Supporters of health reform are celebrating today as the Supreme Court voted to uphold the Affordable Care Act by considering the individual mandate as a tax, which people could choose not to pay and incur the penalties. In a split decision, the court did, however, find that states could opt out of Medicaid expansion requirements, a ruling that will have critical implications for millions of low-income women.
Contraception is used by almost every woman at some point. And it’s not just for preventing pregnancy, but for protecting dreams.
Today, the Obama administration stood up for women’s health and announced it would keep in place a proposed rule that ensures that new insurance plans include coverage of contraception.
The President seems unaware of the fact that Catholics who matter have disagreed with the Vatican’s current prohibition on contraception. Catholics, including institutions within the Catholic community, are free to follow their conscience on contraception. It is not up to the Obama administration to decide what action is more “Catholic” on the matter of contraception.
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.
Allowing institutions to deny their employees contraceptive coverage is discrimination, not religious liberty. And what’s more, it’s not good sense. Making women’s health secondary to the bishops’ policy preferences serves no one – except the bishops.
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.
God has apparently told members of Congress it is ok to wage war on women. Well, at least some Congressmen have decided this is the case.
The Bishops are lobbying hard for the Obama Administration to effectively excuse any and all “religious” entities from covering contraceptives without a co-pay. Last week Archbishop Dolan paid a private visit to President Obama and word on the street is that the White House may cave. This would be a grave mistake.
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.