Over the past few years, we’ve heard a lot about President Obama’s Affordable Healthcare Act, but as college women, few of us have experienced any kind of significant impact on our lives. However, on January 20th, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced a newly proposed law that requires religious hospitals, universities and other organizations to provide birth control coverage, despite their moral opposition to doing so. Beginning August 1st, the cost of birth control pills would be included in the co-pay, which means that the majority of employed women wouldn't have to pay for birth control.
It’s not that simple, however, as nothing with politics ever is. Because this is an election year, President Obama can't afford to alienate Catholic voters. Several religiously affiliated non-profits and congregations are protesting against the decision. One letter, written by Bishop Thomas Olmstead reads: “We cannot — we will not comply with this unjust law, people of faith cannot be made second-class citizens.” Bishop Olmstead, along with a large contingent of Catholic voters, opposes the bill. He disapproves that the bill requires religious organizations, including universities and hospitals, to provide health insurance that covers free birth control, as it contradicts the teachings of the church.
Nonetheless, the Obama Administration remains firm with the decision. “It is not requiring any individual to in any way violate his or her conscience,” White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said. “It is not requiring anything but employers — organizations, big hospitals and universities, for example — to offer insurance coverage that includes this service.” As of now, the bill will be implemented in August later this year, and millions of women across America will be provided with free access to birth control.
The Washington Times, “Pro-life Supporters Balk at Obama’s New Coverage Rule”
The Huffington Post: “Obama Administration Announces New Decision On Birth Control, To Chagrin Of Religious Groups”