The Obama administration’s decision to protect access to affordable birth control for millions of women has garnered praise in editorials and op-eds across the country.
They highlight that this is a commonsense health policy that underscores the fact that birth control is basic health care.
Birth control use is nearly universal in the United States, even among Catholic women. According to the Guttmacher Institute, 99 percent of all sexually experienced women and 98 percent of sexually experienced Catholic women will have used birth control at some point in their lives.
It is important to note that the birth control coverage benefit is one of the most popular provisions in the Affordable Care Act, even among Catholics, whose bishops oppose birth control.
According to a Hart Research poll, 71 percent of American voters, including 77 percent of Catholic women voters, support the benefit that health plans cover prescription birth control at no cost.
Roundup of Editorials and Op-Eds in Support of Obama Administration Decision on Birth Control Coverage:
Minneapolis Star Tribune editorial: “Right decision on birth control”
“The Obama administration has reached a sensible but controversial decision on health insurance coverage for contraceptives. In general, an employer's religious beliefs should not dictate the type of drugs or medical procedures covered by their employees' health insurance plans….
“Lost in all the heated rhetoric over this milestone public health measure are several important points. This policy does not require anyone to use birth control. In addition, courts have already rejected claims by Catholic organizations that requiring contraceptive coverage in employee health plans violates their religious freedom….
Religious freedom is one of this nation's most cherished values. The Obama administration's birth control ruling carefully balanced respect for this tradition with concern for equity and public health.”
New York Times editorial: “Birth Control and Reproductive Rights”
“It was good news that the Obama administration withstood pressure from Roman Catholic bishops and social conservatives to deny contraceptive coverage for millions of American women who work for religiously affiliated employers….
“The requirement, announced last August, contains an exemption for employees of churches and other houses of worship. But it properly covers employees of hospitals, universities, charitable groups and other entities that are associated with religious organizations but serve the general public and employ people of different faiths….
“The administration’s commitment to affordable birth control is welcome at a moment when women’s access to reproductive health care, including contraceptives, cancer screenings and abortion services, is under assault in the courts, state legislatures and Congress, as well as on the Republican campaign trail.”
New York Times/The Loyal Opposition blog: “A War on Religion?”
“….Mr. Gingrich reached deep into his bag of bizarre accusations and pulled out the anti-religious card. He started by condemning as an ‘attack on religion’ President Obama’s requirement that most health plans cover contraception, including those of large religious employers like Catholic hospitals and universities....
“These charges, like flash grenades that do no real damage, are designed simply to alarm listeners and rile crowds. Neither Mr. Romney nor Mr. Obama have anti-Catholic or anti-Jewish agendas. No employee of a Catholic institution who objects to birth control will be forced to use it, but neither can the church impose its doctrine on non-believers who just happen to collect its paychecks.”
Iowa State Daily: “New insurance requirements benefit women”
“….These groups fail to receive the same exemption as churches because of the secular nature of their organizations. Church-affiliated hospitals have a secular purpose — caring for the ill and preventing sickness. Religious universities have a secular goal of providing adults with a higher education. Groups dedicated to performing social services provide an ultimately secular task.
“Because these groups are often only affiliated with a particular religion or denomination and perform underlying secular tasks, they will draw in employees from all sorts of religious backgrounds, not just their own. A nurse or doctor may find him- or herself working at a Catholic hospital because it's a good job, not because they agree with the theology. A professor may receive an enticing offer from a private religious university, despite their different personal views.
“This differentiation between religious groups as secular-serving employers and religious groups operating for purely religious purposes allows a balance between providing important contraceptive services (along with other important health services) to workers and the freedom of religious entities....
“It's clear that when it comes to reproductive choices in America, women of all races, religions and socioeconomic levels have utilized some form of contraception. This change in insurance plans will open up the option for many women to pursue more effective forms of birth control previously out of reach to them or to simply be able to afford birth control. It's a valuable service that allows women greater control over their own reproductive futures, rather than having to worry about paying extra each month for their next prescription and is rightly recognized as a victory for women.”
Esquire: “The Sex-Blind Delusions Of A Contraception Fight”
“….Contraception shouldn't be covered in the new health-care law simply to protect women's rights or reduce abortions. You have to have gone completely sex-blind to make that argument. Contraception should be covered under the new health-care law because contraception is a health-care issue for women. Full stop.
“Women even use contraceptive pills for reasons other than avoiding conception, or because they want to have sex without Ross Douthat's permission, or because they're too dim to know better and need the strong guidance of people like Dan Newberry, man with a penis. And, in any case, it's their business, not ours. You simply cannot make the arguments that Douthat and Dionne are making and then claim that you are not placing American women in a different category under the law, and that the category is by definition a subordinate one.”
The Progress (NJ) editorial: “Obama is right on birth control issue”
“President Obama’s decision on Jan. 20 to require that insurance providers cover birth control as a preventive health service is great news on several fronts…. The president‘s decision respects the rights of women. Birth control is critical for women’s health and for cutting unwanted pregnancies. Among other things, birth control can protect women against endometriosis and can reduce the risk of ovarian cancer.”
Huffington Post: “President Obama's Pro-Choice Birth Control Decision Draws Praise From Religious Leaders”
“A group of religious organizations Monday thanked President Obama for his administration's recent decision on contraception, hoping to bring attention to religious pro-choice voices and to show that not all people of faith disagree with the new law.
“Seven religious leaders from the Jewish, Unitarian, Baptist and other faiths addressed a letter to Obama and Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. All are members of the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice, a which includes more than 40 denominations and faith groups to promote education and issues of reproductive choice….
“The Rev. Matthew Westfox, the organization's director of interfaith outreach, said the letter was intended to thank the Obama administration for its decision, and to provide an alternative religious voice, since so much attention had been put on opposition to the rule by some Roman Catholic organizations.
"‘What a lot of the press has been reporting is that all religious groups are opposed to this -- which is just categorically untrue,’ Westfox said. ‘We really wanted to make clear that on behalf of ourselves and thousands of people of faith and clergy and religious organizations across the country, that we stood in support of this decision. We think it's really important to know that many people of faith are supportive of this and have been supportive of access to birth control and individual people being able to access their conscience in support of health care.’"
Huffington Post (Sen. Barbara Boxer): “Why President Obama Is Right to Ensure Access to Contraception for America's Families”
“When President Obama announced that because of health care reform, birth control would soon be available for free in new insurance plans, you would have expected universal approval.
“After all, virtually all women, including 98 percent of Catholic women, have used birth control at some point in their lives and 71 percent of American voters, including 77 percent of Catholic women voters, support this policy….
“The truth is, the president's decision respects the diverse religious views of the American people, who deserve the right to follow their own conscience and choose whether to obtain contraceptives, regardless of where they work. And that is what this policy guarantees -- with one carefully drawn exception. This decision respects the deeply-held views of religious institutions. If their mission is primarily religious and the majority of their employees and clients share that faith, religious institutions do not have to provide contraceptive coverage to their employees.”
January 31, 2012
Planned Parenthood Federation of America media office: 212-261-4433
January 31, 2012