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If the new rule does infringe on religious freedom, which value should prevail: the...

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tubi1721 | Student | Honors

Posted March 15, 2012 at 4:50 AM via web

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If the new rule does infringe on religious freedom, which value should prevail: the government’s interest in promoting women’s health or the individual’s interest in religious freedom?

 

Obama administration’s rule requiring employers to provide birth control as part of the mandated health coverage without a co-pay.

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted March 3, 2012 at 12:37 PM (Answer #2)

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I am very conflicted on this issue, but I think that the individual's (though really, this is not about individuals but about institutions like the Catholic Church) interest in religious freedom must prevail here.  The reason for this is that the damage done to religious freedom is greater than the damage done to the people who must pay for their contraceptives.

Not to minimize the importance of money, but money is surely less important than religious values.  A person who has to pay money that they otherwise would not have to pay is not harmed as much as a person who has to violate their religious beliefs.  Therefore, I think that when you balance the competing interests in this conflict, religious liberty is the more important.

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wannam | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator

Posted March 15, 2012 at 6:04 AM (Answer #3)

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I am conflicted on this issue as well, but I take the opposite view point. Contraceptives are deceptively named. They do much more than just provide birth control. Many women have conditions which can be quite debilitating if untreated. Endometriosis, for example, can be excrutatingly painful. It is treated with birth control. Should a woman have to suffer because she cannot afford the medication needed to treat her condition? What if a religious institution decided that they didn't want to support the treatment of HIV or diabetes? Where is the line? What type of precident does this set? I suppose I also tend to look at this from the angle of control. While many say they do not want to government to dictate what they can and cannot do, do they want the catholic church to have that same power? I do not want any church to tell me what I have the right to do. It is possible to support women's health without interfering with religious beliefs.
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litteacher8 | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

Posted March 15, 2012 at 7:31 AM (Answer #4)

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I think that just because birth control is available does not mean people are required to use it.  Even if someone works for a religious organization, that does not mean the employee is of the same religion.  So the employee should not be forced to follow that religion's principles.

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e-martin | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted March 15, 2012 at 8:17 AM (Answer #5)

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If we think of this as a health issue, it becomes difficult to see how any religion in America could muster a real objection.

As this is not a law seeking to mandate the use of contraceptives but instead to mandate certain insurance coverages, I again fail to see how any groups can claim to be offended.

 

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speamerfam | College Teacher | (Level 2) Senior Educator

Posted March 16, 2012 at 12:27 AM (Answer #6)

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The response of #3 states the crucial problem here.  There are religions that oppose blood transfusions, I believe, and for that matter, religions that oppose any medical treatment at all.  Allowing any religion to dictate what should or should not be offered to employees who are not employed in an exclusively religious enterprise could result in people dying because transfusions were not covered or dying for lack of any medical treatment.  This is a very slippery slope, and I do not think we should step one foot on it.  The state has a compelling interest in the life and health of its people.  Those who wish to place religious principles over life and health are free to make their own choices on this, but they should not be allowed to make those choices for others.

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rrteacher | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted March 16, 2012 at 3:44 AM (Answer #7)

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Many people, in many instances, have to pay for things they are morally opposed to. I support religious freedom, but as others have pointed out, where do we draw the line, and why do we privilege the Catholic church over religious sects who are opposed to clinical medical treatment in almost all cases by bowing to their concerns in this case? We wouldn't do the same for institutions run by Christian Scientists, I'm fairly certain.

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 2) Distinguished Educator

Posted March 16, 2012 at 2:43 PM (Answer #8)

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Big Brother government is never beneficial to the freedom of the individual.  When there is socialized medicine and other programs, problems emerge.  Among them are the politicizing of these issues.  The real fear is that people are losing their individual choices.

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enotechris | College Teacher | (Level 2) Senior Educator

Posted March 21, 2012 at 5:17 AM (Answer #9)

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Why does the government have an "interest" in women's health?  Shouldn't that be the concern of women, and not the government?  By what right does the government assume this power?

In a free country, individuals should be free to choose religious practices,  and should be free to choose contraception as one wishes, without government muddling the issues.

 

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