RCRC's Celebration & Education Campaign for Contraceptive Coverage
Religious Leaders Participating in RCRC July 30 News Conference Announcing Campaign
The Affordable Care Act is a blessing. Millions of women will now have access to contraception and other health care services that will help them and their families to live a whole, healthy life, as God intends. - Rev. Harry Knox, RCRC President and CEO
July 30, 2012
Religious leaders from diverse traditions joined in a press conference on July 30 held by the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice (RCRC) to celebrate a landmark in women’s health care - the historic new coverage for women’s contraceptives and other preventive care in the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The leaders represented several RCRC member organizations - the United Church of Christ, Catholics for Choice, Central Conference of American Rabbis and United Methodist Church General Board of Church and Society – as well as Covenant Baptist United Church of Christ in Washington, DC.
The Rev Harry Knox, RCRC President and CEO, announced RCRC’s Celebration and Education Campaign for Contraceptive Coverage.
"Beginning August 1, non-grandfathered health insurance plans are required by the Affordable Care Act to provide no-cost coverage for contraception and seven other preventive services for women when their plan years (or policy years) renew.
We celebrate this victory for women’s health and reproductive justice in this country. By requiring no-cost coverage for contraception, an annual well-woman visit, domestic violence counseling, and other preventive benefits, the Affordable Care Act is a huge step towards a time when all people have access to all the health care they need.
We’re stepping up to our responsibilities as religious leaders to inform women about the new benefits available to them. Over the next several days, RCRC will provide its member organizations with life-saving information in forms their constituent clergy can share with their congregants. After all, the benefits won’t make a difference if women don’t know about them! The campaign will include a short on-line quiz and simple handouts that can be easily distributed by our supporters. In addition to August, we will do intense promotion in September and January, since many health plan/policy years renew on the first day of those months.
The Affordable Care Act is a blessing. Millions of women will now have access to contraception and other health care services that will help them and their families to live a whole, healthy life, as God intends.
As a pastor, I believe sexuality is a gift from God. It is a gift that is given to us to use with reverence and responsibility. Our government policies and laws should protect each person's ability to access and use birth control according to their own conscience and religious beliefs.
False Prophets Mislead The Public
False prophets have been misleading the public about health care reform and especially about contraception. These nay-sayers are spending their donor dollars and time on frivolous lawsuits against women’s health care.
This is an outrage. I have counseled women in great distress and need – women who tell me they have more children than they can care for, who are out of work, who cope with abuse and family conflict. It is a moral imperative for a government that cares about human welfare to make sure that contraception is available as it will be in new health plans starting August. 1.
The opponents of covering contraception are out of step with public opinion. And they are wrong. They are wrong about how contraception works. They say that emergency contraception causes an abortion. It does not affect an established pregnancy and it is a disservice to women to say it does – including women who are victims of sexual assault, who most need emergency contraception.
They are wrong about religious liberty. This is a very complex subject but one thing is clear: decisions about birth control should be a matter of individual conscience, not institutional policy. Individuals—not employers—should be responsible for making decisions about birth control. Religiously affiliated institutions that employ and serve the general public and often receive government funds and grants should not be allowed to restrict the freedoms and moral choices of their employees who perform secular functions.
I respect the right of these groups to express their views. But I draw the line at what they are actually doing - substituting religious beliefs for contemporary science and then claiming their religious freedom is being violated.
It is these groups that seek to restrict the religious liberties of individual employees. To be clear, these groups do not represent women or families or most people of faith. In fact, 98% of women of all religions use contraception at some point in their lives.
The eight preventive benefits that non-grandfathered insurance plans must cover without cost, starting when their plan years renew on or after August 1, 2012, together are a huge step towards a time when all people have access to all the health care they need. These are:
- Breastfeeding: comprehensive support and counseling from trained providers, as well as access to breastfeeding supplies, for pregnant and nursing women
- Contraception: Food and Drug Administration-approved contraceptive methods, sterilization procedures, and patient education and counseling, not including abortifacient drugs
- Domestic and interpersonal violence: screening and counseling for all women
- Gestational diabetes screening for women 24 to 28 weeks pregnant and those at high risk of developing gestational diabetes
- Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV): screening and counseling for sexually active women
- Human Papillomavirus (HPV) DNA Test: high risk HPV DNA testing every three years for women with normal cytology results who are 30 or older
- Sexually Transmi tted Infections (STI): counseling for sexually active women
- Well-woman visits: to obtain recommended preventive services for women under 65 "
Religious Leaders Back Contraceptive Coverage in Affordable Care Act
Rev. Harry Knox's Powerful Statement on
Religious Liberty on RHRealityCheck.Org