Why Is the Washington Post Backing Bishops Over Women?

The Washington Post is supporting the Catholic Bishops by repeatedly (and one-sidedly) attacking the Obama administration’s decision to maintain contraception coverage for millions of women, without deductibles or copays, under the Affordable Care Act. The Bishops have demanded that the administration–which has already exempted houses of worship–also exempt businesses owned by religious interests, such as hospitals, universities, insurance companies and social service agencies. And the Post is backing them up.

Not only has the editorial board of the Post opined that the administration should have accommodated the “deeply held views” of those institutions, but the Post has printed other editorials in support of the Bishops, while refusing to print opposing viewpoints in favor of access.

If the administration had exempted every university, hospital, or business with a religious connection, it would have meant that millions of women of all faiths–students, teachers, nurses, social workers, marketing and administrative staff and other employees of those schools and businesses–would have been singled out to lose access to this important coverage, without regard to their own needs, beliefs and conscience.

The Washington Post wants to put the Church hierarchy ahead of the right of individual women to be free from discrimination in their health care plans. That’s where the Post is just wrong.

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Eleanor Smeal is president of the Feminist Majority Foundation and publisher of Ms. For over five decades, she has played a leading role in both national and state campaigns to win women’s rights legislation, including the Equal Rights Amendment.