I continue to be amazed that in the year 2013 our nation continues to grapple with the issue of access to contraceptives, a matter most advanced nations laid to rest long ago. On Friday, the Obama administration made another attempt to address the concerns of conservative religious employers who say they don’t want to provide birth control for employees. Once again, it’s not going well. A little history:
When the Affordable Care Act was passed, it contained provisions allowing the administration to issue regulations concerning what type of health care coverage employers would be required to offer. Contraceptives are included in the baseline care package because so many Americans use birth control, and it plays an important role in preventative care. (Plus, it has medicinal uses.)
Under the original proposal, houses of worship were exempt from the requirement to include birth control coverage.
But religiously affiliated nonprofits such as colleges and hospitals – that hire people of many faiths, serve the general public and often are government-subsidized – were required to provide insurance plans that included contraception. Businesses and other for-profit enterprises were required to do as well.
The Catholic bishops and the Religious Right responded to this arrangement by filing a slew of lawsuits.
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