The FDA, in accordance with HHS and other medical entities, has announced that as of August 2012, insurance companies will have to provide all forms of medical contraception to the consumer without a co-pay. This is a part of the Health Care Reform plan that is gradually taking effect.
In this move, the FDA has made it clear that contraception is classified as preventive medicine.
This is an important development for all women. 99% of American women use medical contraceptives at some point in their reproductive years. This includes women of every religious persuasion.
Too often, when we hear the word "contraception" we automatically think, "the Pill". But there are many other contraceptive methods approved by the FDA, and for many women the cost of these was prohibitive. Not every woman wants to have to remember to take a pill everyday at the same time, and some women should not use hormones.
Women do not all need the same form of contraception. A woman who does not ever want children may prefer a permanent method of birth control. A woman who is interested in postponing childbirth for a few years may choose a longer-lasting contraception like an IUD. Women who have sex infrequently may prefer a method like the diaphragm.
For the first time, regardless of income, women will truly have "freedom of choice" when it comes to contraception!
That is, unless she happens to work for a Catholic institution! Because already, Catholic groups with health care plans have demanded "religious exemption" from complying with this new mandate. If they only hired Catholics, they might have an argument. But thousands of doctors, nurses, bookkeepers, educators, students, and janitors who are not Catholic will be denied coverage for contraception based upon the archaic, misogynist views of their employers. This is immoral and unjust.
These "religious exemptions" that are being applied to health care around the country need to be abolished by the courts. No institution should be able to force a religious practice upon its employees, clients, or customers. Freedom of religion has always been for the individual, not the corporation. Any individual may abstain from the use of contraception based upon her personal religious beliefs. But to have her rights limited by the religious practices of an employers is wrong.