No Religious Exemption for Birth Control Coverage

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 Americans 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.

Part of the #HERvotes blog carnival.

Read more:

Mission Accomplished With Komen: Now It’s Time to Save Birth Control Coverage!– Sammie Moshenberg, National Council of Jewish Women

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

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

Margaret and Helen on the Issues– Margaret and Helen

An Equal & Just World: A Woman’s Right to Control Her Own Reproductive Health– 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

Obama Administration Ensures a Wide Range of Contraceptive Insurance Coverage, Even at Religiously-Affiliated Institutions -Women’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, the Wisconsin Alliance for Women’s Health

Birth Control Matters -Nita Chaudhary and Shaunna Thomas, UltraViolet

The Highs and Lows on Birth Control Access Coverage -Stephanie Drahan, 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 Rights -National Association of Social Workers

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

Critics Get It Wrong on Contraceptive Coverage -Marcia D. Greenberger, National Women’s Law Center

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

Fight Against an Expanded Religious Exemption that Denies Birth Control Coverage– Dren Asselmeier, Center for Inquiry on Campus

My Employer Shouldn’t Control My Contraception Decisions– Leila Abolfazli, National Women’s Law Center

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Kim Gandy is a lawyer and women's rights leader, having been active in movements for equality for more than 30 years. She was twice elected national president of the National Organization for Women, term-limited in 2009 after eight years, and now is Vice President and General Counsel of the Feminist Majority Foundation. In 2009 she was a resident Fellow of the Institute of Politics at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. During her tenure at NOW, Gandy was a lead organizer of the million-plus 2004 March for Women's Lives and led a multi-issue agenda committed to achieving equality for women, advancing reproductive freedom, promoting diversity and ending racism, stopping violence against women, winning LGBT rights, and ensuring economic justice. Gandy regularly appears on television and radio, as well as in print and internet media. She is an active leader in the progressive community, serving currently as Chair of the Board of Free Press, the media reform organization, on the board of Legal Momentum, the women's legal defense and education fund, and on the advisory committees of Ms. Magazine and Take Your Daughters and Sons To Work Day. She has served on a variety of nonprofit boards, including the Executive Committee of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights and the Rainbow/PUSH coalition.