USCCB Sent Letters to Congress About Birth Control Mandate

birth control pillsThe United States Conference of Catholic Bishops sent letters to all 535 members of Congress in regards to the birth control mandate. The content of the letters urges lawmakers to allow for-profit religious businesses to be exempt from having to offer employer sponsored health plans that cover contraception.

Recently, the Obama administration provided clarification about the birth control mandate. It makes it very clear which employers will be exempt from the requirement that they offer employer-sponsored health plans that cover the cost of contraception, and which employers will not be exempt from the law.

In short, it works like this:

Exempt:
* Churches, synagogues, mosques, temples, and other places of worship

* The above groups who operate parochial schools, soup kitchens, (or other services) that benefit or employ people of different religious faiths

*Religious institutions that the IRS identifies as a religious non-profit

Not Exempt:
* Religious businesses that are for-profit companies or corporations.

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has rejected this clarification. In short, the USCCB wants all religious employers, even those who have for-profit companies, to be exempt from covering birth control in their worker’s health plans.

According to Insurance Journal, the USCCB sent letters to all 535 members of Congress. In the letters, Archbishop William Lori of Baltimore urges the lawmakers to “extend existing federal conscience protections to the contraceptives mandate and strengthen the ability of opponents to seek vindications in federal court”. The USCCB is also intending to send out an “action alert” via both email and text message, asking its supporters to visit their local congressional offices next week. The lawmakers are expected to be home on break at that time.

The USCCB makes no mention of the thousands of American women who use birth control, or how lack of health insurance coverage for contraception affects their health, their families, and their finances. CNN has a blog full of facts from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention about the use of contraception in the United States.

* 99% of sexually active women have used at least one contraceptive method sometime during their lifetimes.

* About 11% of women ages 15 to 44 used emergency contraception between 2006 and 2010, up 7% from 2002.

* The use of the birth control pill has remained steady since the mid-1990′s at around 82%

* About 33% of women are using other hormonal methods, (like an arm implant, injection, or patch) as their choice of birth control.

* IUD use increased to 7.7% of women between 2002 and 2010.

Image by Nate Grigg on Flickr

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