Many people like to talk about getting the government out of people’s lives because they don’t welcome the intrusion and prefer to live their lives as they see fit. That’s why it seems particularly odd that people would want their church or employer to take an equally intrusive role when trying to dictate what types of medical situations it will or won’t pay for based strictly on the organization’s religious beliefs.
Some religious organizations — though they don’t employ only people of their own faith — oppose their health insurance companies paying for contraceptive care for female employees. That is an odd stance considering how much more it would cost an insurance company to pay for a woman’s pregnancy than it would for contraceptives. Regardless, President Obama proposed an alternative way for women who work for religious or religiously affiliated organizations to receive free contraceptive coverage without their employers having to pay for it.
“The proposal would guarantee free coverage of birth control while respecting religious concerns,” Kathleen Sebelius, secretary of health and human services, said according to media reports.
Some complain the proposal doesn’t protect the religious freedom of those who don’t want access to these services. If they don’t want the services, they shouldn’t use them. They also shouldn’t keep those services from others who want and/or need them and are willing to pay for them via their insurance providers.
The First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution allows for religious freedom, but it certainly doesn’t allow religious institutions to pick and choose what laws they will or won’t adhere to. Still, the Obama administration is working toward finding a compromise with this latest proposal, marking its third such attempt. That ought to be enough. Do the religious institutions want to say that men can’t be sterilized either? What is good for one should be good for both, however, the emphasis in this initiative is forbidding payment for contraceptives for women only. It’s odd logic indeed.
Women should be clear that they want to make their own decisions about contraceptives and be able to have it paid for with their health insurance without their employer weighing in on the decision — even if their workplace is a church or church-affiliated organization.
— Jeanny Sharp, editor and publisher