We all celebrated two weeks ago when President Obama stood strong with women and the Department of Health & Human Services announced that it would not expand the exemption that lets certain religious employers off the hook for requiring full insurance coverage for contraception without extra costs. This victory happened because you raised your voices, and the President heard you!
But the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, which was lobbying for an expansion of the exemption, hasn’t given up. During Mass last Sunday in churches all across the country, Catholic bishops and priests criticized the decision. And you’ve probably seen or heard them talking about it outside of church too because they’re all over the airwaves and the newspapers. Despite decades of trying, they’ve failed to convince Catholic women to obey the Church’s ban on using contraception, but the bishops are still trying to impose government rules that would deny women the chance to make their own decision about their own health care.
We can’t give up, either! Contraceptive coverage at no extra cost is going to make women healthier and families more secure economically. We need to make sure everyone understands that -- no matter what the bishops say. We have to stand strong for this critical victory.
We need you to raise your voices, too. The RWV website gives you two easy ways to speak out about what this decision means to you – by sending a thank you email to HHS and contributing a photo in the gallery on our website (send your photo to firstname.lastname@example.org). Please make sure you do both.
And don’t stop there! Let everyone know why this was the right decision for women by sending a letter to the editor of your local paper in response to any articles that are published about the bishops' criticisms of the contraceptive coverage requirement. Or better yet, write an op-ed!
What to say? Here are some talking points:
- Contraceptive coverage is a critically important preventive health service for women because it enables us to plan and space pregnancies. The Institute of Medicine provided convincing evidence of the health benefit from contraceptive coverage, and the Department of Health and Human Services was right to require it of all new insurance plans.
- The vast majority of Catholic women use contraception and disagree with the Catholic Bishops. The Bishops should not be able to use government rules to impose their views on employees and students at Catholic hospitals, social services agencies and colleges.
- Making contraception affordable gives women and families the chance to make their own decisions about family planning -- a woman's employer shouldn't make that decision for her.
This blog is part of the #HERvotes blog carnival