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Archive for February, 2012

Letter to PJ Star re Contraception and Health Insurance

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Here is the letter I wrote to the PJ Star about their editorial critical of the Obama Administration’s new rule on contraception and health insurance

When I read the Journal Star Editorial regarding the Obama administration requirement that employers include contraception coverage in the health insurance employers provide their workers I had to check the date of the newspaper to convince myself I had not been somehow transported back to the 1950’s or earlier. The issue of course is that some religious leaders suddenly are opposed to a rule they have been living with at state levels for decades. Currently 28 states require employers, including religious institutions, to provide such coverage. Eight of those states do not even exempt churches, which the new federal rule does.

Yet, the editorial made it seem as though this were a new requirement suddenly being imposed by an intrusive federal government. The man or men who wrote the editorial accuse the Obama administration of picking a fight. Well, somebody picked a fight, but I don’t think it was the President or his administration. When I did check the date I noticed that it was 2012, and I understand this to be an election year. I guess the Republicans, having run out of economic arguments, are looking for hot button social issues. Sadly, Catholic bishops and some evangelical leaders have played along.

As the editorial states,” The reaction has been swift, vehement and, from this vantage, on balance quite negative.” But there is a reaction to the reaction.

I looked in vain in the editorial for some indication that the (probably aging) men who wrote it had considered the opinions of the women who would be affected were a religious institution employer suddenly able to force its vision of morality on them. After all, there are many non-Catholics and non-believers who work for organizations like OSF. Do they not have some say in this matter? Not, apparently, if the Neanderthal Journal Star editors and Catholic bishops have their way.

But consider the polling on this issue. It turns out that 98% of all women have used contraception, including a lot of Catholic and evangelical women. On the specific question of whether all employers should be required to include contraception in their health insurance plans, a clear majority of women are in favor. In fact, Catholic women are even more in favor of this than the total female population.

These facts were, of course, completely missing from the editorial.

This issue is a clear winner for President Obama and the Democrats, except for the clueless Dems like Senator Manchin, who also seem lost in an America that passed decades ago.

As for the bishops, don’t they have more important things to worry about than trying to impose their version of morality on employees of Catholic institutions? They might try emphasizing papal teachings about war, capital punishment and poverty instead. And by the way, the Church is still cleaning up the mess created by their twisted version of sexual morality and religious authority.