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Letter to the Editor - On Contraception and Freedom of Conscience

Published in the Columbus Dispatch in February 2012.

The outcry about the mandate to include contraception among covered preventive services tries to frame it as an assault on separation of church and state. As an ex-Catholic, I fully understand the church's position on contraception and abortion, and defend its right to preach its creed to the faithful.

However, when any organization operates hospitals, opening its doors to all and willingly employing people of all (or no) faiths, it operates as a business, taking money in exchange for goods and services. As such, it is subject to policies affecting all businesses.

The church can continue to counsel its members about their moral obligations, but not dictate choices for others. Members of the Jehovah's Witnesses probably pay for insurance covering hospital transfusions that they would refuse.

When we still had a mandated military draft, there were options for people who, in good conscience, refused to engage in military combat, but they still had to pay taxes that funded wars they did not wish to support. The federal law on health insurance has several flaws, but mandating coverage of preventive services is not one of them.


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