Thank you for contacting me to share your views about the Obama administration's rule on birth-control coverage. While we may disagree about this issue, please know that I respect your views and appreciate the opportunity to share mine.
I support the Department of Health and Human Services' (HHS) announcement that beginning August 1, 2012, health insurance plans must cover the full range of recommended preventive services, including all FDA-approved forms of contraception. Research has consistently shown that contraception yields significant health benefits for women and their families and I believe women should have access to these critical health services without the added burden of extra co-pays or deductibles.
I have heard from Oregonians concerned that some religious organizations would be required to provide contraceptive coverage to their employee – even if it went against their religious convictions and beliefs. Please know that the administration's rule includes a comprehensive exemption for religious organizations like churches and other houses of worship that oppose the use of contraceptives because of religious beliefs. No church, synagogue, or other house of worship would be required, under this rule, to provide contraceptive coverage to its employees.
Furthermore, a non-profit organization with a religious mission, such as some hospitals, would also not be required to directly provide contraceptive coverage to its employees if it, too, objects to the use of contraceptives due to its religious mission. Instead, the employees of the non-profit who wish to have full access to contraceptive coverage would work directly with their insurance company to access the service. I believe that both of these provisions, as outlined by the Obama administration, strike the right balance between respecting the longstanding religious views of some employers while ensuring that women are provided access to the health care services they desire and need.
Thank you, again, for sharing your thoughts with me. Although I know that not everyone will always agree with me, Oregonians can always expect me to listen to their concerns and to be honest and straightforward with my answers. I hope you will continue to keep me informed about the issues that matter most to you.
All my best,
Jeffrey A. Merkley
United States Senator»
Tras la queja de numerosos colectivos religiosos (por ejemplo, la Iglesia católica) expresando que esa medida violaba sus creencias y/o enseñanzas, y no podían acatarla ya que significaría hacer justamente lo contrario de lo que predican, el gobierno de EE.UU. reculó un poco e incluyó una salvaguarda para dejar fuera de la exigencia a esas organizaciones religiosas, así como a aquellas empresas derivadas de ellas que lo fueran sin ánimo de lucro: hospitales, colegios, etc. Pero no han previsto que puede haber muchos empleadores que podrían objetar a dicha ley por razones de conciencia. Sobre ese aspecto va mi mensaje al senador:
«Thank you for your kind reply to my previous message. But it does not answer one of my biggest concerns regarding HHS announcement.
You say that religious and some non-profit organizations will be exempt of its fulfillment, but say nothing about thousands of owners-employers whose beliefs (religious or not) do not allow them to pay for some services that they consider anti-human.
Religious freedom (including conscientious objection) have to be for everyone in this country, not only for some groups that can allege religion as their main mission.
I hope you will also take this into account when it comes to assess the HHS rule.