Danielle Bartz’ letter to the editor, “Men shouldn’t dictate women’s health care” (Feb. 28), misses the point.

No one is trying to dictate women’s choice. The issue is religious freedom. The First Amendment to the Constitution regarding religion has two clauses: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof….” Lately the first clause has been widely invoked to prevent such things as a crèche in the public square, schools fully participating in Christmas activities, no carols that refer to Christ, no Christmas trees, etc.

The second clause of free exercise often is ignored, as it is when the government forces anyone to act against his religious conscience. Suppose a small businessowner, who provides health insurance for his employees, believes that contraception, sterilization and abortion are immoral because of his religious beliefs. Can he be forced to purchase insurance that provides these services for your employees?

It is clear that the administration’s recent ruling is in violation of the Constitution with regard to religious institutions, but it is broader than that. This rule also tramples on all persons with religious objections to these practices.

The recent accommodation that they will be provided free by the insurance companies cannot withstand the laugh test. Nothing is free.

Further, while religious freedom is a right guaranteed by the Constitution, nothing in the Constitution indicates that free birth control is. In fact, it is more likely that the federal government’s providing such services could be argued as contrary to the Constitution through the 10th amendment.

No one is advocating restrictions on their availability, only that we not be taxed or otherwise charged to participate in activities we believe are morally prohibited.


Larry Mitchell


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