Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Bear Down -- On Birth Control Access?

I’ve heard people say football is our national religion, but this is ridiculous:

On Sunday, the owners of the Chicago Bears hosted a meeting at the team’s practice facility where religious leaders and politicians (bad combo) pounced all over the “Obamacare” requirement that contraception be covered by employer insurance plans.

Chicago birth control fans might be feeling deflated. (Chicago Man/Flickr)
According to the Chicago Tribune, speakers lamented the “eroding freedom to speak in the language of faith in the public square.” How denying women contraception they pay for in their insurance premiums equals “freedom of speech” is anyone’s guess.

And this:

“Some speakers cited evidence of religious persecution in abortion laws, gay marriage and efforts to characterize opponents of the contraception mandate as anti-women.”

So let me get this straight: If a woman makes the extraordinarily personal decision to end a pregnancy, everyone who disagrees with that decision is being religiously persecuted? How do my reproductive decisions affect your religious faith or freedom in the slightest?

Trick question: They don’t.

Apparently, the team’s senior director of special projects serenaded the crowd with a “religious liberty-themed rendition of ‘Bear Down, Chicago Bears,’” which sounds absolutely hideous and should qualify as “religious persecution” itself, if we’re going by the Bears event speakers’ standards.

So add the Chicago Bears to the list of employers who seem to think they should decide whether or not their employees get birth control. So far, the Bears’ owners are just complaining, not suing. Here are some employers who’ve taken the additional step of challenging the Affordable Care Act in court:
  • Craft supplies purveyor Hobby Lobby of Oklahoma City. The company’s founder, David Green says: “Hobby Lobby has always been a tool of the Lord’s work. But now our faith is being challenged by the federal government. We simply cannot abandon our religious beliefs to comply with this mandate.”
  • Korte & Luitjohan Contractors, Inc., of Highland Illinois. The firm’s owners, Cyril and Jane Korte, “acknowledge in their complaint that their company’s current group plan includes coverage for contraceptives, sterilization and abortion. They discovered this in August and claim it ‘is an error that is contrary to what plaintiffs want based on their religious beliefs.’” Awkward!
  • Tyndale House Publishers of Carol Stream, Illinois. The book publisher apparently doesn’t publish any gynecological texts given that they refer to the Affordable Care Act’s contraception provision as “the Obama administration’s abortion pill mandate.” Emergency contraception – which is covered under “Obamacare,” works by preventing fertilization, not implantation.
I’ve long argued that one way to end the “religious persecution” of employers being required to offer health insurance that covers – you know, health care – is to divorce health care from employers entirely. Single-payer health care! Suppose the employers suing the government over “Obamacare” would go for that?

--  Amy Phillips Bursch, Media Relations Manager

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