Contraceptive debate threatens our equality

The League of Women Voters was born more than 90 years ago from the long fight to get women the right to vote. Since 1992, when League members studied health care policy, we have worked to ensure access to quality health care for all.

That's why recent proposals that would allow employers and health plans to block contraceptive services and discriminate against women deeply concern the League.

By a narrow margin, the Senate recently defeated an amendment that would limit access to contraception for women if any employer or insurance plan has an undefined "religious or moral objection" to it. This open-ended invitation to cut back on preventative health care services would turn back the clock for women and for American society.

We understand that not everyone agrees with the League on this subject. But we strongly believe that public institutions, including schools and hospitals that receive substantial federal assistance, should not limit the health care choices available to employees. Institutions that serve the public at large should not impose their own views but should respect the conscientious decisions of each individual.

The League believes that all persons, regardless of gender, should be eligible for preventative health services. Allowing employers to exclude contraceptive services is discrimination based on sex, and it's wrong.

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