The Norman Transcript

Opinion

January 4, 2014

Act doesn’t violate nun’s rights

NORMAN — Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor made a reasonable decision when, on New Year’s Eve, she temporarily blocked implementation of the Affordable Care Act’s contraception coverage mandate in a case brought by a religious order of nuns that operates homes for the poor and elderly in Catonsville, Md., and elsewhere. It certainly doesn’t hurt to wait a few days and hear the government’s argument for immediate implementation. But the 11th hour drama doesn’t change the fact that the contraceptive coverage requirement is good policy, and the mechanism for groups like the Little Sisters of the Poor to avoid violating their religious tenets is reasonable.

Birth-control pills are often used for medical reasons that have nothing to do with preventing pregnancy. It would make no sense for women who use them, for example, to treat endometriosis to be forced to pay more for them than another drug. Moreover, the cost of unplanned pregnancy on society as a whole and the health-care system in particular is enormous. Two years ago, the Guttmacher Institute, which advocates for reproductive health and rights, estimated that the cost to taxpayers was more than $11 billion annually. Making birth control as readily available as possible is unquestionably a good investment for the health-care system. That’s why the Institute of Medicine recommended that it be included in the preventive care coverage of the Affordable Care Act in the first place.

Religious employers like churches are exempt from the contraceptive coverage requirement, and they always have been. For-profit companies whose owners object on religious grounds to contraception are not exempt, though that issue is headed for the Supreme Court via a pair of unrelated lawsuits. Non-profits that are affiliated with religious institutions fall into a third category that allows an avenue for avoiding the requirement while still giving lay employees access to birth control.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Opinion
  • Call up National Guard

    We’re not sure it will help, but you have to hand it to Texas Gov. Rick Perry. He deployed up to 1,000 Texas National Guard troops to help secure his state’s border with Mexico this week....

    July 23, 2014

  • It’s only getting worse

    Conditions for children in Oklahoma were starting to look up for a few years, according to the annual Kids Count reports. Now we know it wasn’t getting better. The recession was impacting the rest of the country, dropping their scores....

    July 23, 2014

  • Noting a life well lived

    James Garner never intended to be a movie and television star. He just kind of lucked into it, he would tell those who asked. If you have the itch to act, get a good-paying job and spend your free time at your local community theater, he ...

    July 22, 2014

  • Recount that really matters

    Americans have been hearing a lot about Congressional elections, but there’s another one halfway around the globe that will matter far more....

    July 22, 2014

  • Runoffs get no respect

    The Aug. 26 Republican runoff election for the Cleveland County District 3 commissioner post is one of only 18 races on ballots around the state. Only two races are statewide — the Democrat contests for U.S. Senator nominee and state ...

    July 22, 2014

  • Change some lines

    Editor, The Transcript: Looking at how our elected Republican friends are reacting to the refugee children crossing the border and now being housed in Lawton, I have a suggestion. Let’s edit the Christian Bible in several places to reflect ...

    July 21, 2014

  • New health care system demonized

    To the Editor: In October 2013, soon after we were asked to take over management responsibilities at our family business, we were visited by the company’s health insurance agent. She explained that a decision needed to be made regarding ...

    July 21, 2014

  • Norman Forward builds momentum

    The quiet campaign to build momentum for a citywide public works project is beginning to attract some attention....

    July 20, 2014

  • The longer the wait, the higher the cost

    Editor, The Transcript: Thanks for the great article of July 3 on the Norman chapter of the Citizens Climate Lobby group that recently went to D.C. as citizen lobbyists, working to get a revenue-neutral carbon pollution fee, refunded in ...

    July 20, 2014

  • Tax those trees out of here

    I read your editorial “Pesky red cedars” in the Norman Transcript of Tuesday, July 15, 2014. I have attended two meetings where the problem of the eastern red cedar trees was discussed. Because of the drought conditions in Oklahoma, we ...

    July 20, 2014