By Melissa Benton |Staff Writer|
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced Jan. 20 that all employers, including religious affiliated institutions, must provide contraception coverage in their health plans for all employees.
Roman Catholic bishops and other religious leaders severely opposed this mandate claiming it as a violation of religious liberty.
Pres. Obama amended the plan on Feb. 10 requiring all health insurance companies offer employees free contraceptives for all religious affiliated institutions, including churches, hospitals and universities.
Many Democrats and others who support Obama’s contraceptive plan believe that this is for the greater good.
The plan allows women to be able to make the “right” choice for themselves and their lives, offering choices for women, instead of leaving those employed by religious groups without options.
“Every woman should be in control of the decisions that affect her own health,” said Obama in the midday address at the White House.
The Catholic Church, along with other religious groups and most Republicans, believe this is an infringement on religious beliefs.
Those oppose believe the government is taking away their religious freedom by mandating to provide birth control, which goes against their beliefs.
It is also claimed that the women employed by religious employers have other options in places like Planned Parenthood that offer free or very minimal charges for contraceptives.
“Now, as we move to implement this rule, however, we’ve been mindful that there’s another principle at stake here and that’s the principle of religious liberty, an inalienable right that is enshrined in our Constitution,” said Obama. “As a citizen and as a Christian, I cherish this right.”
Health insurance providers have been uncertain on what impact this new plan will have on them and their customers.
Robert Zirkelbach, spokesman for America’s Health Insurance Plans, issued a statement about the contraceptive plan.
“We are concerned about the precedent this proposed rule would set,” said Zirkelbach. “As we learn more about how this rule would be operationalized, we will provide comments through the regulatory process.”
Insurers have long offered contraceptive coverage to employers as part of preventive benefits.
This is an aim to improve patient health and prevent health care cost growth, according to Zirkelbach.
Archbishop Timothy Dolan, president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, issued a statement about the plan.
“Today’s decision to revise how individuals obtain services that are morally objectionable to religious entities and people of faith is a first step in the right direction,” said Dolan. “We hope to work with the Administration to guarantee that Americans’ consciences and our religious freedom are not harmed by these regulations.”
All public universities and even some private universities offer free contraceptives at their health centers.
CSUSB’s health center offers many free birth control methods and contraceptive information including: pap smears, Depo-Provera injections, oral contraception, emergency contraception, and even testing for sexually transmitted diseases.
The Student Health Center is located between the Student Union and Jack Brown Hall.
Appointments can be made online or by calling (909) 537-5241.