In response to the recent letter submitted by Temple College Republicans concerning the Affordable Care Act’s contraceptive policy I find it necessary to inform The Temple News’ readers of the actual facts of the policy and debunk the other erroneous statements espoused by their letter.
President Barack Obama appointed Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius, who stated that employers who provide health insurance for their employees must pay the full cost of their female workers’ contraceptive needs.
Yet in a move to respect religious organizations that find contraception immoral, exceptions were made. Women employed in “houses of worship” and by religious organizations in which the majority of the employees are of the same faith are exempt from contraception coverage.
The biggest controversy about the whole policy concerned the fact that HHS mandates that religious organizations whose majority of employees are of a different faith must provide full contraception coverage.
In order to accommodate the rights of religious institutions who morally object to birth control, HHS ruled that the health insurance company contracted by the employer must pay the full cost of contraception for female employees, not the religious organization itself. So in no meaningful way is this contraceptive policy an infringement on the freedom of religion.
The republicans have stated no GOP presidential candidate has wanted to ban birth control. Well, it is true Rick Santorum said he would not ban birth control but he would give states the right to ban it if they wanted to. Does this seem like a meaningful difference? In 1965 the Supreme Court ruled in Griswold v. Connecticut that state laws to ban contraception were unconstitutional because they violated one’s right to privacy.
The most farcical claim by Temple College Republicans however was the statement that “Planned Parenthood…performed 329,445 abortions in 2010, all at taxpayer expense.” The truth is that since 1976, under federal law, the Hyde Amendment prohibits any federal funding of abortion. So, any and all funding to Planned Parenthood must, by law only go toward family planning services. This makes the above quote by Temple College Republicans a complete fiction.
Before closing it should be said that Planned Parenthood is a laudable, private non-profit organization that provides women not only with access to affordable or free family planning services, but also breast and cervical cancer screenings among other services.
Policy Director, Temple