BOISE, Id – Some Idaho lawmakers are weighing in on a national debate over whether religious institutions should be required to provide birth control coverage to employees.
Last month President Obama said Catholic employers must provide free contraceptives to their employees. That brought an outcry from religious groups. So the President changed the policy so religious employers can object. Then insurance companies must offer birth control free of charge. Now, some Idaho lawmakers want the President and Congress to reverse the new policy on contraception. So they're declaring a formal opinion ... what's known as a non-binding memorial.
Jason Herring “We are asking that the federal government does not impose its agenda on people of faith and conviction by requiring a violation of conscience.
That's Jason Herring speaking to legislators on the House State Affairs Committee Tuesday. He's President of Right to Life of Idaho.
Jason Herring "We’re not dictating what women can do with their bodies, this is about the forced coercion of freedom to abstain from some people find abhorrent. This is not a religious issue; this is a freedom of conscience issue.”
...An issue, Herring says would pave the way for federal government to encroach on the moral convictions and religious liberties of Americans.
But Monica Hopkins, the Executive Director of the ACLU of Idaho said this Memorial discriminates against religion and millions of women.
Monica Hopkins“Religious liberty does not come with the right to impose one’s faith on others. Indeed, the contraception coverage provision serves the nation’s interest in gender equality, reproductive autonomy, and religious freedom, by making contraception available, affordable, and accessible.”
But Hopkins message didn't resonate with the committee. Most everyone signed off on the memorial - which really is more of an opinion without any legal teeth. It still needs to clear the full House before going to the Governor's desk.
Copyright 2012 BSPR