How did we get to the point where something as common and basic as birth control is controversial? Perhaps it’s backlash: backlash against the growing progressive movements in our country, backlash against further female equality, backlash at the country rejecting another white military man for a young black president. I don’t know, but I do know that while birth control is consumed only by women, it is something that both women and men benefit from. Denying women insurance coverage for contraception forces them to pay exorbitant prices at pharmacies or clinics, and basically amounts to having to pay a fine for owning a uterus.
I bring this up because a couple weeks ago we talked about the Obama administration’s refusal to allow religious organizations to deny their employees birth control coverage. Well, it didn’t go over too well. The past week has been filled with condemnations, rejoicing, and pleas for “compromise” (hint: compromise tends to mean allowing employers to deny birth control at will) from various corners. You can read a quick rundown of the latest arguments at ThinkProgress, which reports that Catholic bishops are demanding that any Catholic business owner be able to deny birth control coverage.
Just Friday, a final rule was announced certifying that religious organizations such as churches will not have to provide birth control coverage, and their employees will not have access to birth control through the company’s insurance provider. Non-profit religious organizations such as hospitals and universities will not have to provide birth control coverage; however, their employees will have birth control provided for them through the organization’s health insurance provider.
This is a victory for (most) women, who now will have access to free basic preventative care, although women who work for organizations who qualify for the exemption (i.e. churches) are still not covered; the White House has stated that they are working on that.
Be forewarned that there are many out there who are still working to dismantle this policy before it even goes into effect. We at Planned Parenthood are watching carefully to monitor upcoming attacks against women’s health care.
One of them is the Rubio-Manchin bill that would allow any employer to deny birth control coverage if they have moral convictions against it. A worse one? The Blunt bill that allows employers to deny health coverage against any service they disagree with. Sign our petition to tell your government that you think women deserve basic health care, and be sure to check back with Feronia to keep up-to-date with what’s going on.