The Obama Administration has found itself in a disagreement with Catholic students after issuing a provision to Obamacare that requires employers, including religious institutions, to provide female workers access to contraception.
While this mandate does not apply to churches and houses of worship, it extends to institutions affiliated with the Catholic church, including universities and hospitals. The recent provision raised questions concerning the involvement of religion within politics. Some are calling it an intrusion of their religious liberty; others are claiming it is a violation of the First Amendment.
The Catholic church openly opposes the use of contraception, forcing them to choose between their religious obligations and those now imposed by the government.
"Our problem is the government is intruding into the life of faith in the church that they shouldn’t be doing," Cardinal Timothy Dolan said in an interview with CBS News. “We didn’t ask for the fight, but we’re not going to back away from it,” he continued.
Some students at the University of Maryland are equally offended by the intrusion of religion into the political world. Junior journalism major, Julianne Pelusi is concerned that such provisions directly interfere with her Catholic beliefs. "Who are they to regulate who must provide birth control for people? That's just ridiculous," Pelusi said. "Such issues are things the government shouldn't control. That's too much meddling," she continued.
The Obama administration argues that such preventive medicine should be made readily available to everyone. Through the use of contraception, the costs associated with abortion and unwanted pregnancy can be avoided, thus creating a necessity for this mandate.
Sophomore animal sciences major Hannah Klein agrees that the new mandate is beneficial. "Just because the Catholic Church says one thing, that doesn't mean every Catholic abides by this rule," she said.
Klein disagrees that this is even an intrusion of religion into politics and argues that it actually removes religion from medical concerns.
"I'm not concerned with the religious implications of birth control," Klein said. "It is the safety aspect that is the issue. Mandating birth control removes religion from medical concerns by allowing everyone access to something that is preventative regardless of faith," she added.
Women's health issues may be a determinant factor for the upcoming election. Currently, Obama's female support is strong at a 57 percent support rate compared to the 38 percent of registered female voters who support Romney according to ABC.
This issue has been raised among numerous concerns including the GOP’s recent attempt to defund Planned Parenthood and Virginia’s attempt to require an ultrasound before having an abortion.