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Letters & Op-Eds - 2013

New York Times

Birth Control and Religious Freedom

Jon O'Brien

8 February 2013

To the Editor:

Your editorial missed the mark on a number of issues. At stake was not just whether religiously affiliated organizations would be exempt. Many, including the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, wanted any employer who provided insurance to have the ability to opt out. The so-called Taco Bell exemption that the bishops demanded went far beyond religious organizations.

A more important problem with the new policy that does depart in a significant way from the earlier policy is that many more organizations are included in the new accommodation. Employees of a far wider range of institutions affiliated with a religion, including schools and soup kitchens, will now have to go through extra hoops to gain access to coverage for family planning.

It is unacceptable that so many women and men will be forced to do this because the bishops and their conservative allies don’t recognize that the First Amendment prescribes a system that includes freedom from religion as well as freedom of religion.

JON O’BRIEN
President, Catholics for Choice

This letter was originally published by the New York Times.