is not freedom of religion; that is tyranny of religion.

Imagine a young woman, a victim of rape or incest, who gets up the courage to find out where to go to end an unwanted and unsupportable pregnancy, walks thankfully inside a family planning center, and is subjected to pictures of fetuses along with the news that she's out of luck and will have to go elsewhere. Perhaps she then goes to a pharmacy for a morning-after pill and is refused again. Perhaps she then goes to a back-alley place and dies there; or goes through a pregnancy and brings into the world a child that reminds her of her horrible trauma, a child she has no way to support.

That's hardly freedom. That's tyranny.

Let these centers be honest enough to post a sign on their doors about what they will and won't provide. Let these pharmacists work only at Catholic hospitals if their views are that strong. Don't try to foist the Catholic church's antiquated dictates upon those who need understanding and comfort in a time of great distress.

I'll be more inclined to believe in Mr. Garvey's "freedom of religion" when it extends to helping out those truly in need or to promising to bankroll the costs of raising the unwanted children that it refuses to prevent.

Judy Chernak, Pikesville

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