Today the Obama administration proposed a compromise on the controversial birth control section of Obamacare. Under the compromise religious institutions would not be required to provide birth control coverage to employees, however the insurers would still be required to provide it and would be reimbursed by a lowering of government fees.
“The rules proposed today by HHS appear to go a long way toward rectifying the most problematic provisions of the mandate,” said Bill Donohue, head of the Catholic League, in a statement. A related group, Catholics United, echoed the praise, as did Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards.
“This policy delivers on the promise of women having access to birth control without co-pays no matter where they work,” Richards said. “This policy makes it clear that your boss does not get to decide whether you can have birth control.”
But for the evangelicals it wasn’t close to being enough:
“Today’s proposed rule does nothing to protect the religious liberty of millions of Americans,” said Kyle Duncan, general counsel at the Becket Fund. “The rights of family businesses like Hobby Lobby are still being violated,” he added, referring to a craft company whose owners have chosen, for religious reasons, not to include emergency contraception in the health insurance they offer employees.
In addition to companies whose core activity is not religious, like Hobby Lobby, the Becket Fund represents numerous religious colleges and universities in their lawsuits against the administration. Some of the cases are expected to reach the US Supreme Court.
Religious institutions that “self-insure” on health care – those that pay for health care themselves instead of contracting with an insurance company – could use a third-party administrator to obtain separate policies for employees who want birth-control coverage, HHS said.
The National Right to Life Committee (NRLC) rejected HHS’s plan, saying the administration was changing the “packaging” of its proposal to try to conceal “continuity in substance.”
“This latest revision continues to compel countless employers to purchase health plans that will pay for drugs and procedures to which they are opposed on moral and religious grounds,” NRLC said in a statement.
Health coverage is, or should be, about options. No one is required to use birth control but those who choose to do so have that option. Groups, like those listed above, are not interested in the freedom to practice their religion they are interested in forcing others to live according to their religious views and their reaction to this compromise is clear proof. The fact that someone works for your company does not give you the right to control their reproductive choices.
Also if these groups, as they claim, care about children (they don’t) they could leave the birth control debate alone and do something about the more than 400,000 orphans in the United States.