By Brian StieglitzColumnist
When the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) proposed a plan to provide religious organizations with coverage on birth control last year, controversy arose over whether the expansion on President Obama’s health care ambitions violated religious liberty. The sentiment seems viable, except that President Obama isn’t forcing every religious, pro-life woman to take birth control. He is merely giving them the opportunity to have it provided to them, for free, if they choose. It seems that in attempting to grant one privilege to U.S. citizens, President Obama is being blocked by those who insist that in doing so, he is taking away another.
The HHS plan was recently revisited in an effort to satisfy religious groups and carry out what Obama planned from the beginning: to provide the working class with equal and attainable opportunities to live a healthy life. Adjustments were made to which religious organizations will be provided with free birth control. It was established that not only houses of worship and directly religious organizations would be included, but also religiously linked schools, universities and hospitals.
The new plan states that the insurer, not the employer, is in charge of providing free birth control. Employers, who once got to choose whether their employees received such benefits, are now not even responsible for paying for it. Religious organizations that are self-insured will have the opportunity to obtain this coverage from a third party source provided to them.
This all sounds feasible, but it is not good enough for some people. Despite the push for women’s rights and health care reform, it seems that there is still an unsettled party.
President Obama’s health care reforms have been under constant criticism from religious groups since their initial attempt to provide working women with health care benefits that include free birth control. After being ostracized for its absence of religious consideration, the plan was re-approached a myriad of times in a myriad of ways to basically please everybody. What is perplexing, though, is that its sole attempt is to give.
Granted, the employers of a religious organization need to acknowledge that their workers are doing something that conflicts with their religious dogma. Nevertheless, it is the workers’ right and should be up to them.
“President Obama has struggled to balance women’s rights, health care and religious liberty,” wrote Robert Pear of the New York Times. Ultimately, we are making it impossible for President Obama to provide equal opportunity that can please everybody, even when the very motive behind his actions is to do so.