In his testimony at the February 16th House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform hearing on the contraceptive coverage mandate under health reform, the Most Reverend William E. Lori, the Bishop of Bridgeport and spokesperson for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, defended the claim of “religious freedom” by comparing essential primary health care for women to kosher deli being forced to serve pork. I’ll call it the “ham sandwich defense.” His opening salvo revealed just how shallow the case against insurance coverage for contraception is.
As I have watched national media coverage of this debate, it has been heartbreaking, frankly, to see women’s health treated as a political football. When I turn off the TV and look around my campus, I instead see the faces of the women affected, and I have heard more and more of their stories. I am here to share their voices and ask that you hear them.
Freedom of conscience” is code for “the right to enforce conformity amongst religious women.” Actual freedom is about having a choice. The Church and its supporters want to monopolize freedom and choice for themselves while taking those things away from their employees and congregations.
In 2011, the Department of Health and Human Services examined the issue of just how much it costs insurance companies to cover contraception. Based on data from a wide range of peer-reviewed medical and public health data, the HHS analysis found that it costs more not to provide contraception than it does to provide it. Here’s what the analysis said.
Fighting a non-existent war on religion Senators introduce “Religious Freedom Restoration Act” (RFRA) and consciousness clause amendments. The casualties of this non-existent war could be just about everyone.
A practicing Catholic explains why he skipped a mass that would likely include a bishop’s letter about contraception and a defense of the Catholic Church’s political battle over free birth control, and what his family did instead.
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.