Well, this isn't exactly surprising. Under pressure from the religious right, Barack Obama made a concession about birth-control insurance coverage — while religious employers will not have to offer free contraceptives to workers, the insurers themselves will have to. It's a compromise he shouldn't have had to make in the first place, and Catholic Church officials (along with prominent Republic leaders) are being dicks about it, anyway.
On Friday evening, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops issued a statement in which they said that Obama's revised plan still raised "serious moral concerns."
The bishops said Obama's proposal "continues to involve needless government intrusion in the internal governance of religious institutions, and to threaten government coercion of religious people and groups to violate their most deeply held convictions."
"We will therefore continue — with no less vigor, no less sense of urgency — our efforts to correct this problem through the other two branches of government," the bishops said in urging Congress to take action to overturn the rule.
On the one hand, the compromise that insurers would have to provide birth control still means that companies could end up paying. On the other hand, let people have their goddamn birth control. Surely it doesn't take an elected official or religious leader to understand that the poorest people — those who need help paying for their birth control — are the people least likely to be able to afford raising a child.
Given the outrage, you'd think Obama's plan required a collection plate full of condoms to be passed around at church. Yes, I understand where the Catholic leaders are coming from, but that doesn't make them any less ass-backwards. As usual, Planned Parenthood has the right idea.
"Birth control is basic healthcare and women should have access to birth control, no matter where they work," said Tait Sye, a spokesperson for Planned Parenthood.
"It should not be left up to a boss's personal beliefs whether his employees should be allowed birth control coverage," he said.
What pisses me off about all of these conflicts it the way they're reduced to the government interfering with religious freedom when, in fact, it's the personal liberty of employees that's in jeopardy. No one is forcing anyone to have sex or use contraception — this plan only furthers the apparently radical idea that in 2012, all American workers should have access to health care. And "serious moral concerns" or not, that includes birth control.
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