More than Twenty Religious Leaders Issue Statement in Support of Current Policy on Contraceptive Coverage in Healthcare Reform
This morning, leaders of more than twenty mainstream religious traditions issued an open letter to the White House, supporting the announcement by the Department of Health and Human Services that contraceptive services must be covered by most insurance policies without deductibles or copays, with only religious organizations to be considered exempt.
Jon O’Brien, one of the signatories to the letter, said, “Too often, religious voices are written off when it comes to support for reproductive rights issues. Today, this letter shows what those of us who work in the field know only too well. Some of the strongest supporters for family planning are in the religious community. We know that the vast majority of all American women use and support access to family planning, including 98 percent of sexually active Catholic women. The loudest voices in the Catholic community are those of the priests and bishops who know that they are being ignored when it comes to their teachings on family planning. They may be the loudest, but we know they also represent a tiny minority of Catholics.”
The full letter and list of signatories can be read here.
The open letter read, inter alia:
“We stand with President Obama and Secretary Sebelius in their decision to reaffirm the importance of contraceptive services as essential preventive care for women under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, and to assure access under the law to American women, regardless of religious affiliation. … We believe that women and men have the right to decide whether or not to apply the principles of their faith to family planning decisions, and to do so they must have access to services. The Administration was correct in requiring institutions that do not have purely sectarian goals to offer comprehensive preventive health care. Our leaders have the responsibility to safeguard individual religious liberty and to help improve the health of women, their children, and families. Hospitals and universities across the religious spectrum have an obligation to assure that individuals’ conscience and decisions are respected and that their students and employees have access to this basic health care service. We invite other religious leaders to speak out with us for universal coverage of contraception.”
Several of the signatories to the letter will participate in a media conference call on Friday at 11:30 AM EST. Further details will be released this afternoon.