In a letter in today’s Camera Kathleen Branch asks: “How would Ms. Bayer feel if the federal government decided that Jewish and Muslim groups (schools, hospitals, etc.) must provide pork products free to everyone?” Perhaps if the Institute of Medicine and all our best
scientists had found that pork or any other food is a medicine essential to women and their families, protects them from unwanted pregnancies and abortions, can be prescribed to lower the risk of endometrial and ovarian cancer, significantly reduces health costs,
and then that many women cannot afford to buy this medicine, we hope HHS would recommend that all women have access to it and that coverage be offered by all employers along with all other preventive services.
Keep in mind that these benefits are already in place under Colorado law and twenty seven other state laws and all churches have been given exemptions for their employees who have chosen to affiliate with a religious entity and follow its rules. But hospitals, colleges and
charities run by churches are another matter. They have chosen to operate in the secular sphere, to hire employees of diverse beliefs or no belief, and to accept public benefits like financial aid for students and Medicare, paid for from the taxes of all of us. They need
to operate under the same laws as all other employers. Remember also that there are many politicians including Republican candidates who have pledged to make family planning and all clinics that provide affordable women’s health care illegal. This IS a health issue for
all of us.