Obamacare’s Religious Exemptions Are a Bad Joke
We can no longer afford to indulge ridiculous and dangerous religiously-informed policies just because they claim to follow very old, ambiguous books that some people believe were written by a “God” whose existence is disputable, to say the least — books that also suggest lots of batshittery we legislate against, like, you know, stoning unclean women to death. We literally can’t afford it; unplanned pregnancies total $4 billion a year in direct medical costs alone, and the average cost per publicly financed unintended pregnancy is nearly $10,000. Religious exceptions just don’t work when it comes to women’s health. It’s so obvious. Can we stop pretending? Please?
No, probably not, because few politicians will risk coming off as disrespectful or, even worse, anti-“religious freedom.” But even the First Amendment and the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993, which plaintiffs in these types of cases love to cite, decrees that officials may not restrict one’s exercise of religion unless they can prove “a compelling governmental interest.” The Obama administration has said that promoting public health and gender equality are compelling enough interests. We concur! But how can the administration promote public health and gender equality if they also give power-tripping zealots the leverage to impose “moral” agendas that directly contradict those crucial interests?
We need to start acting like adults and stop letting fringe beliefs dictate public health policy. Plan B and the IUD are not abortion pills, no one is force-feeding birth control down anyone’s throat, and women who want contraception and gain access to it will not prompt the End of Days.