Amanda Marcotte makes two excellent points about the ‘religious liberty’ argument that the conservatives are using in their war against contraception. First, women also have rights to religious freedom (boldface mine):
Women’s right to be sexual beings is protected under the First Amendment’s religious liberty clause. Yes, Catholic bishops and their teeny group of avid followers have a right to believe that God wants women to either be virgins or non-stop baby factories. But women have a right to believe that God has a different plan for them—or to not believe in a God at all. Women have equal rights to their own religious beliefs around sex and reproduction. The Catholic bishops demanding the right to force women not to be able to go directly through insurers for contraception coverage—in essence, giving them extra-governmental power to levy a fine against women for being sexual—is a direct violation of a woman’s religious freedom. These employers cannot require women to attend Catholic mass as a condition of their employment, so why should they be able to require women to pay what amounts to a penance for what the church teaches is a sin as a condition of their employment? Religious liberty exists for all Americans, even women.
And then drawing boundaries at what your employer can force employees to do:
Insurance isn’t a gift your employers give you; it’s a part of your compensation package. If your employer has the right to force you not to use your compensation package in this way on general (and suddenly invented) principles, then why not in other ways? Once the principle that your compensation is your employer’s “money” and that they get to control it is established, then why can’t they step in and stop you from spending your salary on contraception? After all, if health insurance money is still theirs after they write the check, then your salary is, too.
I’m still waiting for the ‘religious’ objection to Viagra…