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.
Two midwives in Glasgow claim being asked even to delegate duties to other practitioners constitutes “assisting” in an abortion.
Until a change of course is demanded in the state of Kansas, our elected oppressors will no doubt continue to spend their time, energy, resources and taxpayer money in the never-ending pursuit of being the first state to eliminate abortion and even some forms of contraception through the eradication of access, while saddling the taxpayers with an ideological debt.
As a result of the twelve nurses who refuse to provide any sort of service to patients obtaining abortions, the medical center will need to hire additional staff.
A broad religious exemption for contraceptive coverage would go too far, depriving millions of women of an important health benefit. Instead of expanding exemptions, we should be expanding access to affordable care.
The fight over whether or not nurses were forced to participate in abortions against their will may mostly be a matter of semantics.
I firmly believe the requirements under the Affordable Care Act, and the slate of regulations being created to implement it, infringe on no one’s conscience, demand no one change her or his religious beliefs, discriminate against no man or woman, put no additional economic burden on the poor, interfere with no one’s medical decisions, compromise no one’s health — that is, if you consider the law without refusal clauses.
The Department of Health and Human Services has included contraceptive coverage as essential preventive care under the Affordable Care Act, while exempting organizations with an explicit religious mission from having to comply. For some, this exemption does not go far enough. But how far can religious right organizations go in denying their employees access to essential preventive care?