The administration’s accommodation should lay to rest arguments that religious liberty is under attack in this country. But it probably won’t.
An employee at a religiously-affiliated nonprofit writes about the challenges of getting her workplace to cover contraception to treat conditions like polycystic fibrosis and dysmenorrhea.
UPDATED: Today, the White House did the right thing by women and for public health and human rights. Despite deep concerns the White House has decided on a plan that will enable women to get contraceptive coverage directly through their insurance plans.
This morning, news reports indicate an announcement may be imminent from President Obama on a “compromise” on the birth control mandate. To recap, the mandate requires that all employer-based health insurance offer coverage without a co-pay of all FDA-approved contraceptive methods.
As a graduate of Georgetown University and advocate for women, I write to express my horror with the actions of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops on the matter of contraceptive coverage and to ask you directly to initiate a conversation within the Georgetown community, as well as with the bishops who claim to speak on the behalf of women students, employees and our dependents.
Those of us who revere the constitution and the individual right to exercise freedom of religion enabled by the separation of church and state must stop the mass media procession that is now engaged in a responsive reading from the archbishop’s hymnal. These sounds you hear are not the chimes of freedom.
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.