Religious freedom? Who’s zoomin’ who? As I noted in a piece published last night and now confirmed by further comments from representatives of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, the far right uterine police are aiming to exclude everyone from contraceptive coverage, not just religious institutions.
This week, on MSNBC’s Morning Joe, Obama campaign senior advisor David Axelrod signaled that the White House, having finally decided to include coverage of birth control as part of primary health care benefits under health reform after studying it for well over a year, is now “willing to compromise.” Many of my colleagues disagree with my take on the situation, but I am worried that in the end the White House may not hold firm.
It seems that no reproductive justice victory can stand free of assault by the anti-choice set. On Monday, January 30, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla) introduced legislation that would overturn the Department of Health and Human Services mandate requiring religiously-affiliated organizations to provide free birth control with their employee health plan packages.
Although Georgetown’s student health insurance doesn’t cover contraception, it does cover birth control pills when they’re prescribed for medical reasons other than preventing pregnancy. But barriers to access illustrate the consequences for women’s health when university administrators dictate which reasons for a birth control prescription are the “right” reasons.
Medical practitioners get more leeway to do what they think is best, while women get less.
The Obama Administration has made a final decision on contraceptive coverage under health reform, ensuring that virtually all women with health insurance will now have access to the full range of preventive services originally recommended by the Institute of Medicine (IOM), including all FDA-approved forms of contraception.
When she was Governor of Kansas, Kathleen Sebelius was a backstop for the pro-choice community on many anti-choice bills. However, she was also known to play a little politics with women’s health. Let’s hope that she doesn’t choose this issue to toss to the rabid dog Bishops as some kind of “pro-life” contraceptive Scooby Snack.
Jed Lewison, writing at Daily Kos, nails it when he underscores what’s wrong with the reasons the White House is now giving as it considers caving to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops on coverage of birth control. The President and the White House staff, it seems, just do not get it.
Let’s let the Bishops sleep by themselves and keep them out of everyone’s bedrooms, from the President and First Lady on down. President Obama: Make sure that all women have the same access to birth control without a co-pay that you, your staff, members of Congress and others will enjoy.
There is another 99 percent group in our country, distinct from but inextricably entwined with the now more familiar #99Percent. I refer to the 99 percent of American women who have ever had sexual intercourse and have used a birth control method at least some of the time.