William Ellery Channing’s Slavery Lays out Every Woman’s Right to Contraceptives

It is unfathomable to me that social conservatives have been able to brainwash the nation that if they are employers, they have a right to withhold family planning medical insurance from those in their employ. This exercise of raw power they wrap in the flag of religious conscience. 

It is not my place to challenge the sincerity of their convictions — although the selectivity does gall me (where, for instance, is their concern for the environment, given that God calls on us, in Genesis, to be stewards of the earth). Instead, let me spotlight the words of one of the founders of my faith community in this country, William Ellery Channing, in his discussion of the evils of slavery, when he says that one of the chief evils of slavery is its violation of the sacred bonds of family life. Writing in the male-centered perspective of his era, Dr. Channing wrote:

His children belong to another, are provided for by another, are disposed of by another… His wife and daughter he cannot shield from insult.”

Slaveowners often rebutted such charges with the answer that they had the slaves’ best interests at heart. Dr. Channing responds, quite simply, that no one’s heart belongs to another.

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