KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Contraceptive Debate Roils On In Editorial Pages

Los Angeles Times: Blame It On The Pill
If the pill had never been invented, perhaps American politics would be very different today. ... Conflicts over gay marriage, transvaginal ultrasounds, Planned Parenthood funding and insurance coverage for birth control are not isolated events (Nancy L. Cohen, 3/4).

Roll Call: Mandate For 'Free' Abortion Drugs Is Not Freedom
The Obama administration’s unprecedented assault on conscience through its "preventive services mandate" has torn the mask off the entire structure of the 2010 health care law: From top to bottom, it is a massive attack on individual and moral freedom (Marjorie Dannenfelser and Charles A. Donnovan, 3/5).

Roll Call: Distorting The Debate Of Religious Freedom
The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee recently convened the first Congressional hearing on the administration's mandate that religious employers pay for abortion-inducing drugs, contraceptives and sterilization procedures in their employee health care plans, despite the fact that some of these items and services violate the employers' core religious teachings. … It was the committee's hope to engage in a robust debate about the First Amendment infringements created by the administration's proposal. Unfortunately, Congressional Democrats directed by House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (Calif.) were more interested in political theater and decided to cast the hearing about something that it wasn't (Rep. Darrell Issa, 3/5).

Denver Post: Health Vs. Faith: The Debate Over Insurance For Contraceptives
Republicans and religious conservatives want you to believe the debate over requiring employer health insurance plans to cover birth control is not about contraceptives. Of course it is. Because whenever two interests clash -- in this case religious freedom vs. women's right to reproductive health care -- both sides are relevant (Lisa Wirthman, 3/4).

Health Policy Solutions (a Colo. news service): Stop Politicizing Women's Health
Opponents of women’s health are now considering their next move to undermine women’s access to birth control and other essential health care. Where it used to be Roe that anti-choice politicians railed against, now it’s birth control, access to health care and a woman’s right to privacy.  It is 2012!  These issues should not be in question (Vicki Cowart, 3/2).

San Francisco Chronicle: Obama's Phony Compromise On Contraception Rules
Washington has accomplished a great leap, from a plea for choice to a roar of entitlement. No doubt, this approach works well with intolerant liberals who want to impose their views on others. But it is enough to turn some of us social moderates, who worry about the encroachment on religious and personal liberty, into the loving arms of social conservatives (Debra J. Saunders, 3/4).

Minneapolis Star Tribune: Dictating Employee Health Coverage
Common sense guided the Democrat-controlled U.S. Senate last week as members narrowly defeated a measure that would have allowed an employer's religious beliefs to dictate the drugs or medical procedures covered by their employees' health insurance. But the debate over this issue -- sparked by the Obama administration's recent decisions on prescription birth control coverage for Catholic hospitals and universities -- is far from over, especially as this year's election campaign ramps up (3/4).

Reuters: A Sex Ed 101 Curriculum For Conservatives
Usually, when we think of the sex education debate, we think of junior high and high school kids putting condoms on bananas. But recent events indicate that this country needs remedial sex education for adults, specifically social conservatives who wish to hold forth on reproductive rights without seeming to know the basics regarding who has sex and how it works in 2012. With that in mind, I designed a quick curriculum for these surprisingly necessary courses (Amanda Marcotte, 3/2).

Modern Healthcare: Shaky Outlook
Catholic bishops are objecting to requirements in the health care reform law that insurance plans make contraceptive coverage available to beneficiaries. The clerics, joined by some conservative politicians, insist that this is a violation of the constitutional right to freedom of religion. That last claim is debatable, and there is a substantial line of court and administrative decisions that suggest religious exemptions from general laws must be more narrowly drawn (Neil McLaughlin, 3/3).

Boston Globe: Kennedy Would Not Have Agreed With Brown’s Contraception Stance
No one owns Senator Edward M. Kennedy’s legacy. But Scott Brown has made an essentially deceptive claim — that the senator would support the Blunt Amendment. He has not just made the statement; he used it in a political advertisement. It is not only wrong but disrespectful to invoke the Kennedy name for a position that is contrary to what the senator believed (Nick Littlefield and Michael Myers, 3/3).

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