The White House recently dodged what was a bit of a pickle this past week. The administration's policy decision to mandate that all employers cover contraception in their insurance plans drew quite a bit of controversy from religious institutions and conservatives, who said it violated their first amendment rights.
The Catholic Church is opposed to providing birth control to women despite the fact that research studies show that almost all of Catholic women (98%!) use birth control at some point in their life.
Catholics for Choice President Jon O'Brien told BOR:
“It's a fact that 98% of Catholic women have used a form of birth control banned by the Vatican. They have no religious objection to contraception, and the majority of Catholics support insurance coverage of it regardless of who provides the insurance. Students at Catholic universities deserve the same preventive health coverage as everyone else, and the right to follow their own conscience in deciding whether birth control is right for them. By demanding an expansive and unjustified exemption from providing preventive healthcare for women, the Catholic bishops are claiming that their right to religious freedom trumps everyone else's. That isn't a principle that Catholic universities should be teaching their students.”
In a much more fluid and simple policy maneuver President Obama simply took the burden off the employer and placed it squarely where it should be, on the insurance companies, requiring that they provide comprehensive access to contraceptive coverage. As the article states, “every insurance company will be obligated to provide contraceptive coverage.”
“Under the rule, women will still have access to free preventative care that includes contraceptive services no matter where they work,” he (Obama) said at the White House, adding, “no religious insitution will have to provide these services directly.”
Planned Parenthood touts the decision as a key policy decision aligning with one of their own tenets:
“As a trusted health care provider to one in five women, Planned Parenthood's priority is increasing access to preventive health care. This birth control coverage benefit does just that.”
The Catholic Health Association said the revised policy, “protects the religious liberty and conscience rights of Catholic institutions.”
What a happy Friday for President Obama, it's not everyday you get to please these two seemingly opposing groups, but he did.
A very happy Friday to all my ladies out there. Get that health care.