Okay so we know that abortion is a divisive topic among politicians and voters. There is no surprise about that. But birth control? Really? Is it just me or is the recent political hullabaloo over health care and contraception a bit of a shock? Just when I think people are going to come to their senses and focus on job growth someone throws a monkey wrench into the mix to cause a political debate about birth control. At the center of the debate are presidential hopefuls in our next election and the Catholic Church. Sound crazy? Of course it does but this is American politics we are talking about. We have never quite figured out that separation of church and state concept in practice. In this post we are going to discuss what this political debate is all about and what it may mean for women who use birth control contraception.
The debate in a nutshell:
President Obama’s 2010 healthcare plan included a provision that most health insurance plans would cover women’s contraception without charging a co-pay or deductible. This plan was to take effect starting August of 2012. But some politicians and religious leaders including those of the Catholic Church took issue with this plan stating that coverage of contraception goes against religious liberty. One staunch representative of the Catholic opposition is Bishop William Lori, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Ad Hoc Committee on Religious Liberty. One of the stated goals of this committee is to take a stand against threats to religious liberty from federal and state government. Obama’s health care legislation including coverage of contraception by Catholic employers was deemed part of this threat.
Catholic bishops weren’t the only critics of the proposed contraception coverage. Some of the Republican presidential hopefuls, especially Rick Santorum, had plenty to say as well about the matter.
What did they say?
Here are some quotes on this political issue from some of the major players in the debate:
"I believe we must work together to reduce the number of unintended pregnancies. I support legislation to expand access to contraception, health information, and preventative services to help reduce unintended pregnancies."
"A woman's ability to decide how many children to have and when, without interference from the government, is one of the most fundamental rights we possess. It is not just an issue of choice, but equality and opportunity for all women."
Rick Santorum (Republican presidential candidate)
"I think it's harmful to our society to have a society that says that sex outside of marriage is something that should be encouraged or tolerated, particularly among the young and it has I think we've seen very, very harmful long-term consequences to the society, Birth control to me enables that and I don't think it’s a healthy thing for our country."