No Religious Exemption for Birth Control Coverage

By Kim Gandy

Part of the #HERvotes blog carnival.

Despite enormous pressure from the National Conference of Catholic Bishops, the Obama Administration recently decided not to broaden the religious exemption for contraceptive coverage under the Preventive Care package of the Affordable Care Act. This demand for additional exemptions,  would have denied millions of American women contraceptive coverage, including students, teachers, nurses, social workers, and other staff (and their families) at religiously-connected or affiliated schools, universities, and hospitals, as well as agencies and institutions like Catholic Charities.

The Catholic Bishops are now leading a backlash against this decision, and women are speaking out.  Because of the Affordable Care Act, millions of women who may have been denied access to birth control will now have full access under their health insurance plan, with no co-pays or deductibles, beginning in August 2012. Birth control is the number one prescription drug for women ages 18 to 44 years. Right now, the average woman has to pay up to $50 per month for 30 years for birth control. As a result, many women have had to forgo regular use of birth control and half of US pregnancies are unplanned.

Women of all faiths are employed by hospitals and schools that are owned by religious interests, and they should not be denied equal health care coverage.  We urge the Obama Administration to continue to stand strong for women’s health care.

Join us by sharing the posts below on Facebook, Twitter (using the hashtag #HERvotes), and other social media.

Take Action:

Join the Feminist Majority Foundation in chastising the Washington Post for repeatedly running editorials attacking the Obama administration’s decision.

Join The National Women’s Law Center and Raising Women’s Voices in thanking Kathleen Sebelius for making the right decision.

Join UltraViolet in thanking President Obama and Secretary Sebelius.

Thank the Obama administration directly on

Join the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health in telling President Obama you support birth control without co-pays.

Join The National Women’s Law Center in telling your senator to reject extreme legislation.

Join The Coalition of Labor Union Women in telling the Senate that you oppose S.2043.

Read More:

Sex, Contraception, Motherhood & The Current Madness – Kristin Rowe-Finkbeiner, MomsRising

Congressional Members’ Statements on Contraceptive Coverage Rule Not Based in Fact– Mara Gandal-Powers, National Women’s Law Center

Protect Women’s Health: Tell Your Senators to Reject Extreme Legislation– Judy Waxman, National Women’s Law Center

Would You Like an Unplanned Pregnancy with that Burrito?– Jen Wang, NARAL’s Blog for Choice

HERvotes: Boehner Ups the Threat Against Contraception Coverage– Leah Berkenwald, Ms. Blog

An Equal & Just World: A Woman’s Right to Control Her Own Reproductive Health– Hannah Sherman, Jewish Women International

Co-Pay for Birth Control? Not Under my Conscience Clause– Bettina Hager, National Women’s Political Caucus

Contraception mandate doesn’t force use– Bernice Durbin, Letter to the Editor, USA Today

How to Host a Birth Control Clinic in 3 Easy Steps– Emily T. Wolf, Fordham Law Students for Reproductive Justice

Obama Administration Ensures a Wide Range of Contraceptive Insurance Coverage, Even at Religiously-Affiliated InstitutionsWomen’s Law Project

Birth Control and Government: The Right of Refusal Should Belong to Women– Nancy K. Kaufman, National Council of Jewish Women

For the Sisters– Megan Lieff, Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice

Thank you, Obama, For Standing with ALL Women on Important Health Care Issues– Lacy Langbecker, Wisconsin Alliance for Women’s Health

Birth Control Matters– Nita Chaudhary and Shaunna Thomas, UltraViolet

Would you let someone make your contraceptive decisions for you? Didn’t think so– Mara Gandal-Powers, National Women’s Law Center

The Highs and Lows on Birth Control Access Coverage– Stephanie Drahan, National Women’s Law Center

Hey Media: It’s about the Health of Women and Families– Leila Abolfazli, National Women’s Law Center

Women of Childbearing Age: Take Your Talents Elsewhere– Jill C. Morrison, National Women’s Law Center

My Health Is Not a Pork Chop– Dania Palanker, National Women’s Law Center

NASW Supports HHS Decision on Women’s RightsNational Association of Social Workers

Fight Against the Catholic Attack on Preventative Healthcare for Women– Mallen Urso, National Women’s Political Caucus

One More Time…– Jill Morrison, National Women’s Law Center

Breaking News: Access to No-Cost Birth Control Secured– Judy Waxman, National Women’s Law Center

The Greatest Advance for Women in a Generation– Jean Silver-Isenstadt, MD, PhD, National Physicians Alliance

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