The ongoing debate on contraceptives exploded into a firestorm of controversy after the passage of the Affordable Care Act, which requires insurers to cover contraceptives for women.
The New York Times states, “In January 2012, the Obama administration announced that as part of the rollout of the health care reform law, most health insurance plans must cover contraceptives for women free of charge. The announcement of the new rule set off a political firestorm among religious and conservative groups, who denounced it as a threat to religious freedom. The rule does not apply to church organizations themselves, but instead to affiliated nonprofit corporations, like hospitals, that do not rely primarily on members of the faith as employees.”
Many people are torn about the situation, but it has begun to turn into a religious battle. From Erik Eckholm’s article titled, “Poll Finds Wide Support for Birth Control Coverage” he quotes, “Mary McNabb, 61, of Lenoir City, Tenn., … said the mandate was a violation of religious freedom. ‘If a Catholic woman wants to take birth control, to go behind her priest’s back, that’s between her and God,’ she said. ‘But I don’t think other Catholics should have to pay for it.’”
The world was shocked when, after law student Sandra Fluke decided to speak up to support the law, conservative radio talk show host, Rush Limbaugh called her a “slut” and a “prostitute.” “Fluke drew attention to a friend who was prescribed birth control pills for a medical condition, and had to pay for the treatment out of pocket. She said nothing whatsoever about her sex life,” as reported in the blog, The Loyal Opposition.
President Obama called Fluke to reach out to her. In, “Obama’s Call Was a Lesson for His Girls” he said, “I thought about Malia and Sasha and one of the things I want them to do as they get older is to engage in issues they care about, even ones I may not agree with them on,” Mr. Obama said at a televised news conference at the White House. “I want them to be able to speak their mind in a civil and thoughtful way, and I don’t want them attacked or called horrible names because they’re being good citizens.”
Linda Fleck wrote, “Women’s rights matter. Women’s need to be heard on the issue.”