The Affordable Healthcare Act and How it Affects and Pertains to Women of the Catholic Faith
The argument of contraception is a controversial topic in the United States. The recent health care bill written by the 44th president of the United States, Barack Obama mandates no-cost birth control be available to all women. The Catholic Community condemns the use of contraceptives and finds the new mandate to be impeding to their religious rights. What the Catholic Church's leaders are now seeking from President Obama is a broader exemption from the new rules, which would let them not offer, or stop offering, contraceptive coverage. (Rovner, 2011).
According to the National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League, under the health-care law, the cost of contraception will be included as part of the premium, meaning no more out-of-pocket payments at the pharmacy counter (2012). However, representatives of the Catholic Church believe that this requirement forces them to support a plan that is, inherently, against their religious beliefs. (Ungar, 2012) Ungar (2012) found the following: Recently, the Catholic Church lashed out at the Obama Administration, for handing down regulations that fail to exempt certain operations of the Church, including Catholic Church owned and operated teaching institutions, hospitals and other non-house of worship entities, from the requirement that employers, beginning in August, 2012, provide employees with health insurance that includes contraception benefits without a requirement that the employee incur a co-pay or deductible. Catholic leaders find this sanction to be a direct violation of the Catholic faith. However, Catholic leaders failed to understand the full meaning of the mandate. The Affordable Healthcare Act specifically exempts all churches- or any other type of house of worship- from the requirement that they offer health insurance to their employees that includes any provision for contraception. (Ludden, 2013). Ludden states a few of the facts laid out by Celia Munoz, Director of the White House Domestic Policy Council:
• Nobody is, in any way, obligated to acquire or use contraceptive devices. The regulation applies only to what insurance companies must offer-not to who must take advantage of the benefit. Thus, if ones religious belief bars one from using contraception, then nothing will get in the way of their religious beliefs. One may have the benefit available to them in their insurance coverage, but nothing is going to require them to take advantage of the benefit.
• The law does not require medical care providers to prescribe contraceptives. If the religious belief of a physician or other health care worker is such that they do not believe in contraception for religious reasons, nothing in the law –or the regulations-would require a doctor or care worker to prescribe a contraceptive device.
• Drugs, such as RU486 that cause a woman to abort a pregnancy, are not included in the law or regulations. Nothing would require a health insurance company to include this in their policy offerings and, certainly, nothing would require anyone to take such a pill.
• Over 50 percent of Americans already live in states that require health insurance companies to provide contraception in their policy offerings. Further, states such as California, New York and North Carolina have the identical religious exemptions as have been promulgated by the Department of Health & Human Services while some states