Contraception debate ongoing locally, nationally
The entire Affordable Care Act has been under fire since it was signed into law two years ago. In late March, the U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments on the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act's individual mandate, which requires all citi...
The entire Affordable Care Act has been under fire since it was signed into law two years ago.
In late March, the U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments on the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act's individual mandate, which requires all citizens purchase health insurance.
If the individual mandate is struck down, the rest of the act could remain intact, depending on the court's decision.
While the courts battle out the Affordable Care Act legality, the requirement for insurance to cover contraceptives has already been around in many states: 28 states already have a contraceptive equality law.
Minnesota Rep. Erin Murphy, DFL-St. Paul, is hoping to make her state the 29th. She authored a Contraceptive Equality Act which would require any Minnesota insurance plan that covers prescriptions to also cover contraceptives.
As of press time, Murphy's bill was still waiting to be heard on the floor.
"We will continue to push the bill to get it heard this session," Murphy said.
Brandy Randall, an associate professor of human development and family science at North Dakota State University, said the birth control pill is an equalizer for women seeking education and employment.
"Women being able to control the timing of their own reproduction has opened up the world to them. By restricting access, we actually turn back the clock on all those efforts for equality," she said.
Randall said her comments reflect her personal beliefs and not those of the university.
Religious and political groups have argued the Affordable Care Act's contraceptive mandate violates religious freedom.
Despite the Obama administration amendment to exempt religious organizations, the Catholic Church - a relentless opponent of the mandate - said that is not enough.
Bishop Samuel Aquila, leader of the Diocese of Fargo, said he fully agrees with a March 14 statement released by the Administrative Committee of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. The statement denounces what it calls the mandate's violation of religious rights.
The statement clarifies that the church is not against universal health care nor is it attempting to ban all contraception.
"This is not about access to contraception, which is ubiquitous and inexpensive, even when it is not provided by the church's hand and with the church's funds," the letter says.