Under President Obama’s health care plan, “religiously affiliated employees such as hospitals and universities, must provide birth control coverage for their female employees. This requirement applies only to those employers with 50 or more employees and excludes Catholic churches from the requirement.”
Two weeks ago President Barack Obama modified this policy so that insurance companies, and not the organization affiliated with a church, would be required to pay for birth control coverage. This provides a "moral firewall," as described by the President of the Catholic Universities of America, John Garvey.
President Obama’s plan is not taking away a woman’s right to decide she doesn’t want to take contraception. President Obama’s plan is providing access. However, Republicans want to take away a woman’s right to choose to take free birth control or not. A Fox News poll showed that a large majority, 61%, of Americans approve of requiring employer health plans to cover birth control for women, while 34% disapprove.
In a House Oversight and Government Reform hearing on religious liberty and the birth control rule, Chairman Darrell Issa's (R-Calif.) refused to allow a woman to testify in favor of the Obama administration's contraception rule.
On the panel were five religious leaders, all men, appearing at the request of the Republican majority, while women remained in the background. The one person the Democrats had asked to appear on the witness stand, a woman, was turned away. "Five men are testifying on women's health," Pelosi said. "Where are the women? Imagine having a panel on women's health and they don't have any women on the panel." Rep. Darrell Issa made a statement saying that “the hearing [was] not about reproductive rights and contraception but instead about the Administration's actions as they relate to freedom of religion and conscience, he believes that Ms. Sandra Fluke is not an appropriate witness."
We ask Chairman Darrell Issa, the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, and Congress to preserve women’s access to birth control. We ask that they respect the rights of women by requiring insurance companies of religiously affiliated employees to provide birth control coverage for their female employees. We ask for the protection of our freedom of religion, including the freedom to support or oppose the institutional beliefs of religious entities. Finally, we ask for women’s right to choose to take free birth control or not.
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