Tell HHS: Don't deny contraceptive coverage to any woman!
That’s the message we need to send immediately to HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. HHS is seeking comments until September 30 on its proposed religious employer exemption from the contraceptive coverage requirement it announced in August.
The proposed exemption would allow churches, synagogues, mosques, seminaries and religious orders to exclude contraceptive coverage from the insurance plan that they offer to their employees. Religious hospitals and social services agencies would not, however, be eligible for the exemption.
The nation’s Catholic Bishops have launched an intensive campaign to pressure HHS to broaden the religious employer exemption so any religious employer – including Catholic hospitals and Catholic Charities – could refuse to include contraception in its employee health insurance. In New Orleans, for example, thousands of Catholics attending Mass this past weekend were asked to write to HHS urging that the exemption be rewritten to exempt more religious employers. Broadening the exemption as the Bishops are demanding would deny this preventive care to many thousands of women, including both Catholic and non-Catholic employees of these large institutions.
We must raise our voices loud and clear in opposition to a religious employer exemption that would deny any woman the contraceptive coverage that she wants! The National Women’s Health Network opposes the proposed religious employer exemption and is telling HHS that it fails to meet the standard of ensuring that all women can get the contraceptive coverage they want – giving employers the power to decide for women. That’s unacceptable! Please add your voice to ours and write to HHS now!
What should you say? Here is our recommended message. You can send it to HHS (with any personal comments you would like to add) by clicking here.
“Preventive care keeps women healthy! Requiring insurers to cover preventive health care like contraception, breast feeding support and screening for domestic violence and HIV -- without charging co-pays -- makes these services affordable for more women. And it helps women stay healthy.
Employers should not be able to deny a woman this coverage. Medical experts agree that this preventive health care is necessary for all women and that contraception is preventive care. Religious employers should not be given the power to leave contraceptive coverage out of their insurance plans because it will exclude some women from getting the care they need to be healthy, have healthy pregnancies and have healthy babies. Let a woman make her own decision – she knows her body and beliefs better than her bosses do!
Please remove the proposed religious employer refusal provision from your Women’s Preventive Services rule CMS-9992-IFC2.”
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