How is this decision remotely a “war on religion” as some are claiming? The rules are only slightly changed from the existing ones that were established under G. W. Bush (did anyone accuse him of waging war on religion? No, I didn’t think so. )
Since employer-paid health insurance is part of an overall package of remuneration, the employers were basically saying that they wanted to cut part of an employee’s remuneration solely because they imagined that it would allow an employee to engage in certain behavior outside the workplace, in this case sexual behavior, a most private aspect of our lives, that they, the employers don’t approve of. This would be an incredible intrusion into an employee’s private life by an employer.
The solution reached – acceptable to many, including the Catholic Health Association — is to “reimburse” the employee, in effect, by having the insurance company provide what the employer would not, for those who wish or need it.
Some comments online that still object suggest that if a health issue involves contraception, it no longer qualifies as a health issue. This is absurd, (I don’t know if the same people would veto Viagra being covered by health insurance). Some women apparently sail through pregnancy; but many others do not, and for some it is a real danger. Furthermore, many women are prescribed “birth control” pills for other conditions, such as endometriosis, which I know from personal experience to be very painful.
Just as freedom of speech includes the freedom to read and listen, freedom of religion includes the right to be free from representatives of some other denomination dictating how we should live our lives. My own religious convictions and those of many others do not coincide with those of the Catholic bishops on these issues, but hold that contraception is certainly acceptable– indeed further, that it is often a positive moral choice.