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News Opinion

Mandatory contraceptive coverage is tyranny

In his March 22 op-ed piece ("Why I chose Sandra Fluke") Rep. Elijah Cummings mistakenly identifies a freedom issue as awomen's healthissue.

For decades employees have been able to save money on health insurance costs by opting out of certain coverages. People beyond child-bearing years, celibate women and others were able to opt out of maternity coverage. People who didn't want to pay extra for vision coverage or dental coverage could opt out of such coverage.

The government telling private companies what they must sell is tyranny. Forcing companies to offer a product or service at no charge is a slap in the face of freedom. The insurance companies can't offer coverage for free. Somebody has to pay for it. So all of the insurance companies' customers pay more.

So thanks to the new health-care law and the Obama administration's mandate, a 60-year-old such as me has to pay for 14, 15 and 16-year-old girls' birth-control pills. I'm against abortion, but I have to pay for morning-after abortion pills. I also have to pay for women to get sterilized, a very expensive procedure. Making me pay for things my insurance company has to cover, things against my beliefs, is taking away my freedom. I should decide how to spend my money. The government shouldn't force me to pay for things. Pregnancy isn't a disease. In my opinion women should pay for their own birth-control pills or IUDs or condoms. I shouldn't have to pay for those things. Will I be forced someday to pay for men's condoms and Viagra pills? The government doesn't pay for anything. Taxpayers pay.

Catholic organizations such as Catholic Charities and Catholic Relief Services and the Archdiocese of Baltimore, which employ hundreds of people, are being forced by the government to offer health insurance to their employees or pay fines. They aren't being given a choice to find an insurance plan that doesn't offer free birth-control pills and morning-after abortion pills. So they won't offer their employees health coverage, and they will be fined. This is tyranny. America's founding fathers never envisioned the government telling private companies what to sell and telling them to sell something for free. They didn't envision employers being forced by the government to offer health insurance. Our founding fathers were familiar with tyranny and didn't want to see citizens subjected to it.

In Illinois, Catholic Charities can no longer place children in foster care or place children for adoption because only organizations willing to place children in homes of gay couples are allowed to be engaged in the placing of adoptive or foster children. How do children benefit from the government forcing out of the adoption business one of the best organizations at placing children? How can the Illinois government get away with forcing an organization out of a business it's been in for years just because its beliefs are different from Illinois legislators?

Elijah Cummings and others need to understand that the issue of forcing insurance companies to offer something free is a freedom issue and forcing organizations to carry health insurance providing services odious to them is a freedom issue.

James Roberts, Woodstock

Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun
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