Employers' beliefs shouldn't trump women's health care

Published: October 7, 2012
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In “Powerful voice added to fight against mandate” (Our Views, Sept. 14), The Oklahoman expressed its support of the Hobby Lobby lawsuit challenging a U.S. Department of Health & Human Services regulation requiring insurance plans to cover birth control with no co-pay. The editorial states that employers should have the right to refuse to provide insurance coverage for birth control, comparing it to the right of individuals to refuse to get a vaccine. The editorial underscores the point that decisions about health care are personal and rightfully belong to the individual; they shouldn't be dictated by the religious or moral beliefs of an employer or insurer.

We see an important distinction between the right of someone to decide what her health care needs are and the right of an employer to restrict coverage of those health care needs. True religious freedom gives everyone the right to make personal decisions, including whether to use birth control and how to practice one's faith. An employer's religious beliefs shouldn't trump a woman's health and her ability to get the care she needs.

Leila Abolfazli, Washington, D.C.

Abolfazli is senior counsel of health & reproductive rights at the National Women's Law Center.


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