Coverage for contraception not unique concept
The controversy about insurance coverage of contraception has ramifications that most opponents might not have thought out. Some wish that no insurance company would be allowed to cover it at all since, of course, all policy payments go into a common pool. Consider where this would lead:
There are religious groups whose beliefs do not permit, or find offensive, one or more of the following: blood transfusions, treatment for AIDS, medical care for addicts and treatment for STDs. There are groups that do not believe in medical care at all, or accept only limited care, believing that faith is the only healing power. If we open up the possibility of allowing insurance providers to opt out of what one group deems offensive to belief, there is nothing at all to stop the process being extended to all.
We must live in a society that accommodates many beliefs. As part of that society, we cannot escape the fact that some of our money must go toward things that we do not personally believe in — I hated that my taxes went for the war in Iraq, for instance. Cutting our fellow citizens off from health care that they need is the worst possible way to handle this situation.
Respect their beliefs and their needs. The government is not trying to attack yours. It is trying to provide for us all, insofar as that is possible.
Don't want to pay
It's amazing to me how long a story will continue to receive media coverage when it is a story that fits the media's agenda. Rush Limbaugh's comments about Sandra Fluke, offensive as they were, are not why I'm writing. I am flabbergasted at how far progressivism has reached into the mainstream, and it sickens me.
Letters to the editor and liberal talking heads have spun this into a story about women being denied their reproductive rights. That is a complete and total lie. No one I know wants to deny you the right to purchase a legal product or service. This was, is and always will be about people demanding that someone else pick up the tab for the choices they themselves have made.
One letter writer asked what right employers have to force their religious views on their employees. To which I would counter, what right does an employee have to demand that their employer pay for a product or service the employee wants?
People, I may not like the choices you make in life, but I really don't care, nor do I have the right to stop you from making them. Please, just don't come crying to me to pick up the tab when the choice doesn't work out like you'd hoped.
Thanks, Barack Obama, for uniting Christians against the Health and Human Services Department.
Mary Gemma Younger
Mitch McConnell's response to Jamie Lucke's commentary on contraception and freedom of religion raised my ire.
Lucke did not suggest, as McConnell writes, "... that the protections granted to people of faith under the First Amendment to the Constitution are akin to sharia law."
Instead, she said, "Listening to McConnell, you get the impression that religious freedom is the freedom of believers to impose their values on other people. That's not religious freedom, that's Sharia law."
Big, big difference. Quit putting words into people's mouths.
This is not a matter of "freedom of religion." No one is forcing believers to take contraceptives, though I may secretly wish some had. This is a religion or religious order operating in the public sphere attempting to apply its values on non-members of its religion. When they choose to invest their money into running a hospital they have entered the public sphere and are no longer doing "religious work." When they offer health-care coverage to their employees as a benefit, it is not offered as a religious belief, it is offered as an incentive to retain an employee. If this were a "religious institution," as McConnell put it, then would amounts paid for services be considered "donations" and wages paid not be subject to income tax?
To have McConnell and his party pay a little attention to my needs, I find myself faced with a very difficult choice. Should I "incorporate" myself and take advantage of the freedoms in the Citizens United decision, or should I turn myself into a religion?
Charles A. Bowsher
Reason for limits
"Seven cent cotton and forty cent meat; how in the world can a poor man eat?"
That popular ditty of the lean 1930s is as expressive now as then, substituting the words: "a poor man's wages and ten-dollar meat.'' (Add five-dollar gasoline.)
As one of 12 children of a sharecropper father during the hard years of the Great Depression, I know hunger and the shame of going barefoot to school when other kids had shoes. It is now rare to see families with that many children, thanks to contraceptives and a woman's right to choose. Yet it is men — the majority Republicans, including Speaker John Boehner, himself one of 12 in a poor household — leading this fight against women.
Yes, I too am "so glad to be here" as comedian Minnie Pearl greeted her audience from the stage of the Grand Old Opry; both grateful and humbled by the many sacrifices my artistic, intelligent mother made for her big family. She didn't have a choice "to have, or to have not" — either in the number of children, or in basic needs all families require for a good life.
Mary Lou Byrd
As a senior environmental science student at the University of Kentucky, I recognize the impact that my school and my community are having on the global climate. Despite incessant pleas from a significant portion of the student body, the university and the community insist on contributing further to global climate change without any substantial discussion about moving toward cleaner, renewable options.
Carbon pollution from coal plants is leading to the creation of a thicker blanket around the planet's atmosphere. This allows more heat to remain within the Earth's atmosphere, causing global temperatures to rise. As a result of these rising temperatures, the entire planet is changing dramatically.
I support new regulations regarding carbon pollution from coal plants. The new standards are referred to as New Source Performance Standards. These air quality protections will allow the EPA to focus on the industries that create the lion's share of the nation's carbon pollution and will also help reduce life-threatening air pollutants like dirty soot, asthma-inducing smog and toxic mercury.
As a young person, I am tired of Big Coal and Big Oil lobbyists influencing policy decisions that prolong the life of these extractive industries. These decisions are a direct result of greed and selfishness and are remarkably shortsighted. Garnering public support for the NSPS protections is extremely important as we continue to show the power of the people.