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February 2nd, 2013
The lead article in today’s New York Times, “Compromise Idea for the Insuring of Birth Control,” shows how difficult it will be to enact a fair policy in this area for all sides.
On the one hand, you don’t want to be in the position where your boss gets to decide whether you receive access to contraceptives. This would be the situation if any secular employer could raise a religious objection to their use. On the other hand, religious freedom goes back to the foundation of the nation and is an essential underpinning of our democracy.
President Obama has tried to forge a compromise by allowing religious organizations and now religion-affiliated hospitals and social services an exemption. The contraceptive coverage would be provided for those who want it by unrelated insurance organizations.
Meanwhile, it is unclear how these insurance organizations will be paid as there is supposed to be no additional fee for contraceptive coverage. The cost it now seems will be paid by consumers as insurance companies pass along these charges.
President Obama deserves some praise for his willingness to provide a workaround for religious organizations that are currently suing his administration and definitely did not support him in the general election. Still, there are some things that just cannot be compromised away, and we will all be better off when both sides realize this.
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