I would like to respond to Dr. David Baehren’s colum titled “Let My People Go” (April 2012, p. 2). Regarding the “fuss” surrounding the access to contraception provided by the Affordable Care Act, the constitutional right resides with the individual, not the institutions that are refusing to provide coverage. It is exactly because individuals sought religious freedom that our forefathers conceived the constitutional separation of church and state. The argument against providing contraception is allowing the church to dictate to the state what can and cannot be written into law. Employees of an institution, whether religious or not, are not required to hold the same religious views as the employer, and therefore should be able to participate in secularly provided benefits such as health insurance in its entirety. We are not a theocracy where the views of bishops, pastors, and other religious leaders are considered law. Once it is allowed that employers may refuse portions of such benefits, what is to prevent them from opting out of covering for other hot-button issues? For example, many religious institutions do not condone sex before marriage, so should coverage for prenatal care be withheld from women who conceive out of wedlock?
Explore This IssueACEP News: Vol 31 – No 06 – June 2012
We need for women to make rational and private health decisions for themselves. All the Affordable Care Act does is to allow women to plan for their families and their lives without the cost of contraception being an issue. Remember, a child is forever for a woman. Maybe many men believe it is fine for their mothers and wives to become mothers without planning. Is it just as fine for their daughters to drop out of school or work to care for an infant?
It is ridiculous that health care coverage has become a First Amendment right of the employer. It is ridiculous that pharmacists can opt out of dispensing legal medications and doctors can refuse to prescribe certain medications that affect only women. Those of us in the medical community need to take a step back from religious doctrine and stop the madness that has somehow legitimatized the insertion of religion into our politics and the insertion of religious beliefs into our laws.
Dr. Cindy C. Chang
Kansas City, Mo.