Doing “The Right Thing the Wrong Way”
Jon O’Brien, president of Catholics for Choice, issued the following statement today about the proposed rule from the Department of Health and Human Services on contraceptive coverage under the Affordable Care Act.
“Today the Obama Administration did the right thing the wrong way. According to the proposed rule, some women whose employers have a religious objection to providing contraception will still be able to get access through a third party provider.
“That’s the good news, but the proposed rule’s expansion of which employers can be exempted from providing comprehensive preventive healthcare, including contraception, is appalling. Women who work at Catholic schools, hospitals and social service agencies are wondering whether they’ll be able to get the same coverage as millions of other women, or if their healthcare just isn’t as important to the president as their bosses’ beliefs about sex and reproduction.
“It’s obvious that once again, the administration listened to the lobbyists for the Catholic bishops and their big business interests like Catholic healthcare, instead of Americans of every faith and of none who support the separation of religion and state and believe that public policy should not impose or privilege any religious viewpoint. Allowing such a wide exemption gives religious extremists carte blanche to trump the rights of others, based merely on the assertion of a belief about contraception even if that belief runs contrary to science or the widely-held convictions of co-religionists.
“While protecting contraceptive access under the ACA is a win for women, the administration’s caving in to lobbying from conservative religious pressure groups is a loss for everyone. American Catholics who support contraceptive coverage, who believe in the separation of church and state and who were hoping for change in Washington are disappointed today.”