Catholic Institutions Sue Over "Ubiquitous and Inexpensive" Birth Control
For months, we’ve talked about the relentless attacks on women’s health, led mostly by the Catholic bishops, and their willingness to spend time and money to aggressively fight affordable birth control access.
In March, as part of their efforts to fight the Obama administrations ruling, the bishops released a manifesto in which they claimed that birth control was both “ubiquitous and inexpensive” and that the fight was “not about access to contraception.” Apparently the church missed the 2010 survey that found more than a third of female voters have struggled to afford birth control at some point in their lives (and this is of course a reality affecting nearly every woman, since 99 percent of sexually active women have used birth control at some point.)
On Monday, the church showed it was willing to go to greater lengths to win, when 43 Catholic institutions filed 12 separate lawsuits to avoid having to provide birth control to employees of Catholic-affiliated institutions like universities and hospitals.
As Planned Parenthood Federation of America President Cecile Richards said, “It is unbelievable that in the year 2012 we have to fight for access to birth control…. Insurance companies should cover birth control just like any other preventive prescription, as the independent Institute of Medicine (IOM) recommended.”
It’s simply outrageous that over 50 years after the pill’s invention, women have to fight for access to birth control — it’s basic preventive care. There’s a reason a panel of doctors at the Institute of Medicine (IOM) recommend birth control to be included as preventive care — insurance companies should cover birth control just like any other preventive prescription. Access to birth control improves women’s health outcomes.
Taking away this benefit would affect Catholics and non-Catholics alike and ultimately, a majority of Americans believe women should be able to get affordable birth control no matter where they work. It’s a matter of basic health care for millions of women and families and provides important financial security.
Cecile has it right when she says: “This isn’t a religious or political issue — it’s a medical issue, and that’s where we should keep it.” We couldn’t have said it better ourselves.