The Issue is Women’s Health, Not Religion


Listening to the conservative right, it has become obvious President Obama hates Christianity and wants to force-feed the pill to all women. However, the facts of this issue tell a whole different story.  Birth control is normally provided by almost all health insurance plans and the President just ensured that the right to use birth control is available to all women.  This seemingly innocuous mandate gained controversy because the Christian right sees this as an attack against their religion because it applies to religious affiliated institutions like hospitals and universities.

This is not a crusade against religion though.  First, many of those hospitals and universities receive some form of government funding so they have to play by those rules i.e. separation of church and state.  This is why universities and hospitals cannot turn down people based on religious beliefs.

This is also evident in the fact that many of the employees at those institutions are not Christians.  By repealing this mandate it will penalize women employees who are not Christian but happen to work at a Christian affiliated organization.  Catholics claim this is an attack on their religion but by not allowing women to have access to birth control based on personal religious beliefs Christians are in turn attacking the rights of women.

Providing access to birth control is not the same as forcing employees to use birth control. Christians who work at these institutions can still practice their religious beliefs. Simply giving employees the right to use birth control is not an attack on Christianity.  Nothing about the mandate requires the use of birth control.  Practicing Christians can still practice their religion how they see fit.

I actually attend a Christian affiliated university and plenty of the employees are not Christian. How is it fair to deny women employees, who work at my college, access to birth control based solely on the fact that the school has aligned itself with Christianity?  The university is still a business that receives government funding and special taxes and therefore has the responsibility of providing adequate women’s health coverage to its employees just like at any other business. This is the heart of the issue; the mandate is not an attack on religion it is about securing women’s health.  Regardless of where a woman works she should have the right to proper healthcare. It is not up to the Church to decide the correct way for a woman to live.  The Church can have its beliefs and values but religious institutions that operate as a business must treat its employees like any other secular business does.  This means not denying things like birth control just because it happens to go against the business’s values.

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