Women’s rights, religious freedoms, and politics intersect constantly, but especially now. The Department of Health and Human Services announced a contraceptive compromise last Friday.
The new regulations require that nonprofits’ health insurance providers offer and foot the bill for contraceptive services. The latest proposal stemmed from discontentment surrounding 2010’s enactment of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
CNN reported the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ response to policy changes. The Catholic leaders said that the policy offers “second-class status to our first-class institutions in Catholic health care, Catholic education and Catholic charities.”
While some religious groups believe that policies of this sort infringe upon their religious beliefs, others look at the timing of issues surrounding life and the right to choose.
President Barack Obama recently spoke to an abortion rights group to commemorate the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court case that decriminalized abortion.
“We reaffirm our steadfast commitment to protecting women’s access to safe, affordable health care, and [their] right to reproductive freedom because we know that we are better off as a nation when women are treated fairly and equally in every aspect of life, whether it’s the salary you earn or the health decisions you make,” he said.
Some believe that attacks on contraception and the right to choose highlight society’s policing of women and their bodies. Because men don’t experience these changes in precisely the same ways, some also believe that these discussions shift unfairly against the people most affected.
“As those whose reproductive rights, though also threatened, are rarely targeted, save the occasional Viagra commercial, [men’s] disinvestment is actually fueling a war against the bodies of women … and people with disabilities in our communities. When we don’t talk about our stories of reproductive justice we allow the conversation to remain one-sided, creating an untruth that passes as reality,” Zerandrian Morris wrote for the Reproductive Justice Blog.
As contraceptive coalescence faces off with religious leaders in the press, courts and policy, the updated proposal rules remain open for public comment until April 8.