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?
The Department of Health and Human Services has adopted guidelines for insurance coverage on women’s preventive health services that include all the recommendations recently made by the Institute of Medicine and require new health insurance plans to cover women’s preventive services such as well-woman visits, breastfeeding support, domestic violence screening, and contraception without charging a co-payment, co-insurance or a deductible.
As more states debate legislation to protect pharmacists who refuse to fill prescriptions on “moral” grounds, many consumers may face debates, forced public disclosures or delay at the pharmacy counter.
Human rights advocates stated that a pledge signed last Friday by religious leaders that they won’t abide by laws supporting gay marriage or abortion “perpetuates the fallacy that equality and religious liberty are incompatible and that civil rights are another burden on religious people.”
Democratic policymakers vowing to overturn a controversial new Bush administration rule that could limit women’s reproductive health options have several tools at their disposal to do so -– but party leaders aren’t revealing which they favor.
President Bush’s provider conscience expansion is set to go into effect January 18, but the National Family Planning and Reproductive Health Association has launched a petition to block the new regulation.
The right of conscience is a time-honored value in our society. But it is not only health providers who have rights; so do patients.